If your young child wears a hearing aid, you as a parent bear much of the responsibility for ensuring that he or she wears it and that it works and fits correctly. Because young children grow so quickly, it's recommended that you get a new earmold for the hearing aid frequently. Your child may not grow at an average rate of speed, though, and if he or she is growing faster than expected (such as during a growth spurt) it's possible that the earmold will stop fitting well in even less time than you hoped. Here are three ways to tell if this is the case.
1. Feedback sounds
A feedback loop is created when some of the sound produced by the hearing aid escapes the ear canal and is fed back into the device's microphone. This can occur in some normal conditions, such as during chewing (which causes the ear canal to change shape slightly) but can also happen when your child has outgrown the earmold. This is because the slightly larger size of the ear can allow sound to escape around a no-longer-snug device.
2. Signs of discomfort
If your child's earmold doesn't fit well, it doesn't only cause problems with the function of the device. It can also cause your child discomfort. If your child is too small to communicate clearly, it may be difficult to determine that the earmold is the cause of the problem. However, if you suspect it may be, check closely for signs that the fit has changed; for example, it may be sitting at a different angle than normal, or it may wiggle more easily than usual.
3. Hearing difficulties
The hearing aid cannot work properly if the earmold no longer fits. This means that the sounds it picks up won't be correctly amplified and delivered to your child's brain, and he or she may have more difficulty hearing than usual. If this is the case (and you've made sure that the device is actually functioning and the battery's not dead), a too-small earmold may be the culprit. Check for the other signs of a too-small earmold, and if you suspect that's the problem, take your child in for another earmold fitting.
Your audiologist can demonstrate to you how to tell if the earmold is fitting right, and can help you decide when it's time for a new earmold; but you still need to be responsible for keeping an eye on the hearing aid while your child is at home so that you can decide when it's time to schedule an appointment. Use these signs of an ill-fitting earmold to help you with this decision. For more information, visit Advantage Hearing & Audiology.