Mild matters: parental insights into the conundrums of managing mild congenital hearing loss

Jing Jing Lin, Lynn Gillam, Libby Smith, Peter Carew, Alison King, Teresa Y. C. Ching, Valerie Sung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To explore and describe parental experiences related to the management of mild bilateral congenital hearing loss in children. 

Design: Using qualitative methods, we conducted semi-structured interviews with parents/caregivers until saturation of themes was achieved. We analysed transcripts using inductive content analysis. 

Study sample: Caregivers of children under 3-years-old with mild bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. 

Results: We interviewed 12 parents. Parental perception of advice regarding hearing aid fitting was varied; almost all children were offered hearing aids. Perceived positives related to hearing aids: feeling empowered that action has been taken; improvements in the child’s hearing perception and; facilitation of behavioural management. Perceived negatives of hearing aid use: difficulties with compliance resulting in parental frustration and guilt, damage/loss of equipment, discomfort, parental discord, altered quality of natural sound and potential bullying/stigma. Some parents were ambivalent about the effect of the hearing aids. Where hearing aids were offered and not fitted, there was significant ongoing uncertainty, and the family carried the burden of their decision. 

Conclusions: There was a wide variation in perceived advice regarding early hearing aid fitting in children with mild bilateral hearing loss. We identified parental perceptions of positive/negative impacts of hearing aid fitting and potential perceived harms from not fitting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-506
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Issue number6
Early online date4 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • hearing loss
  • hard of hearing
  • mild
  • hearing aids
  • parent experience
  • child


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