If you suspect your child has a hearing problem and might need hearing aids, you may decide to schedule a visit to an audiologist. This can be a potentially stressful event for a child, as your little one may not know what to expect. Here are a few things you can do to help prepare him or her before a first visit to an audiologist.
Visit The Library
One easy way to help your child to prepare for an audiologist appointment is to check out a few books from the library about hearing loss. Look for books with colorful pictures, and try to find at least one that depicts a child going to the audiologist. By visualizing what will happen, your child may be less anxious. Talking about what hearing loss is can also help to alleviate some fears. Consider checking out a few books about kids who wear hearing aids as well, as this can start preparing your child for the possibility of wearing them at some point.
Practice With Headphones
Audiologists typically place patients in a soundproof booth and place headphones on their ears during an exam. The sounds used to determine severity of hearing loss are played through the headphones. So, take some time to have your child get used to wearing headphones around the house as one way to prepare for the visit.
Plan To Bring A favorite Toy
The audiologist may allow your child to bring a favorite toy into the soundproof booth, so long as it doesn't make noise. A stuffed animal is a great option, as it can provide comfort without creating background noise that might impact the test results. You may also want to consider rewarding your child with a trip to the local toy store to pick out a new toy if he or she does a great job at the appointment. Remember that the reward should be based on his or her cooperation during the visit and not on the actual test results.
Take A Tour
Audiologists specializing in care for children may be willing to let your child tour the office, including the soundproof booth, before the appointment This is a good idea for any child, but it is particularly helpful for children on the autism spectrum who may have a difficult time in new surroundings or with auditory stimulation. You may be able to schedule the tour right before your appointment or a few weeks in advance. Talk to your child's audiologist about any other options you can use to help alleviate fear and anxiety about the appointment, and let your child know that having difficulty hearing is not something to be scared of or ashamed about.