About one in six people in Portland experiences hearing loss. You might think most are well into their senior years, but in reality, children suffer from impaired hearing, as well. Hearing aids are beneficial to most patients with hearing loss, but children have different needs. When it comes to selecting a hearing aid for your child, there are some important factors to keep in mind.
Pediatric Hearing Needs
If your child has been diagnosed with hearing loss, it’s important to treat their impairment as soon as possible. Pediatric hearing loss can affect a child’s development, leading to delays in speech, language, and social skills. Fortunately, hearing aids are available for infants as young as four weeks old. Your Portland audiologist recommends hearing aids with the following features:
- Tamper-Proof. Children are naturally curious and will want to play with their hearing aids. This can result in breakage – an expensive proposition – and danger to the child, should they put batteries or other small components into their mouths. Look for hearing aids with tamper-proof battery covers and ear hooks.
- Pediatric Operating System. Most hearing aids today include program settings for a variety of listening environments, but kids are much less likely to join a colleague for a business lunch at a busy restaurant, so it’s important to look for hearing aids that come with settings designed for children’s needs. Think classrooms and playgrounds.
- Designed for Growth. When adults are fit for hearing aids, their ears have long since matured. Children, on the other hand, are growing; this makes certain types of hearing aids a poorer choice for kids. Anything worn in the ear canal, for example, may end up being too small. Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aids are the most popular choice for kids because they are worn outside the canal, work with most types of hearing loss, and are…
- Easy to Operate. The best hearing aids are those that are worn every day. Children might not have the dexterity to operate some types of hearing aids, especially those with tiny buttons, so look for a style that is easy to use. BTEs are an excellent choice; their controls are large and easily operable, and the earmolds are soft, comfortable, and can be removed easily for cleaning and replacement when needed.
- Flashy Design and Color. Monochromatic beige may be the preference of adults who do not wish to draw attention to their hearing loss, but children gravitate toward flashy, colorful objects. Letting your child choose a hearing aid that appeals to them will instill a sense of pride and make them less likely to complain about wearing the hearing aids.
Your Portland audiologist can help you and your child choose a hearing aid perfect for their hearing loss that meets these criteria.