About 3 out of 1000 children in North America are born deaf or with some degree of hearing loss. Other children develop hearing loss later in life through ear infections or exposure to loud noise. If your child has been diagnosed with hearing loss, you will be presented a number of options for treatment, including speech and language therapy, hearing aids, and cochlear implants.
Hearing the world is critical to the development of a child’s brain. Children learn language and cognitive functions through the words and noises they hear as well as the sound of their own voice. Hearing abilities greatly influence social skills and academic performance. Consistent hearing also helps infants and toddlers bond with their parents and build a foundation for familial and environmental trust.
Most children with hearing loss benefit from hearing aids, but some need cochlear implants. A hearing test performed by an audiologist or hearing care professional will help determine what type of hearing device your child will need. The type of hearing device strongly depends on the severity of the hearing loss and the structure of the outer ear.
However, the majority of children are fitted with “behind-the-ear” hearing aids. These BTE’s are securely fitted, one of the most comfortable designs, and can be easily replaced as the child quickly grows in size. To be fitted, an impression of the outer ear is taken by a hearing care professional. The impression takes a few minutes to set, so a parent usually holds the child for some time. The molds of the hearing aids can be a variety of colors but are usually clear or translucent. There are small BTE sizes made specifically for children to ensure that the device will have a secure fit.
After the hearing aids are ready, a preliminary fitting and adjustment are made by an audiologist. After a few days or weeks of wearing the hearing aids and adjusting to them, follow-up visits are made to make changes and ensure the satisfaction of the child.