The Best Hearing Aid Accessories for Kids: Pediatric Clips and More
Ear Gear to Protect Hearing Aids
Hearing Aid Essentials
Your child wears hearing aids, or is going to get hearing aids soon. Which accessories will help keep those precious listening devices safe and comfortable for little ones?
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.
Pilot Caps for Hearing Aids
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 (avaiable 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 are 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 4-5 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 to 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 (i.e. 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" size doll).
Many parents note that the "My Twinn" doll aids must be glued on to 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" size dolls. The hearing aids are permanent once affixed to the doll's head.