WASHINGTON, August 22, 2018 – As part of its Cradle to Career initiative, the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) launched Listen-Learn-Link, its international new parent hotline for parents, caregivers and guardians of children with hearing loss. The hotline is the first-ever confidential, bilingual (English/Spanish) hotline available for those whose child has been newly identified with a hearing loss.
AG Bell designed its new hotline for parents, caregivers and guardians of newly identified children with hearing loss worldwide who possess any degree of unilateral or bilateral hearing loss. The hotline connects parents via telephone, email and video conference to the organization’s Early Intervention Parent Consultant eager to answer parents’ questions, provide hearing loss resources, information, support and next steps related to early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) and communication options for those with hearing loss.
“Having access to another parent who has traveled a similar road can be a lifesaver for new parents of a child with hearing loss. AG Bell is launching its new hotline so new parents, caregivers and guardians can have easy access to a parent who has had similar experiences and who also understands the systems and services that they will soon access for their own child and family,” said Gayla Guignard, AG Bell’s Chief Strategy Officer, who is also an audiologist, speech-language pathologist, and certified Listening and Spoken Language Specialist through AG Bell’s Academy.
Early identification and intervention is extremely important for an infant with hearing loss to achieve listening and spoken language skills. The human brain is programmed to learn language during the first six years of life – with the first three-and-a-half years being the most critical. Without intervention, it becomes increasingly difficult to acquire language and literacy as a child grows older.
Parents, caregivers and guardians who call the hotline will speak to Julie Swaim, AG Bell’s early intervention parent consultant. As a parent whose child has hearing loss and a seven-year veteran in the EHDI field, Ms. Swaim is fully aware of the challenges associated with hearing loss in children as well as next steps needed to ensure they receive proper diagnosis and treatment. She will connect them with other resources related to hearing loss. She also has access to qualified hearing and speech professionals whom she can contact for important medical information.
“We are proud to partner with AG Bell on the new parent hotline. Learning your child has hearing loss can be overwhelming, and the hotline will help parents and caregivers feel connected and less alone,” said Patricia Trautwein, audiologist and vice president of marketing and product management for Cochlear Americas. “AG Bell’s Cradle to Career initiative exemplifies Cochlear’s commitment to supporting parents from the moment they learn about their child’s hearing loss into adulthood and beyond. We are thrilled to support the new parent hotline and proud to have the opportunity to bring additional resources to parents and caregivers.”
Recently launched, AG Bell’s new Cradle to Career initiative provides continued support, resources, information and services for families, children and adults as they continue on their journey with hearing loss.
About the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) helps families, health care providers and education professionals understand childhood hearing loss and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. Through advocacy, education and financial aid, AG Bell helps to ensure that every child and adult with hearing loss has the opportunity to listen, talk and live a life without limits. With chapters located in the United States, AG Bell International in Europe and a network of international affiliates, AG Bell supports its mission: Working Globally to Ensure That People Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing can Hear and Talk. Visit www.agbell.org.