How do you encourage an active 6-year-old to keep their sound processor safe? This mother has a few sound processor retention tips up her sleeve to help you out.

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Roxi’s experience trying to keep her son’s devices on

Christian smiling, wearing his Nucleus 8 Sound Processor with his sister; sound processor retention tips.

Roxi, the Mom of 6-year-old Christian, struggled to keep her son connected with hearing aids, even before he had a cochlear implant and a sound processor.

“As a baby, Christian would get crafty and pull off the hearing aid, trying to chew it, and so we started using hats, but then he’d get crafty and put his finger inside, pull it out and chew it again!” she recalls.

Keeping Christian’s devices in place

 As any parent of a young child with assistive technology knows, keeping the device safe is an ongoing task. Roxi has learned many lessons along the way with Christian, about helping him to keep his device in place.

After he received his cochlear implant, Christian tried an off-the-ear Cochlear™ Nucleus® Kanso 2 Sound Processor but would frequently remove it. The family opted for a behind-the-ear device as a better choice for him and started to explore the various retention solutions.

“For the Nucleus 8 Sound Processor, we used the behind-the-ear clip but he doesn’t like his ears cupped by the wire, so we are trialing a mould-in-the ear component,” says Roxi.

The Cochlear Earmould Adaptor allows you to attach a custom earmold to the Cochlear Nucleus 8 Sound Processor. It can be a useful retention option for children or those who are comfortable using an earmold, such as former hearing aid users. (For more details see below.)

Device retention has other important benefits; longer periods of device use have been shown to improve hearing performance outcomes,123 so good retention (especially for children) is critical in achieving this goal. You can monitor a child’s time in speech using the Hearing Tracker, a feature of the Cochlear Nucleus Smart App.

Tips for positive reinforcement

Christian, with his Mom Roxi, smiling while sitting outside; sound processor retention tips.

But for Roxi, the key to success with the sound processor is not with accessories so much as good experiences for Christian.

“The best way I found to get him to wear it is to give him really positive experiences with it from the get-go, such as a gentle experience with sound-mapping and giving him a nice treat if he keeps it on for longer periods.

“Another technique is creating a fun story about how cool the sound processor is, showing him his X-ray of the cochlear implant, and encouraging him to show it off to friends,” she adds.

“I also ensure he has enough breaks without chastising him for it, and I remind him that his brain needs time to learn to adjust to the sound processor – and that’s going to happen only if he actually wears it consistently and practices listening with dedicated attention.

“In short, give the child time to experience the acquired benefit for themselves over time.”

Christian is still learning, but Roxi remains optimistic: “It was the same with the hearing aids. The moms would tell me that, one day, he’ll be asking you for them the moment he wakes up, and it was so hard to believe because he was very keen to yank them off at first.

“Eventually, he practically saw his hearing aid as an extension of self – and I hope, soon enough, he will perceive the CI and his sound processor in the same way.”

Cochlear provides a wide range of retention options to help keep the sound processor securely on a child’s head, especially during physical activities and sports.

A guide to retention options:

A picture showing Cochlear's sound processor retention options that will help keep your processor in place.

  1. Snugfit: helps tighten the sound processor on the ear, especially for active adults and children. The Snugfit comes in three convenient sizes to fit your ear (small, medium and large).
  2. Koala Clip: clip-on retention device for babies and younger children. These are available for the Nucleus 7 and Nucleus 8 Sound Processors.
  3. Safety Cord: provides a convenient way, for both unilateral and bilateral recipients, to ensure your sound processor doesn’t get lost if it comes off your ear.
  4. Safety Lines & Safety Line Hair Clips: Reduce the risk of losing your sound processor. These are a great option to provide the extra security you need when on the go.
  5. Earhooks: comfortably secures the sound processor to your ear. Young children may want to try the “small” earhook for comfort. We offer a variety of earhooks for your specific need.
  6. Hugfit: helps secure the sound processor on even the smallest of ears with a soft, flexible tube.
  7. Pediatric Headband: an optional accessory that holds the sound processor in place.
  8. The Cochlear Earmould Adaptor allows you to attach a custom earmold to your Nucleus 7 or Nucleus 8 sound processors as an option for children or those who are comfortable using an earmold, such as former hearing aid users. (Note, the custom earmold is not supplied by Cochlear.)

For details about retention options for Cochlear’s latest sound processors, click the links below. You can also visit the Cochlear online store to check out all of our available retention devices.

  1. Easwar V, Sanfilippo J, Papsin B, Gordon K. Impact of consistency in daily device use on speech perception abilities in children with cochlear implants: datalogging evidence. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology. 2018 Oct;29(09):835-46.
  2. Wiseman KB, Warner-Czyz AD, Kwon S, Fiorentino K, Sweeney M. Relationships between daily device use and early communication outcomes in young children with cochlear implants. Ear and Hearing. 2021 Jul 1;42(4):1042-53.
  3. Gagnon EB, Eskridge H, Brown KD, Park LR. The impact of cumulative cochlear implant wear time on spoken language outcomes at age 3 years. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. 2021 Apr 14;64(4):1369-75.
Jen Schulz
Jen Schulz is the Services and Marketing Specialist and has worked for Cochlear since 2016. She is responsible for facilitating recipient services content and communications. Jen was born and raised in New York but now calls Colorado home. She enjoys baking in her spare time and spending time with her husband and 2 dogs.