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Ask Anna: Can children wear in-the-ear hearing aids?

Can children wear in-the-ear hearing aids?


Ask Anna is a weekly advice column for the hearing loss community.   

Dear Anna,

My son was recently diagnosed with hearing loss, and we are looking what hearing aid would be best for him. I prefer the small, in-the-ear hearing aids, but our audiologist is encouraging the larger hearing aids that go behind his ear. Can children wear in-the-ear hearing aids? What are the benefits and disadvantages of behind-the-ear hearing aids for children?  – Lewis in California  

Hi Lewis, 

It is possible for children to wear  in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids, but it is not something that is recommended until a child is older, typically when they reach their teenage years.

There are a few reasons why ITE hearing aids are not offered to younger children, but the main one is that a child’s ears grow very quickly over the first few years of their life.

Size and Fit

New ear molds  need to be made on a very regular basis and need to be supplied on a very fast turnaround. If a child has to wait for a new custom made hearing aid every time their ear changes shape they spend more time without amplification, which is obviously not what we want. A child needs consistent amplification and it easier to ensure this with behind-the-ear hearing aids fitted with ear pieces.

Comfort

Another reason why ITEs are not the best choice for younger children and babies is comfort and safety.  Babies and toddlers spend a lot of time rolling around and toppling over and small custom hearing aids made of hard material could damage their soft ears if they fall over.

Accessories

BTE hearing aids also have the option to connect with accessories, such as Roger and FM systems, which allow them to better hear over distance or in noisy situations, such as the classroom. The set-up is not so easy or unavailable with ITEs, which means that the advantage these system bring to a child for school and other activities would not always be possible.

Read more: 5 reasons to choose a pediatric hearing aid for your child

Do you have a question for Anna? Email: feedback@hearinglikeme.com or on Twitter @Phonak

The information provided through this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Hearing Like Me website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency medical services immediately.
Anna Biggins on Twitter
Anna Biggins
Senior Audiology ManagerPhonak
Anna is currently the Senior Audiology Manager at Phonak. She has worked in the field of audiology and hearing aids for 25 years, and is passionate about all things audiology.

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