June 2019 The Epoch Times
Being a kid can feel difficult at times, trying to fit in and make friends while trying to find your own voice. It can be even more difficult for children with adaptive needs, who sometimes find themselves standing out because of medical devices they need or unique physical features they have. That can definitely be the case for hearing-impaired children, who often have to wear special hearing devices on their ears or the sides of their heads that other kids don’t have.
A British mom, Sarah Ivermee, didn’t think that was the case when her own 4-year-old son didn’t seem to have any issues with wearing his cochlear implants. Her son, Freddie, had been diagnosed as “profoundly deaf in his right ear and moderately to severely deaf in his left ear” at just 3 months old, a side effect of Ivermee being diagnosed with CMV (cytomegalovirus) during her pregnancy. He had worn his implants for nearly his entire life and had never fought his parents on it. She quickly learned that other children didn’t have the same acceptance for such differences, though. She met other parents who had discovered that their children were hesitant to wear their hearing aids because it made them look different from all the other kids.
Hoping to ease some of the emotional discomfort, Ivermee offered to put little nail stickers on the hearing aid of a friend’s 9-year-old daughter to decorate it a bit. And when she realised that there wasn’t a product already on the market that made kids’ hearing aids look fancy, she took it upon herself to transform the devices into fantastic superheroes and other cool designs—and a thriving, incredible business was born.
Getting to be a mum to these two amazing loons is literally the best thing!
I have so much love for them and I feel so much love from them. Ivermee’s company is called “Lugs,” and it works for nearly every kind of hearing aid on the market. Parents can buy “kits” that provide stickers and plastic shapes to fit on the hearing aids and cochlear implants, letting kids decorate the devices however they want. Some of the designs are more generic, with holiday images and glittery jewels provided. But others can transform kids into actual superheroes, providing molds for everyone from Batman to Black Panther. They come in shapes for each type of implant or aid offered, making sure that every kid has an opportunity to make their hearing device look as cool as they want it to.
In order to keep her costs low, Ivermee explained in a blog post that she did nearly everything
herself—building her website from scratch and finding all of the best quality products on her own to avoid extra fees. And sure enough, she’s managed to keep the cost of each kit down to about 10–12 pounds each, roughly just under $15 USD. The response has been incredible, with dozens of hearing-impairment programs signing on to work with Ivermee and children from across the United Kingdom ordering the designs. And even for adults, the concept has resonated in a fantastic way. “I love your idea. As a child I was also born deaf as a result of CMV, and I hated wearing my hearing aid because other children would laugh at me. I wish back then I had these designs so I would feel ‘cool’! Congratulations on helping children feel like they don’t need to be ashamed of their hearing device whether it’s a hearing aid or cochlear,” was one comment.