For children, the device generally consists of two parts: the hearing aid and the ear mold. The hearing aid contains all of the electronic parts (i.e. the microphone, amplifier, receiver, battery compartment). It generally has an earhook attached, which sits over the top of the ear and the hearing aid sits behind the ear. The ear mold is a soft, silicone material that is custom made to fit the child’s ear. The ear mold has a hollow tube that connects to the earhook on the hearing aid and runs through the ear mold. This tube allows the amplified sound from the hearing aid to enter the child’s ear.
The hearing aid should be programmed by an audiologist. The goal is to ensure that speech sounds are audible while maintaining comfort for loud sounds. The gain or volume of the hearing aid is set based on pediatric prescriptive targets specifically for the child’s degree of hearing loss.
A child’s ear is smaller than an adult ear. Sound coming from a hearing aid will be louder in a child’s ear than in an adult ear because sound is naturally louder in small spaces than in large spaces. Therefore, it’s necessary to take measurements of the child’s ear in order to know how much sound is going to be present in the child’s ear. This is done by placing a small microphone in the child’s ear, which will measure the sound pressure level within the ear. These measurements are then entered into the hearing aid software to ensure that amplified sounds are audible, comfortable, and tolerable based on the child’s individual hearing loss.
After the hearing aid fitting, your child should have routine follow-up appointments with the audiologist (about every 6 months, or more for infants). Routine follow-ups ensure that the hearing aids are functioning properly and the custom ear molds fit properly.