Information for kids: The information on this page is for adults. If you want a child-friendly way to explain hearing aids, check out our comic Ali Gets Hearing Aids.
Hearing aids can be useful for children with any level of deafness and may be recommended for your child so that they have the best chance of hearing everything going on in their world.
The type of hearing aid that will be suitable for your child will depend on the type and level of deafness they have.
The audiologist will choose the correct hearing aid for your child using the results of the audiogram.
Your child may be fitted with two hearing aids (known as a binaural fitting) or one hearing aid.
Digital hearing aids have advanced features that mean they can be programmed to match your child’s deafness.
This means that they can help your child to hear everyday sounds but will also make listening to speech as clear and easy as possible.
Hearing aids will make sounds louder and clearer but they don’t restore ‘normal’ hearing. A deaf child wearing their hearing aids will not be able to hear in the same way as a hearing child. A deaf child may still struggle to hear if the speaker isn’t facing them, is too far away or there’s lots of background noise.
However, there is lots that can be done to help make listening easier and clearer for deaf children, including learning to be deaf friendly, improving the acoustic (listening) environment, and using other technologies with their hearing aids (such as soundfield systems and radio aids).
The most common types of hearing aid worn by children are behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids (also known as post-aural aids). They can be fitted to people of all ages and are suitable for very young babies upwards.
Hearing aids can also be used on a temporary basis for children with glue ear who are waiting either for the glue ear to resolve or for grommet surgery. For children who have repeated problems with glue ear or can’t have grommet surgery, hearing aids can be very helpful.
If your child is given hearing aids at your local audiology clinic, they will usually be from the NHS range. The NHS uses a range of good quality digital hearing aids that are suitable for children with different types and levels of deafness.
If there is no suitable NHS aid available, audiologists can choose an aid from the commercial range, in the same way as a private hearing aid dispenser.