My Child Has a New Hearing Aid/Cochlear Implant. What Should I Expect?
It is a very exciting time when a child has access to sound that they have not heard before. It takes time for the child’s brain to learn to sort through new sounds, such as the voice of parents, and household sounds (dog barking, microwave beeping, the sound of footsteps). While most children adapt easily to hearing and learning about new sounds, it can also be scary. As your child gets used to sounds in the environment, they will get more comfortable and adjust. It may take some time. Sometimes children may show some tiredness or fussiness and/or feel some pain. All of this is normal and natural.
Tips to Help Your Child Adjust to a New Hearing Aid or Implant:
- Ask your child’s audiologist if the device can be adjusted to wear more comfortably.
- Have your child wear the hearing aid or implant for short periods of time, and then gradually increase the time to allow your child to become accustomed to sound.
- Work with your audiologist to make sure that mapping/programming is adequate for your child.
- Keep a record or diary of your child's progress with the hearing aid(s)/cochlear implant(s). Take this with you when your child visits the audiologist. This will help the audiologist understand how your child is reacting and/or responding in different environments. The audiologist will be able to adjust the program or map based on this feedback.
- Have your child wear the hearing aid or implants during daily routines. For example, the device goes on every morning after dressing. Associating the hearing aid or implant with a fun and pleasurable activity will help your child adjust to wearing the device and hearing new sounds.
- Make the hearing assistive technology (HAT) more appealing to wear by putting fun stickers on it, getting it in fun colors, or adding hearing aid or implant tube trinkets or accessories.
- Introduce your child to other implant or hearing aid users. Find playgroups, family organizations and other events that can support you and your child. Attending events/playgroups or meetings introduces you and your child to other parents and children with hearing loss or deafness and also Deaf adolescents and adults.
It is important to note that hearing aid(s), cochlear implant(s) and/or assistive devices do not cure hearing loss or deafness. The devices support hearing and listening for children with hearing loss or deafness.
Even with the best technology, noise, distance, environment/setting, lighting and other things may still pose challenges with hearing and understanding. Many devices have different programs for different settings that can help overcome these challenges. Breaks from technology are sometimes needed and important. Listening fatigue can occur sometimes. This can affect the concentration, attention, or focus of the child. It's ok to remove technology for short amounts of time, but also important to replace the technology soon so that the child does not miss out on information and learning.
Want to learn more about hearing aids and cochlear implants in general?
See Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants and Assistive Technology