Hearing aids open up the world for children with hearing loss, but it does take time, care and practice to properly adjust to and maintain their devices and to manage their hearing health. Here are some tips for children from infants to teens.
Infants and very young children are not able to communicate well verbally in general, so at first it can be difficult to gauge how the hearing aids are working. Are they set to loud, too soft? The best advice is twofold. First, parents should pay close attention to the child’s behavior. Is the child responsive? Does the child easily frighten at loud noises? Next, stay in regular contact with your audiologist and discuss the behavior you are seeing. The audiologist can also guide new parents on the signs to look for.
As your child grows it is important to start passing on the skills necessary for them to learn to care for their hearing aids. Start by creating a consistent night-time routine. Establish where hearing aids should be stored and how. Explain why cleaning is important and practice daily care. Be sure to offer praise for a job well done.
This is also a great age to make sure you are involving your son or daughter in the conversation with the audiologist. It is common for parents to answer the doctor’s questions first instead of the child. Switch roles and allow your child to go first, so they can explain in their own words what is working and what is not working. By taking the lead during the appointment, your child will become more engaged in their hearing health.
Not only will your teenage child grow in independence with the care and management of their hearing health, your teen may also require different hearing aid technology or accessories that better fit their active lifestyle. An audiologist can discuss the options that will work best, including smart technology that can be operated from your child’s mobile phone.
This is also a great time to make sure your teen understands the importance of self-advocacy. Make sure you help guide your child on how to talk to teachers, coaches and classmates about hearing loss. Use this time to develop successful strategies that can also be used during the college years.
Finally, your audiologist is your child’s partner throughout this journey. The most important advice is to stay connected and schedule regular follow ups. Your audiologist will work with you to ensure your child hears their best.