It can be hard for a child to adjust to hearing aids, but loving and attentive parents can be a great resource. Some children can easily acclimate but the process is not so easy for all children. There are many ways that you, as a parent, can help your child adjust to his/her hearing aids.
If a child is having a hard time, first make sure the hearing aid fits well. Your audiologist should have instructed you as to how to properly insert and remove the earmolds. In the beginning, earmolds may fit tightly. This is typical for new earmolds. You may want to add a lubricant to make the insertion a little easier. Beyond that, here is a short list adapted from Boston Children’s Hospital on ways you can help your child adjust to a hearing aid:
- First, be patient! Make sure to first give your child room and time to get used to a new hearing aid and the sound it produces.
- Don’t be overly ambitious about new environments. Start in quiet surroundings, gradually building up to noisier environments.
- Experiment in many places and at different times to find out where and when the hearing aid works best for your child.
- Make sure to keep a record on any questions and concerns you may have, and bring it to your child's follow-up examination with his/her audiologist.
If your child is a toddler or infant when he is first trying to adjust to a hearing aid, there could be additional troubles. Your baby’s hearing aid may fall out (or he could pull them out!). The thing to keep in mind is that, while it may be hard to establish a regular schedule for hearing aid use, it is very important to keep trying every day to help your child adjust to a new hearing aid. If your young child pulls his or her hearing aid out often, it may be best to put it on when you are in direct contact.
On the other hand, if your child is older, giving your child some power can help him or her adjust to a hearing aid. For example, older toddlers or preschoolers may like to choose their own color of hearing aid and ear mold because this gives them a sense of power and ownership.
You might also set a time limit each day where the hearing aid must stay in. You can give rewards and praises when your child leaves it in. Don’t be too set on your child keeping it for long periods of time from the onset or on quickly exposing your child to loud places—remember that sound can be overwhelming and all children will need some downtime. That said, always remember that establishing a regular schedule and routine can have the most impact on how long the adjustment period lasts. Check out this information from BabyHearing.org for more help on helping children adjust to hearing aids.
If you have any concerns about helping your child with new hearing aids, be sure to first contact your audiologist. They can provide you with the best information and technology available. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about child hearing loss.