Every audiologist, regardless of his or her patient population, has faced telling parents their child has hearing loss. It may become easier to break the news with practice, but have you ever stopped to think about what might be racing through their minds? Many parents are completely unaware of the world of hearing loss and are suddenly panic-stricken to think their child may never learn to communicate. Due to the advent of universal newborn hearing screenings, audiologists are delivering this news earlier—usually when new parents are in their most vulnerable state. Both new parents and parents of children with chronic conditions have shown increased levels of anxiety and depression (Matthey et al, 2013; Cousino and Hazen, 2013). Parents of children with hearing loss fall into these categories, particularly if their child has other comorbidities, and may be at risk for developing mental health disorders. According to a survey from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, one out of eight mothers experience anxiety and depression during pregnancy and/or shortly after having a new baby (National Child and Maternal Health Program). If left untreated, high levels of post-partum depression may even affect infant cognitive development (Koutra et al, 2013). Introducing the diagnosis of a chronic health condition, like hearing loss, during this fragile time can be devastating for new parents. Permanent hearing loss is now commonly identified within the first few weeks of life, with early intervention services beginning within the first few months. Efficient and timely services are critical for good outcomes but can be an overwhelming source of responsibility for parents. Is This Really an Issue for Audiologists? There is a general consensus that hearing loss can affect a family’s psychosocial status with anywhere from minor to major impacts on their psyche (Calderon and Greenberg, 1999; Falakaflaki and Kalantarkousheh, 2013; Lederberg and Golbach, 2002; Meadow-Orlans, 1995; Pipp-Siegel et al, 2002; Spahn et al, 2003). In light of the evidence regarding psychosocial changes, more attention should be given to their effects on pediatric quality of life and development. This content is an exclusive benefit for American Academy of Audiology members. If you're a member, log in and you'll get immediate access. Member Login If you're not yet a member, you'll be interested to know that joining not only gives you access to top-notch resources like this one, but also invitations to member-only events, inclusion in the member directory, participation in professional forums, and access to patient resources, tools, and continuing education. Join today!