Modern classrooms can be challenging for children with hearing loss. They need hearing solutions that will allow them to fully participate inside and outside of the classroom. Enabling a school-aged child to communicate more effectively allows them to develop social skills. In addition, the ability to hear and understand can define their academic success, meaning it is necessary to have solutions that are capable of keeping up with their constantly changing, interactive, and noisy world. Let’s learn more about effective hearing solutions.
Hearing aids- Effective Hearing Solutions
Untreated hearing loss can affect school performance, so hearing aids are essential for school. If an audiologist recommends them, children need to wear them continuously. Hearing aids contain a microphone that picks up sounds, a processor analyzing that sound, and a receiver to deliver the sound deep inside the ear. They can also be connected to devices like smartphones, laptops, or tablets allowing direct delivery of streamed sound through the hearing solution.
Hearing aids may also need hearing aid tubes that transmit the sound waves from the attached microphone to the receiver, which later converts it back for you to hear. It’s a hollow plastic connecting the main body of the hearing aid to the earpiece and serves a dual purpose. Note that if these tubes suffer any sort of damage or flaw, it can severely affect the functionality of your hearing aid.
Types of hearing aids- Effective Hearing Solutions
- ITE (in-the-ear) hearing aid
They come in plastic cases that fit in the outer ear and are generally used for mild to severe hearing loss. ITE hearing aids can be used with other technical hearing devices such as the telecoil, which is used to improve sound during telephone calls. They can be damaged by drainage and ear wax.
- BTE (behind-the-ear) hearing aid
Behind-the-ear hearing aids are connected to a plastic ear mold in the outer ear and are placed in a case. They’re used for mild or severe hearing loss and are typically used for young babies and children. Note that a poorly placed BTE hearing aid can cause a whistling sound in the ear, which can be quite annoying.
- Canal aids
They fit directly in the ear canal and come in 2 styles including in-the-canal (ITC) aid and completely-in-canal (CIC) aid. They’re custom-made to fit the size and shape of the child’s ear canal and are used for mild to moderate hearing loss.
- Body aids
They’re attached to a belt or pocket and are connected to the ear with a wire. Body aids are often used when a child cannot hear anything at all, or they’re used if the other types of hearing aids don’t help.
A cochlear implant can help children with severe to profound hearing loss. It can give them a way to hear when a hearing aid is not enough, sending sound signals directly to the hearing nerve. A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that electrically stimulates the nerve for hearing (cochlear nerve), and has external and internal parts. The external part is placed behind the ear and picks up sounds with a microphone, which then processes those sounds and transmits them to the internal part of the implant.
The internal part, however, is placed under the skin behind the ear during outpatient surgery. A thin wire leads to the cochlea, which is part of the inner ear, sending signals to the cochlear nerve, which later sends sound information to the brain. With appropriate therapy and practice, this hearing experience can mean an increased awareness of sounds in the environment and better communication.
Auditory brainstem implant
An auditory brainstem implant provides hearing to people who cannot benefit from a hearing aid or cochlear implant. It directly stimulates the hearing pathways in the brainstem, bypassing the inner ear and hearing nerve. This implant was originally developed for adults diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 2, but now the surgery is considered for both adults and children with other nerve and inner ear abnormalities.
The goal is to restore hearing in people with hearing loss, and it’s an alternative approach for those who can’t have a cochlear implant. It has 3 main parts including a microphone and sound processor positioned behind the ear to pick up sounds, a decoding chip placed under the skin transmitting information picked up by the microphone, and electrodes connected directly to the brainstem that alert you to sounds.
Children that have hearing loss can benefit from using either one of these hearing solutions. The type may depend on several factors, so make sure you consult with a doctor to suggest what suits your child best. Remember that finding the right hearing aids is a vital first step in helping your child grow up being a fully-function member of society.
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