HOW TO EXPLAIN HEARING LOSS TO THE GRANDCHILDREN

If you have young grandchildren, you know they have questions about everything. Everywhere you go, an inquisitive mind is watching, and they learn by asking questions and listening to what we tell them. If you have hearing loss it is natural for your grandchildren to ask questions and be curious about your hearing devices, and that they may not fully understand what hearing loss entails.

So what do you say to them when they ask about your hearing aids, and how do you let them know that you may sometimes have difficulty hearing that others don’t?

Our mothers all told us not to put anything in our ears, so a child will naturally be curious about what you are doing when you wear hearing aids. As they watch you, you can acknowledge what you are doing and explain the process to them. Telling them you don’t hear as well as you did when you were younger will teach them about getting older, too. Explain that the small pieces in your ears help you to hear sounds better, like when they ask a good question or say, “I love you!”

To give them a better understanding of your experience, ask them to cover their ears and then say their names softly. Ask if they can hear you. Then do the same thing with their ears uncovered. Let them know that using your hearing aids is like having your ears uncovered.

Safety and Precautions for Children

After you explain how much your hearing aids help you, your grandchildren may become curious and wonder what they feel like, or they sound like, or they taste like! Curiosity is not a bad thing, but it is important to keep your grandchildren (and your hearing devices!) safe and sound.

  • Explaining that your hearing aids are only for you and that they won’t work in anyone else’s ears may prevent small hands from trying them out, and make sure they know they are not toys for playing.
  • When storing your hearing aids, make sure they stay out of reach, in a case or dehumidifier. As you know, your hearing devices are very expensive, and may also put your little one in danger if they get ahold of them.
  • Also be very careful with your batteries. They look harmless enough, but batteries are very dangerous if swallowed, as the battery acid can do serious injury to internal organs. The National Capital Poison Center states that more than 2,000 children under the age of six swallowed a battery in 2016.

If a child does swallow a battery, call the National Battery Ingestion Hotline immediately! They operate 24 hours: 202-625-3333

What about traveling?

If you are traveling with grandchildren, there are a few more things to keep in mind:

Keep your hearing aids dry. If you play in the pool with grandkids, you will definitely get wet! Stay on the safe side by removing your hearing aids, which will be damaged by water unless they are waterproof.

Let them be little helpers. When at airports or other locations, ask them to help you hear announcements and other communication. You can explain that you need some help since you wear hearing aids, or you can make a game out of it to keep them occupied.

While you are driving, communicate to grandchildren that it is very important to have a quiet environment in the car, and that’s the only way you can make sure you get everyone to the toy store safely! Having activities or toys in the car to help occupy children can help with this.

With a little foresight and prevention, keeping both your grandkids and your hearing aids safe during a visit is a piece of cake.

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening.

DRIVE SAFELY EVEN WITH HEARING LOSS

You may be surprised how much you rely on your sense of hearing while driving. From hearing the horn of another driver to hearing emergency sirens, the ability to hear everything around you is very important.

Treatments Available

The most common treatment for hearing loss is a hearing aid to help you hear again. There is currently no cure that will reverse your natural hearing. If you suspect your hearing is impaired, however, there may be something a doctor can do, like if there is an obstruction that can be removed from your ear or if there is an infection present.

Distractions are Dangerous

A great way to prevent issues while driving is to eliminate distractions. Modern hearing aids have great technology to cancel background noise and assist your brain in distinguishing useful sounds from noise, but the fewer distractions the better!

  • Hearing aids can sometimes have feedback, which is distracting. Ensuring your hearing aids are routinely maintained is important in eliminating feedback and minimizing distraction. Often maintenance only requires a light cleaning or slight adjustment to keep them working optimally.
  • The car radio can be distracting while driving. Lowering the volume is a good way to stay in tune with all of the sounds around you on the road, and you will be less likely to have to distract yourself with the controls while driving.
  • When driving with passengers, a quiet car is a safe car. It is fun to participate in discussion, but it can distract from your driving when on the road.
  • Open car windows can introduce a lot of road noise, so keeping them closed can help you to concentrate and focus on driving.
  • Focus is key: put all other activities, such as eating, texting, talking or applying make-up, on hold until you reach your destination. This habit is well worth your safety.

Driving is Mostly Visual

  • When one of our senses is impaired, it is important to rely on our other senses. Driving is highly visual anyway, so always make sure your vision is in tip-top shape, keeping glasses prescriptions current and wearing your corrective eyewear at all times.
  • Extra car accessories, such as a larger rear-view mirror, are inexpensive and can make a big difference in accident avoidance when the time comes. Consider upgrading for more visual coverage.
  • Always keep an eye out for emergency vehicles and flashing lights while driving.

Driving is a big responsibility, whether or not you suffer from hearing loss. Be sure to have regular hearing screenings so you have one less thing to worry about on the road! Happy travels!