Teaching Kids About Hearing Loss

The most important thing to remember when teaching kids about hearing loss is that you need to communicate openly and honestly. For younger children, you can simply explain that your ears don't work as they used to when you were their age. Older children, however, may be more inquisitive and wish to learn more.

There's no need to shy away from these explanations - in fact, you shouldn't. This is a perfect learning opportunity, the perfect time to bring up the importance of protecting one's ears throughout one's life. Teach the importance of practicing good hearing health as a lifelong pursuit.
Grandfather, father and son are playing

Describing Hearing Aids and Other Treatments

One excellent way to describe the purpose of your hearing aid is likening it to a pair of glasses for your ears. It's a tool designed to compensate for the fact that part of your hearing is not working the way it should. You might even consider conducting a mini show-and-tell, explaining how your hearing aid works and how the device helps you hear better. 
It's important, however, to emphasize that your hearing aids are only meant for you, and not to be worn by anyone else. Everyone's ears are a bit different, and trying to wear someone else's hearing aid could, in the worst-case scenario, actually cause hearing damage. Go back to the eyeglasses analogy, and liken wearing your hearing aid to putting on someone else's glasses. 
 

Remember That Patience is a Virtue

Explain that it's much easier for you to hear your kids and all the exciting things they have to share if they get your attention first. You might explain this by calling to mind how difficult it is for them to hear someone calling them when they're busy playing or having fun with friends. If you can't see them, you might not know they're nearby, and you won't be able to hear them.
 

Practice with Playing Games

You can help them practice by describing a simple trick that helps you hear better: lip reading. Teach them how to read lips, and make a game out of it. Ask them to cover their ears and then speak or mouth a word to them to see if they can guess what you said.

Use this to explain why seeing their lips move helps you better-understand everything they have to say. As your grandkids get older, they can even help you hear better. When you're on outings together, they can get your attention or repeat things you may have missed. 

Model Good Hearing Health

Keep the television volume low and the car radio at a normal volume, even if they ask you to turn it up and sing their favorite song. Explain the importance of taking care of their ears and their hearing health – and that the ability to hear is a gift. Resources like KidsHealth can provide a more detailed explanation if you're struggling to find the words or want to go deeper than what we've outlined here.

Hearing Loss Isn't a Lost Cause

Having hearing loss doesn't mean missing out on family fun, especially with your grandchildren. By being open and honest with them about the condition and its challenges, you can not only help them better understand your struggles but also forge a closer relationship with them in the process. And if you think you need a hearing aid or a hearing test, find a local Connect Hearing center near you and schedule a complimentary hearing assessment right away.