- Illnesses, including CMV, bacterial meningitis
- Drugs that are toxic to hearing
- Hearing loss that runs in the family (genetic or hereditary)
- Head trauma
- Malformation of the inner ear
- Exposure to loud noise
- Eighth nerve lesions
Most traditional hearing aids are designed for SNHL.
Children presenting with this hearing loss may have sporadic windows of hearing or near normal hearing and at other times may not respond to sound at all. The children that do respond to speech will often will have difficulty distinguishing one sound from another and trouble understanding speech clearly. In some cases, ANSD causes only mild hearing difficulties and is only a problem in noisy situations. In the majority of cases, however, it leads to significant hearing loss. The causes of ANSD are unknown, but children who are born prematurely or have a family history of the condition are at higher risk for it. Symptoms can develop at any age, but most kids with ANSD are born with it and diagnosed in the first months of life. As ANSD becomes better understood, it is diagnosed more frequently and now accounts for about 10% to 15% of cases of hearing loss. Due to that variability in auditory performance, habilitation recommendations are based on speech and language development and can range from audiological monitoring to hearing aid fitting and cochlear implantation.
- Bilateral versus unilateral.
- Symmetrical versus asymmetrical, depending on whether the degree and configuration of hearing loss are the same in each ear.
- Progressive versus sudden hearing loss – progressive means that hearing loss becomes worse over time. Sudden means hearing loss that happens quickly, which should prompt immediate medical attention to determine its cause and treatment.
- Fluctuating versus stable hearing loss.
- It accommodates various earmold types.
- The earmold detaches and can be easily remade as the child grows.
- The earmold is easy to handle and clean.
- Parents and caregivers can easily do a listening check and make adjustments.
- It accommodates a wide variety of hearing losses.
- It can be made with direct audio input or a telecoil, so it can be used with other listening devices.
- The earmolds are made of a soft material that is safer and more comfortable for tiny ears.
Behind-the-ear aid: open fitting: A small
plastic case rests behind the ear, and a
very fine clear tube runs into the ear canal.
Inside the ear canal, a small, soft silicone
dome or a molded, highly vented acrylic
tip holds the tube in place. These aids
offer cosmetic and listening advantages
and are typically used for adults
and some older children as well.
In-the-ear (ITE) aids, In-the-canal (ITC) and completely-in-the-canal (CIC) aids: All parts of the aid are contained in a shell that fills in the outer part of the ear (as shown) or are partly or completely fit into the ear canal (CIC). They are the smallest aids available and offer some cosmetic and listening advantages. These are most often not appropriate for children as their ears are too small or growing rapidly, requiring frequent changes in size.
CROS hearing aids route sounds coming to one ear over to the other ear. These devices are for use by individuals who have no hearing in one ear. In special cases, hearing aids can be built into eye glasses for individuals who need that type of fitting.
Eyeglass Aids - Hearing aids and glasses were combined in the 1950s but are no longer seen as viable options in most cases.
Disposable hearing aids have a non-replaceable battery. These aids are designed to use power sparingly, so that the battery lasts longer than those used in traditional hearing aids. Disposable hearing aids aim to minimize maintenance (battery replacement, aid adjustment, and cleaning). To date, two brands of disposable hearing aids are available. Both are digital, but they are used in very different ways. One is a BTE hearing aid that is bought online and worn like any other BTE device. When it runs out, the user replaces it with a new one. The other requires a professional to implant it deep in the ear canal and to remove and replace it when the battery runs out. Disposable hearing aids are not recommended with children.
||Bone conduction hearing aids use a headband and a bone vibrator for individuals who have no ear canal or outer ear. These devices bypass the outer and middle ear and directly stimulate the cochlea or inner ear. This is often the only alternative for children born with a permanent conductive hearing loss, such as atresia of the ear canal, or chronic draining otitis media that precludes fitting a hearing aid. Photo provided courtesy of Cochlear™ Americas, © 2009 Cochlear Americas.|
|A relatively new innovation is the osseointegrated
hearing aid (bone anchored), which is implanted
in the skull. This device has three parts: a titanium
implant, an external abutment, and a detachable
sound processor. Currently the FDA approves bone
anchored devices for children age 5 and older.
Photo provided courtesy of Cochlear™ Americas,
© 2009 Cochlear Americas.
- Have profound hearing loss in both ears
- Have had limited benefit from hearing aids
- Are healthy and have no medical conditions that would make the surgery risky
- Are involved (when able), along with their parents, in all the steps in the process
- Understand (when able), along with their parents, their role in the successful use of cochlear implants
- Have (when able), along with their parents, realistic expectations for cochlear implant use
- Are willing to be actively involved in their habilitation/rehabilitation
- Have support from their educational program to emphasize the development of auditory skills
- Zinc air cell batteries are used in virtually all current-day hearing instruments. They are activated by removal of a tab which allows air to enter the battery and they have excellent shelf life when stored properly (approx. 2-3 years). These replaced mercury and silver oxide batteries. They are available in all sizes (675 to 5A) and high-power. Cost is ~ $1.00 per battery
- All hearing aid batteries are toxic. Keep them stored in a safe place away from children and pets. A swallowed battery is a medical emergency and the individual needs medical attention immediately. Call your local emergency number or the national Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
- Omnidirectional (omni) - have one port of entry for inputs and equal sensitivity to inputs from all directions; currently, most manufacturers offer an omni-directional microphone option in all styles including canal styles.
- Bidirectional - Not used very often
- Receiver - converts electrical energy into acoustic energy
- Amplifier - amplifies the acoustic signal before it enters the ear canal
- Representation of sound by electrical current
- “Older”, more conventional technology
- Digitally Programmable
- Analog components programmed/adjusted by an external digital source (computer)
- Both the audio circuit and the additional control circuits are fully digital.
- Hearing aid programmed with an external computer temporarily connected to the device. Fully digital hearing aids can be programmed with multiple programs that can be invoked by the wearer, or that operate automatically and adaptively. These programs reduce acoustic feedback (whistling), reduce background noise, detect and automatically accommodate different listening environments (loud vs soft, speech vs music, quiet vs noisy, etc.), control additional components such as multiple microphones to improve spatial hearing, transpose frequencies (shift high frequencies that a wearer may not hear to lower frequency regions where hearing may be better), and implement many other features. These programs can be determined on an individual basis for each patient.
Keeping your hearing aids in good working order prevents many future problems. To clean your aid you will need a wax pick, brush, and hearing aid blower. If not included with your hearing aid, they can be purchased from an audiologist or vendor.
After removing the hearing aid from your ear, remove any wax from the ear mold or tubing with the hearing aid pick and wipe the exterior of the aid and mold with a soft cloth. These should be done daily.
Clean the battery compartment by removing the battery and gently brushing interior. Replace battery and close the casement.
Earmolds can be removed from the aid by first locating the end of the tube where it connects with the ear hook; then twist and pull gently. Using warm water and mild soap, wash the earmold, then rinse with clean water. Place the blower on the end of the tube and squeeze. This should force water out of the tube. Allow to dry overnight before reconnecting to ear hook.
Moisture is a major cause of hearing aid failure, resulting in circuitry problems and distortion. Moisture gets into the hearing aid primarily through condensation from the warm moist environment of the inner ear. If possible, avoid wearing your hearing aid in wet, humid or steamy conditions or during strenuous exercise.
If moisture droplets are seen in hearing aid tubing, disconnect the tubing gently from ear hook and, with a hearing aid blower, blow air through the tubing to force out moisture and then allow it to dry overnight. With in-the-ear models, the only way to combat moisture is to remove them and allow them to dry out.
Never put your aids in a conventional or microwave oven to dry or leave them in direct sunlight. Excessive heat may melt plastic components and microwaves will destroy all of the electronic components.
Special moisture-dispersing tubing or “Dry Aid” kits are available and may be worth trying if moisture problems recur.
Hearing aid checks should be performed daily. Parents or teachers can perform checks for young children; school-age children should be taught to perform checks and, when competent, perform them independently.
First, check the exterior of aid for any cracks, holes or tears. Remove the battery and test with a hearing aid tester. After reinserting or replacing battery, close the compartment completely. Turn the O-T-M switch to “off” (O) position. Turn the volume to the lowest setting and turn the switch to the “microphone” (M) position. Put one end of a hearing aid stethoscope into the ears of a hearing person and say several vowel and consonant sounds. None should be distorted. Once the hearing aid has been checked and verified to be working properly, place it in the ear and listen for feedback. If feedback is present, remove the aid. Cover the opening of the canal in earmold with thumb. If you still hear feedback, there is a problem with the aid. If not, it means the earmold was not fitted tightly, which could be a sign of a bad fit.
Ear wax is the normal way that the ear protects the ear canal and ear drum (tympanic membrane). Most peoples’ ear canals clear wax without help. A hearing aid can impede this process resulting in wax build-up behind the earmold, which can damage a hearing aid. It can also cause hearing aid feedback—an extremely high-pitched whistling sound—and reduce hearing effectiveness by blocking sound.
No one should try to remove ear wax themselves. Using a swab or any object in the ear canal can push the wax back further and cause it to become impacted, which can cause pain and further hearing loss. Current guidelines from the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation recommend that individuals with hearing aids have their ears cleaned professionally twice a year.
Diagnostic audiology evaluations may be performed with a physician’s written order and include procedures used to determine hearing aid assessment and other appropriate diagnostic tests. Hearing aids and cochlear implants require prior authorization and must meet eligibility requirements of Medicaid. Children should be evaluated for hearing aids by a pediatric audiologist who can monitor the child’s response to the hearing aids and insure that they fit appropriately. In many states, before a hearing aid can be fit on a child, an otolaryngologist must provide medical clearance in the form of a prescription. This is to ensure that treatable causes of hearing loss have been assessed.
The life of a hearing aid depends on many factors, including care. In many cases a hearing aid can last up to five years or longer. Some insurances will not authorize hearing aids more than once every five years unless the hearing loss has changed significantly and the current aids are no longer appropriate. Many pediatric providers recommend hearing aids from companies that are pediatric-friendly and offer extended warranties for loss and damage. There are also private insurance companies that offer insurance plans that cover loss and damage of hearing aids and other assistive devices for a fee.
American Academy of Audiology
Resources for professionals who test, treat, and provide care to the deaf or hard of hearing.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Information for professionals working in audiology, speech-language pathology, and the speech and hearing sciences. Advocate for people with communication disabilities.
Family Voices is a national, nonprofit, family-led organization promoting quality health care for all children and youth, particularly those with special health care needs. Locate centers by state, F2F HICs (Family-to-Family Health Information Centers).
Interactive Map to Utah Pediatric Audiologists
Utah Department of Health updated July 2015.
Division of Medicaid and Health Finance
Utah Medicaid's official website. Once a child is 18 years of age, s/he is eligible for medicaid independent of the family income.
Utah Medicaid Audiology Provider Manual
Utah Medicaid Program, past and current Audiology Provider Manuals.
Hearing Aid Choices and Tips (My Baby's Hearing)
From a program of the Boystown National Research Hospital, answers to common questions about choosing and using hearing aids for children and tips for how help children with them; note that the content is covered over 6 pages addressing specific aspects.
Utah Hearing Aid Recycling Program (HARP)
The program takes previously owned hearing aids and makes them available to hearing impaired children in Utah.
Lions Clubs International Hearing Aid Recycling Program (HARP)
Lions Club has a hearing aid recycling program to make previously owned hearing aids into affordable hearing aids for low income individuals. Programs are located at multiple centers throughout the United States, Canada, and Denmark.
The HIKE Fund, Inc.
Hearing Impaired Kids Endowment Fund, supported by Job’s Daughters International, provides hearing devices for about 100 children a year who have hearing loss and whose parents are unable to meet this special need financially.
Hear Now Program
The Hear Now Program of the Starkey Hearing Foundation is a national program providing assistance, to those permanently living in the US, to acquire hearing aids through an application process. All applicants must meet the program's financial criteria. Hear Now works with licensed practitioners in the applicant's area.
AUDIENT Alliance for Accessible Hearing Care
The AUDIENT Alliance for Accessible Hearing Care Program is designed for individuals whose income is above the government's established poverty levels, but still find it difficult to afford quality hearing care.
Oticon Pediatric Hearing Aids
Oticon is a reputable manufacturer of pediatric hearing devices.
Miracle-Ear Childen's Foundation
Miracle-Ear Children's Foundation provides free hearing aids and services to children from low-income families.
Phonak Pediatric Hearing Aids
Phonak is a reputable manufacturer of pediatric hearing devices.
Cochlear Americas Baha Hearing Aids
Cochlear Americas is a leading manufacturer of bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHA).
Alexander Graham Bell Association
One of the oldest and most comprehensive organizations focused on pediatric hearing loss. Educates the public about technological advances for the deaf and hearing impaired and advocates legislation.
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Children's Hearing Aids Studies
ClinicalTrials.gov studies with a search of hearing aids AND children.