Almost all children with hearing loss are fitted with a behind-the-ear hearing aid. Behind-the-ear hearing aids are tiny and discreet, fitting neatly behind the ear. They can be built using similar technology to in-the-ear devices, and may share the same features such as automatic volume adjustment and colours to match hair and skin tones. The main difference between the styles is how they look from the outside, so you can simply choose which style you and your child prefer.
At Australian Hearing, babies and children will only be offered child-safe hearing aids; this means behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids.
Behind-the-ear devices consist of a single case which houses all of the electronics and receiver. The sound is passed to an ear mould via a small tube. BTEs with a ‘closed’ fitting have a custom ear mould which almost completely fills the outer ear and ear canal whereas an ‘open’ fitting uses a thin tube and an ear tip making for a more discreet look.
As your child gets older, there will be opportunities to investigate some of the discreet styles designed for adult users. However, there may be reasons why in-the-ear (ITE) and completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids aren’t suitable for your child or may not give as much benefit as another style of hearing aid:
- A child’s ear is usually not large enough to fit an ITE/ITC/CIC aid.
- Small ITE and CIC aids often have to leave out some components to be as small as possible. For example, they may not contain a telecoil and may not be able to link with a remote control or with other assistive technology. Even if they fit your child’s ear, missing out on these components may be a serious disadvantage.
- Acoustic feedback (whistling) is a major risk in ITE /ITC/CIC hearing aids.
- The smaller the aid, the smaller the battery and electrical components and the lower the power. In some cases, the very small hearing aids are simply not powerful enough for someone who has a big hearing loss.