Summer Camp for Kids with Hearing Aids
If your child wears hearing aids and is going to summer camp, especially if the camp doesn’t specifically cater to kids with hearing loss, you may be (rightly) concerned that they (a) have an enjoyable, safe time and (b) their hearing aids survive the experience. Here are some suggestions for preparing your young camper so that they have fun and keep their hearing aids secure and functioning.
Talk to camp staff about your child’s hearing requirements
Many camps these days welcome kids of varying abilities and needs. Still, you shouldn’t assume the staff has the skills necessary to assist children who wear hearing aids. Before camp starts, ask the folks in charge if their counselors have experience working with kids who have hearing loss and wear hearing aids. If not, offer to come in and talk to those who would be interacting with your child about best practices for effective communication and how to assist with the hearing aids, if needed. Tell the counselors:
- Make sure you have my child’s attention before speaking
- Face my child whenever giving instructions
- Use the microphone I will provide to stream conversation via an accessory into my child’s hearing aids (assuming your child uses such a device)
- Ask my child to confirm they heard what you just conveyed before an activity begins, particularly if any sort of safety instructions were involved (e.g., don’t swim alone)
As for your child’s hearing aids, a little basic instruction in troubleshooting is a good idea, particularly if it’s a sleep-away camp. Some simple assistance your youngster might require includes:
- Changing batteries
- Finding an outlet to plug in a charger
- Unclogging the tip of a receiver
- Cleaning/drying any dirt or moisture that might interfere with hearing aid function
Of course, make sure your child is also prepared to handle these tasks themselves as much as possible. It’s a good idea to send your child off with a toolkit for their hearing aids that contains contact information for you and their hearing care professional, replacement batteries, tubes and earpieces, and other necessities.
Protect your child and your hearing aid investment
Don’t be shy about letting the camp know your child’s hearing aids are a significant investment that you expect will be treated with the caution and care all high-tech devices merit. And if you are really nervous about whether the hearing aids will survive a summer camp experience, consider getting your child a pair of waterproof, dirt-proof, and shock-resistant hearing aids that will require less tentative treatment than traditional devices.
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