Learning that your child has hearing loss can be a lot to take in and process. Here are the answers to the top four questions that most parents have when they discover that their child has hearing loss in regard to hearing aids and their baby.
Question #1: How Do Hearing Aids Work On Children?
Hearing aids are designed to take sounds and amplify and shape them in a way that will allow your child to hear them. Hearing aids will let your child sounds when someone is close to them and talking nearby, and it should also allow them to hear environmental sounds as well. Hearing aids will not make your child's hearing perfect. They may still struggle to hear sounds that are far away and struggle to understand voices that are muffled or speak too quickly.
Everyone's hearing needs are different, and modern hearing aids are designed to shape sounds in a way that will allow your child to hear based on their specific hearing needs.
Question #2: Why Does My Child Need Hearing Aids As A Baby?
A normal child makes thousands of connections every day based on all of the sensory information that they take in. When your child has hearing loss, they are not creating connections in their brain based on the sounds around them. Their auditory cortex is not getting the simulation that it needs to grow, learn and make auditory connections. Your child needs to make thousands of auditory connections in the early years of their life in order to be able to develop their reflective and expressive language skills.
Each connection your child makes in their brain allows them to learn about and process the world around them. When your child has hearing loss, this can result in delays to your child's listening skills, speech skills, language skills, learning skills and even behavior. If you want your child to hit their developmental milestones on time, you need to make sure that they have hearing aids and are getting the information their brain needs to grow.
Question #3: When Should My Child Get Hearing Aids?
Your child should get hearing aids literally as soon as you possible can. Ideally, they should have been equipped with them during their first week of birth to allow them to get as much auditory stimulation as possible. As soon as you know that your child has hearing loss, request the next open appointment and do whatever you can to rearrange your schedule and make it there. Each day that your child cannot hear properly is another day that your child's brain is not building the connections that it needs.
Question #4: How Long Should My Child Wear Hearing Aids Each Day?
When your child first gets hearing aids, they may not be able to wear them all day, although the ultimate goal is to get your child comfortable enough with the hearing aids so that they have them on at all times. You may have to work your child up wearing them all day, and it is vital that you prioritize your child wearing them as much as possible. Each hour that your child wears their hearing aids is an hour that your child's brain can make the additional connections it needs to thrive and grow.