We are looking into hearing aids for my 13 year old son who has a bilateral cookie bite hearing loss primarily in the 2k-4k region (-50 dB). He had one round with hearing aids last year (over the ear type) and was very self concious about it. Any advice for the best type to try out and the best brands for this type of hearing loss?
My 12 year old son has a moderate to moderately severe cookie bite loss (goes from about 45-50 db in the lows, down to about 75-80 db in the middle and back up to about 50-60 db in the highs). He was diagnosed at 15 months and has been wearing hearing aids since then so he is used to them. This is his first year in a school where he is the only child wearing hearing aids though, but he is old pro at explaining them to people. Over the summer he switched from a pair of bright blue Oticon Digi Focus II (with a variety of brightly colored ear molds over the years) to his new Phonak Naida V aids. He wanted red ones but they weren’t available at the time so we got him the transparent ones. Now he wears a clear skeleton mold so it isn’t as bold as before.
It’s very high tech looking since you can see all the electronics inside. Perhaps if you can put a techy spin on it he may be more enthusiastic. A lot of people have fancy bluetooth phone receivers on their ears these days and some hearing aids look like they might be something like that.
My son loves his Naida and says it is way better than his old aids. He has an iCom too and puts an FM boot on that for school use.
I am a cookie biter myself - I got my first hearing aid when I was 14, the summer before I started high school. I was very self-conscious about it when it was new, but I got used to it, and uncomfortable comments from other kids were very rare. I have a nine year old son who wears aids, and he is fortuantely not self-conscious about them at all. Some of that is from my modeling - I make no attempts to hide my aids now, but wear them decked out with fingernail appliques and beads - and some of it just comes from the fact that he’s the kind of kid who puts his shirt on inside out and doesn’t notice. My son’s aids are bright blue with green molds - it was very helpful for him to have a say in what they were going to look like. I’m guessing that at 13 your son might not want his aids to be so conspicuous, but I imagine it might help to let him have as much input as possible regarding choosing the color for the aids. As Maureen pointed out, some of the aids now look very cool and high tech - that might appeal to your son.
As far as what type of aid to choose, I would guess that it would have to still be a BTE (behind the ear) as he is still growing, and really, BTEs provide more features and flexibility anyway. Cookie bite losses are harder to properly fit than the typical ski-slope loss, so you will want to buy a hearing aid with plenty of adjustability - I would suggest an aid with at least 16 channels. And if you can afford premium instruments, I would think a teen would derive lots of benefit from using aids that allow for bluetooth connectivity. Some possible models to check might be Phonak Exelia, Exelia Art, or Versata or Phonak’s new Nios Micro, which is a very cool looking new aid designed for the pediatric market. All of those aids have wireless connectivity and should provide lots of programming flexability. I would highly recommend that you choose aids that have t-coils which will enable your son to make use of an FM system or other assistive listening devices should he need them as he moves into high school and possibly more challenging listening environments. Good luck to you - I hope you can find a solution that you and your son both feel positive about!
There are some tiny instruments out there, I like the Vigo which is small
also the unitron Moda is very small. Phonak has some small instruments (nios)
those are good brands