How to do a daily check of your child’s hearing aid

If you’ve ever experienced headphones or speakers with a dodgy wire, you’ll know how irritating a sound equipment malfunction can be. Now imagine the frustration when that problem affects everything you hear.
 

Hearing aids are electronic devices and sometimes they will break down. Your baby or young child depends on you to check every day that their hearing aids are safe and functioning properly. The sooner you discover problems, the quicker they can be fixed. If there’s a fault with your child’s hearing aid, contact us to borrow one while it’s repaired.

Here’s how you can keep your child’s hearing aid in top condition:

Get the right tools

When your child is first fitted with hearing aids, your Australian Hearing audiologist will give you a hearing aid test kit and show you how to use the items in it. If you need a refresher on how to use it or have any questions, feel free to ask.

Quick check

Chances are, mornings are one the busiest times of your day. The minimum you want to do is this quick check.

  1. Turn the aid on, cup it in your hand, and listen for a whistling sound. If you hear one, you know it’s producing sound. If it’s not working, check the battery. Also look at the ear mould for wax build up and moisture in its tubing.  

  2. Do a safety check by ensuring that the battery door is locked and the tubing is securely on the ear hook and glued to the mould

Child speech detection test

If your child is old enough to participate, the Child Speech Detection Test, or Ling Test, is another good one to knock off in the morning. It checks your child’s hearing and the hearing aids at the same time. You can repeat it during the day if you have any concerns about your child’s hearing or if they are about to do something that focuses on hearing, such as a language lesson or speech therapy.

  1. Pick a quiet room

  2. Stand about a metre behind your child, and say speech sounds in your normal volume (ah, ee, or, oo, mm, s, sh) one at a time, in a random order, pausing for your child to respond.

  3. Once your child acknowledges or repeats the sound, move onto the next one.

  4. Move further away, about two to four metres behind your child, and repeat the exercise so you can see how distance affects their hearing.

How much your child hears with the hearing aids depends on the type and degree of hearing loss. Check with your audiologist to learn how what sounds your child should be able to hear at different distances.

If your child doesn’t do as well as usual, there may be a problem with their hearing aid or a change in their hearing. Do a physical check and the parent listening check and then contact your hearing centre if you have concerns, especially if you suspect a change in hearing.

Physical check

You can do this in the mornings, but if you’re pressed for time, it’s not a bad idea to do it in the evenings in preparation for the next day. That way, you won’t be delayed by cleaning.
Here’s what to look for when checking your child’s hearing aids

Ear mould (from BTE aids only)

  • If there’s a wax build-up: clear it using a wax tool, available from Australian Hearing.

  • If the ear mould is dirty: wipe it with a tissue or damp cloth. If that doesn’t do the trick, detach mould from the hearing aid and wash it with warm, soapy water. Shake the mould to remove water from tubing and if you have an air puffer, blow air through the tubing and then leave the mould to dry overnight.

  • If there’s moisture in the tubing: pull mould tubing off the earhook and use a puffer to blow air through the tubing. The bend where the tubing goes into the ear mould is particularly prone for moisture build-up.

  • If the tubing is kinked or twisted take the mould to Australian Hearing to get new tubing as it affects the passage of sound to the ear.

  • If there are holes or splits in the tubing: Take the ear mould to Australian Hearing for repair or to arrange a new tube as it will cause whistling and affect the sound.

Hearing aid

  • If there are cracks in the case: take it to Australian Hearing for repair as the electronic components might get damaged.

  • Check each aid is attached to the correct ear mould. BTE aids usually have a red marker for the right ear and blue for the left. They’re e often located in the battery compartment

Battery

  • If the battery is leaking or corroded: throw away leaking battery and clean away corrosion, which looks like white power, on battery contacts and compartment with a cotton bud dipped in methylated spirits. If it’s too damaged, take the aid to Australian Hearing for repair.

  • Check the battery in a battery tester and change if it is low.

Other tips

  • Use a dry aid kit: storing the aids in a dehumidifier dries them out, reducing the number of repairs. This is especially important in a humid environment or if your child perspires a lot.

  • Encourage independence: watch your child’s reaction if the hearing aids aren’t working and ask them to tell you if something is wrong. Gradually get them involved in looking after their aids

  • Keep Them Dry: unless you have special water-resistant aids, remove before bathing or swimming.

  • Remove for Sleeping: this is for your child’s comfort. If they fall asleep with them on, it’s fine to leave them in place for their nap so you don’t disturb them.

It’s important to check your child’s hearing aids daily. You will need to do this until your child is old enough to tell you when something is wrong. If you have any questions or you want to order cleaning accessories, get in touch.

Australian Hearing is the leading specialist and provider of Government funded hearing services. For more information about the services available for children with hearing loss, click here.