Hearing aids for children

Frequently asked questions

Why can’t my baby wear smaller hearing aids?

Behind-the-ear hearing aids are the best hearing aids for young children. Depending on your baby’s hearing loss, it may be appropriate to change hearing aids styles when your child becomes a teenager.

How long will my baby have to wear hearing aids?

Hearing aids are not a cure for hearing loss. If your child has a hearing loss and the hearing loss cannot be improved by surgery, hearing aids may be recommended. If hearing aids are recommended, your child will want to waer their hearing aids for the rest of their life as they will obtain much benefit from them that will aid in their hearing, speech and language development and other important sounds of the world.

Does my baby need to wear his/her hearing aids all day every day?

If you want your child to develop speech and language skills, your baby will need to have consistent exposure to sound. Your baby should wear the hearing aids for the time he/she wakes up until going to bed at night. Some babies prefer to wear their hearing aids even at nap time.

How do I get my baby to leave the hearing aids in his/her ears?

There are many techniques that can help keep them in place or from getting lost. These include the use of hypoallergenic two-sided tape, huggie hearing aids, and critter clips. If your baby takes his/her hearing aids out, firmly place them back in his/her ears. If your baby ‘throws a fit’, wait a few minutes before trying again. The goal is to teach your baby to listen and learn new sounds wearing the hearing aids. As long as the hearing aids have been fit properly, most children will want to wear them all day as they will otherwise feel that they are missing out. If the child consistently pulls the hearing aid out, it may be worth checking with the audiologist that there is no ear infection, or a small problem with the fitting.

What if my baby swallows a battery?

If your baby accidentally swallows a hearing aid battery, call the hospital immediately.

How often does my baby need new earmolds?

When babies are very young, the size of their ear changes quickly. Earmolds may need to be replaced every month or every few months. As your baby gets older, the time that each earmold will last becomes longer and longer. Older children may only need new earmolds every year or so.

How do I clean the hearing aids?

You should look at the earmold every day to see if it needs to be cleaned. The basic steps include removing the earmold from the hearing aid and clearing and drying the earmold before reattaching to the hearing aid. It should be removed from the hearing aid and thoroughly cleaned every week or every two weeks. On a daily basis, the hearing aid and earmold should be wiped down. It is important not to get the hearing aid part wet because it may damage the hearing aid.

How do I get funding for hearing aids?

This is best discussed with your audiologist or child’s doctor. Different countries have different laws and procedures.

Which hearing aid make/model is best?

Providing auditory stimulation at the earliest possible time is very important. Your audiologist is familiar with the “features” that a hearing aid should have for your child’s type, degree, and shape of hearing loss. Your audiologist will be able to discuss the options that meet your child’s needs.  

Does my child need one or two hearing aids?

If your child has a hearing loss is both ears, two hearing aids are needed. If your child has a loss of hearing in one ear, only one hearing aid may be needed. Being able to hear from both sides is important for localization, hearing across distance, and hearing in background noise. Limiting hearing aid use to one ear if there is a loss in both ears limits your child’s ability to hear the best that they can. It also deprives the brain of the stimulation it needs to develop properly.  

What is feedback and what can I do about it?

Feedback is the whistling sound that the hearing aids make. The earmold may have gotten too small or the hearing aid may not be seated in the ear properly. Occasional feedback is expected when you hug your child. It is caused by “leakage” of the amplified sound. It can also be caused from too much wax in the ear canal. Objects close to the microphone of the hearing aid can also cause it. Tell the audiologist if you are having problems with feedback.  

What does it mean to “program” a hearing aid?

Hearing aids can be adjusted by connecting it to a computer. Hearing aids are “programmed’ when they are adjusted for your child’s hearing loss.

How can I make sure my child has consistent hearing aid use?

Start each day with a listening check. Put the hearing aids in your child’s ears upon waking. Keep the hearing aids in your child’s ears throughout the day. Your goal is fulltime hearing aid use. It may be helpful to keep a calendar of daily hearing aid use to share with your audiologist.  

Is there a support group for parents of children who have hearing loss?

Getting to know other parents of children who have hearing loss in your community can be very important. They know what you are going through and can provide information that will help you. Some communities have organizations that you can join to make these connections. If you are working with the state parent/infant program or with the state early intervention services, they may be able to help. Sometimes, professionals working with your child can help you make these connections. There are also many support groups and information resources available on the Internet. Many organizations have Internet discussion boards, chat rooms, email, and list serves designed for parents, siblings, and others.