How and when to talk about HA?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2004
How and when to talk about HA?
6
Mon, 04-16-2007 - 3:12pm

Hello everyone! Caleb is almost 3 1/2 and has a mild/mod hearing impairment. He is bilaterally aided and doing well. The other day my sister was over and asked him what is in his ears. He said "my hearing aids." She then asked him what are they for. And he didn't know. I told him to tell her "they help me hear." Which he did.

This discussion made me realize I have not done a good job explaining or telling Caleb about his hearing aids and what they are for, why he has them. I guess he never really asked and it really hasn't been an issue yet. Kids will randomly ask me what is in his ears and I've always explained it to them. I guess I just never had the conversation with my own child!

I guess its good it hasn't been an issue yet, but I realize I need to open up the dialogue with Caleb and have a discussion about this. My husband doesn't want to make an issue of it. He thinks if we start bringing it up it will make Caleb more aware of his difference and his self esteem will suffer, etc. But I think if we talk to Caleb about it now, hopefully it will improve his confidence in the long run about it. But I'm not really sure how. Do you think 3.5 is a good time? How do I bring it up and what do I say? Any BTDT advice about how you've done it with your children? TIA

Erin

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 04-17-2007 - 2:17pm

Hi Erin,

Oh how I've been through this. Luckily, we've had pretty positive experiences. My son, Brett, who is now 9 was aided at 3 1/2. Just like you, we taught him that his hearing aids help him hear. Once he got a bit older and was able to understand, we told him that he has a boo-boo deep in his ears, near his brain which doesn't allow him to hear without aids. As he has gotten older he uses his own explanation about this. Once he was in school and making new friends, I would ask him if anyone asked about his aids and what his reply was. We'd do it in general conversation at the dinner table or in the car...not making an "issue" it. We never wanted him be be ashamed or embarrased about wearing aids. Now it's just a part of who he is. I knock on wood, because like I said, our experiences have been positive so far. I would definitley gauge the explanation age appropriate. I have been able to ease up on my overprotectiveness and let Brett handle this....I'm mostly an earshot away if I need to chime in.

Children have been curious about his aids, especially when they've never seen them before. Once he or I said what they're for, the children are very accepting and understanding.

Having aids has not affected my son's self esteem at all. He is an extremely outgoing child and has many friends and is involved in many activities. We also explain that some people needs glasses, or a wheelchair, or a cane if they're blind, etc. This has seemed to help as well.

Anyway, I hope this was helpful.

--Gina

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 04-18-2007 - 12:30am
I had a student with a really cool mom. She referred to her glasses and hearing aids as her "tools" (the student is deaf-blind). When she was little and was learning to manage her hearing aids and glasses on her own, her mom would direct her to "go get your tools." I think it really helped her to understand that they helped her and that they were simply a part of her routine -- nothing to really fuss about. That worked very well for that particular student.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2004
Wed, 04-18-2007 - 9:30am

Thanks Gina! Its good to hear your son is doing so well with them. I always worry about how we'll all handle it as Caleb gets older, so its nice to hear your story. Thanks again,

Erin

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-23-2003
Thu, 04-19-2007 - 8:08am
My ds started wearing aids at 1yo and my dd at 2 1/2 yo. They are now 9 and 11. I have always been pretty matter of fact about them. I told them (from a young age) that they hear differently then some other people and the hearing aids help them to hear things louder. At the age they are now, they answer their own questions about them and are pretty straight forward and matter of fact about them. As far as I know they have never been teased about them (although my son has been teased about his speech - which he handled much better than I did). They always get the colored molds and my dd puts pony beads on the tubing to dress them up, so they really don't try to hide them. We met a girl (hearing) a few years back that was in tears because her parents wouldn't buy her hearing aids because she wanted "pretty" ears like my dd :-) For the most part, other children don't comment too much after they know what they are. At 3 they are getting thier cues from you. If you treat them as "cool" and as part of every day life, they will see them that way too.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-29-2003
Sat, 05-05-2007 - 9:09pm
Thank you I never thought about how i was going to explaine to dd why she had hearing aids we are just matter a fact that Olivia has hearing aids. She got them when she was 4 months old and is 15 months old now. FOr the most part she does great she takes them off when she gets tired. and when she had her first ear infection this week she refussed to wear them.
my ds who is almost three says Olivia has two hearing aids granma has one hearing aid this is an important piece of info to him. but again we never say why they just have them.
When other kids ask about her hearing aids I say they help her hear better like glasses help me see better!!
One more question
The babies have an Older friend who asks why doesn't Olivia hear to good? her mom and I always just say that how she is, Personally I would like to say that is how God made her special but that goes against there beliefs :(
Any suggestion on how to answer the WHY??
"Don't let school get in the way of your education"

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sun, 05-06-2007 - 7:08pm
You can say something to the effect of, "Well, you were born with green eyes and brown hair. Olivia was born with (whatever hair color she has) and ears that hear differently than yours and mine do." If that solicits a "why," I would add, "People are all different and each person is special in some way. Olivia was born special in this way." That way you can steer clear of the religious/belief system quandry while indicating that it is as natural as having blue eyes or brown skin.