Baby hearing aids play a crucial role in fostering your baby’s listening and speaking skills, ideally worn continuously during wakeful hours. However, practical constraints may limit initial usage of newborn hearing aids, especially in the early months of life. It is essential to progressively increase the duration of infant hearing aid use as your baby grows, with the ultimate goal of full-time wearing.
During the early stages, gauging your baby’s responsiveness to the aids may be challenging, as infants may not visibly express their ability to hear. Patience is key during this period of uncertainty. Below are some tips for parents to help their babies as they become more comfortable with wearing a hearing aid.
Check the Hearing Aids Everyday
Checking your baby’s hearing aids daily is crucial since infants can’t communicate about their hearing experience. The only way to ensure the aids are functioning is through regular checks, a routine to be maintained until your child can provide feedback. Your audiologist will guide you on the checking process, and they’re willing to review it as many times as needed until you feel confident in the procedure.
Baby with Hearing Aids During Their 1st Six Months of Life
The hearing aid might make a whistling noise when your baby lies down or leans. This happens because the ears are small and soft, and your baby often puts their ear against surfaces, like when sleeping or feeding. It’s called acoustic feedback and is common for newborns.
To reduce the whistling, you can use a special lubricant recommended by your audiologist. Young babies might need new earmoulds every few weeks to help with this issue.
Try to use the hearing aids a lot, making it part of your baby’s routine so you can enjoy time together. If you can only use them at certain times:
- Choose times when you’re free to talk or sing to your baby.
- Pick a quiet place with no background noise; turn off the TV and radio.
- If possible, make sure nothing is touching your baby’s ears to avoid whistling.
Using a bouncinette can be useful. It supports your baby’s head and neck, allowing you to face them directly. Consider a netting fabric cover to reduce the risk of hearing aid whistling. Alternatively, sit upright with your baby in your lap. This position is good for games like ‘Peek-a-boo’ or ‘This little piggy went to market’!
Feeding Time with Baby with Hearing Aids On
Feeding your baby is a unique and precious moment. Usually, babies are held close during feeding, which can sometimes cause whistling from their hearing aids.
Cuddling is essential for both you and your baby. Explore different ways to cuddle that don’t lead to the hearing aids whistling. If that’s not possible, consider turning off one or both hearing aids during feeding. Even if you can only keep one hearing aid on, it can still make a difference.
Just make sure to turn the hearing aids back on once the feeding is done if your baby is still awake.
The hearing aids are typically taken off during sleep for comfort, but it’s okay for your baby to wear them while sleeping, even though it might be a tad uncomfortable.
The noise from the bedding behind your baby’s head might make the hearing aids whistle, which can be bothersome for you. Whether your baby hears the whistle depends on the degree of their hearing loss, but in any case, the feedback can affect the sounds they hear.
If your baby nods off with the aids on, you can either leave them in and turn them off or take them out. If you’re trying to help your baby settle into sleep, consider turning off or taking out the hearing aids before bedtime.
Baby Accidentally Pulls Off Hearing Aids
Around six months old, babies start to gain better control of their hands and become curious explorers of the world. Similar to how some babies find it intriguing to remove their shoes and socks, others may have a fascination with pulling off their hearing aids. Additionally, some babies might even try putting hearing aids in their mouths.
If your baby removes the hearing aid, simply replace it. Stay calm and try not to worry. If your baby continues to pull off the hearing aid, or if the process of putting it back becomes a bit of a struggle, consider putting the hearing aid away for about 15 minutes and then try again later. This approach helps prevent a situation where your baby uses pulling off the hearing aids as a way to get your attention.
Some Tips to Keep Hearing Aids On for Babies
Here are some creative ways to prevent your baby from pulling off their hearing aids:
- Aviator Caps: Consider using tiny cotton ‘aviator caps’ that cover your baby’s ears and tie under the chin. If the cap is made of thin fabric, like a T-shirt, it won’t significantly affect the sound reaching the hearing aid microphones. Soft baby headbands are an option, but avoid using thick fabric that could cover the hearing aid microphone.
- Huggies: Explore ‘Huggies,’ available at your Hearing Australia center. A ‘Huggy’ is a clear rubber ring with two bands that secure the hearing aid. Placed over your baby’s ear, it holds the hearing aid behind the ear. Your audiologist can demonstrate how to use these effectively.
- Double-Sided Tape: You can use skin-friendly tape to firmly attach the hearing aid to your baby’s head. Your hearing center can provide you with this specialized tape.
- Clips: Your audiologist can provide clips with cords that attach to the hearing aids. This not only prevents the hearing aids from being lost but also makes it more challenging for your baby to put them into their mouth.
Keep Your Baby Safe While Wearing Hearing Aids
Ensuring your baby adapts comfortably to hearing aids involves patience and creative solutions. Regularly check the aids, especially during the initial six months. Combat whistling by exploring various cuddling positions and turning off aids during feeding. Allow your baby to wear aids during sleep, addressing any discomfort promptly.
If aids are accidentally pulled off, stay calm, replace them, and consider a brief break. Employ inventive strategies like aviator caps, Huggies, double-sided tape, or clips to keep hearing aids securely in place. Embrace these tips for a harmonious journey towards enhancing your baby’s hearing experience!