a child with a hearing aid

Hearing Aids for Children

Hearing loss is a very common disability that is found among children, and it can affect their emotional, cognitive, and social development. Fortunately, there is a variety of hearing aids available for children with hearing disabilities. Below is information you should consider to help your child overcome auditory health obstacles.

What causes children's hearing disabilities?

It is imperative that the signs and symptoms of hearing loss are carefully considered as early as birth and at a minimum of three months of age if possible. There are several factors that could lead to hearing loss in a child. However, approximately half of all hearing loss cases are found to have no cause.

If the child was born prematurely or spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), the child could develop hearing problems. Certain complications at birth, such as a high level of bilirubin that led to a blood transfusion, can also play a critical role in hearing loss. A family history of childhood hearing loss can be a genetic cause for hearing loss. Many medications can also have side effects such as hearing loss. If a child has recurring ear infections or infections such as meningitis and cytomegalovirus, then there is a greater possibility for hearing impairments to develop.

How do hearing aids help?

Hearing aids are primarily used to treat hearing loss in children by amplifying sounds. A pediatrician can run several tests and recommend a pediatric audiologist for the special treatment of auditory medical concerns. To assist with hearing loss that cannot be treated with a standard hearing aid, some hearing aids are attached to the bone of the skull. Be sure that the hearing aid batteries are fully charged for the best performance. If sound becomes distorted, this is a sign to change your hearing aid battery.

Are there hearing aids specifically for children?

It is recommended that a child wears two hearing aids if the hearing loss occurs in both ears. Hearing aids are equipped with a microphone, an amplifier, and a receiver. Due to the need for language and speech development, a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid is often considered the most appropriate treatment for younger children. The small design and colors of BTE hearing aids make the devices very child-friendly. One feature that isn't child-friendly, however, is that batteries need to be charged every one or two weeks. It is probably best to have multiple batteries to interchange while the depleted ones are charging. A BTE hearing aid is also suited to assist with various types of hearing loss. The most significant feature of a BTE hearing aid is that it provides a stimulation of amplified environmental sounds that are required for brain development.

In older children, an in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid may be considered practical. These are a little less obvious, and they are custom-designed to fit inside of the ear. The two types of ITE hearing aids include in-the-canal (ITC) and completely-in-the-canal (CIC). ITE hearing aids should only be considered for older children who have already developed their language and speech skills. The preferred hearing aid technology for older children is an external receiver-style type of hearing aid. These hearing aids are smaller, but they still provide the necessary amplifying technology to assist with the continual development of auditory functions that occur between the ear and the brain as the child grows. The external receiver has a microphone that is attached behind the ear, but the receiver is placed in the ear canal.

Last Updated: April 18, 2018