What to Expect at a Pediatric Hearing Aid Fitting
While two percent of adults aged 45-54 have disabling hearing loss, and eight percent of adults between the ages of 55-64 have disabling hearing loss, the condition isn’t limited to the elderly. In fact, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, about two or three out of every 1,000 children in the U.S. are born with detectable hearing loss in one or both ears. Even more children will develop some form of hearing loss later in life, due to infection, medication use, genetic predisposition, or noise-induced hearing loss, which the NIDCD reports 15 percent of Americans between the ages of 20-79 suffer from.
Scheduling an appointment
Parents who believe their child is suffering from hearing loss should make an appointment with a pediatric audiologist right away. Undiagnosed hearing loss in children can lead to developmental delays in language and reading.
Understanding the results
During the appointment, your child will undergo an audiogram — a test that indicates the type and degree of hearing loss. If hearing loss is diagnosed, the audiologist will guide parents in selecting the right hearing aids for your child.
The fitting process
After that initial appointment, parents and child will return for the hearing aid fitting. This appointment is the first time your child will try on and understand the benefits of their hearing aids. The appointment lasts between one and two hours (so bring snacks for little ones!). Often times, during the hearing aid fitting, a child will hear mom and dad’s voices for the first time, especially if they were born with hearing loss.
During the hearing aid fitting, the audiologist will make sure earmolds fit, if they were ordered and will program the hearing aids to your child’s hearing loss. To ensure the amplification is right, the audiologist will send sound through the aids to make sure loud sounds aren’t too loud and soft sounds aren’t too soft.
Hearing aid maintenance
During the appointment, parents will also learn the ins and outs of the hearing aid — how it functions, how to clean it, how to insert batteries and how to store it at night. The audiologist will also likely create a hearing aid wearing schedule to ease the child into living with the new devices. Often times, speech therapy is recommended as the child learns to hear and understand noises.
At the end of the appointment, your child will have a follow up appointment scheduled to ensure the hearing aids are working well. Should your child experience any troubles prior to the follow up appointment, make sure to contact the pediatric audiologist right away.