Hearing aids for children
Children of all ages, even the youngest, can use hearing aids. Hearing aids for children are also called pediatric hearing aids. There are different types of hearing aids for children with hearing loss. Today, all hearing aids for children are digital hearing aids.
But choosing the best hearing aids (type, size and style) for your hard of hearing child very much depends on the type and degree of your child's hearing loss. Therefore, choosing hearing aids should always be done in close contact and dialogue with hearing professionals. Most hearing aids for children are behind the ear hearing aids (BTEs) with an ear mould in the ear canal.
The right hearing aids will help your hard of hearing child grow and develop.
Special hearing aids for children
All acknowledged manufacturers have ranges of different types of hearing aids specially made for children, from babies, infants and toddlers to school children and teenagers. Some of them are colorful or may be visible and decorative in other ways.
For smaller children, a hearing aid should be easy to use. The hearing aids, including the earmolds, must also be robust and able to withstand the impact of normal playing and to be resistant to dust and moisture. Behind-the-ear hearing aids are almost always recommended, especially for babies, infants, toddlers and smaller school children.
The benefits of hearing aids for children
There are many benefits to using hearing aids for a child with hearing loss. Children with hearing aids can grow and develop almost like other children.
Children's brains develop quickly, and sound inputs are very critical for the development of the brain's pathways for hearing, speech and language. An untreated hearing loss strongly affects your child's ability to understand, speak, learn, socialise and communicate.
So, if you child has a hearing loss, especially if it is a severe or profound hearing loss, it is extremely important that he or she starts using hearing aids as soon and as much as possible.
If your hard of hearing child uses hearing aids, you as parents will also be much better able to communicate with and raise your child.
Keep in contact with health professionals
If your child has a hearing loss and uses hearing aids, it is very important to check if the hearing aids are fitted and adjusted so they match the actual hearing level of your child as the hearing loss may develop over time. This should be done in close contact with a hearing professional.
Some children who use hearing aids may also need help from a speech therapist and other health professionals, especially if the hearing loss is more severe or profound. Therefore, you should also be in close contact and dialogue with different types of health professionals.
Be patient, caring and loving
When your child has begun using hearing aids, you must remember that it takes some time to get used to them, also for a small child. Your child has to learn to hear the new sounds, which it has never heard before. Also remember that the world is suddenly much “noisier” when they start using their hearing aids. This can be overwhelming for a small child.
The best way to help is to be caring, loving and understanding. For a child to getting used to hearing aids requires motivation, support and participation from you as a parent. Advanced, well-fitted hearing aids are not very useful if the child does not wear them or if they are not maintained and adjusted to their actual needs.
Your child also needs to be aware of the problem and understand why he or she has to wear hearing aids. During this process, communication and motivation are very important factors for your child's willingness to wear hearing aids. The greater the involvement, the more the child understands and the greater the willingness to the use hearing aids.
Taking care of your child's hearing aids
It is important that you help your child maintain his or her hearing aid. Also, try to make your child feel a sense of responsibility for this important device.
There are two reasons, in particular, why it is important to take good care of your child's hearing aid: first, to retain the optimum hearing conditions and, second, to ensure high hygiene standards. Proper daily cleaning and regular service will increase the life of the hearing aid and ensure that it performs satisfactorily.
Here is a list of some of the things you can do:
- Handle your child's hearing aid with care.
- Change the batteries often so that they do not suddenly run out of power.
- Switch off your child's hearing aid when it is not in use. If your child does not use it for a long period of time, you should remove the battery.
- The battery contacts should be cleaned regularly. Use a cotton swab but be careful not to bend the contacts. Dirty battery contacts can cause the hearing aid to not function properly.
- Remove earwax from your child's hearing aid. Earwax can cause temporary malfunction or even a breakdown. The wax can also easily collect dirt.
- Clean your child's hearing aid with the small brush or the soft cloth that came with the hearing aid. Do not insert tools into the sound outlet. This could damage the receiver. If you cannot clean the hearing aid completely, contact your hearing health care professional.
- Change the filters often so that they do not collect wax or dirt.
- Do not let your child wear the hearing aid in the shower, when swimming, or when using a hair dryer, hair spray, or other types of spray.
- Contact your doctor regularly to have your child's ear canals cleaned. Accumulated earwax may prevent sounds from travelling from the hearing aid into the middle ear. Do not try to remove the earwax from the ear yourself as you could possibly damage the ear.
If your child has a very severe or profound hearing loss or is practically deaf, cochlear implants or other types hearing implants may be an alternative to powerful hearing aids. Your hearing professional or an ENT doctor can guide you in choosing the right solution for your child.