From suspected issue to diagnosis
The paediatrician is for years the first point of contact for parents in matters of their child’s health. Your child is regularly checked, inoculated and supported there up until teenage years. If a hearing loss should manifest over time, the pediatrician is also an important contact with who you should discuss the issue because the earlier a childhood hearing loss is discovered, the better it is for the child.
Further steps to the expert
Hearing losses, especially on one side, unless they arise from illness or accident, develop slowly, so that they are often recognized and treated very late. Intact hearing is very important, especially in school time, so that your child can follow the lesson, communicate with classmates and can interact. A consequence of hearing impairment could be isolation as well as falling behind in lessons.
A prudent pediatrician will refer you to an ENT specialist who will arrange further important examinations to get a final diagnosis.
Hearing implant systems
If it should transpire that various medical measures have no prospect of success, or the degree or type of hearing loss of your child is not, or no longer, suitable for a conventional hearing aid, you should consider the possibility of an implanted hearing system for your child. The decades of experience of the implant developers and their satisfied users might make the decision to take this important step easier.
The hearing solutions to treat hearing losses are as varied as the types of those hearing losses. You can get a good insight into the most modern hearing solutions here:
Bilateral hearing provision
In the decision for a cochlear implant system you will probably ask the next question: “Should my child be fitted with a hearing implant system on both sides?“
Specialists explain conclusively to us why nature gives us two ears, that it is not a coincidence and what we lose by having only one ear.
Bilateral (both sides) implants or implanting the deaf ear where there is one-sided deafness or as a supplement to the hearing aid on the other ear enables localization, equally good hearing and understanding from all directions and thus a balanced and three-dimensional hearing impression and consequently an improved understanding of language in noisy surroundings. As everything is heard from both sides, your child can also perceive the sound more loudly. This effect brings about “easier” hearing and your child will not tire so easily in everyday life. For example, hearing provision on both sides will have a positive effect on school performance. Studies have shown that children who are deaf on one side have significantly higher deficits in their school performance.
Apart from that, the central hearing (brain) of both sides is stimulated, and last but not least, the implant on the second side offers a back-up system in case batteries run out or a wire in the audio processor breaks.
All in all, it can be said that bilateral implants offer – as, analogously, does an implant on the deaf side – the possibility for optimal hearing and language development and greater security in everyday situations.
The website Switch-On-Life uses hearing simulations to show visually the difference between perception with one and with two ears in special everyday situations. So for you as parents, in the case of a unilateral hearing loss in your child, his or hear hearing situation will be made more understandable, and you also get interesting insights into the science and technology behind hearing implants.