For children with hearing loss, getting used to wearing a hearing aid can be a big adjustment. You may have seen a video or two online showing children smiling when their hearing aids were first used — or heard from a friend whose child just loved their new aids — but every child's experience and reaction is different. Here are a few reasons your child may not want to wear their hearing aid and what you can do to help them overcome their resistance.
Why Would a Child Not Want to Wear Their Hearing Aid?
As a parent, you may be excited that your child can hear, but your child may have a different reaction to a new hearing aid, including:
- Loud. When you first switch to a hearing aid, things can get loud fast. Depending on your child, the noise can be overwhelming, annoying, headache-inducing, and even scary.
- Uncomfortable. Having a hard piece of plastic over or inside your ear for long periods can be incredibly uncomfortable, even if it was created from a custom mold. Like a new pair of shoes, hearing aids can be painful until you are used to them. Furthermore, they can make your ear all sweaty, which is equally uncomfortable.
- Embarrassing. Depending on your child's age, they may be self-conscious when wearing a hearing aid at first. They are worried about the social implications of being different from their peers.
How Can You Help?
There are many ways a parent can help their child adjust, including:
- Start slow. If your child is hesitant about wearing a hearing aid, start by having them wear it for short periods, such as during meals or while watching TV. Gradually increase the amount of time they wear it as they get more comfortable.
- Explain. Be sure to explain to your child why they are wearing a hearing aid and remind them how it will help them hear better.
- Ask questions. As your child gets used to wearing a hearing aid, they may have questions about it. Encourage them to ask you or their audiologist any questions they may have.
- Listen. Like adults, sometimes children just need someone to listen. This is not a time to brush off their feelings as no big deal. To a child, feeling overwhelmed or embarrassed in class is a very big deal.
If you have a child with hearing loss, helping them get used to wearing a hearing aid can be daunting, but there are steps you can take to ease the transition.