Baby With Hearing Aids

In the United States, two or three children out of 1,000 experience some form of hearing loss, according to the National Institutes of Health. Quick intervention is one of the factors that best determines whether your child’s hearing loss is permanent, as well as how well your child adjusts if it will be a long-term concern. 

Early intervention for children with hearing loss can help them develop language skills so they have the same opportunities for socialization as other children. It can also help them learn and participate in school, which is crucial for their development. 

In addition to adult hearing loss and hearing devices, Happy Ears Hearing Center specializes in pediatric hearing loss and pediatric hearing aid fittings. If hearing aids are recommended for your child, our pediatric hearing loss and treatment expert can help.

Types of Hearing Aids for Children

The type of pediatric hearing aid that will be best suited for your child depends on many factors, including their age and their type of hearing loss. 

In-the-Ear Hearing Aids

In-the-ear pediatric hearing aids come in a plastic case that fits over your child’s ear. They are suited for children who have mild to severe hearing loss and can be combined with other hearing devices. 

In-the-ear hearing aids are small and discreet, but their size also makes them harder to adjust.

Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids

Behind-the-ear hearing aids for kids consist of a hearing aid in a case that attaches to a plastic ear mold in the outer ear. It is one of the most common options, and it can work for children experiencing anything from mild to severe hearing loss. 

Typically, these hearing aids work well for young children and even infants. It is essential that these hearing aids are fitted correctly so they work their best and don’t cause annoying feedback. 

Bone-Anchored Hearing Aids

Bone-anchored pediatric hearing aids are a good option for children over five years of age. They work similarly to bone conduction hearing aids by vibrating the skull bone and bypassing whatever is preventing sound from reaching the inner ear. Unlike bone-conduction hearing aids, however, bone-anchored ones are implants. Surgeons fit them into the skull with a titanium screw. 

These can be a good choice for children with external ear canal problems and single-sided hearing loss. 

Fitting these hearing aids is a surgical procedure, so it means placing your child under general anesthesia. The abutment area also requires regular cleaning, which your child will likely not be able to perform on their own. 

Factors to Consider When Fitting Hearing Aids for Children

When fitting hearing aids for children, it is important to know the degree of hearing loss the child has. The degrees of hearing loss in children are:

  • Mild 
  • Moderate
  • Severe 
  • Profound

A child with mild hearing loss can have trouble hearing softer sounds, including soft voices. A child with moderate hearing loss can struggle to hear a conversation at regular volume if there is background noise, while a child experiencing severe hearing loss will have trouble hearing loud voices. A child with profound hearing loss will not be able to hear the majority of sounds. 

Most pediatric hearing aids can help children with mild to severe hearing loss. 

You also need to consider the type of hearing loss your child has. Most children have conductive hearing loss, which is when something is blocking the outer or middle ear. Sensorineural hearing loss is less common — it refers to a problem with the inner ear or with transmissions of sound signals to the child’s brain. 

The child’s age should also play a role in choosing and fitting hearing aids. For younger children, choosing a hearing aid that is robust and can withstand rough play is vital. For most children, behind-the-ear hearing aids are the right option for this reason. 

Another factor is the size and shape of the ear canal. Some hearing aids will be too large to fit correctly, making them less effective and more uncomfortable. 

Lifestyle is another factor to consider. Some activities, like playing sports, can benefit from certain types of hearing aids more than others. 

Because of all of the options available and factors to consider, you need professionals to conduct a comprehensive hearing evaluation. 

Tips for Parents of Children with Hearing Aids

Pediatric hearing loss and treatment can be difficult for your child and for you, as can the process of adjusting to wearing hearing aids. 

You want to begin by having your child wear the hearing aids for short periods. It can be a shock to hear clearly, and sounds can become overwhelming. Let your child take them off after an hour or two and then encourage them to slowly wear them for longer periods. 

Allow your child to personalize the hearing aid. Encourage them to name them or add stickers to behind-the-ear options. 

Make sure to explain what the hearing aid does in ways that your child understands, and let them ask questions. 

To ensure the hearing aid continues to work at its best, don’t store it near heat or anywhere too cold, and avoid using any type of hair spray while your child is wearing it. 

Stay aware of the batteries, especially if your child is too young to be able to tell you when the hearing aid is not working. Most batteries have to be replaced every week. 

Don’t let your child swim or shower with the hearing aid, and clean it every night so it is ready for your child to wear the following morning. 

The Importance of Getting Evaluated for Hearing Loss

If you have noticed signs that your child may struggle to hear correctly, an evaluation is the most important thing you can do. An audiologist can ensure you get the right diagnosis and help you find the best pediatric hearing aids. 

Waiting to get your child help can impact their speech and language development, making it more difficult for them to socialize and learn, so even if you are not sure if your child has a hearing problem, turn to experts for guidance. 

Contact Happy Ears Hearing Center to schedule a consultation for pediatric hearing loss and treatment services for your child.