Every parent of a young child with hearing loss knows that it is sometimes a challenge to keep the devices on their busy child’s head when they are being active. If a hearing device falls off of a child while on the playground or during sports, it is easy for it to get lost or damaged. When this happens, the child is without sound until they can get a loaner device or until their own device can be repaired. This process can take a few days to a few weeks, and the child is missing out on valuable language learning opportunities every second they are without their devices. Audiologists prefer to take a preventative approach to lost and damaged hearing aids and cochlear implants by having every young child use a retention product in combination with their hearing device. Retention products help to keep hearing devices on the child’s head when they are being active. Some of the products can also can have a secondary benefit of protecting the sensitive electronics from sweat and moisture. Try out different retention products to find out what works best for your family!
Pilot Cap – A hat worn over the whole head, which holds the hearing aids or implants in place. These are ideal for young infants and toddlers who are in the stage of putting everything in the mouth because it prevents them from being able to take off the hearing aids or implants. They come in all different styles in patterns and are sold on Etsy and Amazon. Be sure to buy a cap with a MESH side, so it does not block sound from entering the baby’s hearing aids!
Headband – Wrap around the whole head and have a small band to hold the device in place, next to the ear. These also come in a variety of colors and styles. Be sure that the band which wraps around the device does not cover the devices microphones.
EarGear – Sleeves that go over hearing aids. A string attached to the sleeves clips to the back of the child’s shirt. These are great at protecting hearing aids from moisture damage and making sure that the hearing aids stay attached to the child even if they fall off the head. These are sold on Amazon and gearforears.com
Snugfit– This product pairs with Cochlear Brand Cochlear Implants. It attaches directly to the implant and then has a metal wire which anchors the device under the ear. It is very discrete and does a great job at holding implants in place. It is sold through Cochlear and can also be ordered from your audiologist.
Hugfit– Another Cochlear Brand Cochlear Implant rentention product. The difference between the Snugfit and the Hugfit is that the Hugfit wraps around the entire ear, while the Snugfit just loops around the bottom of the ear. It is sold through Cochlear and can also be ordered from your audiologist.
Safety cord / Safety line: The Safety cord is the black cable which clips onto the back of the child’s shirt and attaches around the devices with small plastic loops. The safety line is similar, but discrete since the cords are clear. It is sold through Cochlear and can be ordered from your audiologist.
Hair clip – There are also several hair accessories on the market that are sold with a retention cord attached. These are especially popular with patients who have long hair and can double as a fashion accessory! Parents can also attach retention lines and silicone adapters to their own generic hair accessories. You can buy silicone adapters on etsy.com
Phonak Hearing Aid Retention Cord – This product comes with every pair of Phonak hearing aids and works well. The tiger part clips to the back of the shirt and the silicone loops go around the hearing aid.
Advanced Bionics M Wearing Clip or M Snuggie – The Wearing Clip is a sleeve that goes around the Advanced Bionics Cochlear Implant Processor and has a line which attaches to a clip. The clip can be worn attached to clothing or hair.
The M Snuggle is a ring that wraps around the whole ear and has loops for the processor. They are sold through Advanced Bionics and can also be ordered from your audiologist.
MED-EL Activity Hook – slides over the processor and wraps around the bottom of the ear. It is sold through MED-EL and can also be ordered from your audiologist.
In conclusion, there are a variety of retention products available to meet each individual child’s needs. They are sold through hearing aid and cochlear implant manufacturers as well as through online retailers like Amazon and Etsy. Remember that as your child ages, they may prefer new types of retention products to fit their changing needs.
EmilyAnn Duffley is a pediatric audiologist who has special interests in cochlear implants, newborn hearing testing, and music perception. She received her Doctorate of Audiology from Northwestern University and recently accepted a job as an audiologist at Texas Children’s Hospital. She completed her year-long externship at Child’s Voice in Wood Dale. EmilyAnn earned dual degrees in Speech and Hearing Sciences and Vocal Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2019 and was the Chair of Cheers for Ears in 2021 and 2022.