A hearing aid is a device that amplifies sound. It consists of a microphone that picks up sound, an amplifier that makes sounds louder and a speaker (receiver) that delivers the sound to the ear. Any child who has a hearing loss that may interfere with speech and language development, or who has a loss that interferes with their classroom performance, may need to wear a hearing aid.
The first step in determining the child’s needs is a complete hearing evaluation. If testing reveals that your child has a hearing loss, they will need to be evaluated by an otologist (a physician specializing in treatment of ear disease). The otologist will determine if the hearing loss can be treated medically or surgically, and will look for other medical problems that may relate to the hearing loss. If the hearing loss cannot be treated medically, your child may require a hearing aid.
If it is determined that your child is a good candidate for a hearing aid, several appointments will be made for your child within the Audiology Program. First, the audiologists will determine which hearing aid is best for your child. Another session will be scheduled for the fitting of the hearing aid. Instruction regarding the proper care, use and maintenance of hearing aids will be discussed with you and your child during the fitting. Periodic evaluations will be necessary to ensure that your child is benefiting from the aid.
Hearing aids are most commonly recommended for children with sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. No child is too young for a hearing aid, and even infants can be fitted with hearing aids. Early hearing aid use increases the chances that a hearing-impaired child will develop their listening and spoken language skills.