Halloween originally grew out of an old Celtic festival called Samhain which involves feasting, bonfires, and dressing up. The name Samhain means the end of summer. In the Northern Hemisphere, after the 31st of October, it starts getting dark really early.
People with hearing loss don’t function well in the dark. In darkness, they have difficulty identifying noises or pinpointing where they’re coming from and speech discrimination also plummets in the dark. For a Deaf child, understanding sign language in the dark becomes more than just a challenge.
Trick or treating can become a problem. When people wear masks, speech recognition is nearly impossible for the hearing loss individual. These days, people tend to use face paint rather than masks, which makes it easier to speech-read them in light.
Turn on your porch light – if you have hearing loss, it will be easier to understand the children on your doorstep. In case there is a child with hearing loss in the group – make sure they can see your face as well.
- As a parent, it’s always a balancing act between letting your child have fun and keeping them safe. We want to ensure that children with hearing loss can understand environmental noises and people’s voices when they are out trick-or-treating. Stay on well-lit streets. Remind them to walk– don’t run and remember to always stop, look and listen before crossing the street. Never jaywalk and only use crosswalks or intersections.
- If you’re not accompanying your child, make sure they go with a buddy or a small group.
- Flashlights can help identify sounds and hazards along the trick-or-treat route as well as assist in speechreading or signing.
- Plan out a route ahead of time and make sure your kids know the plan. When it’s dark, young children can easily lose their way, even if it’s within their own neighborhood. Fear can trigger panic, causing them to become disoriented. If you get separated, pick a designated meeting place they can remember how to reach.
- If your child wears hearing aids, make sure the hearing aids are functioning properly before you leave the house. Confirm the volume level is comfortable for your child. Noisy environments are uncomfortable. It affects the child’s ability to understand speech because hearing aids and sound processors often make loud noises even noisier. Confirming your child’s hearing aids are securely positioned and functioning properly will ensure that you and your child can focus on having fun this Halloween.
- Costumes and accessories should fit well to avoid tripping and falling and ought to include reflective tape. Keep face paint, glitter, and hairspray away from hearing aids; moisture and debris can block the microphones and cause malfunction. Apply any makeup, hairspray or glitter before putting on your child’s hearing aids. Costumes that include masks, hats, or scarves can dislodge hearing aids or cover the hearing aid microphones, obstructing your child’s ability to hear. Costumes should adapt to the child’s hearing technology, so that hearing aids or processors aren’t knocked off or in danger of absorbing glue or glitter.