After a child is diagnosed with hearing loss, parents must determine the best hearing solutions for their child. While technology continually evolves, giving families a variety of hearing instruments to choose from, navigating all the possibilities can be confusing.
Dr. Tom Wardzala, an audiologist at Sertoma Speech and Hearing Centers, understands. He offers five tips to make the process easier.
First, he stresses the importance of working with a trained pediatric audiologist to determine the best option for each child. Working with someone who specializes in helping children is important to the child’s future. “If a child’s hearing instrument is not set properly, they could miss out on a lot,” he explains.
Second, he advises parents to remember that newer technology may not always be better. “Just because a company makes the smallest, newest, connect to iPhone, whiz bang item does not mean their technology is the best choice,” he says.
Wardzala says, however, that some of the latest options are very effective, including those using the iPhone or Bluetooth technology.
“Six months ago, nothing existed for iPhone. Now three different companies have hearing instruments using the iPhone,” he says. Because it is a rapidly changing industry, make sure your audiologist is aware of the latest developments.
Third, consider the warranty for each option and also ask about insurance coverage. “More insurance is covering hearing instruments, whether it’s direct coverage or a discount program through your primary care insurance.”
Fourth, once an option is selected, parents need to ask about the routine follow-up care required. “Kids grow and need to get refit,” Wardzala says. One hearing aid on the market has an indicator light to assure a good fit and to alert parents when new ear molds are needed.
Finally, a good relationship with the child’s audiologist is vital. Wardzala stresses that parents need to feel they can ask the audiologist questions and have ways to contact them. “You’re going to be seeing the audiologist for a while. If you don’t get along with them, either work it out or look around,” he says.
To find out more, click here for Sertoma’s ebook series, “What Every Mom Needs to Know About…Speech and Hearing Development of Her Child.”