Strategies for Keeping Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants on Young Children
It is highly important that children who are deaf and hard of hearing wear their listening devices for all waking hours. However, this can sometimes be difficult with younger children. Toddlers may try to take off their hearing aids and cochlear implants, or the devices may simply fall off due to a child’s physical activity.
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. Here are some ideas you can try if you are struggling with this issue.
Explain the Importance
If you don’t buy into the importance of wearing assistive listening devices, your child will have a hard time recognizing their value. Talk about why it is important for children who are deaf and hard of hearing to wear their hearing aids and cochlear implants during all waking hours.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
Wearing listening devices is important, but it should not be seen as a chore. Do not get frustrated with children who are learning to wear hearing aids and cochlear implants. Stay positive and be sure to praise them when they put on their own listening devices or leave them in for extended periods of time.
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.
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.
Attend 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.
Stay Positive and Find What Works for You
Keeping hearing aids and cochlear implants on young children can be challenging, but don't give up! It is vital that you conquer any obstacle related to this issue with a positive attitude. With these helpful strategies, wearing listening devices will soon become second nature to your child.
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.