First, it is important to recognize that technology has made many advances and there are treatments and products that might help the child partially hear, and new things are being developed constantly. What might not be possible now could be in as little as a few months or years. Having a deaf child is more about adaptation than devastation in modern times, with all of the advances in medicine and technology.
A child should be examined to determine exactly what is going on if hearing loss is suspect. There are a number of causes for hearing loss, some of which are not preventable. Hearing loss can be hereditary or due to birth defects. Some children are born deaf and parents do not realize it until about the age when their child should be beginning to speak and they are not uttering words, just sounds. Sometimes parents are worried about the lack of response in an infant and may suspect autism or another learning disorder and then find out that their child cannot hear. Other times a child may be born with partial hearing loss that progresses into complete deafness during childhood. Usually parents or another adult will notice something amiss when interacting with a young child and that is how hearing issues are caught. Schools do regular screenings on students and might also help find problems in a child's hearing. A child of deaf parents might have normal hearing and a deaf kid can be born to parents with perfect hearing; heredity can but usually does not play a large role in deafness.
Besides hereditary issues, ear infections can damage hearing. Meningitis and otosclerosis are two common infection-related causes of hearing loss. Injury, nerve damage, and loud noises can also damage hearing. Once hearing has been compromised, usually the damage is permanent or at best limited. But technologies are making it possible to survive without hearing or to allow some hearing for those who are impaired. This is great news for those who have a deaf kid, as their children have more promise to live a normal life now than ever before.
One of the hardest parts about having a deaf child is discovering the disability. Many parents are doubtful or suspect other illnesses well before knowing that the true problem is deafness. What can be done next involves why the hearing loss occurred. Neural hearing loss, or nerve deafness, occurs when the auditory nerve quits working properly. Sounds may be muffled or unclear, and sometimes being fitted with a hearing aid can help make sounds clearer in this case. Another type of hearing loss involves conductive hearing loss. This happens when sound vibrations do not properly transmit from the air to the bones of the inner ear, so sounds are not properly formed. Sometimes hearing aids can help, as can ear surgery to help any malformed ear structures.
Advances in technology have been made that allow a deaf person to be tested and treated with better means of treatment. While some can be helped and hearing partially restored, not everyone can be helped by medicine. Implants, surgeries, and hearing aids have become smaller and advanced since their creation years ago. Those who are not profoundly deaf can use a hearing aid coupled with lip reading skills that can be taught to them to figure out what other people are saying. Sign language and special telephones are other communication options for those who cannot hear. Special schooling can teach deaf kids everything they need to know to adapt to a normal life plus regular skills like math and science. The way things exist in modern times, a deaf kid has few hindrances that keep them from filling their potential. Hopefully advances in science and medicine will continue to occur to aid the deaf and help them live as normal a life as possible.