Introducing hearing aids to a young child for the first time can be challenging. While some children accept their hearing aids easily, others may not. Here are some suggestions for how to encourage your child to accept his or her hearing aids.
Getting your child to wear hearing aids.
- Establish wearing hearing aids as part of a normal routine. To help children get used to wearing their hearing aids, integrate into their normal routine. Put on the hearing aids when your child is awake and take them off at bedtime.
- Be in control. With a young child, establish that you will be the one putting on and taking off the hearing aids.
- Make it fun. Make wearing hearing aids fun and interesting for your child. Your hearing care professional may be able to provide you with a dummy hearing aid. Put the dummy hearing aid on your ears and show your child how it looks. Praise your child when he or she puts it on. Wear the dummy hearing aid with your child so that your child does not feel alone.
- Make it a special day. When your child puts on the hearing aids for the first time, celebrate it as a very special day. Do something special with your child (e.g. go to the park to play, see a movie, get ice cream).
- Distract your child with toys. Allow your child to play with a favorite toy when you put on the hearing aids.
- Special time. Make wearing hearing aids a special time for your child. Allow them to have a special treat or do a special activity.
- Personalize the hearing instrument. Establish a sense of ownership. Allow your child to select his or her preferred color of hearing aid.
- Use a lubricant. Soft earmolds are recommended for most young children. A lubricant helps with inserting the soft earmolds into your child’s small ears. Consult your hearing care professional for a suitable lubricant.
- Use a story book to explain to your child the need for hearing aids. Read Three Cheers for Bunny’s Ears! to explain to your child the need for wearing the hearing aids.
- Slowly increase the length of wearing time. Your child might need a period of adjustment to the hearing aids. He or she needs to learn to hear with the hearing aids. If needed, slowly increase the length of wearing time over a week.
Encouragement for kids who don’t want to wear their hearing aids.
- Stay calm, be gentle but firm. If your child keeps pulling out the hearing aids, stay calm and gently but firmly put it back on. If your child immediately pulls it off again, wait for a while before putting it back.
- Reward chart. Children love rewards and praise. Use a reward chart to encourage your child to wear the hearing instruments. Negotiate the reward. Record on the chart when your child wears the hearing aids for a desired length of time each day. At the end of a week, the child may have his or her reward.
- Look for other reasons. If your child persists in pulling out the hearing aids, he or she may be telling you “Mommy, the sound is too loud!” or “Daddy, the earmolds hurt.” Check the volume control and look at the child’s ear for signs of discomfort. Do the ears look red? Are there sore spots? Is the earmold too tight for your child? If so, please consult your child’s hearing care professional.