Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
My child’s hearing aid whistles all of the time. What should I do?
The first thing that should be done is to have your hearing professional check the fit of the ear mold. Unfortunately, frequent ear mold replacement is often necessary for infants and young children because of rapid ear canal growth. This may be as often as every 2 months in the first year of life. As the child grows mold replacement will be less frequent. Secondly, you may want to try applying a good coat of Otoferm to see whether or not this may provide a better seal. In special cases where feedback is very difficult to control there are options that are available to try to eliminate the feedback such as a remote microphone, long ear mold tubing. Your pediatric specialist should be able to address these issues.
My 18 month old constantly rips off the hearing aids. What should I do?
Establishing hearing aid use can be very challenging for some families but it certainly pays to be persistent. Some young children accept hearing aids very easily while others may show a huge resistance to wearing them. Just as young children refuse to wear hats, shoes, and gloves so too do they refuse to put hearing aids in their ears. Some children may start out wearing hearing aids very easily at first but begin to resist them when they become more active toddlers.
It is important to establish the importance of the hearing aids with your child. Try to encourage use or distract the young child promptly after inserting the hearing aids. Most children will forget they are there — but there are exceptions of course. The “wear” time of hearing aids may be quite short at first but wearing times can be expanded over time. Once the child develops a routine then hearing aid use becomes more a normal part of life.
If the child continuously removes the hearing aids have the hearing professional check for irritation in the ear canal which may cause the child a great deal of discomfort. For these children it will be absolutely imperative to use “otoclips” to prevent loss and purchase some sort of loss and damage warranty just in case.
With older toddlers and preschoolers it might be an idea to make the whole concept of hearing aids fun. There are many different colors of hearing aids and molds to choose from. Parents are usually hesitant to change the color of hearing aids for fear of attracting too much attention but if color change means the difference of wearing the hearing aids constantly verses not, then it should be seriously considered. We have even gone as far as to offer “glow in the dark” ear molds.
Remember hearing loss is nothing to be embarrassed about. Some manufacturers also have great colored stickers that may be stuck on to the side of the hearing aid. There are great coloring books and kits for children, please ask your pediatric specialist about all options.
The hearing aid hook just does not seem to hold the hearing aid in place behind my child’s ears. Is there anything that can be done to hold them in place?
There is no such thing as the perfectly shaped ear. Not all ears are meant to wear hearing aids. In some cases the external ear is shaped in such a way that the hook, usually a semi circular shape, does not sit properly which may cause the hearing aid to constantly flop off. This can be solved a couple of ways.
Double sided toupee tape: This special type of tape can be used to adhere the aid to the skin behind the ear. A small piece of tape is placed on the side of the hearing aid which touches the ear which will differ from left to right ear. Only a small piece is required but must be changed each and every time it is removed. Make sure to ask your hearing aid professional about which tape is suitable. Do not use any carpet tape, electrical tape etc., as the glue may be toxic. Discontinue use if irritation develops.
Hot air shaping of the hook: An experienced clinician may be able to reshape the tubing of the ear mold or hook using a special type of hot air blower. This should only be attempted by an experienced professional only.
My child’s hearing aid fell into the bathtub but still seems to be working. Should I be worried?
Accidents do happen. It is probably a good idea for your child not to wear the hearing aids while taking a bath to avoid the aid falling off. The first thing one should do immediately is take the battery out of the hearing aid to prevent corrosion of the battery. Let the hearing aid air dry overnight and perform a listening check in the morning. Do not place the hearing aid in the microwave or oven or use a hair dryer to dry it.
Just because the hearing aid whistles this does not mean that it is functioning properly. The hearing aid should be brought to your hearing professional and an electro acoustical analysis should be preformed which may reveal distortion that can not be picked up by listening to the hearing aid alone. Some hearing aids, unfortunately, may be damaged beyond repair if they are put in salt water or chlorinated pools.
How often should I have the hearing aids checked?
Hearing aids should be checked as often as possible when dealing with young children and infants. Co-ordinate checks with each ear mold appointments. A simple listening check will tell you whether or not there is major concern but unrecognizable distortion may occur. Talk to your hearing health care professional about frequency of hearing aid testing.
My hearing aid battery runs out after 2 days. It used to last 2 weeks — why has this happened?
Hearing aid battery voltage drain may vary depending on the listening environment. Most hearing aids brought into the office with this complaint have had poor quality batteries installed.
The quality of batteries has an enormous effect on the performance of the hearing instrument. Occasionally, a short or defective part in a hearing aid may be responsible for excessive battery drain. If proper quality batteries are inserted and the problem persists, please contact your hearing health care professional. Finally, some models of hearing aids especially “completely in the canal hearing aids” have been known to be significantly harder on batteries with a battery life span of only 2-3 days.
Why does the tubing in my earmold harden?
Most all soft plastics harden over time. Earmold tubing is no different than any soft PVC-like material. UV light along with body chemistry acts together to cause the tubing to harden. Believe it or not, hard tubing has an effect on the sound quality of the hearing instrument. Stiff objects carry frequency differently than soft objects. When the tubing on the mold hardens it should be replaced. Your hearing health care professional can do this for you.
How often should I have my hearing tested?
Hearing should be checked annually. Slight changes in your hearing can be addressed by an adjustment in your hearing instrument. Children with hearing loss should be checked more than once per year usually every 6 months.