Hearing Loss and Children
When you think about hearing loss, kids probably aren’t the first ones to come to mind. However, the numbers of children and teens with hearing loss continues to rise. About 3 of every 1,000 children in the U.S. are born with hearing loss, and others develop hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises at home and at school, or unsafe use of earbuds.
In the first few years of life the brain goes through rapid growth and change, and this is a period of critical development for your child. Pathways in the brain that deal with hearing, speech, and language all develop during this time, so missing out on any of this time will have some serious consequences.
Missing Sounds Means Slowed Development
As an adult, you might think you could get by with a little hearing loss, but for children, even a few months living with hearing loss can have some serious repercussions. Children learn language through hearing it, so if your child is missing important sounds, they’ll not only be struggling to hear, but to speak as well. For older children, hearing plays a huge part in classroom learning, so if your child is approaching school age, it’s important to get them fitted for hearing aids as soon as possible. Hearing also plays a major role in social and emotional development, so treating hearing loss will ensure your child is able to easily interact with their peers. If your little one has hearing loss, wearing hearing aids consistently is the only way to ensure they’ll acquire language and social skills, and bond effectively with family and friends.
Children who live with untreated hearing loss risk being placed in expensive special education, or isolated from their hearing peers, slowing development even further.
Treating Hearing Loss
Getting the right hearing aid as soon as possible is crucial for your child’s development of language, as well as their educational success. Most children are fitted with Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aids that are easy to put on and allow you to see if the hearing aid is working. The soft earmold that fits in the outer ear is also easy to replace as your child grows, so you won’t need to buy a new device as often as you buy bigger shoes. We have advanced hearing aids made specifically for children. These small devices will ensure a good fit and come in a variety of colors to match skin tones, or bright colors to make hearing aids more fun. They also have programs tailored to children’s learning needs, so your little one will not have trouble keeping up with their hearing peers.
Insurance Will Cover Pediatric Hearing Aids
Most insurance providers in Georgia didn’t have hearing aids of their list of covered medical expenses, and in most policies, hearing aids were deemed cosmetic! But parents pushed back, and as of January, pediatric hearing aids are covered by all insurance providers. The new “Hearing Aid Coverage for Children Act” applies to all children and teens under 18 years of age. The plan includes replacement coverage once every 48 months, and also covers the costs of hearing tests, fittings, and normal maintenance.
This is great news for parents. You can stop stressing about the money, get your kids new hearing aids as soon as needed, and replace them easily if they get lost or damaged. You’ll watch them grow and learn along with their hearing peers, and free up your finances to save for a family vacation or get that dog your kids have been begging for.
If your child has hearing loss, don’t waste another day! Visit us at Atlanta Hearing Doctor for a hearing assessment, and to take advantage of the insurance coverage now offered in Georgia. We’re here to help you along every step of the way with expert advice on what your child needs to succeed in school and engage with family and peers.