Children and Hearing

Roughly two out of every thousand babies suffer from a hearing impairment. Even slight hearing loss may slow up progress during speech and language development. That is why action should be taken as soon as possible. To help you gather information about your child's hearing ability, doctors know a series of different tests, the use of which depends on the age and capabilities of the child. Most babies with a hearing impairment will benefit from hearing aids and other amplification devices. There are also therapy and learning programmes.

The cochlea is already fully functional in the twentieth week of pregnancy. Children hear voices or music in the womb. Newborns must first learn to handle their hearing capability. The following developmental stages are guidelines for normal language development. If your child is more than three months behind, this may indicate a hearing impairment.

  • 9 months

    9 months

    Your child shows that he or she can understand simple utterances like "Mummy", "Daddy", "No" or "Bye - bye".

  • 10 months:

    10 months:

    The first comprehensible words are formed.

  • 18 months:

    18 months:

    Your child understands simple sentences. If requested to, he or she will fetch familiar objects and point to parts of the body. Your child should command a vocabulary of 20 to 50 words and be able to form short strings such as "No want", "Go away" or "Mummy do".

  • 1 year:

    1 year:

    The child utters one or more words.

  • 24 months:

    24 months:

    The spoken vocabulary now consists of at least 150 words used in short sentences. The language should also be largely intelligible to adults who are not in contact with the child on a daily basis. Your child is able to sit quietly and listen to someone explain a picture book.

  • 3 to 5 years:

    3 to 5 years:

    Your child normally uses language to express desires and feelings, convey information and ask questions. At pre-school age, he or she should be more or less able to understand everything that is said to them. Their vocabulary expands from 1000 to 2000 words, allowing them to form complex sentences. By the end of the pre-school period, all speech sounds should be clear and intelligible. 

Hearing aids for children

Great progress has been made in recent years in the development of hearing aids. Where children are concerned, it is usually BTE (behind-the-ear) hearing aids that are fitted. They provide the best signal, are small and are available in pretty colours. ITE (in-the-ear) hearing aids are not recommended for young children, since children require the best signal to develop their speech comprehension. Hearing aids with an external receiver are also possible for older children. These can be even smaller and more attractive in design. The microphone is also located here in the unit behind the ear; the loudspeaker (`receiver`) however sits in the ear canal.

The best hearing aid is little use to children, however, if the battery is inadequate. Especially where babies and infants are concerned, a brilliant sound is important, so that speech comprehension can develop fully. The quality of the battery will impact on this. With power one, the amplifying power of the hearing aid is used in an optimal way. The electrical voltage does not become gradually weaker, but rather remains constant for practically the entire life of the button cell.

Thanks to its coating, power one is impervious to sweat, rain or other extreme environmental conditions. So your child can fool around with their friends and play outside without any worry.

  • FM systems

    FM systems

    Even the best hearing aid can prove inadequate in some situations. Sometimes, background noises, room acoustics or distance will negatively affect a person’s hearing. Hence, there are radio systems which, for example, in a school will broadcast the teacher’s voice clearly and undistorted directly to the child’s ear.

  • Cochlear implants

    Cochlear implants

    A child can only benefit from a hearing aid if the sensory hair cells of the inner ear are intact. Should this not be the case, but the auditory nerve still functions, a cochlear implant is the alternative. This is a medical device, which requires an operation to be inserted. It sends its impulses directly to the auditory nerve. Children as young as one year old can receive such an implant. power one is the only battery brand in the world that is recommended by the market leader for implants, CochlearTM.

  • APD

    APD

    Around 3% of children suffer from APD, twice as many boys as girls. APD or CAPD stands for (central) auditory processing disorder. APD can be easily confused with a hearing impairment.

    Those affected, however, usually have normal hearing ability. Their problem is the way in which their brain processes the information heard. People with APD have difficulty in concentrating on language and recalling it. They are better able to deal with information obtained by their visual faculty.

    Many, for instance, fail to recognize the significance if a speaker stresses a particular part of the sentence through emphasis (e.g. `I’m off to BERLIN tomorrow` versus `I’m off to Berlin TOMORROW`). They mix up sounds such `them` and `then`, `made` and `mate`. They confuse temporal aspects of hearing, mix up `beer` and `brie`, for instance, `ample` and “maple` or `salad` and `atlas`. The disorder may only present, however, to the extent that they are unable to determine the direction of an acoustic source or understand the spoken word against background noise.

    APD may be congenital or the result of an illness, such as a prolonged middle ear infection or a head injury. The actual causes are still unknown. ENT specialists or paediatric audiologists advise on diagnosis and therapy.