Tips & Tricks

Social Integration and Making Friends With a Hearing Implant

Being socially engaged and making friends in childhood is important for psychological well-being and is positively associated with academic success. Parents of children with hearing implants can support development of their child’s social skills by creating opportunities to build relationships with peers and by practicing these skills in structured situations. Here are some tips to develop your child’s social skills and help them make friends.

Social Integration and Making Friends

Model a Positive Attitude Towards Hearing Loss

Model to your child confident and positive responses to questions about their hearing loss and hearing devices. Children learn how to respond to comments and questions on these topics from their parents and those around them. Model in your own responses how you wish for your child to respond. As your child gets older, encourage them to tell others about their hearing device. Teach them the name of their device and how it works. An experience book including photographs of your child wearing their device and photographs from surgery and activation day may help you practice telling this story with your child. You could also look at the storybook about Mellie’s journey to cochlear implants together and talk about your child’s experience. Role play at home with siblings and other family members to practice confident responses to comments and questions.

Help Your Child Express Their Emotions

Being able to label their own emotions and the emotions of others enables children to communicate and respond in social settings appropriately and positively. If your child is upset, joyous, excited, frustrated, annoyed, etc., help them label their emotions and explain what happened or the reason they feel a particular way. Also label and explain emotions in yourself, other people, and characters from television shows, movies, and books to model this language for your child. Talk with your child about what happened and how they could respond. For example, “If your classmate is sad, you could ask them what happened, pat them on the back, and tell them it will be OK.” See how Mia’s parent labels emotions in characters in this Rehab at Home video.

Can’t See This Video?
Having problems viewing this video? Watch it on YouTube.

Tell Stories

Children—just like adults—tell their friends simple stories about their day and their recent experiences. This forms a foundation for social interactions and builds friendships. Help your child tell stories about themselves by practicing at home. Remember, children need to hear others tell stories about their day or experiences before they can tell their own stories.

  • At home, everyone can take turns telling about their day. This gives your child the opportunity to hear how to tell a story and then tell their own story.
  • Use a photo or memento (bus ticket, sticker, leaf from a visit to the park, etc.) to prompt your child to talk about their experience.
  • Rehearse and help your child practice telling others about special experiences, such as a trip to the zoo or swimming pool. Help them use particular phrases or sentences to tell the story.
  • Model simple ways to ask others about their interests (favorite color, food, toy, thing to do on the weekend) and how to respond to such questions.

Join After-School Activities

Pay attention to your child’s interests and sign them up for organized activities such as music lessons, sports teams, clubs, or classes. This will allow them to meet new peers and be part of groups that share the same interests as them.

Connect With Others

Meet people that use hearing devices and families of children that use hearing devices online through the Hearpeers community. Many people have reported that meeting and sharing experiences and tips with other people that use hearing devices helps improve their sense of belonging.


Thanks for your message. We will reply as soon as possible.

Send us a message

Field is required

John Doe

Field is required

Field is required

What do you think?

Send Message

© MED-EL Medical Electronics. All rights reserved. The content on this website is for general informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Contact your doctor or hearing specialist to learn what type of hearing solution suits your specific needs. Not all products, features, or indications are approved in all countries.

Processing Comment

Sorry. There was an error. Please try again.

Thanks for your feedback. Your comment will be published after approval.

Leave your comment