Studies show that about 5% of newborn babies and about 20% of high-risk babies are prone to develop hearing loss. Some children are born deaf while others develop some form of hearing loss at a later point in time due to infection, medication use, genetic predisposition, or noise-induced hearing loss. With such a high incidence of hearing loss, it is highly likely that the number of babies or children undergoing hearing evaluation and hearing aid trial and fitting is quite high.
Parents who believe that their child is suffering from hearing loss should make an appointment with the Audiologist right away. This is mainly because undiagnosed hearing loss in children can lead to developmental delays in speech, language, and reading.
During the appointment, the child will undergo hearing testing to get to know the type and degree of the hearing loss. Once hearing loss is determined, the Audiologist will help the parents in deciding on the right hearing aid for the child if needed/ prescribed.
After the initial appointment, the child will have to come along with the parents for a hearing aid fitting. It is during this session the child will wear the hearing aids and understand the benefits of using them. It is going to last for a few hours and hence it is. As the Audiologist tries the hearing aids, he/she will present various speech sounds and environmental sounds to the child to see if it is audible or not. Most of the time, it is when the child hears the parent's sound for the first time, especially if they were born deaf.
Before the fitting appointment, the Audiologist will also assess to see if the child requires ear molds. If they are a requirement, the Audiologist would take an ear impression during the initial appointment and will keep the mold ready for the fitting appointment. During the fitting, the ear mold is fitted onto the child’s ear and it is made sure that the seal is adequate. The hearing aid is connected to the mold and is inserted into the child’s ear canal. This will ensure adequate amplification for the child. If the dome is being utilized instead of tips, the Audiologist will ensure that the dome used is of the right shape and size.
During the appointment, the parents will also learn about the parts of the hearing aids and their functioning. The Audiologist will also educate the parents on how to use it and also its care and maintenance. He/she will also create a hearing aid-wearing schedule to ensure that the child gets adjusted to the new hearing aid. Speech therapy is also recommended for the child post-hearing aid fitting.
At the end of the appointment, the Audiologist will also schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure that the hearing aids are working well. If the child experiences any discomfort or if the parents suspect that the child is not hearing adequately with the hearing aid, feel free to contact the Audiologist right away.