Babies & toddlers
Using hearing aids with babies over 6 months
Source: Australian Hearing
Hearing aids are vital in developing your baby’s ability to listen and speak. It takes a while for some babies to get used to their hearing aids, but with encouragement and perseverance they will become a normal part of your baby’s life.
The aim is for your baby to wear the hearing aids for all their waking hours, as soon as possible.
Signs of hearing become more obvious as your baby gets older. At about six months of age, babies usually have some head control and will be learning to sit up. At this age, you might notice your baby’s head turn towards some sounds. Over the next few months your baby will start to show increased interest in a wider range of sounds than when they were younger.
Your audiologist will be able to tell you the types of sounds your baby can hear with the hearing aids.
Checking the hearing aids dailyYour baby can’t tell you if the hearing aids are working so you will need to check them every day. This is a routine you need to continue until your child is old enough to tell you immediately if something is wrong with the aids.
Your audiologist will show you how to do a daily check of the hearing aids. Most people need to be shown a few times before they feel confident. Your audiologist will be happy to review the procedure with you as often as you need.
Day-to-day use of the hearing aidsAs your baby spends more of the day awake, try to increase use of the hearing aids until they are worn for all waking hours.
You may need to spend five minutes playing games with your baby after you first put on the hearing aids. There will be less need for this distraction as your baby becomes familiar with the aids. The hearing aids will become a normal part of life just like clothes, shoes, hats and all the other things that babies get used to.
When babies gain more control of their head and neck, the problem of acoustic feedback (whistling) usually lessens. But, your baby’s ears will still be soft and grow quickly, so you may need to continue getting new earmoulds frequently. Using a lubricant can help reduce feedback. Your audiologist will be able to recommend a lubricant that is suitable for use with hearing aids.
Learning about sounds and voicesYou will have more opportunities to help your baby learn about speech and other sounds as the hearing aids are worn more often. Here are some tips for helping the development of your baby’s listening skills.
When your baby sleepsHearing aids are usually removed for sleeping, mainly for comfort. It will not harm your baby to wear them while asleep, but it might be uncomfortable.
Bedding behind your baby’s head will probably cause the hearing aids to feed back.
This may be annoying for you. Depending on the degree of hearing loss, your baby may or may not hear the whistle, but the sound heard will be affected by the feedback.
Feeding your babyFeeding is a special time between you and your baby. At this age, many babies sit in high chairs for meals. Feeding your baby is an ideal opportunity to talk about what you’re doing and introduce your baby to important phrases and words. Describe your baby’s food. Ask your baby if they want ‘More?’ and of course, talk to your baby about the food being ‘All gone!’
Baby’s bath timeThe hearing aids should not get wet. Take them off before bathing your baby.
When your baby is not wearing the hearing aidsAt times, it’s impractical for your baby to wear hearing aids. Your baby may not want to wear them when tired, for example. There are a few ways you can help make it easier for your baby to hear.
If your baby pulls the hearing aids offAt this age, babies start gaining more control of their hands and begin to explore the world around them. Just as many babies find it interesting to pull off their shoes and socks, some babies love to pull off their hearing aids. Some babies also put them in their mouths.
Replace the hearing aid if your baby pulls it off. Try to stay calm. If your baby keeps pulling the aid off, or if replacing it develops into a struggle, put the hearing aid away for 15 minutes and try again later. This will help avoid a situation where your baby gets your attention by pulling the hearing aids off.
Helpful hints for keeping the hearing aids on your babyHere are a few ideas for preventing your baby from pulling the hearing aids off.
Keeping your baby safeCheck with your audiologist that your baby’s aids have (or can be fitted with) a tamper resistant battery compartment so your baby cannot accidentally swallow a battery. Make sure you use this feature while your baby is young.
Try to avoid your baby chewing on the earmould, in case it is accidentally swallowed.
Feel free to discuss any questions or concerns you have with our audiologists. They will be happy to help you.
Disclaimer: This website is for general information only and is not intended as a substitute for independent professional advice.