Dansville, Hornell & Wellsville Hearing Centers

Tips on How to Teach Your Hearing Impaired Child to Swim

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Most people agree that swimming is fun and is an important skill to have in life, especially for children. Whether you’re on a beach holiday, hanging out at a local pool or fishing alongside a river, all children should have the ability to safely enjoy a hot, summer day in the water. And having hearing loss or wearing hearing aids should not stop or deter you from teaching your child how to swim.

Swimming with Waterproof Hearing Aids

When a child has hearing loss, dealing with water can be stressful for parents. Most people wonder how they can teach a hearing impaired child to swim when hearing aids can’t be worn in the water. The answer is, there are waterproof hearing aids available that keep the delicate inner workings of the hearing aids safe from dust, perspiration, and humidity.  Hearing impaired children can achieve anything given the right support. So it’s important as parents to encourage children to learn to swim at a young age, because it gives them time to develop and become more confident.

If you’re a parent of a child with a hearing loss, and are interested in them having swimming lessons, or if you have hearing loss yourself and never learned to swim, here are some tips:

  1. Choose the right swimming instructor: Find a swimming class that’s not too big, or consider private lessons. This allows your child to get more attention from the instructor. If you can find a deaf aware swimming teacher- then brilliant, otherwise talk to the teacher beforehand to discuss options on the best ways to communicate with your child. Instructors who know how to deal with students with hearing loss can use alternative teaching methods before they enter the pool, such as using whiteboards for demonstrations, sign language and other visual tools to explain pool safety.  Let the child have some input too.
  2. Alert the lifeguards: The lifeguards should also be aware of your child’s hearing abilities, so that in the case of an emergency where the deaf person isn’t responding to the whistles or shouting, the lifeguards know to wave or move so they are visually able to communicate with them.
  3. Be patient: Part of my lifeguard job is being in the pool assisting children who might be intimidated in the water. It’s so amazing to see their development, from crying in fear on the first day, to swimming a full length of the pool a few sessions later.
  4. Fuel confidence: The key to swimming development is confidence. If the child can ‘blow bubbles’ to breathe properly, and they can put their face in the water, then that’s already a great step. People learning how to swim need confidence in the person teaching them – to reassure them that they’ll catch them if they go under, to hold their head up, and to hold their floats. Before you know it, they’ll be swimming like a fish!
  5. Safely store your hearing devices: Invest in a watertight box to put your hearing devices in. The children can always give them to their parents to look after. Deaf people who swim quite frequently are at higher risk of getting ear infections. I always wear swimming ear molds to stop the water entering my ears. Ask your audiologist if they can fit you with some!

For more information about waterproof hearing aids, contact us today at Krista Szalc Audiology, PLLC. We have multiple office locations throughout Western New York.