A Parent's Guide to Hearing Aids for Kids

How To Support Your Child's Hearing Health Journey
Last update on Mar, 22, 2024

Childhood Hearing Loss

Most people associate hearing loss with aging, but children and teenagers are also at risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 12.5% (or roughly 5.2 million) of American adolescents—ages 6 to 19—have developed permanent hearing damage from excessive noise exposure.

It's also estimated that by age 12, around 20% of children will experience some level of hearing loss

As a parent, it's scary to think about your child experiencing hearing loss, but there is hope.

In this article, you'll find essential information on the causes, symptoms, and treatment options available for hearing loss in children. You'll also learn strategies to help safeguard your child's ears from noise-induced hearing loss.

Why Do Children Experience Hearing Loss?

The CDC reports that half of all cases of hearing loss in babies are caused by genetics, while one in four cases are due maternal infections during pregnancy, complications after birth, or head trauma.

Other causes may include:

  • Infections (e.g., meningitis, measles, or mumps)
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Birth complications
  • Certain medications (e.g., ototoxic medicines)

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss: What Parents Need to Know

Of all the causes of hearing loss in children and teenagers, the most preventable is noise exposure. Noise-induced hearing loss can happen when children listen to loud noises for extended periods.

Loud noise damages the hair cells in the inner ear that are responsible for sending sound signals to the brain. These hair cells can become bent or broken, leading to temporary or permanent hearing loss.

Teen wearing headphones

Regularly being around noise that is louder than 85 decibels can cause hearing loss.

Children's Hearing Loss: Signs and Symptoms

Does your child or teenager have hearing loss? Any of these common symptoms could indicate a hearing health issue. 

Muffled hearing or ringing in their ears

Tinnitus, or hearing noises that don't exist, is commonly experienced with hearing loss. However, children who experience tinnitus may not realize they aren't hearing "real" sounds and attribute it to their imagination. 

Increase in fatigue

Listening requires energy. Hearing loss often requires the person to spend more energy listening. Doing so can lead to increased fatigue, especially after busy days or spending time in a noisy setting, such as a classroom or sporting events.

Distracted behavior

Distracted behavior may indicate attention issues in children and teenagers, but it can also be a warning sign of hearing loss, especially if background noise is present. Children and teenagers with hearing loss may find it challenging to navigate noisy environments and become easily distracted.

Annoyance with their ears or head

Children who are unfamiliar with the concept of hearing loss may lack the vocabulary to describe what they're experiencing fully. Sometimes this can result in vague descriptions of their ears or head as being somehow less than ideal.

Dislikes loud environments

It's common for children or teenagers with hearing loss to avoid places with loud noise.  Ears with hearing loss are more sensitive to loud noise and they may experience significant discomfort.  In addition, they may become upset or irritated in such environments due to the extra effort required to hear well. 

Hearing Aids for Kids

Types of Hearing Aids

If your child is experiencing hearing loss, hearing aids may be the best solution. These devices allow children to hear speech more clearly, helping them improve their language and social skills.

They can also support your child's academic performance, as hearing aids can make it easier for them to understand teachers and classmates in the classroom. Just as important, hearing aids can make your child feel more confident and less isolated, as they'll be able to participate in conversations and activities more easily.

Types of Hearing Aids for Kids

  • Behind-the-ear (BTE)
  • Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE)
  • In-the-canal (ITC)

Let's review each type of hearing aid in detail.




Single-Sided Loss


Behind-The-Ear (BTE)

BTE hearing aids are designed to endure the wear and tear of active young lifestyles, making them highly durable. As the name suggests, they're worn behind the ear, where the electronics that make up the actual hearing aid and the battery are located.

Because behind the ear hearing aids use a custom-made ear mold, the hearing aid can continue to be used and the ear mold can be replaced as your child grows.  

Someone picking up a hearing aid


Receiver-in-the-Ear (RITE)

RITE hearing aids are like BTE hearing aids, but instead of having the speaker located behind the ear, it's located in the ear canal.

RITE hearing aids use a thin wire that connects the hearing aid to the speaker, which is placed in a soft dome or custom ear mold in the ear canal. They're a great option for children and teens, as they're discreet and comfortable to wear. 

Someone picking up hearing aids


In-the-Canal (ITC)

ITC hearing aids sit inside the ear canal and are designed to be nearly invisible because they're custom-made to fit the wearer's ear canal. They amplify sound and direct it into the ear canal, which then vibrates the eardrum and sends the sound to the brain.

These hearing aids are generally not recommended for very young children, as their ear canals may still be growing and changing, and the hearing aids would need to be replaced frequently. 

ITE hearing aids on a table next to keys and a vase

Single-Sided Loss


CROS/BiCROS hearing aids are designed for individuals with single-sided deafness or significant hearing loss in one ear and normal hearing or mild hearing loss in the other ear.

  • CROS hearing aids work by picking up sound from the non-hearing ear and transmitting it to the hearing ear.
  • BiCROS hearing aids amplify sound from the non-hearing ear and send it to the hearing ear.

This allows the wearer to hear sounds from both sides and improves their ability to locate sounds in their environment.


Other hearing aid options:

  • Cochlear Implants (CI): electronic devices surgically implanted into the inner ear to bypass the damaged parts of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve.
  • Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA) : devices that are surgically implanted behind the ear to transmit sound vibrations through the skull bone to the inner ear.

Find tips on how to put in and remove hearing aids

Choosing the Right Hearing Aids for Kids

Before you can decide on a hearing aid for your child, you'll need to work with a local hearing provider. An audiologist, can assist in evaluating your child's hearing and establishing an appropriate treatment plan to help them achieve a better quality of life.

The next thing you might be wondering about is cost. You're not alone. The costs of hearing aids for kids can vary. Currently 23 states in the US require health plans to provide coverage for pediatric hearing aids.  The good news is you can check your benefits to see if your child is covered for hearing evaluations and hearing aids.

Simply use our benefits checker tool and one of our team members will reach out to walk you through your benefits and connect you with a hearing care provider in your community. 

Ear Protection for Kids

Now that you know your child's treatment options, let's quickly review how to protect your family's hearing from loud noise exposure.

  1. Avoid excessively loud noises, especially for prolonged periods.
  2. Have your child wear hearing protection (such as earmuffs or earplugs) when he or she is around loud noises.
  3. Limit your child's exposure to loud music, television, and other noise sources. We recommend the 60/60 rule for safe earbuds or headphones use: listen to only 60% of the maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes daily.
  4. Schedule regular hearing screenings for your child—remember, this is important medical preventive care!

Be the Example

One effective way to combat hearing loss in your child or teenager is to lead by example. Communicate to them that you value your hearing health and that they should do the same —that means scheduling regular visits with your hearing care provider, too.

Even though children and teens might assume that hearing loss is not something to worry about until they're older, make sure they comprehend that hearing loss prevention is an ongoing process throughout their lives.

Father son hugging

Get in touch with Amplifon

Check to see if you have hearing coverage for your child and request an appointment for a professional hearing evaluation at a clinic near you.

Start your journey to better hearing with Amplifon

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Use our online tool to check your benefits, and connect with a local provider.

We appreciate you reaching out to us.

Our hearing care advocates will call you shortly and help answer all your questions.

*Based on 2024 internal pricing analysis. Your savings may vary.

**Care package details vary by plan. Exclusions and limitations may apply. Separate care packages may be available through your provider. These care packages are not included in your Amplifon benefit and may result in additional out-of-pocket cost. Contact Amplifon (888-713-7659) for details.

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