My Child Hates Wearing Hearing Aids
Children with hearing loss can excel in academics and thrive socially just by wearing their hearing aids. If your child resists putting in their hearing aids or is taking them out they could be at risk for falling behind. Here are some common reasons kids resist.
It is normal for kids to rebel. Think of the terrible twos. Think of teenagers. Kids will test
boundaries and fight limits and that’s okay. How should you handle it? Do not use punishment like grounding or taking away privileges. This will just make your child hate her hearing aids even more. Instead, make everything about your child’s hearing aids about just that.
Explain that your child is safer with her hearing aids in so she cannot play alone without them. Remind your child that if they cannot hear instructions it is difficult to play with them so you can’t play cards or with toys (and they can’t do this with siblings and friends) without their hearing aids. When children realize that their hearing aids are a part of their daily life they are more likely to wear them. This type of behavior is more likely with kids at certain ages: you will get through it.
Self-Esteem and Bullying
Your child may hate her hearing aids because wearing them is drawing negative attention. If your child is being bullied for wearing her devices it’s important for the adults in her life to step in and help.
Your child can be their own worst enemy when it comes to wearing hearing aids. Especially if they are newer to them and the only student—or one of few students—in school your child may simply not like looking different or having to explain their hearing loss and devices. This is especially common around the tween years and may develop or last into the teen years. Working with your child and their audiologist to find a hearing aid that makes your child comfortable is a good option.
Normalizing your child’s hearing aids and allowing them to be their own advocate from the beginning can stop this self-sabotage as your child ages but it may not.
New = Weird
No matter the age of your child, getting used to hearing aids takes time. If in the beginning you have a child who is very resistant, work on building up the amount of time they wear their devices. Think carefully about the times when your child can be without them. For example, reading or doing other quiet, solitary activity, does not require hearing so you can tell your child that if they are doing these things they can take their hearing aids out. Be careful not to make it seem like removing the hearing aid is a “reward” for quiet activities. It’s simply a time when they don’t have to wear them. Also, this should not be permanent, but is definitely a good idea during the initial phase. Monitor discomfort vs. something new: if your child’s hearing aids are uncomfortable an adjustment may be necessary.
Is This Thing On?
Is your child’s hearing aid working properly? If the microphone is blocked or the volume is not set appropriately your child may be removing it because they can’t hear with it in. This is an easy fix! If this is the case, it’s a good time to talk about washing hands before putting on and taking off hearing aids and may be time to use a dehumidifier if you’re not currently using one while storing your child’s hearing aids.
On the same note, is the hearing aid too loud? Loud noises are uncomfortable, even to those with hearing loss. If you notice a baby blinking a lot at noises, there’s a chance things are too loud. Ask older children if the volume needs to be turned down. Can you or your child hear feedback? That’s another easy fix.
Another potential issue is “recruitment.” Recruitment refers to when people with a specific type of hearing loss perceives a sound as getting too loud, too quickly causing discomfort. It is hard to explain because it’s more about the perception of a sound and volume than the actual sound. Basically, sudden unpleasant noises—like the dog barking at someone at the door—can bother kids enough that they would rather hear less of everything than deal with that.
Normalization of Wearing Hearing Aids
Making hearing aids a part of your child’s routine from the time they are diagnosed is one of the best ways to get them to wear their hearing aids regularly. Putting in and taking out hearing aids should be a part of the child’s getting dressed and bedtime routines.
It’s perfectly normal for kids to resist wearing hearing aids but understanding why they are doing it can help you find the approach to getting your child to keep their hearing aids in all of the time. Remember, their hearing aids are vital to developing speech, language, communication and social skills and can help with safety and even sports.