Learning that your child has a hearing loss can be a challenging and confusing time, and it is normal for parents to wonder what this will mean for their child. If the prospect of your child wearing hearing aids every day feels a little daunting, there are a few things you can do to help the transition go smoothly.
First, try not to put too much pressure on yourself—or your child. The most important thing is to try to be consistent and establish a routine.
With babies, it’s a good idea to wait until they’re happy to put on the hearing aids. Sing or talk cheerfully as you go—it will help create a positive experience overall and your baby will start to connect hearing aids with happy sounds. Once they are on, try to keep the baby busy and distracted so they forget they are even wearing them, Australian Hearing Audiologist Alison King recommends.
Don’t get frustrated if the baby pulls the hearing aids off: “Babies are curious,” says King. “Just calmly put them back on again. Don’t let it become a power play or a source of stress.”
If it keeps happening, take a break until the baby has calmed down. You can also set an achievable time goal, such as half an hour, and then give yourself a break. Or try keeping a journal of how long the baby wears the hearing aid each day and what sorts of sounds they respond to so you can track improvement.
Let older children get involved in choosing the colour and style of the hearing aid or ear mould, King suggests. “If they like what they see, they’ll be more likely to wear them.” Discuss the positives: what can they hear that they missed out on before?
Make sure your child is comfortable and knows how to turn their hearing aid on and off. That might mean having a trial run at home on a weekend first, says King.
The goal is still to wear the hearing aid the whole time they are awake.