FROM US TO YOU :THE PROCESS OF GETTING THE RIGHT HEARING INSTRUMENTSThe process of getting the right hearing instruments is important and ongoing. It requires strong motivation and active participation from you as a parent. Even the most advanced instruments will not help if your child does not wear them, or if they are not properly maintained.Your child's willingness to wear hearing instruments will most likely depend on how much you can teach and motivate them. The more knowledge they have, and the more involved they feel, the easier things will be. The earlier the child learns to handle their hearing loss and hearing instruments, the more ownership they will take and the more confident they will feel. One way to achieve this is to make sure that their first experiences with hearing instruments are positive. For instance, make sure that the first sounds your child hears with the new hearing instruments are gentle, comfortable sounds such as music or friendly talk.Also, be aware of the importance of being motivated as a parent. If you are unmotivated and cannot accept what is going on, your child will immediately react and reject the hearing instruments. Remember to be happy and positive when they first start wearing them.However, no matter how well your child seems to be adapting to the hearing instruments, there will always be times when he or she takes them off - sometimes much to your frustration. Be aware that there can be many reasons for this, not all of which are related to the hearing instruments or the hearing loss.We asked parents what message they would like to send to parents whose baby had recently been diagnosed with hearing loss. And this is their message for you:Your baby is the sameprecious little person they were before you found out about their hearing loss.It is fine to be sad.Some days will be hard but most days will be wonderful.Soon you really will be able to say,"It's only hearing loss" and realize that it is nowhere near as bad as you imagined it might be.Over the years you will experience joy,surprise, laughter and pride as you see what your child achieves.Don't be scared - you are not alone.Reach out to other parents in the same position and ask them lots of questions.Have coffee with a deaf mum or dad - they can be a great resource.Take time out to enjoy your family and friends - and ask for help when you need it. Kiss your beautiful baby and hang on for the ride of your life. It is going to be different to what you imagined but it will surprise and delight you over and over again.Hearing aids are vital in developing your baby’s ability to listen and speak. Ideally, your baby should wear hearing aids all the time when they are awake. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible during the early months of life.For practical reasons, your baby might only use the hearing aids for certain times of the day when they are very small. It’s important to increase the use of hearing aids as your baby develops.The aim is for your baby to wear the hearing aids for all their waking hours, as soon as possible.In these very early stages,it may be difficult to tell whether your baby is hearing with the aids. Don’t be discouraged. Young babies can’t do much to show you they are hearing. Find out more about how to tell if your baby is hearing in ‘Signs of hearing in babies.'It’s important to check your baby’s hearing aids daily. Your baby can’t tell or show you much about what they hear, so you can only know if the hearing aids are working by checking them. This is a routine you need to continue until your child is old enough to tell you if something is wrong with the aids.Your audiologist will show you how to check the hearing aids. Most people need to be shown a few times before they feel confident. Your audiologist will be happy to review the procedure with you as often you like.The hearing aid may produce a whistling sound when your baby is lying down or leaning. This is called acoustic feedback and is a common problem for newborns. It happens because the ears are small and soft and your baby spends a lot of time with their ear pressed against a surface, such as when sleeping or feeding.You can reduce feedback by using a lubricant. Your audiologist can recommend a lubricant suitable for hearing aids. Young babies may need new ear moulds every few weeks to reduce the feedback.Try to use the hearing aids as much as you can, in ways that still allow you to enjoy spending time with your baby. It helps if you can make wearing the hearing aids part of your baby’s routine.If you can only use the hearing aids for certain times of the day:A bouncinette can be helpful. Your baby’s head and neck are supported and you can face your baby directly with a clear view of your face. If you use a bouncinette, a netting fabric cover is a good idea because the netting reduces the risk of whistling from the hearing aids.Alternatively, you could sit upright on a chair or the floor with your baby lying in your lap. Place your baby’s head on your knees and legs on your chest. You can get good eye contact and it is a good position for playing ‘Peek-a-boo’ or ‘This little piggy went to market’!Hearing aids are usually removed for sleeping, mainly for comfort. It will not harm your baby to wear the hearing aids while sleeping, although it might be a bit uncomfortable.The bedding behind your baby’s head may cause the hearing aid to whistle. This may be annoying for you. Your baby may or may not hear the whistle, depending on the degree of hearing loss. In any case, the sounds heard will be affected by the feedback.Feeding is a special time with your baby. Most babies are cuddled close while they feed so whistling from one or both hearing aids can be a problem.Cuddling is important, both for you and your baby. You may be able to find a way to cuddle your baby that does not cause the aids to whistle. Otherwise, turn off one or both hearing aids at this time. If you can only leave one hearing aid turned on, this is still helpful.Remember to turn the aids back on after feeding if your baby is still awake.The hearing aids should not get wet so you need to take them out when your baby has a bath.At times, it’s impractical for your baby to wear hearing aids. Your baby may not want to wear them when tired, for example. There are a few ways you can help make it easier for your baby to hear.At about six months of age,babies start gaining more control of their hands and begin to explore the world around them. Just as many babies find it interesting to pull off their shoes and socks, some babies love to pull off their hearing aids. Some babies also put them in their mouths.Replace the hearing aid if your baby pulls it off. Try to stay calm. If your baby keeps pulling the aid off, or if replacing it develops into a struggle, put the hearing aid away for15 minutes and try again later. This will help avoid a situation where your baby gets your attention by pulling the hearing aids off.Here are a few ideas for preventing your baby from pulling the hearing aids off. Aviator caps:Some parents use little cotton ‘aviator caps’ which come down over the baby’s ears and tie under the chin. Providing the cap is made of thin fabric (like at-shirt) the single layer of cotton over the hearing aid microphones makes very little difference to the sound reaching the hearing aid microphones. Soft baby headbands are an alternative, but be careful not to cover the hearing aid microphone with thick fabric.Huggies: Some parents use ‘Huggies’ which are available with us. A ‘Huggy’ is a clear rubber ring with two bands to hold the hearing aid. The ring is fitted over your baby’s ear to hold the hearing aid behind the ear. Double-sided tape: You can get tape made for use on skin that will hold the hearing aid firmly against your baby’s head. Clips: We can give you a clip with cords that attach to the hearing aids. This stop the hearing aids from being lost and can make it harder for your baby to get the hearing aids into their mouth.Your baby’s aids have (or can be fitted) with a tamper resistant battery compartment so your baby cannot accidentally swallow a battery. Make sure you use this feature while your baby is young.Try to avoid your baby chewing on the ear mould, in case it is accidentally swallowed.Feel free to discuss any questions or concerns you have with our audiologists.They will be happy to help you.Hearing aids are vital in developing your baby’s ability to listen and speak. It takes a while for some babies to get used to their hearing aids, but with encouragement and perseverance they will become a normal part of your baby’s life.The aim is for your baby to wear the hearing aids for all their waking hours,as soon as possible.Signs of hearing become more obvious as your baby get older. At about six months of age, babies usually have some head control and will be learning to sit up. At this age, you might notice your baby’s head turn towards some sounds. Over the next few months your baby will start to show increased interest in a wider range of sounds than when they were younger.The types of sounds your baby can hear with the hearing aids.Your baby can’t tell you if the hearing aids are working so you will need to check them every day. This is a routine you need to continue until your child is old enough to tell you immediately if something is wrong with the aids.We will show you how to do a daily check of the hearing aids. Most people need to be shown a few times before they feel confident. Your audiologist will be happy to review the procedure with you as often as you need.As your baby spends more of the day awake, try to increase use of the hearing aids until they are worn for all waking hours.You may need to spend five minutes playing games with your baby after you first put on the hearing aids. There will be less need for this distraction as your baby becomes familiar with the aids. The hearing aids will become a normal part of life just like clothes,shoes, hats and all the other things that babies get used to.When babies gain more control of their head and neck, the problem of acoustic feedback (whistling)usually lessens. But, your baby’s ears will still be soft and grow quickly, so you may need to continue getting new ear moulds frequently. Using a lubricant can help reduce feedback. Your audiologist will be able to recommend a lubricant that is suitable for use with hearing aids.You will have more opportunities to help your baby learn about speech and other sounds as the hearing aids are worn more often. Here are some tips for helping the development of your baby’s listening skills.Talk and sing: Spend time every day verbally interacting. Position yourself about one metre from your baby’s hearing aids.Describe your actions: As you go about your daily activities, talk to your baby about what you are doing.Exaggerate your voice: Try to over stress the normal variations of pitch as you speak. Many people do this naturally when they talk to babies.Use music: If you are listening to music, let your baby see you sing along. You might like to pick your baby up and dance together every now and then.Play games: Try to play games that involve sound.Pair sounds withactions: Join interesting sounds with fun activities. For example, make aeroplane sounds while you fly your baby around the room or say ‘hop-hop-hop’ as you step your fingers up your baby’s leg and tickle their tummy. And, don’t forget the traditional baby games like ‘peek-a-boo’Copy your baby: Repeat any sound your baby makes. See if you can have a conversation, making sounds to each other in turnUse rewards: When your baby responds to a sound, give a reward such as a smile, clap or cuddle. At this age, babies can learn very quickly how to get your attention.If your baby finds your reaction fun, they are more likely to respond to the sounds againDon’t rely on external stimulation: Noisy toys can be lots of fun, but babies are generally more interested in human voices. Don’t rely on toys, TV or radio to provide lots of stimulation for your baby. Some TV, radio and music is fine, but interaction with you is much more interesting.Reduce background noise: When you spend special time with your baby (talking, singing or playing games), try to reduce background noise so your baby can hear you as clearly as possible. Turn off the TV or radio.Let your baby explore your mouth: Many babies at this age start to put their hands into your mouth as they explore your face. This can be a good chance for your baby to feel your mouth and tongue moving as you speak.Hearing aids are usually removed for sleeping, mainly for comfort. It will not harm your baby to wear them while asleep, but it might be uncomfortable.Bedding behind your baby’s head will probably cause the hearing aids to feed back.This may be annoying for you. Depending on the degree of hearing loss, your baby may or may not hear the whistle, but the sound heard will be affected by the feedback.Feeding is a special time between you and your baby. At this age, many babies sit in high chairs for meals. Feeding your baby is an ideal opportunity to talk about what you’re doing and introduce your baby to important phrases and words. Describe your baby’s food. Ask your baby if they want ‘More?’ and of course, talk to your baby about the food being ‘All gone!’The hearing aids should not get wet. Take them off before bathing your baby.At times, it’s impractical for your baby to wear hearing aids. Your baby may not want to wear them when tired, for example. There are a few ways you can help make it easier for your baby to hear.Amplify your voice: Speak in a raised voice, but don’t shout. Shouting makes your speech less clear. Instead, speak up as though you are talking to someone on the other side of the room.Keep your baby nearby: Your voice will be louder and it will be easier to hear and see you if you are close. Even if your baby cannot hear you, being able to see you will make your baby feel secure.Cuddle your baby: This is a good time to hold and cuddle your baby as you talk, because feedback won’t be a problem. Some people suggest holding your baby snuggled up under your chin or cheek, enabling the vibrations from your voice to be felt.At this age, babies start gaining more control of their hands and begin to explore the world around them. Just as many babies find it interesting to pull off their shoes and socks, some babies love to pull off their hearing aids. Some babies also put them in their mouths.Replace the hearing aid if your baby pulls it off. Try to stay calm. If your baby keeps pulling the aid off, or if replacing it develops into a struggle, put the hearing aid away for15 minutes and try again later. This will help avoid a situation where your baby gets your attention by pulling the hearing aids off.It can be difficult to tell whether hearing aids are working in a young baby with a hearing loss. In the first six months, the signs that your baby can hear are subtle.Asa parent, you no doubt feel concerned about your baby's development. This information will help you recognise your baby's responses to sound.A baby's response to sound is affected by their age, stage of development and degree of hearing loss.Alack of response doesn't necessarily mean your baby cannot hear.Babies with normal hearing don't respond to the softest sounds that they can hear in the first two months of life. At this stage the baby's responses to sound are hard to detect - babies might widen their eyes when they hear a sound, or stiring their sleepDifferent levels of sound arouse various responses in babies, depending on how active they are. Babies react to softer sounds when they are just dozing off to sleep as opposed to when awake and active.Some sounds will be more interesting to your baby than others. In early life, babies are intrigued by voices, so they will respond to voice at softer levels than they would respond to other noises around the home.Babies are also more interested in complex sounds like rattles or music than in simple sounds like beeps or simple whistles. If a sound is repeated too often, young babies lose interest and may stop responding altogether. This is called habituation.Babies with significant hearing impairments may be unfamiliar with many sounds around them. It might take some time after the hearing aid has been fitted to see clear signs of hearing.The vocalisations of babies give clues about what they can hear. Some babies quieten down and concentrate when their hearing aids are first turned on each day; others become noisier as they test their aids. Older children may make a wider variety of sounds when wearing their hearing aids.Although it's challenge trying to tell how much your baby can hear, you can get a lot of information when you know what to look for.1. Talk to us about the ways your baby might respond to sound.Your baby's ability to respond to sound will depend on the degree of the hearing loss and the effectiveness of the hearing aids. Ask us to explain the types of sounds they think your baby might hear.We assess your baby's hearing with a Behavioural Observation Audiometry, which uses a range of different noisemakers. You will be able to observe some of the ways that your baby responds.This guide will help you identify the behaviours that show your baby is hearing sounds.2. Take note of what your baby does at homeDon't try to do your own hearing tests. If your baby is overly active or tired they may not respond to the sounds you expect. This can be disheartening. If you've made the same sound several times your baby might have habituated and won't respond at all. It's better to just keep alert so that you are ready to observe those responses to sound that your baby naturally displays.You will see the best hearing responses when it's quiet and your baby is not fast asleep or upset. You will probably see more obvious responses when your baby is very calm or drifting off to sleep, or when there are sudden loud noises. If the house is noisy it may be more difficult to see responses to certain sounds.It's important to watch whether your baby's response may have been to visual cues as rather than auditory ones. If you clap your hands in front of your baby's face causing a blinking response, you can't really tell whether the blink is due to the loud sound or the motion of your hands. Some babies may also be tuned in to the smell of a parent's perfume or aftershave and use that as a clue to whenMum or Dad is close by.The following questions are a guide to help you with your observations:Also consider keeping a "listening diary" to record your observations.This will show you your baby's progress and can be useful in discussions with your audiologist and your child's early intervention teacher.3. Discuss your observations with us, including any concerns and questions. Your observations are invaluable in helping us make decisions about fine-tuning your baby's hearing aid.