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Hearing Aids for children

If your child has hearing problems, hearing aids are used to ensure that the child is able to hear sufficiently well to develop normal speech and progress at school. Hearing aids are able to help hearing loss irrespective of the exact cause of hearing loss, so can be useful for inner ear hearing loss, as well as for hearing loss due to glue ear (as an alternative to grommets).

The National Deaf Children's Society has a lot of useful information about hearing aids in children.

Parents often ask about different types of hearing aids, specifically whether one that fits inside the ear (in the ear, ITE) could be used instead of one that goes round the back of the ear (behind the ear, BTE). In fact, many children are only suitable for ones that are behind the ear, and would not get the same benefit from hearing aids inside the ear.

The problems with ITE hearing aids are:

-they are not suitable for severe hearing loss, as they are not powerful enough

-your child's ear canal has to be big enough so that the whole hearing aid machinery can fit in the ear (often child isn't big enough until teenage years)

-ITE aids are more prone to whistling

-ITE aids can't be linked up with radio hearing aid systems that your child may be using at school

Most NHS departments only fund hearing aids that go round the back of the ear. But quite apart from NHS funding, standard behind the ear hearing aids are actually a better option for many children.

Remember that your child will only get benefit if the hearing aid is worn. When they are old enough to decide for themselves, they will make up their mind about whether to use it or not. But whilst they are young, the use of the hearing aid is completely dependent on the parents' input. Make sure that you work closely with your audiology department, follow their advice, and make sure that your child uses the aid to help them get the maximum benefit.

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