You may have been aware of your child's mild or moderate hearing loss for a few years, but now your child is having more trouble hearing the teacher and participating in his or her lessons in school. It may be time to learn more about hearing aids for children and consider whether one would be right for your child.
Why Get a Hearing Aid Now?
It's important that your child manage his or her hearing loss as school gets more challenging. Kids with hearing loss tend to have lower vocabularies and more problems reading at the same level as their peers.
Kids in elementary school are also developing important social skills to carry them into their teen years and to adulthood. While a child with severe hearing loss would likely have already had this addressed, a mild hearing problem could be costing your child comfort in dealing with friends and classmates.
Types of Hearing Aids
There are two types of hearing aids: Behind the ear, or BTE, and inside the ear, or ITE, varieties.
The first type, which sit behind the ear and amplify sounds, are best for most children. There are a few reasons why your doctor or audiologist may recommend that you look at BTE hearing aids for your child under age 10:
- You won't have to purchase new hearing aids as often. Your child's ear is still growing and a BTE style will grow with your child for a longer period. If you get an inside the ear model and your child's ear canal gets bigger -- which can happen very quickly as a kid grows -- the hearing aid will not be large enough to fit and work correctly.
- It's easier to connect a BTE aid with other technology, like FM amplifiers, that can help your child understand telephone conversations and television shows more easily.
- The BTE models are usually easier to clean -- an important consideration with kids.
- They are easier to customize for the color or design that your child prefers.
Overcoming Your Child's Concerns
Most kids don't want to look or act different from their peers, and may worry that a hearing aid will make them stand out. You can reassure them that better hearing can help them to be more integrated with their group of friends.
In addition, as mentioned above, behind-the-ear hearing aids can be designed to match your child's preferences. They can match skin or hair color so that they blend in and are harder for others to notice. Or, perhaps your child wants to take ownership of his or her hearing problem, and will want to choose a brightly colored or decorated hearing aid.
Talk to your doctor and a hearing aid specialist, like those at Jacobs Clinical Diagnostics, about the hearing aid options available for your child.