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Babies & pre-schoolers

Why does my baby need a hearing aid?

If your child has been identified as having a hearing loss the correct hearing aid(s) are vital to the development of spoken language and educational success. There are different models of hearing aids available depending on the type/level of hearing loss.

What is a behind the ear hearing aid?

This type of hearing aid is a small, wearable electronic device designed to improve hearing by making some sounds louder and improving speech clarity. The hearing aid sits behind the ear and delivers amplified sound into the ear canal via a custom made earmould. Your child's hearing aid(s) are selected and programmed by an audiologist  at the Children's Hearing Centre  according to the hearing test results to suit his/her hearing loss for each ear . Your child's hearing levels will continually be reassessed and changes to the programming made as required. Hearing aid features will be activated/selected specifically for your child depending on their age and hearing loss. The hearing aid(s) provided are high quality, digital hearing aids and are available in a variety of colours. Hearing aids are provided (on loan) free of charge to all children on the NHS.

The key features of a behind the ear hearing aid:

Hearing Aid



Microphone ports

These are where the hearing aid picks up the sound.


Indicator light

Your audiologist will discuss whether you want this feature activating for your child.  The light flashes (1 flash) intermittently to show the aid is working (in amber), and when the battery is running out it produces 3 short flashes intermittently.


Volume control

This feature is usually deactivated for young children.Press up to increase the volume and down to decrease the volume. The volume resets to the default setting after the hearing aid has been switched off.


Battery compartment (on/off switch)

The hearing aid is switched off by opening the battery door. For young children a tamperproof (lockable) battery door is fitted so your child cannot access the battery. A special tool is provided to unlock (open) the battery compartment.



This joins the hearing aid to the earmould.



A clear, flexible plastic tube that connects the hearing aid (via the earhook) to the earmould.



Made of plastic / silicone - this is custom made to fit inside the ear.


Left/right identification 

There are coloured markers under the battery door on the back of the hearing aid.

  • Blue marker = left hearing aid
  • Red marker = right hearing aid

If the hearing aid is replaced for any reason it is advised that you check that the new aid has all the same features.

When should my child wear their hearing aid(s)?

It is essential that you work towards helping your child wear their hearing aid(s) during all waking hours (except for bathing and swimming). The hearing aid(s) will help your child to hear speech sounds clearly. They need to hear lots of clear speech to develop their own talking.

Babies naturally spend a lot of time exploring with their hands and this includes their ears and hearing aid(s). If your child is continually pulling out their hearing aids, firstly check that there is no loudness discomfort and that the earmoulds are a good fit. If they continue to pull them out it is advised to take a consistent approach and put the aids back in every time they are removed. This may take some patience and perseverance and feel quite frustrating at times but try to remain positive and remember that this is often just a phase. Once your child learns to associate the hearing aids with improved hearing they are more likely to want to wear them. If you feel you need additional help or support with this please contact your audiologist or your hearing support teacher.

Some helpful tips for keeping hearing aids in:

  • Use double sided (toupee) tape to keep hearing aids in place behind your baby's ears (provided in the hearing aid kit bag)
  • Attach clothing clips to hearing aids. These clip onto the back of your child's clothes so the hearing aids will not be lost if they are pulled out (provided in the hearing aid kit bag).
  • Distract your child e.g. with some hand held toys when you have put the hearing aids back in.
  • There are additional products available to purchase online to help discourage aids being pulled out. These include: thin mesh bonnets worn over the aids and head bands with pockets to help keep aids in place


Kit Bag

The hearing aid kit bag

Clothing Clips

Clothing clips attached to hearing  aids

What is data logging?

Your child's hearing aid(s) have a data-logging facility. This provides your  audiologist with information on how long the hearing aid(s) are worn and which settings are used. Data logging assists in supporting optimal hearing aid use and benefit.

How can I help my child get the most from their hearing aid(s)?

Hearing aids work optimally in quiet situations. Therefore, whenever possible try to keep background noise to a minimum, for example:

  • switching the television/radio off if not being watched
  • being aware of noise from household appliances such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners etc.
  • closing doors between rooms at home to try isolate sources of noise where possible
  • be aware that your child will find it more difficult to hear in environments with poor acoustics e.g. places with hard surfaces that result in higher levels of reverberation/unpleasant noise such as play groups in church halls.

Will my child be upset by loud sounds?

Hearing aids have sophisticated digital technology which constantly monitors the level of sound going into the microphones. The aid will then automatically adjust the level of amplification to ensure that the level of sound reaching your child's ear stays within the comfortable hearing range. Some children, if feeling unwell or particularly tired, may be less tolerant of noisy situations and will try to remove the aids or become upset.  Giving your child some quiet time, or removing their aids for a short period of time usually helps. If however you feel your child is consistently showing signs of loudness discomfort (e.g. excessive blinking and distress to loud sounds) then please contact your audiologist or Hearing Support Teacher. It might be useful trying one aid at a time  to see if this alleviates any possible loudness discomfort.

How do I know if the earmoulds are fitting well? 

In order to ensure optimal performance, comfort and sound quality from a hearing aid it is vital Earmolds Resizethat Ithe earmould fits well. Earmoulds are custom made for each child and are available in many different colours/with picture inserts (further examples of these are available to see at the Children's Hearing Centre and on our website). Earmoulds can be made from different types of materials (plastic or silicone). Some are very soft and some are harder. They may also have a small hole through them, called a vent. Features of the earmould are selected based on the type and severity of your child's hearing loss.

As your child grows you might notice the earmoulds becoming loose, accompanied with acoustic feedback (a high pitch whistling sound). This occurs when the amplified sound from the hearing aid leaks out of the ear and reaches the microphone. The more powerful the hearing aid, the more likely the chance of feedback occurring. Feedback can be a sign that the earmould(s) are too small and new ones are needed or that there is lots of wax in the ear canal. 


How do I get a new earmould for our child?

The shape of the ear is taken (an impression) by a qualified audiologist.  The ear is filled with a medical grade putty-like material. This is allowed to set before being removed, which takes just a few of minutes. The impression(s) are then sent to a specialist company who make the earmould(s) and return them to the Children's Hearing Centre. This process takes approximately 6 days. Impressions for new earmoulds need to be taken on a regular basis as your child continues to grow.

Where and when can my child get impressions taken?

  • The Children's Hearing Centre: an Earmould Clinic is held on alternate Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
  • Acorns Group  at Elmfield House on Wednesday mornings (babies and toddlers only- ears MUST be clear of wax)
  • Your child's hearing aid review appointment at the Children's Hearing Centre (ears MUST be clear of wax)

It is important that the ear canals are clear of wax for impressions to be taken. At the earmould clinic a specialist nurse is available to syringe your child's ears if necessary.

How is earwax managed?

Sodium Bicarbonate eardrops (provided in your 'hearing aid kit bag' with instructions for use) can be used if your child is prone to excessive wax. For some children, however, there may be a medical reason why drops should not be used (e.g. grommets or perforated eardrums).

Earmoulds need to be kept clean and the tubing free of wax. To effectively clean the earmould: 

How are earmould(s) cleaned?

  1. Remove the earmould from the hearing aid
  2. Wash it in warm soapy water
  3. Stubborn bits of wax may be removed carefully from the inside of the tube with an unfolded paperclip / pin.    
  4. Dry the earmould thoroughly
  5. Reattach the earmould  to the hearing aid (remember the curve of the mould fits into the inside curve of the hearing aid).


Additional moisture can be removed using the earmould 'puffer' (provided in your hearing aid kit bag).  

What is an earhook?

 This joins the hearing aid to the earmould and keeps the hearing aid in place behind the ear. It should be replaced if it becomes: discoloured, chewed, collapsed or loose. Please contact the Children's Hearing Centre if a replacement is required.

Can the tubing be replaced?

The flexible, clear plastic tubing delivers amplified sounds to the ear canal.  After a few months, the tubing can go hard and/or discoloured.  It is important to change the tubing regularly. (Spare tubing and instructions are provided in your hearing aid kitbag). Please ask your audiologist or Hearing Support Teacher for help if required with this. The NDCS have videos regarding caring for your child's hearing aids including how to change the tubing. 

How are replacement hearing aid batteries obtained?

Hearing aids require small batteries which are provided free by the Children's Hearing Centre.

  • The life of a battery is dependent on many factors such as hearing aid type, how often the aid is used, at what volume etc. A general guideline would be 7 - 15 days. For young children we advise that the batteries get changed once a week on a set day
  • Replacement batteries are available from the Children's Hearing Centre by emailing, telephoning, or collection at an appointment/ a pre- arranged time. Contact the department in advance of using the last battery to allow for postage
  • The batteries are activated by contact with air, therefore the sticky tab should be removed just prior to use. Remove old battery and insert new one as indicated on the side of the battery compartment
  • Some hearing aids have battery locks to make removal more difficult for young children.  The battery compartment must not be forced open. Depending on the type of lockable battery door, a tool will be supplied if necessary.
  • Please dispose of old batteries carefully in your household recycling  orreturn them to the Children's Hearing Centre for recycling. Batteries should not be disposed of in general household waste (landfill)
  • Spare and spent batteries should be kept well away from children and pets as swallowing them is a very serious health risk
  • Always carry spare batteries, as hearing aid batteries can suddenly die

How do I look after the hearing aid(s)?

  • Keep out of reach of young children when not in use. This is vital to remember because when they are not in use and switched off the batteries can be accessed.
  • Your child's hearing aid(s) need to be stored safely in the box provided when they are not being worn.
  • Hearing aids are very expensive and sophisticated devices so please take great care of them.

How do I check the hearing aid is working well?

It is important to ensure the hearing aid is always working correctly by carrying out regular maintenance checks:

  • Switch the hearing aid on hold it in the palm of the hand. It should "whistle" steadily. If it doesn't, replace the battery and repeat.
  • Ensure the earmould and tubing are not blocked with wax or water droplets.
  • Attach the hearing aid to a listening clip (provided in your hearing aid kit bag) and talk softly to yourself and observe the quality of sound. It should not sound distorted.
  • Take the hearing aid off the listening clip and perform visual checks for cracks in the casing. This can sometimes cause feedback.

These are only basic checks. If your child complains or seems less responsive than usual when wearing his/her hearing aid, it is important to get the device thoroughly tested by an audiologist at the Children's Hearing Centre.

 Listening Clip

Listening clip attached to earmould