Hesperian Health Guides

Chapter 1: Hearing difficulties and communication

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HealthWiki > Helping Children Who Are Deaf > Chapter 1: Hearing difficulties and communication


A man holding a baby.

All over the world there are many children who are either deaf or can hear very little. Parents may never know what caused their child to be deaf. The deafness may be the result of an ear infection, an illness such as meningitis, an injury, or may be inherited. For information about causes of deafness see Chapter 15.

Like all children, children who are deaf or cannot hear well need love, attention, friendship, a sense of belonging, and an education. Because they do not hear, these children cannot learn language without help, and without language they cannot communicate with others, express themselves, or learn as easily as other children.

But with early help, children who are deaf can learn a language just like any child. So the most important resources for children who are deaf are parents, family members, and friends who take the time to help them learn to communicate.