With a 4-year-old son who was diagnosed with profound deafness and hearing loss just months after his birth, UK mother Sarah Ivermee is all too familiar with the struggles of fitting a child with cochlear implants and other hearing aids. One often neglected issue is the teasing or sense of alienation that children may experience as a result of being the only one in a group of peers with a hearing device. After learning that the 9-year-old daughter of a friend disliked wearing her hearing aid because it made her feel different from her friends, Ivermee offered to decorate the device with nail stickers to see if it would make a difference. Seeing how much the young girl loved the pretty results, Ivermee was struck by an idea–why not help families everywhere by making a simple product that would boost the confidence of children with hearing impairments?
In 2014, the mother-of-two brought that vision to life when she created Lugs, a company that sells custom-made kits to decorate hearing aids and cochlear implants. The creative designs, which range from brightly colored flowers to popular superheroes, make children proud and excited to show off their unique hearing devices.
“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,” Ivermee wrote in a blog post on Limping Chicken. “Needless to say, our son Freddie reaps the most benefit from the business, as he gets to choose new designs every month, making all his hearing friends at school very jealous!”