A childs hearing already starts development inside the mother’s womb and from the minute a child is born hearing and auditory structures develop until around the age of 20. Today’s science allows us to test infants as young as 3-4 days old for their hearing ability. To not further delay any auditory development and give your child the best start into live Hearing Aids should be fitted as early as possible. Technology today allows fitting Hearing Aids to children as young as a few months old only.
Because of the size of your childs ear and because of certain accessories and features which are very important for your childs development, so called BTE (Behind The Ear) Hearing aids are the most appropriate design for your child. Depending on hearing loss, once your child reaches her/his teens other designs like RIC (Receiver In Canal) or various forms of Custom Made ITE (Inside The Ear) models might be possible.
Hearing aids are not a cure for hearing loss, but similar to spectacles, who make one see well while worn, make your child hear well while using them. If your child’s hearing loss cannot be medically treated than he/she will have to wear hearing devices for the rest of his/her life (bases on current technological and medical advances).
Yes, for your child to develop as normal hearing and language as possible hearing aids need to be worn every waking hour. If possible and accepted by your child he/she might even wear the hearing aids during sleep or nap time. Always remember in order to develop normal speech and language your child needs to be exposed to all kind sounds (and even noises) as much as possible.
Your child likes to hear and very quickly will learn, that without the hearing aids the world is awfully quiet. Unless the hearing aids are not fitted properly, or cause discomfort he/she will be happy to wear them and even will be upset if the hearing aids don’t work. However if your child consistently removes them, go to your hearing healthcare provider and check if there is some infection or maybe a problem with the fitting. If ever your child removes the hearing aids because he/she “throws a fit” just wait a few minutes and calmly but firmly but them back into the ears.
There are several accessories which help you prevent loss. Hyper allergenic tape to secure the instruments to the skin behind the ear, so called “Huggies” which secure the with an elastic rubber band onto the ear and “Critter Clips” which secure them with a clip to your childs clothes.
If your child accidentally swallows a hearing aid battery, call the hospital or physician immediately. Bring a sample of the Battery with you so the medical staff knows what they are dealing with and can decide on the best course of action. You also might find information under this links helpful:
Most hearing aids offer a “child lock” this is a small mechanism which prevents your child from opening the hearing aids battery compartment and take out the battery. If your hearing aids are not fitted with such a mechanism, contact us today to fit one today.
The hearing aid needs very little cleaning. You might want to wipe them down every evening with a moist mild antiseptic tissue. PLEASE AVOID FOR THE HEARING AIDS TO GET TOO WET, AS THIS COULD DAMAGE THEM.
Despite all efforts of manufacturers, hearing aids are still susceptible to moisture and especially to sweat. The best way is to store hearing aids every evening in a “dry aid” (after removing the earmould and battery and leaving the battery compartment open).
To protect hearing aids from sweat you may use a product like “sweat band” during sport or other activities when you child my sweat excessively.
Infants and babies grow very fast, and so do their ears. To change earmoulds every couple of months might be necessary. As your child gets older and changes needn’t be so frequent anymore. Older children might need to change their earmoulds about once a year.
Earmoulds seal the sound into the ear and if they become lose you will hear a whistling sound, especially if your child moves the head, chews or touches the ear. To a certain extend this whistling cannot be avoided, but if it becomes too persistent it might be an indication that your child has outgrown the current set of earmoulds and you will need a new one.
Disconnect the earmold from the hearing aid (ask us if you have any questions on how to do this safely). You may now wash the earmold and tube with a mild detergent or using a special earmold cleaning kit. After washing, blow out any residual water from the tube with a blower and let it dry overnight.
Dry the hearing aid with some paper tissue and bring it ASAP to us for repair, telling us exactly what happened. We can open the hearing aid and make sure all the moisture is removed before it can cause corrosion.
Yes, once you see the colour of the tube changing and feel the tube harden it's time to come in and change it. A hard tubing might cause your child discomfort and also lead to feedback.
Do not use a hair dryer or put the hearing aids into a microwave or conventional oven.
Different makes/models provide different features and benefits. Let us discuss with you what is be best solution for your child based on degree and shape of hearing loss and your childs age and educational needs.
If you child has hearing loss in both ears he/she absolutely needs two hearing aids (one on each ear). Only if your child has hearing loss only in one ear will one hearing aid, on the side of the hearing loss, be used. Being able to hear from both sides is absolutely essential for a normal auditory development and for hearing in noise, over distance and other challenging listening environment. Using only one hearing aid will deprive your child of essential auditory cues and prevent him/her from hearing his/her best. Hearing from one side only, also will deprive the brain of vital stimulation, which it needs for normal development.
We call this whistling sound “Feedback” and it is caused if signals, which were already amplified by the hearing aid can “sneak” back to the microphone and are being amplified again. This is mostly caused by an ill-fitting earmould, a hard earmould tube or excessive earwax in the ear canal. Hugging, touching or putting the head with a hearing aid side onto a billow may cause it. Contact us if you have problems with frequent feedback.
Hearing aids today are small computers and can be “programed” or adjusted in unlimited ways to your childs hearing loss configurations. We can also reprogram your hearing aids unlimited times if it becomes necessary due to changes in your childs hearing or due to your childs growth.
Check the hearing aids every morning performing a listening check (if in doubt ask us how to do it). You also might keep a diary about battery consumption to make sure to change the battery in time, so your child is never without hearing.
Check the hearing aids and batteries regularly, Ensure, that your child is using the hearing aids every waking hour. Provide as much auditory stimulation for your child and ask us or your Habilitationists on how you can help your child to progress in hearing and language development.