Fitting Children’s Hearing Aids – Top Surprises
Learning to accept and adjust to your child’s diagnosis of hearing loss can be a long drawn out process. First fitting children’s hearing aids or cochlear implants can fill you with a great sense of dread about how your child will cope, or equally, a sense of excitement about how much the new devices will enrich your child’s life and bring them closer to their environment and even to you as a family. If you’re trying to prepare for the arrival of your deaf child’s first set of HAs or CIs, here are some tips and surprises you might encounter along the way.
What Did You Hear?
Having children’s hearing aids fitted can be an amazing journey. One of the most surprising things you may realise as a parent of a newly diagnosed child with hearing impairment is how many sounds they were missing out on before having their hearing aids or cochlear implants. This is especially true for mild or moderate hearing losses. Especially for babies and toddlers, we tend to notice far more the sounds are children do hear than the ones they don’t and your child’s new reactions to sounds you thought would have been familiar may surprise you. Try going out for a quiet walk when your child has adjusted a little to their device, and check out if they have a new reaction to the birds singing, or the sound of distant traffic – seeing first hand the difference technology can make nowadays for deaf children can be a really magical, happy thing, especially for a parent who is struggling to come to terms with childhood deafness.
Everyday sounds become common to listeners very quickly, from a young age. Just think how researchers show that babies learn to recognise their mother’s voice from inside the womb! Keeping this in mind, having children’s hearing aids, cochlear implants or BAHAs fitted can make your child’s world suddenly seem almost completely unfamiliar. That whirring sound of the washing machine or vacuum cleaner can suddenly sound very loud and very different, and that can be a very scary thing for a small child, no longer knowing what to expect from their auditory surroundings. Be mindful of this and make sure you support your deaf child when they are insecure about new noises. Maybe even consider turning down the volume on some household items, such as the telephone, while they adjust to their new hearing device.
Yes, that’s right. Now your child has hearing aids, they may squeak when they hug you. They may squeak when their hearing device comes loose as they play and if they have a badly fitted earmold, a lot of earwax build up, or blocked tubing in their hearing device, they may seem to squeak almost all of the time. It’s important to keep up good maintenance on hearing devices, replacing tubing, cleaning and drying regularly. If you are experiencing a lot of Hearing Aid Feedback, you can return to your audiologist to possibly have new earmold impressions made.
On a diagnosis of children’s hearing loss, audiologists will likely tell you very quickly about how ‘cool’ children’s hearing aids and cochlear implants can be nowadays with different coloured earmolds with stickers, Hearing Aid Decorations, coloured tubing and more… In the early days, you may find yourself rolling your eyes at these comments, as your focus is targeted so much towards the implications of your child’s deafness. But the funny thing is, when you see your child wearing their devices, whether they love them or not, you will want them to feel cool and confident when they are wearing them. You will find yourself looking through racks of stickers to customise their hearing aids, searching online for shoe charms and earrings you can convert into decorations for the tubes and nice looking Hearing Aid Retainersso they don’t lose them, and you will break your heart to see the look on their face when they are proud of their little ears.