When a baby needs a hearing device, the adjustment period can be quite tricky for both parents and child. While the parents understand the importance of helping their baby adjust to hearing aids for ideal speech and language development, the baby simply understands that a foreign object is now in her ears, and she is not always as willing to wear the device as her parents would want. These tips will help make the transition easier for both parent and child.
First, as your baby adjusts to the new devices, give her some time. Do gradual increments of wearing time, and increase these slightly once she starts to tolerate them. If possible, have the wearing time be during times when you are providing her with direct interaction. If she is interacting with you, she will be more distracted and less prone to pulling out the hearing devices.
If you find that the aids keep falling out, even though your child is leaving them alone, you may need to get some hearing aid accessories to help them stay in. Make sure the tone hooks are designed for a child’s ears, not an adult. Consider using toupee tape to keep it in place. You can tape the aid behind your child’s ear. Be sure to watch for allergies or irritation from the tape. Eyeglass bands tied closely around the back of the head can also help keep the hearing aids in place.
If your baby keeps pulling the hearing aids out, do not get frustrated. This is normal behavior. Babies are constantly exploring their bodies, and pulling and tugging at various body parts. The aid is a foreign object, and thus it is prime for exploration. One way to discourage this behavior is to put a bonnet or cap on your baby that goes over the ears. As long as this does not interfere with the hearing aid or cause any whistling, it is a safe way to discourage playing with the devices.
As your baby gets older, you can use colorful ear molds to encourage your child to wear the device. Letting her pick a color she loves will make the hearing aid feel like a piece of jewelry and not an annoyance. Try to avoid making a power struggle out of hearing aid use, but instead stay in control over whether your child is going to wear the devices.
Remember, a hearing aid plays a vital role in your child’s verbal development, but it is not a natural part of her body. The best hearing aid advice you will receive as a parent of a hearing-challenged baby is to take things slowly and keep them positive. Eventually, your little one will be wearing the aids like a pro!