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Just like every child is unique, so is every child’s hearing. That’s one of the reasons you can’t turn to Dr. Google to diagnose their hearing loss. And, also why you can’t buy over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids for kids.
The FDA has approved OTC hearing aids for adults, meaning they can buy certain hearing aids without having to visit a hearing health professional. But children can’t use OTC hearing aids for several reasons. The biggest one? Those little ears are a big deal!
Why such a big deal? Hearing is important for brain development! Think of hearing aids as devices to activate your little one’s brain during those important development years. And those important devices need someone professionally trained in “brain activation” technology to make sure they’re working properly! A pediatric audiologist will monitor your child’s hearing, tailor devices to fit their unique needs, and make sure their brain is accessing all the sounds it needs to grow and develop!
Let’s explore more reasons why OTC hearing aids aren’t an option for your child.
OTC hearing aids are only approved for use by adults older than 18. They’re for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss.
OTC hearing aids can’t be custom-programmed. Your child’s pediatric audiologist will select devices and choose features based on their age and stage of development. They’ll specially program the hearing aids based on your child’s hearing loss. Devices not appropriately set may lead to delays in brain development and language skills.
Regular audiology appointments are critical. At these appointments, your child’s hearing status is monitored and devices are set correctly. You’ll go every 3 months until your child turns 3. Their ears are growing quickly so you’ll need to make sure those earmolds fit! Between ages 3 and 4, they'll go every six months. Once they’re older, your audiologist will recommend how often they should visit, likely once a year.
A pediatric audiologist is an important member of your child’s team. With specialized education and training, they diagnose and treat hearing loss in little ones. They provide key insight and help coordinate care with other professionals on your child’s team. Your child may need recommendations or referrals, and they can help with that!
If your child has been diagnosed with hearing loss and needs hearing devices, you should work with a pediatric audiologist right away. You don’t want them to miss a single moment of hearing your voice as you read bedtime stories, sing lullabies, or say “I love you.”
Here's what you can do right away if hearing loss is confirmed. This will put you and your child on the path toward learning to listen and talk.
Reach your dreams! With LSL intervention and the right hearing devices, your child can achieve the future you want for them. Take CiCi, for example. Born into a family bursting with jazz musicians, gospel singers, and music lovers of all kinds, CiCi's passion for music seemed predestined. Thanks to LSL she’s an accomplished ballerina. Find her LSL Life story here.
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Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. Thousands of parents have been in your shoes. Find other parents who can share from experience, offer encouragement, and help your family reach your LSL goals.
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