Hearing Aid Choices
I help my baby adjust to wearing hearing aids? - Practical
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My baby's hearing aids keep falling off her ears. What can I do to stop this?
A lot of parents have problems keeping their baby's hearing aids in place. There is not one solution that will work for everyone. Parents sometimes have to try different options to find the best answer.
Tone hooks that are made to fit adult ears are usually too wide or too long for babies. Many manufacturers have child sized tone hooks that help the hearing aid sit in a better position on the ear.
Toupee or wig tape can help hold the hearing aids in place behind the baby's ears. The tape needs to be changed often. Some babies may be allergic to the adhesive and parents need to look for signs of irritation from the tape. Special roll-on adhesives can also be used on the side of the hearing aid to help it stick to the skin behind the ear.
Eyeglass or sunglass cords can be attached around the tone hook of a hearing aid. The cord can be tied closely to hold the hearing aids close to a baby's ears.
A Huggie Aid™ holds hearing aids in place without adhesives. It uses a soft rubber ring that attaches to the hearing aids and holds them in place around the baby's ears. The Huggie ring may make the hearing aid stand out from the ear or curl the ear slightly when it is in place.
My baby keeps pulling his hearing aids out of his ears. What can I do?
Before doing anything else, it is important to find out if there are any problems with the hearing aids that might cause your baby to pull them out. An earmold that does not fit well or hearing aid settings that are too loud or too soft might be the problem. Your baby's audiologist can help by changing the earmold or resetting the hearing aids.
Babies spend a lot of their time exploring. That means they will explore their ears and their hearing aids. Some parents use a light cap that covers their baby's ear to stop their child from pulling the hearing aids off. This may be needed for a short time to stop the habit of pulling or playing with the hearing aids. It is important to check that the cap does not change how the hearing aid works or cause the hearing aids to whistle.
I am afraid that my child will lose her hearing aids. How can I prevent this?
Hearing aids are expensive and many parents worry about losing such small devices.
Loss and Damage Warranties Most hearing aid manufacturers offer extended loss and damage warranties when the hearing aid is purchased. There are hearing aid insurance companies that offer yearly warranties for loss and damage after the manufacturer's warranty is expired. Some homeowner's policies will cover the cost of lost hearing aids - ask your insurance agent.
Hearing Aid Clips Colorful clips can be used to attach hearing aids to a child's clothing.
Some hearing aid clips will help hold FM receivers in place on the hearing aid. "Ear Gear" clips can be used with or without an FM receiver in place.
Ear Gear Company
Dental Floss and Fishing Line - Dental floss tied to a safety pin may not be as colorful as the above choices, but it can give the same security. The floss or line is tied around the tone hook of the hearing aid and the safety pin can be attached inside your child's clothing. It is important keep a short length on the floss or line.
My daughter's hearing aid whistles all of the time. The only thing that stops it is to turn down the volume. What causes the whistling and what else can I do?
Whistling or feedback starts when sound leaks out around the earmold and travels back into the hearing aid microphone. Turning down the volume of the hearing aid will help for a short time, but it is not a permanent solution. Whenever you turn down the volume, you are making speech sounds quieter and harder to hear. Try one of the following suggestions to help with feedback:
New Earmolds - Earmolds for babies and young children need to be replaced often. Young children's ears grow quickly and new earmolds will be needed whenever feedback starts to be a problem. It is not unusual for babies to need new earmolds every 2-3 months. Earmolds that are made of soft material will have a better fit than hard plastic. Soft material is also safer for children. Special foam pads called Comply T Wraps can be wrapped around the canal of the earmold to stop feedback until new earmolds can be made.
Foam Earmolds - One manufacturer, Hearing Components, has a disposable foam earmold that can help with feedback. Most sizes are for adults and may be too big to use on small children and babies.
Ointments & Creams - Water-based lubricants or Silicone-based creams are made to help with earmold fit. OtofermT is a silicone-based cream that can be used to help with feedback until new earmolds are made. The silicone material makes a seal between the earmolds and ear canal. This can control feedback for some babies and children.
Remote Microphones - In special cases where feedback is a problem that cannot be fixed, a separate microphone from an FM system can be used. The regular hearing aid microphone is turned off and an FM system microphone and transmitter is used. This stops most of the feedback problems. The bigger distance between the remote microphone and the hearing aid can keep feedback from starting. You can use the microphone to talk directly to your child or it can be placed near your child to pick up other voices around her.
How can I get my child to use the hearing aids on a regular basis?
Starting a regular schedule for hearing aid use can be hard. It is best to keep trying every day. Some babies accept hearing aids easily. Other babies may not like having something in their ears. It is the same thing as babies who do not want to wear hats or shoes. A baby may accept hearing aids at first, but start to pull them out when she gets older and more active.
If your child starts to pull his hearing aids out a lot, one answer to the problem is to put the hearing aids on during times when there is direct contact and communication between your baby and you. Another good time is during visits with his early intervention specialist. This might only be for short amounts of time at first. Some parents use caps or hats to keep their baby from pulling off the hearing aids. Over time the cap is not needed when the child learns to keep the hearing aids in. The goal is having hearing aid use be a part of your regular daily routine.
When toddlers start to be more independent they sometimes use their hearing aids as a power struggle with their parents. It is important that you as the parent are in charge of hearing aid use. Even if your child is pulling her hearing aids out frequently, you can put the hearing aids back in and set a time limit before you take them out again. Your Early Intervention specialist can give you more ideas to help with your child, so do not be afraid to share your problems or questions with her.
Older toddlers and preschoolers may want to have colored earmolds and hearing aids. Many different earmold color choices and patterns are available. Letting your child choose his or her own colors can help him or her be part of the process. A feeling of ownership and responsibility for their hearing aids is a goal for older children. Children often try many different earmold colors and patterns over time; neon colors, stripes and even glitter are available. Many hearing aid manufacturers have a range of case colors to choose from. Some have colored or patterned stickers that can be used to decorate the hearing aid case.
Several manufacturers have special books for children. Information about hearing loss is given at a child's level. Special hearing aid care kits for children give parents all the tools they need to take care of their child's hearing aids. Books, stickers and toys are often included with these special kits.
The following hearing aid manufacturers have online programs or special books and accessories for children:s