This page features some of the most common FAQs on children’s hearing aids, mostly asked at the diagnosis stage. A lot of these questions have been listed from my personal enormous list of questions for Brandon’s audiologist, but if the answers help anyone else too, great!
Hearing aids use wide dynamic range compression. This means that sounds that are too quiet for your child to hear (according to tested hearing thresholds) will be amplified, but sounds that are much louder will actually be turned down so as not to damage hearing. Actually, hearing aids and cochlear implants protect a child’s hearing when it comes to very loud sounds (such as fireworks), as the noise volume is decreased.
Hearing loss can occur equally between all frequencies, or more or less in the lower or higher frequencies. When your child is diagnosed with hearing loss, your audiologist will configure the hearing aids to increase the volumes of different frequencies as per the tested hearing thresholds.
Until your child gets older when he or she can have hearing aids with different settings that allow them to switch according to their setting and situation, they will be fitted with hearing aids on a standard setting. Sounds are picked up from all directions, to help them locate the origin of the sound, something very important for young children.
A bone conduction hearing aid is a hearing aid that plays sound directly through the bone behind the ear, rather than through an earmold inserted internally. BAHAs are suitable when a hearing loss is conductive. There is no difference in the safety of BAHAs versus BTE hearing aids but BAHAs do require a receiver to be surgically inserted into the bone behind the ear.
It’s important to check the battery power on your child’s hearing aid regularly with a battery checker that will show you the percentage battery power left. This should be supplied by the NHS. It should work to an adequate level until the battery gets very low, but sound will degrade so for noisy environments, playgroups or school, etc, it’s generally advised it should be at least 60%.
Hearing aids will not work properly if they get wet, and in fact if the earmold tubing gets condensation during the rain, it can compromise sound quality, so be sure to carry a puffer to get rid of condensation as and when it builds up. Sometimes interference happens if air gets between the ear canal between the earmold. Your little one will get used to annoying interference and quickly learn to push the earmold to help stop it when it occurs, but products such as Otoferm can help make a good seal between the inner ear and the earmold to help stop this.
You will be able to tell when your child’s hearing aid earmold is too small as interference (that squeaky sound) will occur more often, and they will fall out of the ear more often. A small earmold will not damage your child’s inner ear, but will likely be frustrating for him or her.
Hearing aids are configured to reflect hearing thresholds measured during your child’s hearing tests, but settings are kept conservative to avoid damaging your child’s hearing. Your child will have regular hearing tests and the older he or she gets, the more accurate the results will likely be as concentration levels and understanding of the process improve.