How to make hearing aids part of baby’s routine
It’s their new world. Each day brings new sights, new sounds, new learning. Adjusting to this new world takes time – but this is a journey you take together.
When a baby has a hearing loss, hearing aids play a vital role in developing their ability to listen and speak. The sooner your baby wears them for all their waking hours, the better it is for them. Sometimes, it might take a while for babies to get used to their hearing aid. With encouragement and perseverance it will soon become part of your baby’s daily life.
Check your baby’s aids
It’s important to check your baby’s hearing aids daily, as this is the only way to know if they are working properly. You should continue this routine until your child is old enough to tell you if something is wrong with their aids. Hearing Australia can provide you with a kit to check your baby’s hearing.
When your baby is under six months
When your baby is under six months, it’s common for them to experience a whistling sound in their hearing aid when lying down or leaning against something. This is called acoustic feedback and is a common problem for newborns. It happens because your baby’s ears are small and soft and they spend a lot of time with their ear pressed against a surface, such as when they are sleeping or feeding.
You can reduce feedback by using a lubricant recommended by your audiologist. Young babies may also need new ear moulds every few weeks to reduce the feedback. When babies gain more control of their head and neck, the problem of acoustic feedback usually decreases.
Try to use the hearing aid as often as possible, in ways that still allow you to enjoy spending time with your baby. It helps if you can make wearing the hearing aid part of your baby’s regular routine.
Here are some tips to following if your baby can only use their hearing aid for certain times of the day:
Pick times when you are free to spend time talking and singing with your baby.
Select a quiet place with little or no background noise.
Ensure there is nothing against your baby’s ears so the hearing aids don’t whistle.
Make sure your baby can see your face and mouth as you speak.
Once they're over six months
From six to 12 months, as your baby spends more of the day awake, try to increase use of the hearing aids until they are worn for all waking hours. You may need to spend five minutes playing games with your baby after they first start wearing a hearing aid. There will be less need for this distraction as your baby becomes familiar with the aid.
Here are some tips for helping your baby learn about speech and other sounds as they get older:
Devote time to interacting and talking with your baby.
Talk about your actions as you go about your daily routine.
Exaggerate your voice as you speak with your baby.
Repeat any sounds your baby makes and take turns having a ‘conversation’.
When your baby responds to a sound, give them a reward such as a clap or a cuddle.
Let your baby explore your mouth and tongue as you speak.
Times your baby shouldn't wear a hearing aid
Hearing aids should not get wet, so you need to take them out when your baby has a bath. Hearing aids are also usually removed for sleeping, mainly for comfort reasons.
Keeping your baby safe
Most hearing aids are powered by small button batteries. If you suspect your child has swallowed or inserted a battery:
- Contact the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26
- You will be directed to the nearest hospital or emergency service that can assist you
- Do not let your baby eat or drink until medical professionals can determine if a battery is present
- Do not induce vomiting
Things to remember
- WARNING: Keep batteries in a safe and secure location out of reach of children.
- Swallowing may lead to serious injury in as little as 2 hours or death.
- Examine devices to ensure the battery compartment is secured. If the compartment is not secure, do not use and bring in to your Hearing Centre for checking.
- Children like to copy, so do not change batteries near them.
- Dispose of batteries appropriately – ensure that they cannot be accessed by children, and keep away from flames.
- Do not attempt to recharge batteries unless you have been given rechargeable-only batteries.
- Special battery safety measures are required for hearing aids fitted to children under 5 years of age, and battery safety features can be requested for aided children with young siblings or adults at risk of incorrect use.
- Please ensure that you follow the audiologist’s safety recommendations at all times.
If you experience an incident related to battery safety please report this to Hearing Australia.