It’s not anything any parent wants to hear, but realizing that your child has a permanent hearing issue and will need a hearing aid is a challenge — but not a tragedy. With the technological leaps that have been made by hearing aid manufacturers in recent decades and the wealth of experience within the audiology field, you and your child will have significant support moving forward.
The most common time to find out a child has hearing issues is at the age when they are learning to talk, though infant hearing exams can often reveal a problem earlier. It’s rare that a teenager will suddenly develop significant hearing issues — though certainly not impossible.
But what this usually means is that “growing up” for your child will incorporate transitioning from one hearing aid to the next. Having one will become second nature for them.
Generally speaking, younger children will be outfitted with simpler models that are sturdy and easier to use. Depending on the significance of hearing issues and other considerations, the first types of hearing aid your child will have will be either a RIC (receiver-in-canal) or BTE (behind-the-ear) model that will have to be incorporated into your family’s life.
A RIC captures sound waves from inside the ear canal (while the computer-end of things are behind the earlobe), while a BTE has the receiver outside the ear canal with everything else. BTE’s are often more practical, since ear-molds that can be re-crafted as the child grows, making the whole apparatus more comfortable.
In the teenage years, there’s often a transition to ITE (in-the-ear) models since these are not only more discreet but also inline with modern wireless technology, allowing kids the opportunity to connect to all their devices — and even some wireless infrastructure that many schools have incorporated.