Helping Baby Adjust to Hearing Aids

Keeping Baby's Hearing Aids in Place

A lot of parents have problems keeping their baby's hearing aids in place. There is not one solution that will work for everyone. Try different options to see what works best for your baby.

Tone Hooks

Many manufacturers have child sized tone hooks that help the hearing aid sit in a better position on the ear.

Special Tape or Adhesives

Toupee or wig tape can help hold the hearing aids in place behind the baby's ears. 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.

Important note: The tape needs to be changed often. Some babies may be allergic to the adhesive; parents need to look for signs of irritation from the tape. Special toupee or wig tape should be used and not simply double-sided tape as the toupee and wig tape are meant for contact with the skin and are less likely to cause any irritation to the skin.

Eyeglass Bands

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.

Huggie Aids™

These devices hold hearing aids in place without adhesives. It uses a soft rubber ring or sleeve that the hearing aid sits in attached to a soft rubber ring that sits around the ear in order to hold them in place on the baby's ears.

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.

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. One end of the floss or line is tied around the tone hook of the hearing aid and the other end of the floss is tied to a safety pin. The safety pin can be attached inside your child's clothing. It is important keep a short length on the floss or line.

My baby keeps pulling his hearing aids out of his ears. What can I do?

Check the hearing aid fit and volume. It is important to find out if there are any problems with the hearing aids that might cause your baby to pull them out - including an earmold that does not fit well or hearing aid settings that are too loud or too soft. Your baby's audiologist can help by changing the ear mold or adjusting the hearing aids.

Babies spend a lot of their time exploring. That means they will explore their ears and their hearing aids.

  • Put the hearing aids in when the child is distracted with things they enjoy (i.e. toys, a snack, a book, etc.). You can also give your child a toy to hold to keep their hands occupied so they are less likely to pull the hearing aid out.
  • 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?

See our tips above for securing your baby's hearing aids.

Hearing aids are expensive and many parents worry about losing such small devices. Beyond the original warranty provided by the hearing aid manufacturer, patients can be protected in the following ways:

  • Extended warranties for loss or damage from the hearing aid manufacturer
  • Hearing aid insurance companies offer yearly warranties for loss and damage after the manufacturer's warranty is expired
  • Some homeowner's insurance policies will cover the cost of lost hearing aids - ask your insurance agent.

My baby'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?

Check the Earmolds

Many problems involving the earmolds can cause feedback or whistling, including:

  • Insertion – If the earmold is not inserted completely it can allow sound to escape out around the earmold and go back into the hearing aid.
  • Cerumen – If there is ear wax inside the earmold tubing that blocks the sound from getting out of the earmold it can feedback into the hearing aid.
  • Crack or holes – If there is a crack or whole in the earmold tubing or if the tubing is broken it will cause some feedback that may be constant or intermittent. Your audiologist can replace the tubing or provide you with supplies and teach you how to change the tubing at home.
  • 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 should be made of a soft material. The soft material fits better than hard plastic materials in children's ears and is safer and more comfortable.
    • If needed, a special foam pad called a Comply Wrap can be wrapped around the canal or the earmold by your audiologist to stop the feedback until new earmolds can be made.

Ointments & Creams

Water-based lubricants such as Otoease and or silicone-based creams such as Otoferm can be used to help the earmolds fit more securely and reduce feedback for some babies and children. The silicone-based creams are best for creating a seal between the earmolds and ear canal to prevent sound from leaking out past the earmold.

Cerumen (Ear Wax) In the Ear

Some children may have a large amount of wax build-up in their ear canal. If there is enough wax to block the ear canal it can cause the hearing aid to feedback or whistle when it is in the child's ear. Contact your pediatrician or ENT physician to have the cerumen removed.

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 and focus on times of the day when hearing is important and your child is well rested and happy.

  • Some babies accept hearing aids easily.
  • Other babies may not like having something in their ears, similar to when babies do not want to wear hats or shoes.
  • A baby may accept hearing aids at first, but start to pull them out when he or she gets older and more active.

If your child starts to pull his or her hearing aids out a lot, one suggestion 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. 

  • Parents have often found it helpful to put the hearing aids in when the child is distracted with a toy or food item they enjoy so the child is pre-occupied and less likely to notice the hearing aid. 
  • 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.
  • As your child ages you may discover a reward system that works for your child (ex: receiving a sticker for wearing the hearing aid for a certain amount of time).

The goal for every child is to work up to wearing the hearing aid during all hours the child is awake and make hearing aid use a part of their 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.
  • 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 Infant/Family Specialist or audiologist can give you more ideas to help with your child, so do not be afraid to share your concerns or questions with them.

Older toddlers and preschoolers may want to have colored earmolds and hearing aids. Many different earmold color choices and patterns are available and many hearing aid manufacturers offer a range of colors for the hearing aids and stickers to decorate the hearing aid case.

  • 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 an important goal for older children.
  • Children often try many different earmold colors and patterns over time: neon colors, stripes and even glitter are available.

Several manufacturers have special books for children that provide information about hearing loss at the 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.

As children become school age, work with your child on becoming their own advocate. Help them learn to inform an adult when the hearing aid battery needs to be changed or teach them how to change the battery themselves. Encourage them to ask their teacher or other children to speak more clearly or louder if they did not hear them the first time. Perhaps have your child share about their hearing loss and hearing aids during a classroom "Show and Tell" to help your child take ownership of their hearing loss and help other children in the classroom understand what hearing aids are.