Receiving the news that your young child is deaf or hard of hearing (HOH) can be a major blow to any parent. You may wonder if your child will be able to keep up with his or her classmates in school, or whether wearing a large, unwieldy hearing aid could place a target on your child's back when it comes to bullies. Most of all, you could worry that your child's quality of life won't be as rich as that of someone who has full use of his or her hearing. Fortunately, with the aging of the Baby Boomer population has come a number of medical and technological advances in the development of hearing aids. Read on to learn more about some of the hearing aid options that may be best suited for your child.
What should you consider when selecting hearing aids for your child?
Fitting a child for hearing aids can be very different than an adult, and there are some specific factors you'll want to consider before making your selection.
- Ease of use
Even if your child is too young to use hearing aids without assistance at first, once he or she reaches school age, it's important to have hearing aids that can be self-adjusted. This will prevent your child from needing to enlist his or her teacher for help each time the background volume needs to be lowered, which can be a source of embarrassment or frustration for many kids who would rather their hearing issues go unnoticed. Allowing your child to adjust his or her own hearing aid can boost confidence and give him or her the tools needed to manage this hearing impairment later in life.
Spending money on a hearing aid only to have it languish on a dresser drawer (or in your child's desk at school) can be a frustrating prospect -- as a result, you'll want to ensure that the hearing aid you and your child select is as comfortable as possible. Choosing an uncomfortable or too-large hearing aid can discourage your child from wearing his or her aid unless absolutely necessary, which can inhibit the formation of friendships (as it can be hard to pick up on certain social cues without the benefit of hearing) or harm your child's ability to perform schoolwork at grade level.
Although not all children will be good candidates for undetectable in-ear hearing aids, choosing the most inconspicuous option possible will reduce the embarrassment or teasing your child may experience at being "different." Smaller hearing aids can often last longer during the childhood years, as larger hearing aids must often be custom fitted and can be outgrown rapidly.
What are some of the best hearing aid options for a young child?
Having your child fitted with a reliable and accurate hearing aid as quickly as possible can be crucial -- the longer your child goes without being able to hear voices and other sounds, the more delays he or she could experience when it comes to learning language and communicating with peers.
The best hearing aid option for your child will largely depend upon the cause and extent of his or her deafness. Total congenital deafness caused by a physical problem in the inner ear tubes that carry vibrations from the eardrum to the brain may necessitate a cochlear implant, which bypasses these components to decode sounds to be sent directly to your brain. Moderate deafness caused by multiple inner ear infections or another medical issue could instead make a completely in canal (CIC) hearing aid the best choice, as this digital hearing aid can be rendered entirely invisible within the ear canal while providing high-quality amplification of voices and other sounds.
For help picking the best hearing aid for your child, contact a company like Audiology Consultants, P.C.