There are more than three million American children who are experiencing hearing loss. This is according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Almost half of these children are younger than 3 years old, but more children will have hearing loss later in their childhood. The use of hearing aids for children can help in the improvement of hearing and speech, especially to those who experience inner ear hearing loss because of damaged hearing nerves. Hearing loss can be caused by birth defects, infections, injury, noise, certain medications, tumors and other problems that involve blood circulation.
Hearings aids are devices that are battery-operated or electronic devices that can amplify and change sounds that are present in the environment. It converts the sound received through the microphone to sound waves and then converted to electric signals.
Factors that affect the use of Hearing Aids
Generally, children who experience hearing loss can benefit from the use of hearing aids. However, there are some factors that affect hearing aids. They are the following:
1. If there is present deformity or shape of the outer ear
2. Depth of the depression near the ear canal
3. Severity of the hearing loss
4. The knowledge of the child to insert or remove the hearing aids
5. Amount of wax build up inside the ear
6. Some ears that require drainage may not be able to find certain models of hearing aid available to use.
Types of Hearing Aids for Children
For kids, the hearing aids should be able to fit the child’s age and changing needs. Thus, many technical advancements and sophistication come along with today’s hearing aids. Siemens hearing aids have special high technology devices that are specifically made for children with hearing loss. Some of the features that a Siemens hearing aid has are:
- Digital programming for specific adjustments based on the severity of the hearing loss.
- Flexibility in various degrees.
- Full-bodied construction that allows protection from dust and moisture.
- A remote control – to access other functions of the hearing aid easily.
- Child-safe programmable buttons and switches.
- For use with FM/DM systems in schools, Direct Audio Input (DAI) using an audio shoe.
- Connectivity through wireless networks with personal computers, smart phones, music players and other audio devices.
- A battery doors and screw-on ear hook for child proofing.
1. BTE or Being-the-ear models: It basically comes in many sizes and two basic styles. A BTE model sits behind the ear and has a tube that connects the hearing aid to the ear. (a) Traditional BTE model – The sound receiver is located within the body of the hearing aid and brings the sound to the ear with the use of a tube connected to the ear molds. (b) Receiver-in-canal or RIC – brings the sound through a small receiver at the end of a tube near the ear canal.
2. ITE or Custom made in-the-ear models: This comes in many shapes, sizes and styles. The function of the hearing aid will depend on the impairment, needs and the preferences of the child. It should be recommended by a hearing care professional.
Selecting a Hearing Aid for your Child
Ask a hearing care professional about the most appropriate hearing aid for your child depending on the different factors. There are varieties of Siemens hearing aid designs available in the market, these types are defined by the features and how they are to be used. Your hearing care professional will schedule your child for a fitting – this includes ordering and producing of the ear molds and the fine-tuning of the hearing aid depending on what your child needs.
Ernest Poh founded The Hearing Centre Pte Ltd. The Hearing Centre is your one-stop centre for complete hearing aids and hearing conservation services. Ernest has been fitting hearing devices since 2004. Visit his website at http://thehearingcentre.sg to learn more about the different types of hearing aids and the possible causes of hearing loss.