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.