Do you have a child who has been diagnosed with hearing loss? If so – and if your child was just recently diagnosed – the next step for your child is to undergo a hearing aid fitting.

Pediatric hearing aid fittings can be difficult for everyone involved; figuring out the right amplification for an infant, toddler or child is tough, even for the best of audiologists.

Why is it so difficult?

Hearing aid fittings for infants and children are different than hearing aid fittings for adults. The main reason behind this difference is an adult’s ability to react. For example, adults can identify whether or not a hearing aid is working, if sounds are too loud or too quiet or if speech sound muddled, garbled or unclear.

On the other hand, children often have a tougher time explaining this. Because of the difficulty in communication, it is important to make sure you don’t take your child to just any hearing healthcare professional; you’ll want to take your child to a pediatric hearing healthcare professional with extensive experience fitting hearing aids to infants and children. Without proper fitting, your child could experience – or continue to experience – issues with speech and language development.

How pediatric fittings are done

A probe microphone test is the best and easiest way to perform a hearing aid fitting on a child. The test allows an audiologist to determine the amount of sound being delivered to the child’s ear. During a probe microphone test, a small, soft microphone is placed in your child’s ear, adjacent to the earmold. The microphone picks up sound and records it. The audiologist reads the recording and determines if the sound is right for your child’s degree and type of hearing loss.

What to expect after

A child’s brain will take some time to adapt to the new sounds it hears, especially if they have gone with undiagnosed hearing loss for a long period of time.  Additionally, a child who has hearing loss will likely benefit from speech and language therapy to help with any delays or struggles with development.

You can expect to have many follow up appointments with your child’s audiologist. The visits will monitor the function and fit of the hearing aids, which can change rapidly. After all, kids grow quickly – including their ear canals. Growth and misalignment can cause the hearing aids to create feedback in the hearing aid, making it difficult to hear well.