Calling All Grandchildren!

Hearing aid technology has made phenomenal advances, and is highly interactive with the soundscape so that the listener has a better chance than ever to hear well and comfortably. And yet, hearing aids are only part of the prescription for better hearing. Good listening strategies and strong, kind family support are as important as ever.

If you are lucky enough to have grandchildren in your family scene, you have a built-in resource to help in the adjustment to hearing aids. I say this on the basis of years of observations of the families I see in my practice.

Children are, by nature, proactive, matter-of-fact, curious, intuitive, and quick to “get it.”

Here are a few tips on how the young ones in your family can facilitate good benefit from amplification:

  • Learning to actively listen is essential. Let your little ones read a book or tell a story. When we really want to hear, we put extra effort into listening.
  • Kids like to get close. Snuggling up close is great – but remember it’s easiest to hear when you can see that face.
  • Children are endlessly curious. It’s OK to ask questions: Why do you have trouble hearing? What happened to your ears? How do our ears work? Do the hearing aids help? It’s a great opportunity to educate your children, and at the same time clarify the very same questions the adults may also be thinking about.
  • Changes in hearing often come with aging, but older people do not need to struggle with hearing impairment. Hearing aids and good listening strategies can make it much easier to listen.
  • Motivation is so important to maximize hearing aid benefit. Often children’s voices are especially difficult for hearing impaired people to hear because they are soft and a bit treble. So these young precious voices are just the ones that will benefit from being amplified. This is an opportunity for the hearing aid benefit to shine.
  • If you don’t hear the child, don’t pretend you did. Children are straightforward. You can say: My ears didn’t hear you – please tell me again.
  • Kids can be your best “hearing ally.” In the words of one of my patients, if she’s observed to be missing things, her grandchild says: Grandma, do you have your ears on? If it’s the grandchild who asks, it is never nagging!

As a grandparent myself, I am so aware that communication with my young grandchildren is a joy beyond words. Harness this energy – it’s beneficial to both grandparents and grandkids.