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Keeping hearing technology on babies on toddlers

Last reviewed: 25 June 2024

Your child will need to wear their hearing technology regularly to get the best use out of it. This can be easier said than done and is something many parents find frustrating.

Here are some tips for keeping hearing technology in place on little heads.

Accessories

Double-sided sticky discs

Your child’s audiologist (or hearing aid clinic or implant centre) may provide double-sided discs to stick their aids or speech processors in place. Some parents use wig tape, which is available from chemists. However, young children may find it removing the tape uncomfortable, or they may be allergic to it.

Rashda is mum to Haaris (2) who’s moderately deaf and wears hearing aids.

“One day I tried putting surgical tape over his hearing aids, being careful not to cover the speakers. The tape was much stronger and better at keeping Haaris’s aids in place and he stopped fiddling with them. Haaris is two-and-a-half now and never plays with his hearing aids unless he’s having a toddler tantrum!”

Retainers

Retainers, sometimes known as ‘huggies’, help keep behind-the-ear aids or speech processors in place. A retainer has a thin plastic tube that goes around the outside of the ear (the pinna). Attached to this tube are two circular bands of soft plastic which are pushed over the hearing aid or speech processor to keep it in place.

Retainers are available from outlets such as:

Photo: Specialist headbands can help keep hearing aids in place.

Headbands and hats

There are some specialist hats and headbands that can help keep hearing aids and speech processors in place.

Lisa is mum to Matilda (5) who’s profoundly deaf.

“One of our neighbours has a friend whose child is also deaf and they suggested trying ‘pilot hats’ from Etsy, which are kept on with a string tied under the chin. Once we started using them Matilda never tried to take the hat off.”

Photo: A clip can help make sure you child doesn't lose their hearing aid.

Clips and cords

If you’re worried about your child losing their hearing aids or speech processors, you could use a special clip. The clip goes on your child’s clothing and has a cord that attaches to their hearing aids or speech processors with plastic bands or retainers. Some clips come in fun shapes, such as dinosaurs.

Earmoulds for speech processors

Earmoulds can be made for speech processors which helps them avoid falling to the floor if they slip off. You can contact your cochlear implant or local audiology clinic to ask about getting earmoulds for your child’s speech processors.

Why children remove their hearing technology

It’s common for babies and toddlers to take their hearing technology off themselves. Often this is just a developmental stage and soon other things will occupy their attention. You may need to take their hearing aids or speech processors away for a short time before trying them again while they are distracted by something else.

Sometimes babies and young children will take off their hearing technology when they’re bored or they feel there’s nothing interesting to listen to.

Occasionally, the hearing technology may be causing genuine discomfort, either from earmoulds or from the sound.

If your child develops a habit of taking off their hearing technology, talk to your audiologist, Teacher of the Deaf or implant team. 

Listening to sound through hearing technology can be tiring. Even deaf adults sometimes remove their hearing technology when they’re tired. Although you should encourage your child to wear their hearing technology as much as possible, it’s also important that they learn to associate them with positive experiences and have the option to remove them when they really need to. Pay attention to signs that your child is becoming tired or overwhelmed and encourage them to tell you or another adult that they want to take them off. You can keep them in a safe place until they’re ready to try wearing them again.

Lucy is mum to Emily (9) who’s moderately to severely deaf and wears hearing aids.

“Let your child have a break from their hearing aids when they choose. This shows them that they are in control, not their deafness.”

Jennie is mum to Olive (4) who’s profoundly deaf.

“If she’s cross and has had enough, or if she’s tired, she’ll take her implants off. She’s getting better at telling us when she takes them off and she’ll tap her ears or tell us that she wants them back on too. On the days she wears her implants, it’s clear she loves listening and enjoys sound.”

Top tips

Make sure hearing technology is comfortable

If your baby blinks often when listening to sounds around them, this may be a sign that the noises they’re hearing are loud or surprising. Young children may remove their hearing aids or speech processors if loud noises are uncomfortable. If your baby or toddler is doing either of these things consistently, check the settings on their technology and talk to your child’s audiologist or implant team.

For hearing aids:

  • Hold the earmoulds in your hand for a couple of minutes before trying to put them in. This makes them warmer and less of a shock for your child. It also makes them softer, easier to put in and more comfortable.
  • Your baby’s aids may whistle when you feed them or when they’re lying down. This is called feedback, and it happens because the microphone on the aids is close to something solid. Arranging pillows behind your baby, holding them in a different position or temporarily turning their aids down while they’re feeding can help.

Make wearing hearing technology part of a routine

  • Slowly build up the length of time that your child wears their hearing aids or speech processors. You could start with just a couple of minutes several times a day. If your child keeps taking them off, stop trying and have a rest. Try again later or the next day when you’re both feeling more relaxed.
  • Try to make wearing hearing technology part of your child’s dressing and undressing routine. Put the hearing aids or speech processors on when they get up and take them off when they go to bed. It’ll become normal for your child to wear their hearing technology when they’re awake.
  • Try putting the hearing technology on before your child normally wakes up so that they’re already in place. Never leave babies and young children alone with hearing aids or speech processors as they may put them in their mouths.
  • Keep the hearing technology in a safe place. If your child takes their hearing aids or speech processors off, take your child and the hearing technology to the safe place and put the technology away. Your child will learn to put the hearing technology in the safe place when they take them out, and you won’t have to go looking for them every time they disappear.

Make hearing technology fun

  • Have something ready to distract your child, such as a favourite toy. Perhaps you could even have a special toy that they have only when you’re putting the hearing aids or speech processors on.
  • Decorate the aids or processors with stickers and personalise them. Check out our tips on decorating your child's hearing technology.
  • Look online for toys with hearing aids or implants, or for toy aids or implants you can attach to a soft toy. Talk about when the toy can take their hearing technology off and where you’ll put them to keep them safe.

Meet other hearing aid or implant users

  • Meet other parents of deaf children so they can share their experiences with you.
  • Meeting other children wearing hearing aids or implants may help your child to feel that they aren’t the only one.
  • Look out for TV shows or opportunities to meet deaf adults with hearing aids so that your child can see that people of all ages wear them.
  • Read books that feature characters with different hearing technology. We have lots of books featuring deaf characters.

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