Mental issues of Hearing-impaired children 


Dear group members


Like I have mentioned many times, I have been very grateful appreciated this group founder, especially Ms. Chu Thi Thanh Huong, President of Vietnamese Association for Parents with Hearing Loss Children


Back 20 years ago when my wife and I first found out that our son was deaf, we were completely devastated. We did not know where and whom to ask for help. We knew nothing about cochlear implantation. There were only a few audiologists working in the ENT and children’s hospital in Hochiminh City. They actually were former ENT doctors and were still learning about audiology.


That is the reason I was so glad when this group was founded. It has been providing parents of hearing-impaired children useful information about hearing loss. It is also a place, where parents of children with hearing loss can encourage each other, discuss and share information on intervention and treatment for their children.


Dear members. Our children have hearing loss that could be mild or profound. The causes of their hearing loss could be unknown. We were devastated, and then got back to fight so our children could wear either hearing aids or cochlear implants. We were so happy when our children uttered  “Mommy” or “Daddy”. Our happiness has grown watching them going to school, being able to talk with their teacher, their friends like other normal-hearing peers.


However, when their listening, speech, and language are fine, I would like you to pay attention to another issue: MENTAL DISORDERS.


There are many researches worldwide that show that hearing-impaired children, especially the ones with profound hearing loss, tend to have more mental issues than normal-hearing children. Infants with hearing loss usually have other health problems, including mental issues. Attached please find an article in Vietnamese for your reference. There are lots of articles about this issue in English that you can easily find on Google.


Now I want to tell you about my child. He was born full term. My wife got a flu at the first term of her pregnancy, but not Rubella. No one from both our sides have history of hearing loss. Unfortunately my son got bilateral profound hearing loss. He was implanted at the age of 14 months. The early intervention program in the US and the Memphis Oral School for the Deaf where he attended plus his own self-striving and parents involvement have wonderfully helped him. He has been mainstreamed since the age of 5 and successfully completed elementary school with excellence. He got the second place schoolwide on the TN Ready assessment test. He has also participated in a CLUE program (a gifted program) since 1st grade.


Starting middle school, he has been enrolled in the optional program. However, since 7th grade he has exhibited some behavior issues, such as easily getting angry, swearing, and becoming aggressive. Besides, he has shown interests and wanted to discuss on several particular subjects regardless whether other have the same interests like his or not. He has rigid thinking, for examples he does not want his mother to put her makeup on, or does not want his father to wear certain types of coats. Plus he has had no friends. He does not socialize at school and tends not to like team projects.


At first we thought those were just due to hormones change at teen age. However, we still took him to see a neurologist and psychiatrist. They diagnosed him with Asperger or Autism Spectrum Disorder, ODD, mood swing, and several other mental impairment.


His conditions have been getting worse. He can easily get angry for something that is very small, non-sense, like if I incorrectly pronounce an English word. When he is angry, it is hard to control his temper as it could lead to physical aggression. When his anger subdues, he begs us not to scold or criticize him. If he does something wrong, just let it go, then he will realize his fault. However, as time goes by, without correction, his behaviors have become uncontrollable. We have finally decided to send him to a boarding school for troubled teens. They apply rules like in the military so he seems to be adjusted well to the routines and has shown some progress in behaviors.


From my own child’s story, I have come up with some experiences that I would like to share:


  1. Always be calm, be gentle with your child. Try not to raise your voice, to scold, or criticize your chid. Praise and encourage more instead.
  2. Being calm and gentle does not mean you have to satisfy your child’s requirements unconditionally. Set up the rules that your child has to follow (try to do this at fhe early age to make them habits). Do award if your child does good things. Apply proper punishment for inappropriate behaviors.
  3. If you detect some psychological changes in your child, please be sure to take early intervention actions, such as take him/her to see psychiatrist and/or psychologist.
  4. Introduce your child to meditation retreats. Guide them towards charity activities or doing good deeds.

The bottom line is please always be on your child’s side, observe the change in his/her behaviors and take prompt and appropriate actions. Do not let it become too late.

I do apologies as this article is quite long. I wish our children all the best and have a normal development like their other peers.

P/S: I’ve found a very interesting public group, which has discussions about how to raise a child. If you guys are interested, you can join it. There you can post your questions about your child’s issues and obtain advices from other members. The group is called “Raising a child in happiness”.

Author: Mr. Michael Lê – A father of Hearing impaired boy – a member of VNAP HLC

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