Objective: Exploring the information and support needs of parents with hearing impairment in habilitation process. The effects of variables such as duration of hearing aid use and habilitation (duration of intervention) and the number of hearing impaired individuals in family are also considered during the evaluation.
Methods: Sixty-five parents of children between 24 and 348 months of age (median: 80) participated in this study by returning the completed in The Family Needs Survey. Age at diagnosis of deafness varied from 1 to 84 months of age (median: 16). The duration of hearing aid use was 8-252 months (median: 24) and the duration of intervention was 2-176 months (median: 36). In view of the fact that the family dynamics might have effects on the type and amount of the needs of parents, the number of siblings (none, two or more siblings) and the presence of hearing impaired individuals apart from their child was also explored.
Results: The parental needs with regard to different topics such as general information, hearing loss, communication-services and educational resources, family and social support, childcare and community services, financial were evaluated separately. The needs of parents participating in a multi-dimensional Auditory-Verbal intervention program differed by their preferential demands. The duration of intervention was found significantly correlated with the amount of information needs related with other conditions their children may have, explaining their children's hearing problem to others, locating good baby-sitters and day-care programs for their children and transportation (p< or =0.05). It was also found that the long-termed continuing intervention generates additional psychotherapeutic, social and financial needs for the parents. No significant correlation was found between hearing impaired individuals existence with the type and amount of family needs (p>0.05).
Conclusion: These findings support the positive effect of persistent and long-term Auditory-Verbal therapy and Counseling approach which incorporates parents as inalienable members in all rehabilitation process. Creating an adequate and appropriate educational environment by considering individualized needs and family dynamics in a long term and persistent Auditory-Verbal therapy and Counseling approach are all equally important. In addition to a team approach to management, with parents taking a major role in the habilitation process, and all these will lead to a much better outcome.