For most families of children diagnosed with hearing loss, finding the right hearing aid is the next important step towards improving hearing health. If you are in the process of selecting hearing aids for your child, keep reading for some useful tips.
1. Familiarize yourself with child-friendly hearing aids.
After seeking pediatric audiology testing to determine the type of hearing loss your child suffers from, your pediatric audiologist will recommend a hearing aid best suited to your child's needs. Consider your child's personality and preference (bold colors versus discreet colors for instance), their age, and any extracurricular activities that they engage in (swimming for instance). These are the 3 common types of hearing aids:
In the Ear (ITE)
This is a plastic case that is fitted to the outer ear and is used for mild to severe hearing loss. However, due to their small size, they are hard to adjust and are easily damaged by earwax.
Behind the Ear (BTE)
These are worn behind the ear and come in a case that connects to a plastic ear mold in the outer ear. These are used for mild to severe hearing loss in infants and children.
These are directly fitted into the ear canal and are available in as completely-in-canal (CIC) aids and in-the-canal (ITC) aids. Canal aids are shaped to fit the size of your child’s ear canal and are used for moderate to mild hearing loss.
If your child has a severe type of hearing loss, permanent hearing loss or deafness, cochlear implants may be an alternative to hearing aids. Your pediatric audiologist can guide you in choosing the right solution for your child.
2. Consider size.
Children uncomfortable with drawing attention to themselves may be keen on a hearing aid that is harder to spot, as in the ITC model. But, due to the small size of this hearing aid, it may be difficult to remove and insert into the ear canal, especially in younger children. While the BTE model may be larger, they are easier to fit and adjust to size as your child grows.
3. Avoid hearing aids that require manual adjustments.
Hearing aids that require your child to manually adjust their settings to adapt to their environment (indoors versus outdoors, for example) can be difficult to use for younger children. Instead, opt for newer models that automatically adjust their volume and microphone direction to adapt to their user's environment.
4. Opt for hearing aids with remote accessories.
Children with normal hearing are easily distracted with background noise, this is even more difficult for a child with a hearing impairment. Hearing aids that have remote microphones can greatly improve a child’s ability to hear communication clearly as they cancel ambient noise and reverberation.
With new microphone technology, the speaker wears a microphone that connects links to the child’s hearing device. These accessories make it easier for adults to communicate with hearing-impaired children.
5. Caring for your child's hearing aid.
Regular cleaning and service checks will ensure that the hearing device maintains its best hearing conditions.
Here are some things you can do to care for the device at home: