In children, hearing loss is one of the most common congenital sensory disorders. Approximately 170 million children are affected worldwide. Children's hearing aids can provide relief and regulate the potentially negative consequences of hearing impairments on the development of adolescents. In doing so, they include some special features that make them suitable as an accompaniment to children's lives.
Hearing loss/hearing loss in children
Hearing aids are relevant in the case of hearing loss in children not only in the field of hearing itself. For child development, both linguistic and social, active engagement with the environment is highly significant. For this, interaction with others as a means of orientation in the world as well as for child development is of primary importance. Likewise, bonds and relationships, which form the emotional basis of personality development for adolescents, are established through (linguistic) contact with fellow human beings. Hearing is therefore a crucial part in supporting these processes, which is why hearing impairments should be treated as early as possible. Hearing impairments can usually be treated well with hearing aids or, in rare cases, with implants, helping children to have a less complicated childhood.
When does a child need a hearing aid?
To answer this question, look for possible initial signs that indicate hearing loss. These include infrequent repetition, lack of interest in auditory stimuli such as music, speaking loudly, failing to startle at loud noises. Babies are also noticeable if they do not seek out sound sources. In these cases, it should be clarified whether a child hearing aid is needed. For diagnosis, hearing tests are performed quickly and painlessly in the form of hearing screenings. Here, both the type and degree of hearing loss are determined in order to derive appropriate interventions that support hearing as well as ensure wearing comfort.
Children's hearing aids
Generally, behind-the-ear hearing aids are recommended for children and adolescents under 16 years of age. These are robustly built, dust- and water-resistant, and custom-fitted to withstand the pronounced physical activity of young wearers. A wide range of different colors helps to enhance the feel-good experience. For a simplified operation on the part of parents is also in the best case externally a status display on the device.
As children enter school, their listening needs change, as speech comprehension must be ensured in different listening environments to ensure holistic participation in the interactive environment both in and out of school. Both in the classroom and in the schoolyard, children's hearing aids must be convincing and enable successful learning and socializing. In the school environment, additional accessories can further increase the child's independence and flexibility.
Bone conduction hearing aids for children
When fitting a conventional BTE hearing aid cannot be resorted to, bone conduction hearing aids provide another route to childhood hearing. One option here is bone conduction devices that can be glued on. With these, an adhesive adapter is attached to the skin behind the ear, to which a sound processor is attached. This type of hearing aid does not require surgery and does not increase the risk of skull deformation. On the other hand, bone conduction headbands are often used in children, which have proven to be user-friendly during children's play and movement. However, too long a period of wear should be avoided here to prevent pressure sores.
Cochlear implant in children
Despite being rather rare, cochlear implants are also used as a hearing solution for children, provided that certain areas of the ear are already too damaged or wearing a conventional hearing aid is not possible for other reasons. Cochlear implants can even be used when hair cells or the inner ear are damaged. Insertion of the implant is even recommended at a young age, as the prospects of learning solid hearing and normative child development are so promising. However, this is a not insignificant surgical procedure, in which complications can occur and should therefore be well considered.
Difference between pediatric and adult models
Technically, hearing aids for children and adults are very similar, although children's hearing aids have simplified operation. Due to the more pronounced movement and consequently the risk to the sensitive devices in children's everyday life, hearing aids for children are particularly robust and protected against water and dust. LED displays also simplify operation for parents and promote the possibility of children taking responsibility. Another distinction can be seen in the design: children's hearing aids can usually be selected from a more colorful range of colors to increase acceptance within the age group, as well as being made of hypoallergenic materials to protect children's sensitive skin. Finally, a child safety lock for the battery compartment is common.
Children's hearing aids cost
The cost of children's hearing aids varies widely depending on the model and features. A price of over €700 per ear can quickly be expected. However, it should be borne in mind that the statutory health insurance funds cover an amount of up to € 786.86 per ear, in part, there is also a holistic cost coverage. Inform best directly with your health insurance about the cost absorption amounts.
Hearing aid acoustician for children
Whoever suspects hearing loss in his or her child should see a doctor as soon as possible to be sure. If the suspicion is confirmed, the provision of suitable hearing aids should be tackled. For the selection, fitting and adjustment of hearing aids in children, paedacousticians are available to help. Specializing in children and adolescents, pediatric audiologists have knowledge of children's hearing organs as well as the developmental process and treat with empathy and child-friendly work materials. It is worth looking for a pediatric acoustician in your area that both you and your child can trust, because frequent visits to the professional will be due due to the constant growth.