It is the holiday season and we are always looking for gifts for the children in our lives. If children have specific interests it is easy to find gifts. They need not be specific to hearing loss. However, there are some presents that might work especially well for a child with hearing loss.
Decorating hearing aids
We would like children with hearing loss to feel good about themselves and not to feel embarrassed by the need for hearing aids or cochlear implants. There are a number of things we can do to help boost their self-esteem. There is no reason for technology to be boring. Technology can be decorated. A box of sparkles will do wonders for decorating a hearing aid, so will stickers. Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms has decorative jewelry for hearing aids and cochlear implants made by a 12-year-old girl who did not want to hide her hearing aids.
Boys might like Tube Riders, which have trucks and balls and can be easily attached to earmold tubing. Ear Gear comes in a lot of lovely colors which can be used to decorate hearing aids. Colored earmolds are also fun and allowing children to select colored earmolds make them more like ear jewelry and less like something that needs to be hidden.
Decorating dolls and bears
Having a friend with hearing aids or cochlear implants also helps kids feel less alone. American Girl and My Twinn dolls have the option of coming with hearing aids, and Build a Bear has bears that come with hearing aids. If a child has a cherished doll or bear, it is not difficult to attach plastic demo hearing aids or cochlear implants to the bear using double-sided tape or Velcro. You could ask your audiologist or your hearing aid manufacturer if they have demo hearing aids that could be attached to a favorite doll.
Books and things
There are lots of books about children with hearing loss and having books that children can relate to is always good. They are wonderful for improving self-concept. AGBell Association has books available on their website. Another good tool for improving self-concept is the Iron Man poster distributed for free by Phonak. Iron Man has hearing aids and a super hero with hearing aids will always be appreciated.
Talking about hearing loss in a comfortable way and about other disabilities on a regular basis makes it easier to accept hearing loss. Maybe the holidays are a good time to start including hearing aids, hearing loss and technology as part of everyday conversation.