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At UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, we believe parents and guardians can contribute to the successful use of these devices and invite you to participate. Please read the following information to learn about their use and how you can help.
A hearing aid is basically a small amplifier that children with hearing loss can wear to make speech and everyday sounds louder. It is one of the most important tools available to help children with hearing loss take full advantage of their remaining hearing. The basic goal of hearing aids is to make speech sounds loud enough for your child to hear.
When introduced soon after the hearing loss is diagnosed, hearing aids can help children and even babies begin to develop communication skills.
There are two different styles of hearing aids. Behind-the-ear hearing aids are worn behind the ear and connect to the ear using a custom earmold. In-the-ear style hearing aids are custom fitted and worn directly in the ear.
Behind-the-ear style hearing aids are most frequently recommended for use by young children because they:
In-the-ear style hearing aids usually are not used by children because:
Once a hearing loss has been diagnosed, an audiologist will help to select the most appropriate hearing aids for your child. The audiologist uses a computer and software program called a real ear measurement system to adjust the hearing aids so that speech sounds comfortably loud. The hearing aids have loudness limits so that they will not be too loud even in small ears.
If your child has hearing loss in both ears, two hearing aids may be recommended for him or her. Two hearing aids will help your child hear better in noisy places and help your child find where sounds are coming from.
The audiologist makes an impression of the child’s outer ear and ear canal. The impression is sent to a lab where the earmolds are made. Earmolds can be made of different materials, but soft material is used for infants and children. Earmolds need to fit tightly into the ear. If the earmolds do not fit well, the amplified sound leaks out of the ear and back into the hearing aid, causing a squealing or whistling sound called "feedback." Earmolds are remade often as a child grows. Young babies outgrow their earmolds in about 2 to 3 months and will need to be fitted for new ones. Toddlers usually can use their earmolds for about 6 months before they need new ones. Older children usually can wear their earmolds for up to a year before they outgrow them. When your child’s earmold seems loose or the hearing aid starts to squeal, you should make an appointment for a new fitting as soon as possible because a secure fit is an important part of keeping your child’s hearing aids working well.
All behind-the-ear hearing aids do not have the exact same parts. The audiologist will describe the parts of your child’s hearing aids and will show you how they work.
Hearing aid batteries, hearing aid retainer clips and care kits are available when you pick up your child’s hearing aids.
Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Drive
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
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Interested in giving to Children's Hospital? Support the hospital by making a donation online, joining our Heroes in Healing monthly donor program, or visiting our site to learn about the other ways you can give back.