Deaf Children ‘Equal, Healthy and Whole,’ Pediatricians’ Group Affirms

Baby pic shown via HealthDay News

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 30, 2023 (HealthDay News) — It’s time for everyone to change the words we use when we talk about kids who are deaf or hard of hearing.

This is one of the main messages from newly updated guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics on hearing in infants, children and teens.

“The removal of deficit-framing terminology such as ‘loss,’ ‘failed’ and ‘impairment’ was to reflect that children who are deaf or hard of hearing are equal, healthy and whole,” said report author Dr. Charles Bower, a pediatric otolaryngologist at Arkansas Children’s Northwest.

Words like hearing-impaired or loss focus on what people can’t do, he said.

“The terminology needs to change because kids who never had hearing from birth have not experienced a loss. It is their normal. They are not impaired,” Regina Zappi added. “Their hearing is simply different.” Zappi is the associate director of audiology practices at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Rockville, Md.

A difference in hearing does not define a child’s ability to be successful in life, she said. “We now use the terms of deaf, hard of hearing, or atypical hearing to identify a difference, but not as a way to identify their ability or likelihood of being successful or able.”