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Getting your child to wear their hearing aids and cochlear implants

Photo: Tips to encourage your child to wear their hearing aids

When a child first starts wearing hearing aids or cochlear implants (CI) processors, it's important they wear them regularly. This allows your child to get used to them, and you and the audiologist to see how much they’re helping. Here are some tips from parents about how to get children to wear their hearing aids or CI processors.

Make sure the hearing aids/CI processors are comfortable and secure

  • Hold the earmoulds in your hand for a couple of minutes before trying to put them in. This makes them warmer, softer, easier to put in and more comfortable.
  • If you notice your child removing their hearing aids after loud noises or because their ears hurt, or if your baby blinks often when they are listening to sounds around them, check the settings on the aids and talk to your child’s audiologist or Teacher of the Deaf.
  • 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 are feeding can help.
  • If you have a young or very active child, ask the hospital for hearing aid retainers. They secure the hearing aid to the ear and stop them flapping about.

Slowly build up the length of time your child wears their hearing aids/CI processors

  • If necessary, start with getting your child to wear their hearing aids for a couple of minutes several times a day, building up the time gradually. If your child keeps taking them out, try again later when you’re both more relaxed. Remember to try to make it a positive experience.
  • You could also encourage your child to wear one aid at first and slowly extending the time they wear it. When they wear it all day introduce the other aid.

Make wearing hearing aids/CI processors part of a routine

  • Try making the hearing aids part of your child’s dressing and undressing routine. Put the hearing aids in when they get up and take them out at night.

Make the hearing aids/CI processors appealing to your child

Use distraction techniques when putting the hearing aids in/CI processors on

  • Try distracting your child with their favourite toy when you’re putting the aids in, or put them in while your child’s concentrating on something, such as the TV.

Let your child see other hearing aid/cochlear implant users

  • Try to meet other families with a deaf child so that your child sees they’re not the only one. It may also be useful to meet adults with hearing aids so that your child can see that people of all ages wear them.

Books like Daisy and Ted’s Awesome Adventures and Jake and Jasmine to the Rescue are helpful. For more books featuring deaf characters see our book reviews page

Offer rewards for wearing hearing aids/CI processors

  • You could use a sticker chart to record every time your child wears their hearing aids or CI processors, and give them a special treat if they wear them for a week.