What are hearing aids and how do they work?

A hearing aid is an electronic, battery-operated device that amplifies and changes sound to allow for improved communication. There are three main parts to a hearing aid; a microphone or phones, an amplifier and a receiver. The microphone or phones pick up acoustic sound waves from the environment and convert it into an electrical signal. The amplifier changes and amplifies the electrical signal so that it is appropriate for the degree of hearing loss that the child has. And finally, the receiver converts the electrical signal from the amplifier back into an acoustic sound wave and directs it into the ear.

What should I consider when purchasing hearing aids for my child?

First and foremost, a medical examination of your child is required prior to purchasing hearing aids to make sure that there are no contraindications for wearing amplification. Once medical clearance is obtained from an ear, nose and throat physician, practical considerations should be addressed. The following are some topics you may want to discuss with your audiologist:

  • potential for a hearing aid trial
  • insurance coverage and personal cost
  • style of hearing aid(s)
  • one or two hearing aids
  • level of technology inside the hearing aid
  • warranty/repairs/loss and damage coverage
  • hearing aid adjustments by the audiologist
  • other assistive listening devices
  • educational audiology and the school systems