Pediatric Hearing Aids

It offers a variety of child-friendly hearing products that employ the latest technologies designed to improve the quality of your child’s hearing no matter their age. Just some of the steps our Audiologists will take in fitting a pediatric hearing aid are:

The pediatric hearing loss management process

  • Discussing and planning for your child’s specific hearing needs
  • Taking an ear mold impression
  • Ordering and fitting the hearing aids
  • Caring for, cleaning and repairing the hearing aids as needed
  • Staying involved and reevaluating your child’s changing hearing needs

Learn about pediatric hearing loss

Four out of every 1,000 newborns are born with some degree of hearing loss.

Hearing is a critical part of a child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. Even the presence of a mild hearing loss can affect a child’s speech and language development.

All the newborns must have a hearing screening before being discharged from the hospital to detect hearing loss at birth. Those who have or are planning on giving birth at home or at a birthing center should make it their priority to have their child screened within the first three weeks of life.

Through early detection it is possible to treat a child’s hearing problems so that they can develop the same as their peers. Apple speech and hearing clinic recommend that your child’s hearing gets screened early and evaluated regularly in order to empower and better your child’s life.

Reasons Your Child Might Have and/or Develop a Hearing Loss

  • Premature birth
  • Complications during birth
  • Infections at birth such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), Rubella, and herpes simplex
  • Placement on mechanical ventilation system after birth
  • Admission to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia or needing ECMO therapy
  • Repeated courses of IV antibiotics or diuretics
  • Diagnosis of a syndrome such as Down, Usher, Alport or Treacher Collins
  • Family history of permanent childhood hearing loss
  • Exposure to loud sounds or noises

Hearing loss can affect those of all ages, including children. Diagnosing and treating hearing loss in the pediatric population requires different instruments than those used on adults. Children may also experience different disorders.

To test the hearing of newborns and infants, subjective tests must be used, as newborns are unable to articulate what they can and cannot hear. Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) provides information on how a child’s cochlea and neural pathway is functioning. Electrode stickers are placed on and around their head to measure their brainwave activity in response to sounds.

Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) are the barely audible sounds given off by the hairs lining the cochlea. A small earphone is placed into the ear and a sound is played to elicit the release of OAEs. If no OAES are detected, this could mean there is a blockage in the ear canal, fluid in the middle ear or damage to the hair cells within the cochlea.

For slightly older children, depending on their age, they are either taught to turn their head toward an animated toy or video (visual response) or drop a block in a bucket (conditioned play) when they hear a sound. These versions of pure-tone testing will discern single-sided hearing loss unless headphones are worn.

Two types of speech testing are common. First, is speech detection which is finding the softest word a child can hear? Second is speech recognition which the child repeats back to the word to tester or the child points to the word on a page. This test may be performed in different environments with different levels of background noise.

Infections of the middle ear are the most common cause of hearing loss of children. An infection is caused by a buildup of fluid within the middle ear. Eustachian tubes are small tubes that connect the middle ear with the back of the throat. In children, these tubes are much smaller and sit horizontally, which means they are more likely to get blocked. These tubes are responsible for regulating pressure and fluid within the middle ear.

A common solution to long-standing middle ear infections is ear tubes. A simple surgery by an Ear Nose and Throat specialist creates a hole in the child’s eardrum, and a small tube is place within the hole to keep it open. This hole helps to prevent fluid from building up, preventing future ear infections. After a few months, these tubes usually fall out on their own.

Speech-language milestones help pediatric audiologists identify potential audiological problems by assessing and monitoring a young child’s communication development.

Speech-language milestones help pediatric audiologists identify potential audiological problems by assessing and monitoring a young child’s communication development.

Children all learn and develop differently, so it can be difficult to determine whether a baby’s communication abilities are progressing at a normal, healthy rate. Despite huge variations in the process of early childhood development, infants typically follow some universal patterns of speech and hearing growth. Using these patterns, pediatricians can evaluate a child’s development through a set of guidelines called speech-language milestones.

These communication guidelines aren’t just useful for doctors; they’re a helpful tool for parents as well. A basic understanding of speech-language milestones will allow you to assess whether your child’s language development is normal or irregular. Irregular communication development doesn’t always indicate an auditory impairment; however, any child who shows signs of slow development should get a hearing assessment as soon as possible.

Some of the most important speech-language milestones for infants and toddlers are listed below. Normally developing children should be able to perform the tasks described by the end of the milestone’s specified age range.

Age 0-1 year. Infants begin producing basic sounds, like babbling, early in their first year. By their first birthday, they string different multi-tonal sounds together and repeat familiar sounds like mama, dada or baba.

Age 1-2 years. Within the span of a year, a child’s language production should transform from incoherent babbling to recognizable speech. By age two, most children can produce about 50 words and are able to form basic two- or three-word phrases.

Age 2-3 years. During this year, a child’s vocabulary rapidly expands to hundreds of words. By age three, a toddler should be producing basic sentences of at least two or three words. Toddlers with normal hearing will begin engaging in communication with their parents, teachers and peers.

Age 3-4 years. By four, a child’s speech should be grammatically complicated and understandable, even to strangers. Children of this age ask questions, use pronouns and tell stories that are a few sentences long.

Age 0-1 year. Infants should respond to loud, familiar or surprising sounds (e.g. music, bangs or thuds, dog barking, their name, whistling, etc.) through actions like movement, eye contact and speech.

Age 1-2 years. During this year, children gain an understanding of the names of familiar objects as well as basic commands. By 24 months, children can typically understand and perform commands with two parts (e.g. touch your ear and wiggle your toes).

Age 2-3 years. During this year, children develop the skill to differentiate between words like “over” and “under.” They also can follow more complicated commands and identify some numbers and colors. Unresponsiveness is common for this age; however, children with normal hearing should still react to loud sounds and give some response when their name is spoken.

Age 3-4 years. At this age, children recognize and respond when their name is called from another room and display a solid understanding of basic language. Your child should also be able to hear TV, movies, games and music at the same volume as adults with normal hearing.

If your child is behind on any of these language development benchmarks, it’s imperative to check for hearing impairment right away. Untreated hearing loss can result in major developmental, behavioral and communication setbacks for young children.

Our pediatric audiologists will take the time to understand your concerns, assess your child’s hearing and develop the best treatment plan for your child’s needs.

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Pediatric Hearing Aids