FAQs on Children's Hearing Aids - My Little Ears

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!

Question MarkFAQs on Hearing Aids

  • Do hearing aids amplify soft and loud sounds? I’m worried about sounds being too loud and damaging my child’s hearing…

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.

  • Do hearing aids amplify sounds of different frequencies by different amounts?

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.

  • Are sounds picked up by the microphone from one direction or is it omnidirectional?

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.

  • What is a bone conduction hearing aid, and is it safer for my child?

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.

  • Does hearing aid battery drainage affect sound slowly over time or is the aid 100% effective until there is no power left?

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%.

  • Are there things I need to avoid doing when my child is wearing a hearing aid, e.g. to avoid interference or swimming?

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.

  • How do I know when my child’s earmold needs refitting and may it damage the ear if it’s too small?

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.

  • Are Hearing Aid settings for children conservative?

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.