Tips to Get Your Child to Love Their Hearing Aids
Children are often resistant to hearing aids in the beginning but there are ways to get your child to love their hearing aids. Here are our favorite tips for making hearing aids a prized possession instead of a much-maligned enemy.
Be Excited About It
Hearing aids are heroes! Really! But at first they are awkward, uncomfortable and make your child feel different. If you are excited about your child’s improved hearing thanks to their hearing aids, they will eventually be excited by it. Talk about hearing aids as something really cool and helpful. Never complain about the cost, time or care hearing aids require. It should only be viewed as a positive addition to your family’s life.
Follow Your Child’s Lead
If your child is really put off by their hearing aids, be sure to reach out to family members, friends, and others before events and ask them to not mention your child’s hearing aids. If hearing aids aren’t a big deal, your child will be less resistant to wearing them. If your child seems more comfortable talking about their hearing aids, ask others to allow your child to broach the topic versus being asked about it.
For people of all ages, but especially children, having our differences pointed out is uncomfortable. Make sure people understand this ahead of time and it will likely make your child’s aversion to their hearing aids less off putting.
Personalize Your Child’s Hearing Aids
Hearing aids come in a variety of colors and designs ranging from clear to solid to stripes or polka dots to glitter. Some can even be decorated by the child. Allow your child to select the color and pattern of their hearing aids and any accessories so that they feel connected to it.
Slow & Steady Wins the Race
Hearing aids are a huge adjustment. One way to get your kid to love them is to slowly introduce them. Don’t expect your child to wear them all day from the start. Instead, introduce them before watching a favorite television show or playing a favorite game.
Do not make this conditional. Don’t say, “You can watch X if you wear your hearing aids.” Instead, ask your child if they would like to do the activity while wearing their hearing aids. You could say, “Why don’t we watch X… I bet you’ll enjoy it even more with your hearing aids in!” or “Would you like to play X? I bet you can beat me if you have your hearing aids in.” If your child is really resistant, don’t push it. There will be other opportunities.
Get on the Same Page
If you’re co-parenting a child—whether in the same home or separately—it is imperative that you have the same approach to your child’s hearing aids. Otherwise you’ll find yourself in a war not only with your child but with their other parent. Make sure you have comprehensive discussions and reach agreement on everything from morning and evening routines, when your child must wear their hearing aids (there will be safety- and education-related times when wearing is a non negotiable) to how you discuss their hearing aids.
Normalize Hearing Aids
If your child views their hearing aids as no big deal they are more likely to love wearing them. Find films, shows and books that feature people with hearing aids, and dolls that have hearing aids. Equate them to glasses regularly. Many people wear glasses, and cannot function without them. This will make your child feel less different.
Give Your Child Ownership of Their Hearing Aids
Rather than make your child’s hearing aids something you’re badgering them about, give your child ownership. They should be a part of decision-making and responsibility taking as early as possible. Children can help with the routines in the beginning of having hearing aids but as soon as they can handle any part of it they should. Whether you’re dealing with toddlers or older children make sure that they are in charge of any tasks they can do. By making the hearing aid something they handle you’re teaching important skills and making hearing aids something they will appreciate as a part of their identity.
What tips do you have for parents who want their children to embrace hearing aids?