Leah Lefler's son was born in 2007 and has a severe-profound hearing loss. He uses a hearing aid and cochlear implant to hear.
Hearing Aid Essentials
Our son received his hearing aids at the age of four months, and we found several hearing aid accessories that really helped us care for his hearing equipment. Retention devices, tape, desiccators (dryers), and the wonderful pilot cap have helped to ease his journey to better hearing.
Retention Devices: Hearing Aid Clips, Caps, and Tape
The sight of a sandbox or large ball pit will create a lot of stress if a child loses a hearing aid while playing. A hearing aid clip or other retention device is essential. There are several clip types available:
- A standard elastic retention device which clips to the shirt. The Junior Kid's Clip is a good clip for small children, as the elastic bands are short enough to prevent "Junior" from teething on his or her hearing aids.
- Critter Clips are excellent for keeping hearing aids from getting lost and add the benefit of fun clip designs for preschoolers and older children.
- Ear Gear is wonderful for children of all ages and provides a neoprene cover for the hearing aid body. This protects the hearing aid from sweat, sand, and the occasional saliva of a teething toddler.
- For very young babies and toddlers, nothing can beat a Hanna Andersson pilot cap for keeping hearing aids on and out of harm's way. These little hats prevent children from taking their hearing aids off and have a very thin fabric which does not produce hearing aid feedback.
- Double-sided tape, such as toupé tape, will also help keep hearing aids from flopping off the ears when the child is engaged in active play. Toupé tape is available at beauty supply stores, or you can save some money and use Res-Q tape (available at Wal-Mart and other discount retailers in the sewing section).
Keeping Hearing Aids Dry
Even if you live in an arid environment, having a drying kit (also known as a desiccator) is essential. Children may sweat heavily, get into a summer water fight, or accidentally drop a hearing aid into a cup of milk. Stranger things have happened! While many hearing aid kits come with a canister and desiccant, a product like the Dry & Store Global II is well worth the investment. The Dry & Store units circulate warm, dry air over a desiccant brick in a secure container, thoroughly drying the hearing aids. This will prolong the life of the hearing aid, as moisture will eventually corrode the internal components. The Dry & Store products also include a UV light (for all models, excluding the Zephyr), which helps sanitize the hearing aids.
We bought a Dry and Store when my son was about a year old, and it has saved us countless money in repairs. Once, he climbed into the bathtub with a hearing aid still on, and the aid was drenched. We immediately removed the hearing aid, opened the battery door and removed the earmold, and placed it in the Dry and Store. The aid was fully functional after a cycle in the desiccator. On another occasion, a soccer coach sprayed my son's head with a water bottle. Combined with the sweat from practice, the aid stopped working. We placed the hearing aid in the Dry and Store, and after about four to five cycles, the aid was working again.
My son also suffers from chronic ear infections, and the UV light helps to kill bacteria that may linger in the earmolds. We use the machine on a daily basis to help keep the germs away!
Hearing Aid Maintenance
The following items are vital components of every parent's hearing aid maintenance kit:
- A stethoset: If your hearing aid kit did not come with a stethoset at the time of purchase, it is absolutely vital to purchase one. Stethosets are stethoscopes that attach to the child's hearing aids, allowing an adult listener to verify the aids are working well.
- A battery tester: This will ensure the batteries have sufficient power to last through the day. It is a good idea to test batteries every evening before putting the hearing aids away in their drying container for the night.
- A cleaning tool: A small wire loop to remove earwax and other debris from the hearing aid earmold is also necessary. Ask your audiologist before using any disinfectants on the hearing aid earmolds to verify it won't react with the earmold material (e.g., rubbing alcohol can cause some materials to degrade).
Just for Fun: Hearing Aids for Dolls
Build-a-Bear Workshops and My Twinn manufacture toy hearing aids that may be purchased for any toy. The Build-a-Bear hearing aids work well for any stuffed toy, and the My Twinn hearing aids work well for larger dolls (the aid is made to fit a 23"-sized doll).
Many parents note that the My Twinn doll aids must be glued onto the doll, but since hearing loss is permanent, anyway, most parents won't mind having to permanently adhere the aid to a doll's ears.
The American Girl company also manufactures hearing aids for their dolls. For less than $20, the dolls may be sent to the "hospital," where the hearing aids will be fitted to 18"-sized dolls. The hearing aids are permanent once affixed to the doll's head.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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© 2011 Leah Lefler
Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on March 09, 2013:
Sure.. what name are you under?
Adrienne on March 09, 2013:
hey can you try looking for me? mine is not working!!!
Adrienne on March 01, 2013:
ok thanks! i will look for you
Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on February 27, 2013:
Hi Adrienne - I am on FB. Leah Lefler (my two boys are in the profile pic).
Adrienne on February 27, 2013:
yeah that would be cool! i was wondering do you have a facebook? i can add you!
Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on February 25, 2013:
I love it! I should do that as a summer craft with Nolan - let him pick out his own materials and make one. He's quite the boy, so maybe I could use leather cord and connect the ends of the cord with a shark tooth or something similar, lol!
Adrienne on February 25, 2013:
oh, yeah that would be! well thank you so much for helping us to find something. o, and you can make your own its REALLY easy! just ask and i can tell! haha
Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on February 25, 2013:
It is awful to lose an aid - we've had that experience a few times. Even worse is losing an FM receiver (little silver receivers that clip onto the bottom of the aids for personal FM systems) - we lost those once and it was sheer panic trying to find them. There are no retention straps for those (we're looking at new Phonak aids that have an integrated FM receiver, which would be a MUCH better solution, lol)!
adrienne on February 24, 2013:
thank you! yeah that would be scary! i know how it feels though i have lost the aid a couple of times. oh, yeah we just got some cool little things and we are going to try to make one! once again thanks!
Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on February 23, 2013:
I hope you find something really cute for her, Adrienne! Nolan likes his Critter Clip (we have the dog one), but we use the Ear Gear the most in the summer. It protects his aids from getting wet - his soccer coach sprayed his head with a spray bottle last summer and his right aid died for about 2 weeks. It was so scary - fortunately a few cycles in the Dry and Store brought it back to life.
You can make your own retention straps, too - you just need some fishing line and a few other supplies from the jewelry aisle - and an alligator clip. I want to find a way to make cool ones for boys - Nolan doesn't always wear a retention clip anymore, but he does if he is playing in the foam pit at gymnastics, etc.
Adrienne on February 23, 2013:
oh my gosh! thank you so much:)
Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on February 22, 2013:
There are a few clips that are cute for little girls. The sea creature hearing aid clips (Critter Clips) are fun - http://www.adcohearing.com/haa_hear_aid_acc.html.
Another idea is to find beaded retention straps for glasses - these are often very cute. They don't have a clip, but you can thread the retention string through a tag in your little girl's shirt (if her shirt has a tag - otherwise, you can't really use this as a retention device).
I also found this facebook page from a mom who makes really pretty clips: https://www.facebook.com/ashleys.angelwear
Etsy would be another source for finding unique clips and cords.
Adrienne on February 22, 2013:
where can i bye a baby girl hearing aid clips that clip on clothes and the aid? ;)
*looking for something adorable!
Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on February 05, 2013:
We use Ear Gear every summer - they are vital for soccer games! Hopefully the next set of hearing aids will be water resistant. We use Critter Clips when we go to the YMCA for gymnastics parties - I have a huge fear of losing his aids in the giant foam pit!
Monica on January 10, 2011:
Great article! We still use the critter clips and have now added double sided tape to the routine if there's gymnastics class, soccer, etc. involved.