Hearing is an incredible gift, and one that people with hearing loss and their families do not take for granted. Here are some ideas for how to make your “Hearing Birthday” (the anniversary of your/your child’s CI activation or the day you/your child received HAs or Baha) special.
Sweet treats. Many people bake a cake with a CI design or theme — your favorite character or superhero wearing CIs, a cake in the shape of a cochlear implant, cupcakes with a cochlea spiral design, a picture cake with a photo from surgery day or the first time you ever heard… the possibilities are endless.
Give back. A nice way to honor the gift of hearing is to thank those who have been instrumental in your journey. Send flowers or edible goodies to your CI team, make a donation to a CI center, AVT clinic, or auditory oral school, or just send a note/email of thanks. As professionals, it mean the world to us to know that our work has made a difference in people’s lives.
Have a hearing experience. Do something to take advantage of your marvelous hearing! Go to the movies, a concert, a trip to the zoo, or anywhere you can hear your favorite sounds. Purchase a new track from iTunes, play an instrument, or call a loved one on the telephone to hear a favorite voice.
Have a festive meal. Gather some of your favorite people for a meal and toast to your accomplishments!
Treat your ears. Purchase some new accessories for your hearing devices, like Ear Gear, Skinits, new covers from your device’s manufacturer, nail decals, rhinestones, etc. Show off your style!
Document it. Write down your/your child’s accomplishments in the past year. Take a video of your child so you have a speech sample over time. Take pictures of the equipment (trust me, a decade from now, you’ll be amazed at the change!).
Share it with the class. If your child’s school and teacher are open to it, bring treats into your child’s class to celebrate the day. You can combine this celebration with a discussion of hearing loss a hearing technology if your child is open to it (see my tips for Helping Classmates Understand Hearing Loss).
Read a book. Some years ago, I wrote a book called Happy Birthday to My Ears, which describes a little boy’s first year of hearing with rhymes for each month. The book, beautifully illustrated by artist and CI recipient Rachel Chaikof, is the only one of its kind for celebrating hearing birthdays. Even better, ALL proceeds go to charities that support people with hearing loss and their families. You can purchase the book, which is also available in e-book and Spanish format, HERE.
Sing a song. Regular birthdays have their own special song, so why not Hearing Birthdays, too? Below are the lyrics to a song that I sing with children in my practice to celebrate their special day:
Take a time, even just a minute in the day, to reflect on all that you have accomplished. You’ve come such a long way. This is quite an achievement!