Eyes open, technology on: supporting a child to consistently wear their hearing devices is a challenge faced by many families. Yet, we know that maximum benefit from devices such as hearing aids or cochlear implant processors can only be achieved if they’re being worn as often as possible.
Why should hearing devices be worn for all waking hours?
A child’s brain development is at its most rapid between birth and up to the age of around three. This is why it’s so important that they can hear and develop their auditory system as early as possible.
If a child wears their hearing devices for only four hours a day, it will take them six years to hear what a child with typical hearing hears in one year (Madell, 2013). Our team at Hear and Say is here to help!
Consistent use of hearing devices from a young age is key, with the ultimate goal being for your child to wear their device for all waking hours. This means they can pick up crucial sounds, conversations and incidental language throughout the day – but it’s a team effort.
Tips for keeping hearing devices on
- Stay calm: At around six months old, babies start to explore more and pull their hearing aids or cochlear implants off. If this happens, stay calm and replace the device as quickly as possible.
- Put the device away temporarily: If your child repeatedly pulls their hearing device off, or if replacing it turns into a struggle, try putting the device safely away for 10 minutes before trying again – but don’t forget about them. This helps to avoid the child learning to get attention by pulling their hearing devices off again and again.
- Distraction: When replacing a hearing device, attempt to distract the child by singing or playing with toys – make it a positive experience!
- A simple explanation: For an older child, try explaining to them why it is important to “keep your ears on” so that they can hear their friends talking to them, listen to stories and songs and learn new things.
- Check the fit: Ensure that your child’s hearing aids/moulds fit comfortably, as any discomfort can also limit use.
- Normalise wearing devices: Make pretend hearing aids or cochlear implants for your child’s toys or show them photos of other children wearing hearing technology to help normalise the use of devices.
Questions or concerns? Please contact us here or speak directly with your audiologist or listening and spoken language specialist for further information.