Learning is a Process

Do you know what questions you want to ask when you child is diagnosed with hearing loss?

Written by Dr. Dawn Violetto

Confucius says “You cannot open a book without learning something”.  Even if you just open the cover you learn the author and the title.  It could be said that life is indeed a book.  We open the cover to dive into a story that writes itself with every turn of the page.  We stumble through each twist and turn of the scheme, taking in knowledge about our surroundings and coping with the plot twists by learning what is necessary to carry on.  We often don’t know what we are supposed to do, or how to do it, so knowledge is key.  Asking questions and educating ourselves helps guide decisions and outcomes.  Whether it be how to drink from a sippy cup to tying our shoes, we learn from experience and practice.

Learning is the process in life that never stops.  When I deliver the news of hearing loss in a child, parents are thrown into a world that is completely foreign to them.  They bought a ticket to Disney world and somehow ended up in Denmark!  Having a child with a special need was definitely not on the menu they thought they ordered from.  They had practiced breathing in anticipation of birth and practiced changing a diaper, but no one told them hearing loss was on the horizon and they are totally unprepared.  This is a whole new book that was slipped in the stack by accident when they left the library!!! What to do???????

Should I consult Dr. Google or Dr. Facebook or talk to my old Aunt Tessie, who had a cousin once with hearing loss…or was it an ear infection?  When speaking with parents, I often find that hours are spent pouring over information on the internet, trudging through article after article, website after website, and opinion after opinion.  They read opinions in blogs from people they don’t know and whose motives are not clear. Yet, when in the same room with a professional in field, parents often will not ask any questions.  Hindered by the desire of not to seem “ill-informed” on the subject of their babies hearing loss in front of a professional, they freeze.  Even though up until a few a days ago, they were not aware of hearing loss or the manuscript that has just been dropped very unceremoniously onto their lap.

If tomorrow I decided I wanted to build a pyramid, I really would have to start at the beginning, turning the pages to find how and where to lay the cornerstone and what on earth should it be made from?   I am just not expected to know how to do it!  We all have to start at the beginning by opening the cover of the book, asking questions, and gaining knowledge.  I, for sure, would need repetition of information before it truly sunk in (especially when it comes to math and even then it most likely will not).   It is OK to ask questions and it is OK to ask the same question again and again.  Knowing how to navigate the road of a child’s hearing loss is not more inherent to anyone than knowing how to build a pyramid.  Knowledge is power and that comes with asking the questions!  The professionals around you are here to help you and your family, and want nothing less than success for you and your child.  No matter which way the road winds and forks it will bring with it a moment of learning that will write another page in your book of life.