Knowing that your child is unable to hear the sounds and voices in his or her surroundings is a heartbreaking thought for parents, loved ones, and caregivers. If you think your child is unable to hear correctly, a meeting with an audiologist can confirm your suspicions, and may lead to fitting your child with a pediatric hearing aid. Knowing what to expect makes the process of adding a hearing aid a smooth transition for you and your child.
Babies as young as four weeks old can be fitted with hearing devices. It is vital to address permanent or temporary hearing loss as soon as possible, as infants need to be able to hear in order to develop their language skills. Addressing hearing loss from a young age helps baby develop language skills on a developmentally normal schedule.
Types of Hearing Aids
There are two commonly used styles for pediatric hearing aids: behind the ear (BTE) hearing aids and inside the ear (ITE) hearing aids.
BTE hearing aids may be used for mild to severe hearing loss. They are made to fit the child's ear, making them a durable option that is comfortable to wear. Kids and parents can choose from a number of colors so that the hearing aids meet their preferences.
If a child needs additional hearing devices, the BTE hearing aid is simple to connect.
ITE hearing aids are generally recommended for children at least 10 years of age. They are custom designed to fit the inside of the wearer's ear. The interior portion of the ear is constantly changing in small children, making ITE hearing aids a poor selection for long-term usage.
A less commonly used selection is the bone conduction hearing aid. These hearing aids are used by children who are missing a portion of their inner or outer ear. They are often worn on the forehead or behind the ear and held in place with a band. If appropriate for the child's situation, the device can be surgically implanted.
When Hearing Aids Are Not an Option
Hearing aids are not capable of fixing profound hearing loss. If a child suffers from damage to the auditory nerves, a hearing aid cannot help his or her hearing. Sometimes, children do not respond as expected to traditional hearing aids.
In cases like these, a cochlear implant is a viable alternative. Cochlear implants are surgically placed inside of the ear; they help the ear perceive sound by electrically stimulating the auditory nerve.
Maintenance is key to keeping these implants functioning correctly; a regular visit to an audiologist can ensure that the device is set to the correct parameters.
If you suspect that your child is suffering from hearing loss, now is the time to take action. Even mild hearing loss hinders language development and must be corrected. By understanding how hearing devices can help, you can make a well-informed decision regarding your child's hearing loss.
Reach out to a group like Audiologists Northwest for more information.Share