Which hearing aids should my child have?
The ones that are right for your child.
The hospital Audiology department supplies the hearing aids.
The Audiologist can choose among an extensive range of hearing aids and have the experience to choose the ones that best fit your child’s hearing loss.
Hearing aids today are digital and can flexibly be programmed to meet need across the range of hearing losses:
- Individual frequencies can be amplified or not depending on need.
- As your baby or child’s needs change or more information is acquired the hearing aids can be re-programmed easily.
- The hearing aids are intelligent and can adjust automatically to amplify the high frequency ‘quieter’ elements of speech and not always the low frequencies which include background noise . In this way children can hear more clearly what is said.
- For young children and babies just one programme is set , but as they become more capable they can choose to have more programmes (including a music programme to give a wider range of sound; a noise management programme; a programme for telephone listening)
- Can be programmed to take Radio aid connection.
- The Audiologist in Paediatric Audiology will prescribe the most suitable hearing aids.
The Audiologist will even give you the options of coloured hearing aids,
which are easier to find when they come out and are fun to wear.
Earmoulds help keep the hearing aids secure and also ensure that the sound that is picked up through the hearing aid is all funnelled into the ear and none of it leaks out. ( You will hear a high pitched ‘whistle’ if sound is leaking out)
Babies will need new moulds taken as often as weekly for their first few months (as baby’s ears grow very fast). After that they might need replacing fortnightly then monthly. Your Audiologist will make them and you may need to have them made more often than your routine appointments.
Ask if there is a drop in clinic.
Ask if your Teacher of the Deaf can make them. Having them made at home is helpful for mothers and young children and some Services can do this.
You have good quality hearing aids, you need good quality working ear moulds because of the following:
- Retubing – The tubing starts to thin and go rigid. This effects the quality of the sound your child hears. Tubing needs replacing for all children every 2 months.
- Wax in moulds – Blocks the sound. Clean daily . Use warm soapy water and an old tooth brush. Blow out access water.
- Making it easy to fit- KY Jelly from the chemist is best. They then slip in easily
Just for the look of it- You can have stickers, colours or glitter in your moulds- Ask your Audiologist.
Putting them on and keeping them on
There are a variety of tools on keeping hearing aids in Place.
- Huggies – a band that attaches to the hearing aid/cochlear implant and loops around the ear.
- Toupe tape – This double sided tape sticks to the hearing aid and also to the child’s ear or head so they don’t fall off.
When to wear them? One or two?
Always two if you have been prescribed two!
Make putting them on and wearing them part of the daily routine at first thing in the morning with a smile and friendly chat so that there is something worth listening to. Also, do the same at last thing at night as you kiss goodnight, before sleep. Have a routine and a safe place to put them.
Always know how often you need to change the batteries. Perhaps have a battery changing day on the day before they will run out. That way the batteries don’t run out while your child is wearing them.
How do I know if the hearing aids are working for my child?
- You will see your child smile
- He will calm to voice
- You will see him become aware of sounds when out and about and in the home.
- You will see him turn to your voice, his name and music
- You will hear an increase in your child’s vocalisations
- You will see that he is more engaged in activities with you
- You will see him respond with understanding
- You will see he likes his hearing aids on.
- He will be able to follow simple instructions only by listening.
- He will like his hearing aids.
What if the hearing aids are not set up properly?
- He may get upset when they are put on- (too loud)
- He may blink- (too loud)
- He may pull them out (might be because he isn’t used to them; might be because he can do this; might be because they are too loud)
- He may ignore sounds (too quiet; doesn’t know the sound is interesting or meaningful)
- He may ignore you when you call.( Hasn’t heard you; problem that you are out of sight and therefore not worth turning to; doesn’t see the point as you are just testing again.)
- Doesn’t look up or turn when it is something he normally really likes or is expecting.
Don’t wait for your next appointment. Have it sorted as soon as possible .
What can I do to check the hearing aid?
- Use the stetoclip to listen everyday.
- Listen through the mould as well so you can check it isn’t blocked.
- Get to know what it sounds like so that if there is a problem you can tell if it sounds different.
- Your teacher of the deaf should be putting the hearing aid through the testbox regularly, so that if it is changed in Audiology or if something goes wrong she/he will have a copy of a print out to check if it is working how it should.
- Your Teacher of the Deaf will also like to Listen to the hearing aid to check it sounds right when he/she sees your child.
What is a Radio aid?
A transmitter microphone is worn by the parent or teacher to give a strong signal of voice over distance or if there is background noise.
The child wears two little receivers that plug onto the hearing aids.
Some systems plug into the hearing aids via a lead that clips onto the bottom of each. And the child wears a bodyworn receiver instead.
Different Counties use different systems.
Radio aids are useful in situations where there is background noise or where your child is a long way away from the person speaking to him, as will often be the case in a classroom or nursery group. This helps him to hear the important voice and maintain a focus, but will not be distracted by other noises.
Can I use the Radio system at home?
Radio aids are useful at home when it is noisy or the child is at a distance:
- On the back of a bike- To hear parent’s voice
- In buggies ( to hear parent’s voice)- but parent must check child is jointly engaged in the same conversation and focus.
- In the shops ( so noisy- great to send child off down the aisle to fetch some shopping and bring it back; or in the trolley seat to help the child to be involved in a conversation about what to buy and who for)
- Out in the park ( on the play equipment – so the parent can encourage and comment and keep safe)
- Radio Aids work with hearing aids and Cochlear Implants.