They say “necessity is the mother of invention,” and for Sarah Ivermee that statement is undeniably true.
The mom of two has a son who is deaf in one ear and has hearing loss in the other. Although Freddie had an adaptive hearing device, it didn’t make it any easier for him to fit in.
Freddie received a cochlear implant when he was just 3 years old, but the beige medical device drew attention. Thankfully, he didn’t mind too much, even as he got older, but not all children feel the same way.
“As we met other families with children who had hearing aids and implants, we discovered that not all children were as happy to wear their devices,” she explained. “Most didn’t like the way they looked boring and plain, and unfortunately a lot were embarrassed about wearing them because it made them look different.”
When a friend’s 9-year-old daughter complained about her hearing aid, Sarah found a few flowery stickers lying around and used them to jazz up the device. The little girl loved her new look, which gave Sarah a great idea!
The United Kingdom-based mom began researching and discovered no companies had made hearing aid enhancements available. So she started her own experiments with stickers, vinyl appliqués, charms, and other trinkets. She eventually created “Lugs,” which personalize children’s hearing aids with stickers and PVC charms that can be easily removed or swapped out.
So far, Sarah has come up with hundreds of designs that include everything from superheroes and princesses to holiday decorations. Of course, Freddie is always the first to try them out and has become the envy of his classmates. Even kids who don’t have hearing impairments wish they could wear Lugs!
Lugs launched in 2014 and has experienced terrific growth ever since. Sarah said she’s delighted to help remove some of the negative attention from children with hearing problems. “I am so pleased every time my inbox pings and I receive a thank-you email accompanied with pictures of children wearing Lugs on their hearing devices and loving them,” she said.
What a fantastic idea! We’re shocked no one thought to do this before, but we’re so glad Sarah did. It’s sure to spark confidence in so many children!
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