Christmas is just around the corner and finding the right gift for a child with hearing loss can be a tricky prospect. Fortunately, many of the top toy brands are coming out with toys that encourage inclusivity and accessibility, so that kids can play with toys that look just like them – from figurines with cochlear implants and hearing aids to books representing children with hearing loss and more.
“It’s great to see so many toy brands releasing toys that represent and celebrate the diversity in our society,” explained Trude Hallaraker, Telethon Speech & Hearing’s Clinical Lead Audiology and Metro Ear Health Coordinator. “They support children to learn about inclusivity through play, as well as providing all children with the opportunity to play with toys that reflect their experiences. We love it when a child brings their teddy in with them to an audiology appointment, to have their cochlear or hearing aids checked as well!”
Here are some handy gift ideas for children with hearing loss.
- Hear Like Me Dolls
Choose from a variety of dolls, including Anna or Elsa from Frozen, Batman, Captain America, Spiderman, or a customizable baby doll. Then select hearing aids, cochlear implants, or BAHAs for a doll, Barbie or superhero that looks just like your child.
- Books about children with hearing loss
This is the story of Gracie, your everyday fun-loving kid who does everything that you do, but has trouble hearing.
A fun story portraying a deaf main character as a “regular kid”, where her hearing loss is NOT the focus of the story.
- LEGO’s minifigure with a hearing aid
“We are committed to developing our LEGO City sets in a way that ensures they are representative of the world in which children are living,” LEGO says. “Therefore, we will continue to include minifigures that portray people with diverse ages, professions, genders, and characteristics.” Available here.
- Barbie with hearing aids
Earlier this year, popular doll brand Barbie released dolls with hearing aids for the first time in its 62-year history. The Fashionista range of dolls will help kids “see themselves reflected,” explained Mattel’s Global Head of Barbie Dolls, Lisa McKnight. Grab it here
- Tinkerbell with a cochlear implant
Get your Disney Tinkerbell here: shopDisney UK | Home to Official Disney Merchandise
Get your 3D cochlear implant here: MakieLab by MakieLab – Shapeways Shops
- Joss the American Girl
Check out Joss here: Girl of the Year: Joss Kendrick | American Girl
- Toy BAHA with soft band
The BAHA Bowtique has produced this funky replica BAHA for your little one to fasten on to their favourite toy. This and other similar toy devices can be found on Etsy.com: Pink TOY Baha Hearing Aid & Softband for Doll or Elf doll – Etsy Australia
- Funky CI retention head bands
Forget boring old headbands and step into a world of colour and patterns. Combining practicality with fun, the headbands secure your child’s processor and coil directly to the headband, meaning everything stays together in one piece.
- Toys for teens
Smart watches: This is a great idea, because can set the alarm clock to vibrate on their wrist. It also vibrates for incoming call and messages. They also promote a healthy lifestyle, sending alerts for wearers to move be active.
Bed-shaking and lamp-flashing alarms: these devices are helpful in promoting independence in your teen. Some great bed-shaking clocks vibrate under the pillow or mattress when the alarm goes off, others have a flashing light.
Digital doorbells: these send a vibration straight through to the teen’s phone (or watch). Great for teens are heading off to university.
Hearing aid and cochlear implant decoration: there are various online businesses that offer stickers, charms, and cases with all kinds of designs for their devices. Decorating a hearing aid helps raise hearing loss awareness by creating opportunities to start conversations around hearing loss.