Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013

Child Hearing Aids Reviewed

Naida S pediatric hearing aids pictured in brown and white Savannah Beauty

The implementation of infant screenings in hospitals has lead to greater diagnosis of children with hearing loss. This means children as young as three months can be confidently fitted for a hearing aid, and with proper testing by an audiologist can have their hearing aid adjusted as they age to meet their hearing loss needs. But what does a parent look for in a child's hearing aid and which pediatric hearing aids are best?

Babies and young children are most often fit with a pediatric Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aid. A child's BTE is a type of hearing aid that rests, almost like glasses would, behind the ears. Sound travels from the outer shell of this device through a tube that inserts fully into the ear canal. The pediatric BTE hearing aids can be used by any child with mild to profound hearing loss. Because they are not limited by the space inside the ear, a BTE can accommodate a larger, more powerful battery and amplifier. Today's advanced styles have made this type of pediatric hearing aid both comfortable and stylish. Kids love the cool colors and designs and aren't typically self-conscious about showing them off. The best models of children's hearing aids are those that have an ease of use, future flexibility, and are both dependable and safe.

Ease of Use-Today's technologies come with advanced features that include background noise reduction, soothing tinnitus features, and connectivity with modern equipment like GPS and computers. Typically a young child, not a teenager, does not need most of these features. Features like this can make the hearing aid hard to manage and create frustration for parents. It's best to find a hearing aid with limited features and to purchase one that comes preinstalled with FM or other assistive listening device compatibility. Using an FM device can help your child hear the television, computer, and even in the classroom. Teenagers can typically handle advanced hearing aid features and greater connectivity.

Future Flexibility--BTE hearing aids are custom fit with ear molds to match your child's ears. A child's ears are unique as their fingerprints, but just like fingers, ears grow larger as a child ages. BTE hearing aids allow for new earmolds to be made and easily transferred to the hearing aid, creating less expense for the parent and transition for the child. Finding a pediatric hearing aid that has a range of styles and colors your child can choose from as they age can be a good way to give your child a way to express themselves as they grow older. In addition to the need for pediatric hearing aids to change with your child, they also need to be easy to handle. Again, the BTE hearing aids are best because they aren't too small for manipulation by the average parent and are also easier to spot and therefore not as easy to lose.

Dependability and Safety--Just as medicine comes with tamper resistant caps, it's important to make sure that whatever BTE you purchase for your child comes with a tamper proof door for the batteries. Batteries need to be replaced by parents, but if they are accessible to a small child they can be swallowed. Batteries are toxic and dangerous to children of all ages if swallowed. A dependable BTE hearing aid will have less issues with whistling or feedback and are easier to clean and BTE hearing aids made for children are more durable. But make sure that, as The Listen-Up Web, points out, "If your child's hearing aid is equipped with a T-switch, you need to make sure it is off when the T-Coil is not in use. The Telecoil can pick up signals from a number of things making the child unable to hear speech sounds. Two of the biggest culprits are car engines and computers."

Below are a few example of some of the BTE hearing aids on the market for children.

Naida SNaida S The Naida S pediatric hearing aid has been shown to improve communication and has been heralded by one Canadian parent as "A gift of hope." In addition this pediatric hearing aid is waterproof, allowing for small, often moist fingers to touch them repeatedly without doing damage. The Naida S is available for all levels of hearing loss and according to Phonak, "Naída S gives children the highest levels of audibility offering even more hearing to those who need it most."

Vigo Hearing Aid by OticonVigo Hearing Aid by Oticon Oticon's Vigo hearing aid for children not only comes with a tamper proof battery door, but it also comes in a wide range of colors and has stickers for children to decorate their hearing aid with. According to the manufacturer, "Vigo Connect’s extended bandwidth captures even more of the high frequency cues so vital for language development." This hearing aid is one of the smaller version for children. It is therefore comfortable for even the youngest members of the family. This hearing aid is also compatibility with FM technologies.

If you'd like to learn more about hearing loss, hearing heath, and hearing aids click HERE to DOWNLOAD our free guide to hearing health!

This guide will teach you:
▪ The 3 different types of hearing loss
▪ How to help a loved one hear you
▪ 8 different hearing aid styles
▪ Advances in digital and wireless hearing aid technology.


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