Your child might require making some slight accommodations, such as wearing an FM system at school or when playing sport. But their hearing loss is not their defining characteristic, nor do you want your child to feel alienated by the way other treat them. Behaviour should accommodate their needs, not emphasise their differences. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when adjusting your child to their hearing aid.
Communicate with carers
Explain to any carers, such as a teacher or coach, the nature of your child’s hearing loss and why the hearing device is necessary, especially if the hearing loss isn’t immediately noticeable. You want to be sure that whoever is looking after your child can offer the right support and understands how to properly fit and adjust any necessary hearing devices.
Communicate with people who closely interact with your child and let them know what they can do to help. This may be things like the best way to talk about your child’s hearing aids or cochlear implants or showing them how the equipment works in certain situations (such as outdoors or in a noisy environment.)
Meet other children with hearing loss
Encourage your child to meet other children in the same situation. This can be through an after-school group or through online forums. The internet is also a great place to get first-hand accounts of hearing loss. Blogs and platforms such as YouTube give people with hearing loss access to a wide range of personal stories. These can offer your child a great sense of comfort and security in adjusting to their hearing loss and hearing aids.
Things to look out for
- If your child is hiding the device or reluctant to wear it at school, discuss it with them and find out why.
- If they come home very tired, they may just need a break from the hearing aid after class. It can be exhausting!
- If the hearing aid is too loud in noisy situations, talk to your audiologist. They can help you adjust it.
- Check all equipment regularly to ensure everything is working correctly, such as batteries being charged.
There is no one single method of adjusting to hearings aids. But with open communication, the right information and attitude you can ease this transition for your child. The most important thing is to allow your child to feel like any other child and that their hearing loss is just one piece but not the overall picture of them.
Australian Hearing is the leading specialist and provider of Government funded hearing services. For more information about the services available for children with hearing loss click here.