The Ins and Outs of Child Hearing Devices

The recommendation that your child needs a hearing device can seem overwhelming. But the community of hearing device professionals has decades of experience delivering products that have helped children with hearing-loss issues.

Usually, hearing issues are revealed when children are learning to talk or as part of a routine well-child visit. Thus, as your child matures they will grow with hearing devices, oftentimes transitioning from one type to another. Their hearing device will become second nature to them.

The younger the child, the more basic the hearing device. Small children can’t really manipulate the controls of modern sophisticated units, so things will be simple and rugged in the earlier years. As they mature their hearing devices will become more complex and digitally “smart.”

Depending on the specifics of the hearing loss issues and other considerations, one of the three common types of hearings devices — RIC (receiver-in-canal), BTE (behind-the-ear), and ITE (in-the-ear) — will be what your child will have at any given time.

A RIC unit has the “brains” of the hearing device behind the ear, while the receiver is in the ear. With a BTE unit, the receiver is outside the ear canal. ITE’s are customized and fit inside the ear canal and are not common for younger children.

BTE’s are the most common hearing device for young children since the earmolds — which are made of softer and more comfortable materials — can be remade as the child develops. These units are also able to deal with most hearing loss circumstances.

ITE units are more common in the teenage years. They offer a subtler profile and modern wireless technology that integrates well with a wide variety of “smart” products and the Internet of things (IoT).