Christy Woodall decided to become an audiologist in eighth grade after hearing one speak to her middle school science class. She realized that goal and, five years into her career as an audiologist, she received life-changing news.
Christy Woodall is an audiologist at The Sertoma Speech and Hearing Center. Woodall has five children, two of whom have profound hearing loss, despite having no risk factors.
Her 9-month-old daughter had profound hearing loss.
“Like every mother, I cried. It was hard,” says Woodall, an audiologist at The Sertoma Speech and Hearing Center. Woodall has five children, two of whom have profound hearing loss, despite having no risk factors.
When interacting with families who have just learned about their child’s hearing loss, she says, “I can give them the best of both worlds, as an audiologist and with parent perspective.”
Woodall offers advice for parents dealing with the discovery that their baby or child is hard of hearing or has profound hearing loss.
1. When you first receive the news, make a second appointment with your audiologist.
“Initially, it’s a shock. Parents probably won’t remember anything they heard at the first appointment. They need to come back and talk about it more later.”
2. Be patient.
Woodall says the biggest challenge parents of very young children face is getting them to wear their hearing aids. “Put them back in! You don’t want them missing out on the auditory information that they’re receiving,” she stresses.
3. Keep a little humor in your life or you’ll probably go crazy.
She shared stories of hearing aids flushed down toilets and eaten by dogs, and says she has experienced such instances as a professional and as a parent.
4. Remember that kids are flexible.
One of the biggest questions that parents have is what kind of communication to use. Woodall says she struggled, feeling pressure to make the right decision. She wishes she had known it wasn’t a final decision. “If the choice you make doesn’t work, it’s okay. Switch your mode.”
5. Often friends and family want to support a family but don’t know how.
“Be willing to take the extra step,” Woodall advises. “Support parents struggling to get a child to wear a hearing aid. Also, there are online sign language classes and even access through YouTube. There is no reason why people can’t learn.”
Click here for information on Sertoma’s ebook series, “What Every Mom Needs to Know About…Speech and Hearing Development of Her Child.”