Children and Hearing Aids: What Parents Need to Know

Parenting a child with hearing loss can present unique challenges, but with the right knowledge and resources, you can help your child navigate life with ease.

Children and Hearing Aids: What Parents Need to Know

Parenting a child with hearing loss can present unique challenges, but with the right knowledge and resources, you can help your child navigate life with ease. This in-depth guide provides insights into hearing aids designed for children and offers practical advice on how to ensure optimal usage.

Impact of Hearing Loss on Children's Lives

Hearing loss can significantly impact a child's life. From the development of language skills to forming bonds with parents, hearing loss can have wide-ranging effects. Hearing aids or cochlear implants can help mitigate these impacts and provide a solution to your child's hearing challenges.

What are Hearing Devices and How Do They Help?

Hearing aids and cochlear implants are the most common types of hearing devices that can help children with hearing loss. Both types of devices have their unique features and benefits.

  • Hearing Aids: These devices amplify sounds, making them louder and easier for the child to hear. They are typically recommended for children with mild to severe hearing loss. 
  • Cochlear Implants: These are surgically implanted devices recommended for children with severe to profound hearing loss. They bypass damaged parts of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. 

The extent to which hearing aids or cochlear implants can help depends largely on the degree and type of hearing loss, the age of the child when they start using the device, and how consistently they use it. 

The Benefits of Hearing Aids for Children

When a child is diagnosed with permanent hearing loss, it can be a daunting experience for parents. However, understanding the implications and available solutions can help parents make informed decisions. Here are three reasons why your child should use hearing devices during all waking hours:

  • Consistent Sound Input: Consistent sound input aids in the development of the brain, especially from birth to three years. The absence of consistent input can hinder normal development of brain pathways.
  • Building Trust: Consistent hearing fosters a sense of trust in your child and strengthens bonding. It aids in understanding the predictability of the world and those around them.
  • Language Acquisition: Language is caught, not taught. A child with hearing loss has a smaller "listening bubble" than other children. Hearing devices help your child 'catch' the verbal language around them, which is essential for their language development.

What's more, hearing aids can offer these long term benefits to children with hearing loss:

  • Brain Development: As children's brains develop quickly, sound inputs are critical for the development of the brain's pathways for hearing, speech, and language.
  • Improved Learning: Untreated hearing loss can significantly affect a child's ability to understand, speak, learn, socialize, and communicate.
  • Better Parent-Child Communication: When your child uses hearing aids, communication becomes much easier, facilitating effective parenting.

How to Choose the Right Hearing Aids for Your Child

Selecting the right hearing aids for your child depends on the type and degree of your child's hearing loss. Therefore, this decision should be made in close consultation with hearing professionals. For younger children, hearing aids should be easy to use, robust, dust-resistant, and moisture-resistant. Behind-the-ear hearing aids are usually recommended for babies, infants, toddlers, and smaller school children.

The fitting process for hearing aids involves making a mold, fitting the child's hearing aids, and scheduling regular follow-ups for maintenance.

How to Finance Hearing Aids

Hearing aids can be expensive, and funding sources may not always be readily available. However, there are potential financial resources available for hearing aids that you can explore. Some states have insurance coverage for children's hearing aids, so it's worthwhile to check your insurance provider. Remember, your child's ability to function socially and in school can be significantly influenced by their hearing aids, making this a worthwhile investment.

Ensuring Success Once your Child Has Their Hearing Aids 

Make Sure Your Child Uses Them Regularly

Ensuring your child wears their hearing aids consistently can be a challenge. However, setting reasonable expectations and using appropriate hearing aid retention accessories can help in this regard. You can also explore these strategies for keeping hearing aids on young children.

Promote Self-Care and Independence 

As children grow older, they should learn how to put on and check their own hearing aids. This guide provides expectations for different skills and stages of being independent with hearing devices, from age three through high school.

Check In with Health Professionals

Regular check-ups with health professionals are crucial to ensure that the hearing aids are fitted correctly and adjusted according to your child's hearing level. Some children may also need help from a speech therapist and other health professionals, especially if the hearing loss is more severe or profound.

Practice Patience, Care, and Love

Parents play a crucial role in helping their children adjust to hearing aids. Encouraging regular use, providing positive reinforcement, and establishing a comfortable routine can greatly assist in this process.

As your child begins using hearing aids, it's important to be patient, caring, and loving. The child needs to get accustomed to the new sounds, and this process requires motivation, support, and participation from parents. Communication and motivation are important for your child's willingness to wear hearing aids.

How to Maintain Your Child's Hearing Aids

Regular checks and maintenance are crucial for the optimal functioning of hearing aids. From performing daily sound checks to ensuring the device is clean and dry, proper maintenance can extend the life of the hearing aids. Here are some tips to ensure proper care of your child's hearing aids:

  • Handle your child's hearing aids with care.
  • Change the batteries regularly to avoid sudden power loss.
  • Clean the battery contacts regularly using a cotton swab.
  • Remove earwax from your child's hearing aids as it can cause temporary malfunction.
  • Clean your child's hearing aids with the small brush or the soft cloth provided with the hearing aid.
  • Avoid exposure to water and heat.

Proper daily maintenance of hearing aids is crucial to ensure their optimal functioning. Here are some more resources that can guide you on how to check your child's hearing aids every day:

Hearing Aids or Cochlear Implants?

Depending on the degree and type of hearing loss, your child might be recommended to use hearing aids or cochlear implants. Both these devices can significantly improve your child's hearing capabilities.

For children with severe or profound hearing loss, cochlear implants or other types of hearing implants may be an alternative to powerful hearing aids. We can guide you in choosing the right solution for your child.In some cases, we may refer your child to a specialist for further review. 

Come and See Us Today for the Right Solution for Your Child

At Hearing Solution Center, an Audiology clinic in Charlotte, NC, we are equipped to work with both adults and children. Our team provides an authoritative, educational, patient-friendly, and reassuring environment for your child's hearing aid needs. Whether it's choosing the right hearing aid or learning how to care for it, we're here to help you every step of the way.

Dr. Goutham Gosu has been practicing Audiology for the past 18 years and specializes in pediatric and adult hearing healthcare. He completed his graduate degree at Ohio University and received his doctorate in Audiology from AT Still University.

Why Choose Hearing Solution Center?

Home of Top-Rated Audiologist, Dr. Goutham Gosu

Dr. Gosu takes immense satisfaction in finding solutions for each patients unique listening needs.

Independently Owned Private Practice

We offer devices from all of the best hearing aid brands, without being contractually required to only recommend one brand.

Best Practice Protocols for Every Patient

We are excited to bring this level of patient care to all of his patients at Hearing Solution Center in Charlotte, NC.

Results & Care Explained Clearly

Educating our patients is central to what we do. We help our patients understand their care options, always available to answer any questions with patience.

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