Beth Belshaw, owner of SweetHearts Hair Design, said it wasn’t a conscious decision to encourage people to show off their hearing aids, but rather a natural progression of doing her daughter’s hair, which often exposes her little ears and sweet, pink hearing aids for the world to see.
“In a very low-key way, without even really trying, I think we are raising awareness of being deaf and what it entails,” she says.
Beth’s daughter Baylee was born with severe-to-profound hearing loss. Like many parents, she didn’t know any deaf people before the diagnosis. Her first daughter, Abby, was born with normal hearing and hearing loss didn’t run in their family. When her baby failed her newborn hearing screening, she was confused and lost.
“I had all these things going through my mind,” she says. “I was really, really upset.”
Bailey continued to have hearing screenings and it was confirmed she needed hearing aids. But once she was fit with “precious pink” Phonak Sky hearing aids, Beth says she knew everything would be okay.
“After about a day and a half, she was the happiest baby,” Beth says. “She had such an intelligence behind her eyes, and I just knew she was going to be absolutely fine.”
Beth showcases her daughter’s hearing aids in photos of her hair styles on her social media accounts, including her Instagram account that currently has 586,000 followers.
What started as a passion for braiding her daughters’ hair has turned into a thriving business for her family.
“I didn’t even know I could do hair until I was 31,” she says.
SweetHearts Hair Design has full tutorials online and sells products that make it easy for others to replicate. Beth often features her daughters on her accounts, which has sparked lots of discussions and questions about Baylee’s hearing loss and hearing aids.
“I often have messages from moms whose babies were just diagnosed with hearing loss and they are in panic mode,” she says.
Abby has just finished nursery school and Beth says she is ahead in every single level.
“Four years down the line from when she was first diagnosed, we can see how well she’s managing and how cute her ears look,” she says. “As far we can tell she’s just sailing through everything.”
“We can see how well she’s managing and how cute her ears look.”
When Baylee starts school in September, she will use an FM system, such as Phonak Roger technology, to complement her hearing aids. The added technology will allow her to better pick-up the voices of her teachers and classmates in noisy school environments.
Beth says she is trusting in her daughter’s hearing technology to support her brain development and learning, so she can support other aspects of her childhood and help build her confidence with her beautiful braids.
“Baylee has an added bonus that most children don’t have,” she says. “Some children have their ears pierced, but they can’t walk around with little fairy charms hanging from pretty pink hearing aids. In Baylee’s eyes, her ears are a positive because everyone around her thinks they are beautiful. It’s comforting to know she’s going to be absolutely fine.”
To learn more about SweetHearts Hair Design or to see more photos of Baylee’s hearing aid hairstyles, visit her website.