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Hearing Aids for Children

If your child has hearing loss, hearing aids may help him or her hear better. Hearing is important in your child’s development. Hearing helps your child learn to speak, understand language, and communicate with others. 

Ear showing hearing aid in ear canal with part of hearing aid behind the ear.
A behind-the-ear hearing aid is the style most commonly used by children.

Hearing and your child

When someone has hearing loss, sound still enters the ear. But the sound signals may be weak or distorted by the time they enter the brain. Hearing aids can help by making these signals louder. As a result, signals traveling to the brain are easier to understand. Work with your child’s audiologist to choose the best hearing aids for your child. You will learn how hearing aids are used and how to care for them.

How hearing aids work

Hearing aids have a microphone to pick up sound and a digital processor or amplifier to make sound louder. Amplified sound travels through a tube into a fitted earmold in your child’s ear. With behind-the-ear (BTE) style hearing aids, the microphone and amplifier are kept in a small plastic case that rests behind the ear. Children most commonly wear these BTE hearing aids.

Behind-the-ear hearing aids

Hearing aids come in several styles. But for children, the BTE aids are most appropriate. This is because BTE aids are easier to fit for a child’s growing ears than other hearing aids. Also, hearing aids and plastic earmolds come in many colors such as skin tones or bright colors. Talk to your child’s audiologist about any questions or concerns you have about BTE aids.

Helping children use hearing aids

Children often can’t put in or take out their hearing aids. Instead, adults must help take care of the hearing aids until children can do it themselves. Care of hearing aids involves cleaning out any earwax, changing the batteries, and doing listening checks. Your child’s audiologist will show you how to care for your child’s hearing aids. Also, keep in mind that the earmolds or entire hearing aids may need to be refit or remade as your child grows. Changes in his or her hearing will also require that hearing aids be adjusted or replaced.

Beware of batteries

Keep small hearing aid batteries away from children. These button-like batteries can easily be put in the ears, nose, or mouth. If they become stuck or swallowed, acid from the battery can leak out and burn the inside of the ears, nose, throat, or stomach. So be sure to correctly store and dispose of hearing aid batteries. If a battery is ingested, you can obtain more information by calling the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 202-625-3333 or by calling the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.

Paying for hearing aids

Public or government programs may cover the cost of hearing aids. For instance, Medicaid can give assistance to financially qualified families. If you are worried about how you will pay for your child’s hearing aids, talk to your child’s healthcare team. They can help point you in the right direction. Never buy hearing aids online or through mail order.

Online Medical Reviewer: Ashutosh Kacker MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Pat F Bass MD MPH
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2020
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