Fitting Children For Hearing Aid Earmolds

Pediatric audiologists generally fit children with behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids so that the earmolds can be replaced as a child grows. This saves on the expense of having to replace the hearing aid each time a child undergoes a growth spurt.

Hearing aids with properly fitting and well-maintained earmolds are essential to the development of your child's speech and language skills. Since sound that enters the microphone of the hearing aid passes through to your child's ear, it's important for an earmold to be molded to the shape of your child's ear–especially for young children whose ears grow as quickly as they do.

Getting the Proper Fit

An audiologist can fit your child with a hearing aid that is small enough in size so that it fits securely. Although an earmold should fit comfortably, it should fit tightly enough so that it doesn't move or fall out. It also should be tight enough that sound doesn't leak out from around the mold.

When fitting your child for the appropriate size earmold, taking impressions of his or her outer ear is the first step. An audiology specialist does this by placing a cotton or foam dam into the ear canal. The dam–sometimes referred to as a canal block–protects the eardrum from impression material that can cause damage if it gets too near.

The next step is to fill the ear canal with a waxy, silicone impression material that takes a few minutes to set. After the hardened cast and dam are removed, your child's ear canal may be oily from the impression material.

Although clear earmolds are available, they also come in various colors. Older children sometimes like choosing different color earmolds as they grow and need their earmolds replaced. Parents of infants and younger children often find colored earmolds convenient as having a different color for each ear makes it easy to distinguish the earmold that fits the right and left ear.

Caring for Earmolds

It's important to carefully check earmolds each time before you place them in your child's ears. Make sure the earmolds are clean and dry. Moisture damage can cause static or distorted sounds.

If an earmold is dirty or you notice moisture, disconnect the earmold from the hearing aid before cleaning it. Use a disinfectant wipe to remove dirt or a bulb syringe to blow out moisture. Wait until the earmold is completely dry before reconnecting it to the hearing aid and placing it back into your child's ear.

Dealing with Problems

If you notice that your child frequently pulls on his or her ears, the earmolds may not be fitting properly. Although earmolds should fit snugly in the ear canal, they can become uncomfortable as your child grows, signaling that it's time for another visit to the audiologist to be fitted for a larger size.

Sometimes a child simply doesn't like wearing hearing aids–especially toddlers and young children–and may give you trouble about wearing them. If that's the case, consider putting a soft headband on your child that helps keep the hearing aids in place. Be careful, however, not to cover the microphone with the headband.

Another tactic is to hold your child in a loving and playful way while you are placing the earmolds into the ears to help him or her develop a positive association with wearing them. If your child insists on pulling out the earmolds, gently replace them each time so that he or she understands that's where they belong.

For more tips, contact a clinic like Albuquerque  Hearing Associates.