An Introduction to Hearing Aids for Kids

boy enjoying music while using hearing aids

Having a child with hearing issues can be a worrying and stressful experience. Fortunately, with modern hearing aid technology, it is easy for your child to enjoy an excellent quality of life with impressive hearing abilities. However, you need to identify and address the issue promptly. The sooner you deal with it, the better for your child. The first step is to realize that there is a problem.

When To Know or Test for Hearing Issues With Kids

It can be challenging to know when someone is experiencing hearing difficulties. Even when you are the one with declining hearing, it may be hard to notice the change. When it is someone else, even a close loved one, you will need to pay close attention for these signs of hearing loss:

  • Asking for things to be repeated or saying “what?” frequently.
  • Turning up music or the television very loud.
  • Talking about a “good ear” or seeming to favor one side.
  • Appearing to sometimes hear clearly, but not at other times.
  • Delayed speech or hearing development.
  • Teachers report difficulties in the classroom.
  • Speaking unusually loudly.

These can all be signs of hearing loss. Of course, the way hearing difficulties manifest can be different between individuals. If you notice any of these signs or similar issues, talk to your child’s medical professional. He or she will likely recommend testing either in-office or through an auditory specialist.

How To Figure Out What Hearing Aid Is Best for Kids

There are a lot of things to consider when getting a hearing aid for a child (or anyone else). These are some of the key things to look for:

  • Hearing Loss Severity: Different aids are capable of handling different ranges of severity. Behind-the-ear hearing aids are useful for a lot of situations. However, more specialized equipment may be needed for severe cases. For milder cases, more discrete aids may be an option.
  • Child Age: Certain hearing aids are only appropriate for older children and adults. For Younger users, there are specially designed aids that suit the active lifestyle (and accompanying lack of caution) of youth.
  • Ear Features and Conditions: Some people may have shallow ear canals or be prone to ear infections. The hearing aid should be chosen to accommodate and such special requirements.
  • Features: Many hearing aids offer various special features such as Bluetooth connectivity and directional microphones. Exploring these options will help you make an informed choice.

Typically, it is easiest to find the right hearing aid when you can work with an auditory care specialist. He or she can guide you to the right hearing aid.

Types of Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are typically differentiated by where around the ear the processing component sits. In-the-ear hearing aids have all of the main components inside the ear canal. They are often custom fit to achieve maximum comfort and security. Invisible-in-the-canal and completely-in-the-canal styles are popular and discrete versions of ITE hearing aids. In-the-canal and low-profile hearing aids are a little more visible, but also more powerful in many cases.

Behind-the-ear hearing aids have a small earpiece in the ear but most of the aid is worn behind the ear. BTE hearing aids can be quite discrete and often come with more bonus features (because the devices are larger). Receiver-in-the-ear style hearing aids have the speaker hidden in the ear canal. BTE with earmold hearing aids have a larger receiver that is more appropriate when dealing with significant hearing loss.

How To Get Help Finding the Right Hearing Aid

If you think that your child may have hearing loss and need help, speak to your pediatrician or contact a hearing health specialist. Typically, your child’s doctor will refer you to an audiologist or other specialist. After some testing, the hearing professional will be able to guide you to the right hearing aid for your child. This may involve letting him or her try some to figure out what works best.

Learn More About Hearing Aids for Kids

Happy Ears is an Arizona-based hearing center that helps patients of all ages with their auditory needs. We are here to help with all types of hearing loss including vertigo and imbalance disorders. Learn about our pediatric audiology services to determine if they may be right for you and your child.