How Do Deaf Parents Hear Their Baby Cry?
Deaf parents, myself included, get asked this question, “How do deaf parents hear their baby cry?” all the time.
To my surprise, it is also so common that it shows up in Google search suggestions when you type, “How do deaf parents…”
The very first search suggestion is how do deaf parents hear a baby cry.
If I type in, “How do parents…” It shows filing taxes, monitoring kids’ screen time and such. That is a vast difference between deaf parents and typical parents. I was surprised because I assumed that the Google search suggestions would include communication between deaf parents and their children or how deaf parents’ children learn to speak. Nope, it is all about hearing babies cry.
So, I am here to educate you on how do deaf parents hear their baby cry.
My answer for you is no, deaf people do not hear babies cry. Well… let me explain. “Hear” is the inaccurate term to use, because deaf parents do not HEAR their baby cry. They utilize their other senses such as sight and touch. If you prefer to lick your baby to see if the baby is crying, I wouldn’t judge you… Actually, I probably would.
Back in the old days, deaf parents did not have many choices. They were limited in what they could do. They co-slept with their babies. I have heard of some deaf parents tying a string around their wrist to the baby’s wrist. If the baby moved, the deaf parent will wake up knowing that the baby is either moving or crying. Some deaf parents put their arm or leg near the baby in the crib.
Some would have a trained hearing dog that would alert them of the baby crying. My dogs are unquestionably not helpful in this situation. They will just walk out of the room and sleep elsewhere leaving me unaware of the baby crying.
Even though their choices were limited, the deaf parents survived the late nights and their babies thrived.
So, what are deaf parents’ choices in the modern world, you ask?
We live in a society where the technology is taking over our lives in one way or another. Today in the modern world, deaf parents have abundance choices to help with “hearing” their baby cry.
We have baby monitors, smartphones, flashing lights, and simply using our EYES. We use the same things that deaf parents in the old days used such as the mirrors and hearing dogs. Click here to see my useful gift guide filled with my favorites for new Deaf parents.
The baby monitors are popular in the deaf community just like for hearing parents. A baby monitor is a device that can be clipped into your clothes, be wore on your wrist, set on a table, or installed on the wall (my favorite).
There are various kinds of baby monitors. There are audio baby monitors, vibrating baby monitors, video baby monitors, and some that can do all the above. Most deaf parents prefer to use a vibrating monitor and/or a camera baby monitor. In the deaf community, there is also a baby monitor that can be connected to their vibrating alarm clock which will vibrate the bed when deaf parents are sleeping.
There are even apps on smartphones and ways you can use a smartphone that can alert you of the crying baby like this. If I need to go in another room and don’t want to take my baby along, I will be able to see my baby through FaceTime (free) with an iPad facing her and me using my iPhone.
So, of course, it is a no-brainer that there would be flashing lights to alert them of the crying baby.
Apart from the technology equipment, there are also the mirrors. The mirrors are perfect for the car rides or in places that you couldn’t really see your baby’s face.
Deaf parents still have the ability to obtain a hearing dog to assist with alerting them to the baby’s crying. However, the hearing dogs are expensive. There is a wide range of hearing dog costs from $0 (donation-based) to more than $30k, so it is not always the ideal option you would utilize. Some deaf parents get lucky with their regular dog taking on that responsibility naturally while other dogs are simply lazy just like mine.
The best and easy way to know that their baby is crying is simply using their eyes. When babies cry, they don’t just make a crying sound. They show it by screaming, having a scrunched up red face, having crocodile tears on its face, moving its legs and arms, etc. I rely on my eyes for the majority of the time except for when I am sleeping or when the baby is napping in another room.
For some hearing parents, they are able to decode the different cries from their baby such as a hunger cry, a tiredness cry, a pain cry, and a frustrated cry. It is the same for deaf parents but in a different way.
The parents are the experts of their own babies. They don’t need to only hear the cry to know what their baby needs.
Through her movements and her face, I could tell whether my daughter is hungry, tired, in pain, overstimulated or annoyed.
How do deaf parents hear their baby cry? They don’t “hear” their baby cry, they see and feel their baby cry! Click To Tweet
Now, do you know how to explain deafness/hearing loss to children? Click here to find out how!
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