Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ear Gear vs. Pilot Caps

In the never ending search for items which will keep hearing aids on my almost-5 month old son's head AND will keep them free of drool and rice cereal, I decided to order some Ear Gear. Now, for a comparison between the efficacy of Ear Gear and Pilot Caps:

Ear Gear:

Pros:
  • Comes in a variety of cool colors, so you can change the look of the aids over time.


  • Covers the actual hearing aid, reducing moisture and dirt damage. This could become important as Nolan learns how to turn his hearing aids into a tasty snack.


  • Reduces the chance that small parts might fall off of the hearing aid (again because it covers the aid).

  • The cord prevents the hearing aids from becoming lost, if they fall from the child's ears.
  • Acoustically transparent.

Cons:

  • Costs $25 for one set.

  • The cord is too long for a small infant, leaving a lot of "dangle" room.

  • The extra cloth over the hearing aid adds bulk, and pushes a baby's ears out (see squashed ear in the picture above). This also makes the aids more prone to falling off (though the handy-dandy cord will keep them from getting lost).

Pilot Caps:


Pros:
  • Cost $8 each; $7 each if you buy 2 at a time.

  • Keeps older brother from noticing and playing with hearing aids.

  • Don't add bulk to the actual hearing aid.
  • Covers the entire ear to prevent contamination with dirt and moisture.
  • Keeps hearing aids from flopping off when rolling around on the floor.
  • The are "so freakin' adorable!"

Cons:

  • If a hearing aid does fall off, you might not notice it until you remove the cap.
  • If a hearing aid does fall off, there is nothing to keep it attached to the baby.
  • People ask why you won't take your kid's hat off.
  • Harder to turn the hearing aid on/off if Nolan has fallen asleep- there is a big chance I'll wake him up by untying the pilot cap!

Conclusion:

Pilot caps are definitely better for a smaller baby- they keep the aids on well for a baby who is too young to remove his or her own aids. Ear Gear are probably better for older babies and children, who might remove/mouth aids or get them dirty. Ear Gear makes the aids too big for a baby's small ears and the cord is too long. This wouldn't be a problem with a toddler/child with bigger ears. Pilot caps would begin to lose effectiveness when the kid could just reach underneath the hat to remove the hearing aids. Let's hope Nolan's ears grow enough for the Ear Gear before he learns any new tricks!

17 comments:

Karen said...

Just gotta hang in there. The day will come when you won't have to worry about keeping them in the ears. You'll just have to worry about him walking in the shower with them on. :)

Melissa said...

With the caps, you could use an otoclip and that will aleve any worry of losing the ha under the cap and not noticing. Check out this link:
http://www.westone.com/hearing/OC/OtoClips.html

It will get easier (advice doesn't really help when you are in the midst of it all)

Melissa
Nolan, 20mo, SNHL

MB said...

You forgot the most obvious pro-

PILOT CAPS ARE SO FREAKING ADORABLE!!

leahlefler said...

I'll have to check out the otoclips! And I'll add in the "so freaking adorable" to the pro list for pilot caps, lol!

Megan said...

Luca is almost 8 months and I just use the tape and it seems to work well. I tried the clips, but they just make the aids fall off quicker. I put the cap on when we're out and about and it seems to work well. Luca still doesn't grab at his hearing aids, so I think when he hits that "milestone" we'll have our hands full again.

I think when Nolan starts sitting up, it will be easier.

Also, when Luca is rolling around, playing and the aids fall out, I don't worry about it. I put them on when he's done.

leahlefler said...

Ugh- Megan! You mentioned sitting up and now Nolan is starting to do it. If you so much as breathe the word "crawling," I'm going to be very upset, lol! I keep hoping this kid will stay immobile for as long as possible (g)!

gradstudent said...

I have a daughter with hearing loss who wears hearing aids (she is 18 months) and she wears pilot caps. I was wondering if anyone else has concerns that the pilot caps rub against the hearing aid microphones causing a scratching noise that they hear all day. My daughter does not like to keep her hearing aids on-she usually makes it about 1 hour. I do not wear hearing aids so I don't know if this is a normal length of time for a toddler. It is so hard when they are young because they cannot tell you if something is bothering them (earmold, etc.)
Any feedback on hearing aids and toddlers would be greatly appreciated!

Russ and Nic said...

I've been looking everywhere for a pilot's cap. When searching online for a plain white one, your blog came up. Where did you buy it at? Thanks!

nicolerichins(at)gmail(dot)com

Your baby is adorable!

Lisa said...

Thanks. I just ordered two pilot caps for my 12m old today. Hopefully they will end (or at least minimize) the constant struggle.

BTW: they are from www.hannaanderson.com

leah said...

Thanks, Lisa! I just added the links into the blog post. This is an OLD post, and I had forgotten to include the links to the products! Thank goodness, Nolan doesn't try to eat his hearing aids anymore. The Ear Gear now works quite well, since his ears have grown!

aldrin james said...
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hearingaustintx said...
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Adrienne said...

I tried this company from canada. They ship everywhere and are cute! work really really good.
I LOVE THEM and would not be where we are with our child if i did not have these.
www.monkeygear.ca

Jeannette said...
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TomB said...

Hi, wanted to let you know this is still popping up on searches. Thank goodness! My 2 year old daughter has been wearing hearing aids for just over a year and has gotten extremely proficient at plucking them out. Very much appreciate the links to where to buy pilot caps :)

TomB said...

Hi, wanted to let you know this is still popping up on searches. Thank goodness! My 2 year old daughter has been wearing hearing aids for just over a year and has gotten extremely proficient at plucking them out. Very much appreciate the links to where to buy pilot caps :)

dlefler said...

I'm glad it helped, Tom! Goodness, the ages of 9 months to 2 1/2 were very difficult for us - keeping Nolan's hearing aids in was a very difficult task! Pilot caps worked well for us. We have a friend who really liked Oticon's clip, too. We are thankfully past that stage. Toddlers and hearing aids are a tough combination!