Daily Hearing Aid Use for Your Child
When your child wears hearing aids for the first time, their response can range from surprise or startling to smiling or not seeming to respond at all. For babies, in the very early stages it can be difficult to tell whether your baby is hearing with their hearing aids.
Your child will need time to adjust to the many new experiences they are having with their first hearing aid. With their first hearing aid, your child is hearing new sounds, feeling the hearing aid on their ear, and sensing an earmold filling their ear canal. To make this early listening an enjoyable experience, play, sing, and read with your child in a natural voice.
Your goal is for your child to use their hearing aids full-time any time they are awake, and to teach your child to listen and learn new sounds while wearing their hearing aids.
Some children will wear their hearing aids the whole time they are awake without any problems right from the start. Other children will need encouragement to increase the time that they use their hearing aids until they are wearing them any time they are awake.
To develop age-appropriate listening and spoken language skills, your child needs consistent exposure to speech sounds. Hearing aids are how children with hearing loss get this consistent exposure, so they need to wear hearing aids any time they are awake.
How can I make a routine for keeping my child’s hearing aids on?
It’s important to develop a daily routine for putting on your child's hearing aids. Start each day with a listening check, and then put the hearing aids in your child’s ears when they wake up.
When your child takes their hearing aids out, gently and calmly place them back in their ears right away. It may help to place or replace the hearing aids while you're playing a fun activity together, like peek-a-boo, singing a song, or playing with a toy your child likes. Your child will be more interested in the activity and less interested in pulling the hearing aids out. If your child cries or resists, wait a few minutes before trying again.
Find strategies that have worked for other parents of children who use hearing aids and learn more ways to help keep hearing aids in place and to avoid losing them.
It may be helpful to keep a calendar of your child’s daily hearing aid use to share with your audiologist.
If your child keeps pulling out their hearing aids, talk to your audiologist to see if there is an issue with the hearing aid or earmold that needs to be fixed.
What is hearing aid feedback?
Your child’s hearing aid may produce a whistling sound when they are lying down or leaning against something. This sound is called acoustic feedback.
Feedback will happen and is normal when putting the hearing aids in or taking them off.
Feedback is not harmful to your child’s hearing.
Acoustic feedback is common for newborns who wear hearing aids. It happens because their ears are small and soft and babies spend a lot of time with their ear pressed against a surface, like when they are sleeping or feeding. To help reduce feedback, when possible, position your baby so that there is nothing up against their ears.
Young babies grow quickly and they may need new earmolds often to improve fit and reduce feedback.
Talk with your audiologist about other ways to reduce feedback.
How do I know when my baby hears sounds?
It can be difficult to tell whether your baby is hearing with their hearing aids. In the first 6 months, the signs that your baby can hear are subtle and may be hard to see. The information below may help.
A baby's response to sound is affected by their age, stage of development, degree of hearing loss, and sounds around them (their listening environment).
- In the first 2 months of life, babies don't respond to the softest sounds that they can hear. When they hear a sound, babies might widen their eyes, stir in their sleep, or not react at all. A lack of response doesn't necessarily mean your baby cannot hear.
- Early on in their hearing development, babies will recognize their parent’s voice and it will calm them. Later, they will turn their eyes or head toward a new sound and repeat sounds.
- As they get older, babies will make babbling sounds, respond to their name, imitate words, and begin to say a few words, such as "mama" or "bye-bye."
- Different levels of sound can lead to different responses, depending on how active your baby is. For example, babies are more likely to react to softer sounds when they are just dozing off to sleep. They might not react to these softer sounds at all when they are active and wide awake.
- Some sounds will be more interesting to your baby than others. In early life, babies are interested by voices, so they will respond to your voice at softer levels than they will respond to other sounds and noises around the home.
- Babies are more interested in complex sounds like rattles or music than simple sounds like beeps, claps, or whistles.
- Babies’ noises can give clues about what they can hear. Some babies quiet down and concentrate when their hearing aids are first turned on each day. Others become noisier as they hear their own voice. Older babies may make a wider variety of sounds when wearing their hearing aids.
To see this information online and learn more, visit https://myhealth.alberta.ca/health/aftercareinformation/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=custom.ab_daily_hearing_aid_use_child_inst.
For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.
Current as of: January 20, 2023
Author: Provincial Audiology Professional Practice, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.