Hearing loss has been recorded in as many as three out of every 1,000 births. When hearing problems plague kids, it can lead to serious delays in language development and learning. With early intervention and hearing aids, you can help prevent or at least mitigate many of these issues. It's important to understand, though, that hearing aids can be a shock for a young child who has always had hearing trouble. Here are some tips to help you support your child through the hearing aid transition.
Ask About Your Child's Concerns
Hearing problems are not as prevalent in schools as things such as braces and eyeglasses, though they may be nearly as obvious. If your child is of school age, this may be worrisome, because being the only child in class with a hearing aid can make him or her stand out in the crowd.
Give your child an outlet to express any concerns about these things. Be supportive, but explain to your child how important the hearing aid is. Many times, just being able to express these concerns out loud will help ease your child's worries and improve confidence.
Get Your Child Involved in Selection
One of the best ways to help your child feel more positive when you purchase hearing aids is to make the selection process a group effort. When kids feel like they've had a say in something like this, they are often more agreeable about wearing the item. From choosing the mold style to choosing colors and features, your child may feel more ownership and control of the situation if you ask for input about the decisions.
Discuss the Expectations Clearly
Any time there's a major change, kids need some guidance to help them determine how to navigate it. Getting a hearing aid is no different. Take time to talk with your child and the audiologist about what the transition will be like. This takes some of the uncertainty out of the process.
Talk to your child about any unusual sensations or sounds that may become apparent along the way, and see if the audiologist can offer any tips for easing those things. This type of discussion with the audiologist will help your child understand what the process will be like until wearing the hearing aid becomes normal.
Work the Hearing Aid into the Routine
When you're dealing with young children, remembering to put in a hearing aid in the morning can be difficult – especially when it's new. By fitting the hearing aid into the morning routine as another expectation of getting ready every day, you'll reduce the risk that your child will forget them. For example, have your child put the hearing aid in right after getting dressed in the morning and before coming down for breakfast. When it comes to taking them out at night, do that just before nighttime baths or tooth brushing time. Making the hearing aid part of your child's schedule this way allows him or her to feel more in control of the situation.
Be Persistent About Wearing It
Some children can be resistant to wearing a hearing aid. For some, the sensory change can be overwhelming at first. If your child is fighting you about the device or pulling it out when you aren't looking, be persistent. Set ground rules that he or she is only allowed to take it out at the predetermined times. Stress the benefits of the hearing aid and give it time. Your child will adapt and become more tolerant of the hearing aid gradually.
Helping kids adjust to hearing aids can be difficult. After all, many kids will have grown up knowing nothing different from the hearing they've struggled with. When things around them are suddenly louder and more evident, it can be a difficult transition. With these tips, you can help your child successfully handle the transition and a new hearing aid.