The advice of a specialist hearing care professional is necessary to choose and best adjust a hearing aid intended for young children.
Hearing loss is the most common sensory deficit at birth. Deafness screening is systematically performed in the maternity hospital during the first 3 days of life. According to figures from the Ministry of Health, one in 1000 children is born profoundly deaf and at 3 years the prevalence of severe deafness is 3/1000.
The earlier the disorders are diagnosed, the better the prognosis for recovery. So quickly parents realize that the child is not responding as they should, they can see a pediatric ENT in a hospital for specific hearing tests appropriate to the child’s age.
Learn to detect deafness
Whether it is communication, education or the social integration of the child, hearing failure is a handicap. It can be detected early with painless, non-invasive tests. They can be done on infants, toddlers and toddlers as soon as problems arise.
These warning signs depend on the age of the child. Hearing loss may be suspected if the child does not respond to sounds, has difficulty speaking, or delayed speech. When the impairment is less severe, it can result in occasional indifference to the words of others. Children are sometimes able to speak and hear at home, but not at school, as moderate hearing loss can cause problems only amid background noise in a classroom.
To protect her child from the onset of sensory disturbances, prenatal care and appropriate treatment of middle ear infections are a good prerequisite. It is also necessary to limit the sound level of the house, then to make children aware of the impact of sound trauma, for example listening to music that is too loud. Wearing an earplug is a good noise abatement. The doctor will sometimes ask for a vaccination against the bacteria responsible for purulent meningitis and likely to cause deafness.
There are many causes of hearing failure. Some are transient (ear infections, etc.), others are permanent (malformations, etc.). These deficiencies can be transmitted (genetic) or acquired during intrauterine life (rubella, cytomegalovirus, etc.).
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Materials and technologies available
Hearing loss in a child is characterized as soon as he does not hear sounds below a certain volume, either in one ear (unilateral disorder) or in both ears (bilateral).
This hearing loss is a combination of loss of volume (measured in decibels) and loss of pitch or frequency (measured in Hertz). Wearing hearing aids is often the best way to remedy this deficiency. High quality hearing aids manufactured by reference brands including Signia, Starkey, Sonic, Phonak Resound or Philips are adapted to the morphology of children.
There are 3 main families of hearing aids:
– Assisted listening devices. Like those offered by Ideal hearing, they allow children with hearing loss to hear clearly again. They work by converting sound detected by a microphone into digital signals which are then amplified and converted back to audible sounds transmitted to the inner ear. Among the best-selling devices, we find in particular behind-the-ear hearing aids or those which are housed in the ear canal, very discreet. The tailor-made tips are made from a very gentle impression.
Coverage for children is up to 1,400 euros per ear.
– If the hearing aids are not effective, a cochlear implant is sometimes necessary. It is a device that is surgically implanted in infants and children. It directly stimulates the auditory nerve located in the inner ear by electrical stimulation. Suitable for children, the external housing of these devices can be held with a flexible band.
– Bone anchored hearing systems. Unlike regular hearing aids, which amplify acoustic sounds entering the ear canal, these implants treat hearing loss by conduction of bone vibrations of sound to the inner ear. The installation requires a surgical act.
Monitoring and maintenance of hearing aids
As with those intended for adults, hearing aids for children get dirty and need to be cleaned frequently. Cleaning is the same as for adult hearing aids, ie daily. Cleaning product, cleaning wipes or drying case… Ideal Audition hearing aid specialists will be able to give you all the maintenance advice so that your children’s hearing aids remain healthy and operational for as long as possible. Even the youngest patients have a regular follow-up every 4 months or so, and on request in the event of a problem with the device or of hearing loss.