- All babies are screened for hearing loss no later than one month of age.
- If a baby does not pass the screening, they must get a diagnostic hearing test no later than three months of age.
- Children diagnosed with hearing loss must receive intervention services no later than six months of age.
The Center for Disease Control estimates that with the EHDI program in place, about 98% of all children born in the United States have had their hearing screened. This enables infants to get treatment for their hearing loss early. For many, this means wearing hearing aids.
Hearing Aids for Infants
Hearing aids work by amplifying sounds to a level the wearer can easily hear. They consist of four main parts: the microphone, which picks up sounds in the environment; the processor, which amplifies sounds; the receiver, which delivers sound to the ear; and the battery, which powers the device.
Though hearing aids are usually associated with older people, people of all ages can wear hearing aids, including babies.
There are many styles of hearing aids. Your child’s audiologist will make a recommendation for a style that works best for their type and degree of hearing loss. Most babies are fit with behind-the-ear hearing aids because they fit better, and the earmold can easily be replaced as your child grows.
How Often Are Earmolds Made?
The plastic earmold that connects the BTE hearing aid to the ear is fitted after an impression is taken of the ear. Once the earmold no longer fits comfortably, a new one will need to be made.
When Can Babies Start Wearing Hearing Aids?
Babies can start wearing hearing aids once they receive a diagnostic hearing test, even as early as two to three months of age. Babies can have their hearing tested while they sleep using auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing. This test determines how well the inner ear and brain pathways for hearing are working.
The audiologist then uses a computer to program the hearing aid to meet the needs of your child as indicated by the ABR test.
How Often Should Babies Wear Their Hearing Aids?
The goal is for your baby to wear their hearing aids during all waking hours. However, it takes time to get there. Your audiologist will give specific instructions to help get your baby used to wearing the devices all day long, so they can enjoy the sounds of nature at Hilfiker Park. For more information or to schedule an appointment with a pediatric hearing expert, call Willamette ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery today.
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