Studies show that one-tenth of the American population is hearing-impaired, and numbers are increasing among children. Over the years, hearing aids have helped a great deal in eliminating this deficiency, but finding an aid for your daycare-aged child can be difficult.
Hearing aids are small audio devices which are attached to the ears. Most models now are “hidden” to a casual observer. They offer a superior sound quality which helps lessen, if not eliminate, the loss of hearing.
As technology evolves, the science behind manufacturing hearing aids have become more and more advanced. While talking with your child about hearing aids may be difficult, technology has advanced since we were kids. Hearing aids are now much easier to maintain, and they are not as obvious.
Here are the three basic types of hearing aids:
1. Conventional hearing aids
These are the very first types and brands of hearing aids which were released in the market. Although not as technologically advanced as the programmable digital hearing aids, the conventional type can be adjusted in a way that will fit the user’s needs. With this type, the volume is manually adjusted by the user. The sound can be turned up or down, depending on the softness or loudness of the source of sound. The only minor disadvantage of this type of hearing aids is that if a person’s hearing loss level improves or worsens, it must be sent back to the manufacturer so that adjustments can be made. This can be quite inconvenient for the user. A conventional hearing aid may not be the best option for children, as they may play with the volume adjuster.
2. Programmable hearing aids
This is more advanced in terms of technology, as compared to the conventional type. Programmable hearing aids have adjustable circuits which may be adjusted, depending on the user’s level of hearing. The volume control is automatic, making life easier for the patient. This is a great choice for children who need pre-programmed volume control.
3. Digital hearing aids
Depending on the patient’s needs, a digital hearing aid may be ordered to suit a specific situation. This is by far the best and most convenient type to use. There are hearing health care professionals whose job is to find the hearing aid that will be beneficial for the user. The patient’s lifestyle and level of hearing loss is considered when looking for the best hearing aid to buy. Digital hearing aids also feature an automatic volume control.
However, it may take one or two visits to a health care professional before the settings of the hearing aid can be adjusted to the user’s satisfaction. Physically, this type of hearing aid is easier to wear and is “kinder” to the ears. The circuit within the hearing aid automatically increases or decreases the level of sound. There is a microphone and an amplifier that gathers and adjusts the sound respectively. Finally, the speaker transmits the byproduct of the altered and digitally-enhanced sound to the user’s ears.
The downside is that this type of hearing aid is more expensive than the programmable and conventional hearing aids. However, this is an excellent choice for young children who need hearing aids. Once you have invested in a digital hearing aid, it will surely be convenient for you and will fit into any lifestyle.
4. Disposable hearing aids
This type offers the sound quality of a conventional hearing aid and is more cost-effective than its more technologically advanced counterparts. Disposable hearing aids have a shorter shelf-life. They can last 40 days at most, and once the battery expires, a new one should be purchased. This is not a great option for children, as they can easily destroy the disposable aid.
To choose a hearing aid that is right for you, make sure that you consult your ear doctor or otologist/audiologist. When consulting a professional to choose the right hearing aid for you, give them an overview of your lifestyle and budget to determine the best hearing aid that will suit your needs.
Finally, try it out for a few days and if you find that the hearing aid that you bought does not fit your ear, your needs and your way of living, go back to your health care professional so that another type can be purchased.