Strategies for Keeping Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants on Young Children
Originally posted on July 28, 2021
Keeping hearing aids and cochlear implants on young children provides continued access to sound, and thus, it is imperative to develop strategies that ensure uninterrupted use. Children who are deaf and hard of hearing should be wearing their listening devices for all waking hours. However, with kids of any age, keeping the devices on can be a challenge for a variety of reasons. Here are some ideas you can try if you are struggling with this issue.
Demonstrate the Importance
Some children will be receptive to hearing about the value of their listening devices. Talk about why kids with hearing loss need to wear them and what they are missing out on if they do not. If you are able to explain the importance in a clear way, your child will soon recognize that their listening devices are a vital part of their daily life. Part of this process requires you to be diligent when it comes to your child wearing their hearing aids and cochlear implants. If wearing hearing equipment is the expectation, your child will understand the importance.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
Wearing listening devices is important, but it should not be seen as a chore. Try to stay positive with children who are learning to wear hearing aids and cochlear implants. Be sure to praise them when they put on their own listening devices or leave them in for extended periods of time. Initially, a reward system can be a valuable tool to incentivize the wearing of hearing devices until it becomes second nature.
Introduce a Routine
Children find comfort in a daily, recognizable routine. Incorporate putting on listening devices into your morning schedule right next to getting dressed, brushing teeth and having breakfast. At night, make sure taking off listening devices falls in line after brushing teeth and a bedtime story. The repeatable pattern of a daily routine will help children with hearing loss feel at ease with their devices and recognize their importance.
Many children are visual learners. As part of your routine, use a picture chart that details the process of putting listening devices on. This can also work for the affixing of hearing-assistive technology receivers. Take pictures of your child putting on their devices and receivers, print them out and use the visual cues to prompt them in the future.
When you are trying to encourage children to wear their hearing aids and cochlear implants, the initial action of putting them on can be the most difficult part. Using distractions can keep children busy during this process. Sing their favorite song while you are putting them on, or give them a toy or activity to keep their hands occupied.
Maintain Regular Audiology Appointments
Children may be trying to remove their hearing aids and cochlear implants because the devices are not properly mapped. Listening devices that are producing distorted or intermittent sounds can be aggravating for young children and cause them to remove their hearing aids and cochlear implants. Be sure to keep up with audiology appointments so the devices are correctly programmed and are providing optimal sound.
Sometimes the best strategy is to use a headband that keeps the listening devices in place. A variety of headbands, some designed specifically for hearing aids and cochlear implants, can be used. This will ensure that listening devices remain on children until they are comfortable with the technology. Headbands are also valuable during recreational activities, such as sports, when devices may be more prone to falling off. Look for headbands that secure hearing aids and cochlear implants in place but do not block microphones or prevent sound from entering the device.
Stay Positive and Find What Works for You
There may be times when this issue feels insurmountable. But by following these helpful tips and maintaining a positive attitude, your child will learn that their hearing devices are important and must be worn throughout the day.
CCHAT aims to help parents navigate every step of their child's hearing loss journey. Consider connecting via email with a current CCHAT parent for additional tips and insights. For more information, visit our Parent Support and Resources page.