Hearing Aids for Kids
Hearing Aids for Kids Can Be Essential for Optimal Development
It is a sad fact that some children are born without the ability to hear while others, as a result of illness or accident, may acquire varying degrees of deafness whilst still very young. Once, their condition might have ruled out all hope of a normal childhood and meant that there would be little likelihood that they would receive the quality of education needed to prepare them for meaningful employment as adults. Happily, things have since changed. Today, the development of a range of hearing aids suitable for kids has meant that they can now share the same opportunities and participate in the same activities enjoyed by those of their peers who have been blessed with healthy hearing.
Adults will tend to become aware of any deterioration in their ability to hear relatively quickly, even though they will often choose to remain in denial and perhaps take no steps to manage their condition until it becomes impossible to ignore. By contrast, small children, and especially infants, usually lack the ability to communicate their difficulties to a parent. It is thus the responsibility of both mothers and fathers to be on the lookout for the early signs of auditory impairment. The earlier their condition is detected and addressed, the better the prospects will be of a normal childhood for kids once fitted with the right hearing aids.
As any proud parent is fully aware, children learn to speak by imitating the sounds around them. While the cooing and gurgling typically give way to intelligible words like “mama” and “dada” at around six to eight months, a child’s failure to attain this milestone within its first year could signal a problem. In practice, however, signs such as failure to react to loud noises or to face a parent when he or she speaks should have probably rung alarm bells even earlier and prompted a visit to a paediatrician. Where a problem is confirmed, providing hearing aids promptly for kids with impaired audition can markedly improve their language development, their performance at school, their social skills, and their long-term career prospects.
While maths and science are taught, the sounds required for speech are simply absorbed. Consequently, that which remains unheard cannot be copied. Once fitted with an amplification device, the child may also require some speech and language therapy. This will ensure that he or she gains the maximum benefit from the enriched auditory input. Mastering speech will also assist the child with the development of cognitive functions. The child’s new-found ability will help with the bonding process by building trust and creating a feeling of consistency. In short the benefits of hearing aids for kids can be extremely far-reaching.
For the majority of children affected by auditory impairment, these conventional devices that focus and amplify sounds will be sufficient to assist a child’s development to proceed normally. In a few cases, however, the source of the impairment can be more complex and an alternative solution will be required. Whether a cochlear implant might prove more effective is a choice that must be based upon the findings of an audiologist. When impairment is identified in very young subjects, although management will often begin with hearing aids for these kids, it is possible that later, some will become candidates for an implanted device. It is therefore essential for these children to undergo regular testing by an audiologist, in order to spot any tendency for their condition to worsen that might indicate a need for further action.
As well as being proportionately smaller than those worn by adults, the hearing aids prescribed for kids are generally restricted to the type worn behind the ear. The enriched sounds are delivered via an earpiece shaped to the precise contours of the child’s outer ear to ensure a snug and comfortable fit. To achieve this, an impression is first taken which is then used to make a mould which the earpiece can then be cast with. Once fitted and switched on, the effect is often visible and immediate when the surprised and delighted toddler notices and responds to its parent’s voice, perhaps, for the very first time.
Some children may tend to remove their devices, so it may be a good idea to secure them in place with a headband. Also, by participating in joint activities, these hearing aids for kids are likely to prove less of a distraction.