My daughter was diagnosed with hearing loss almost a year ago. We were all set to get her hearing aids through the hospital which diagnosed her, but due to insurance issues we were referred to another audiologist. This audiologist told us we only needed a hearing aid in one ear. Again, we were all set to buy a hearing aid, one this time, but the audiologist wasn’t trained to fit the waterproof hearing aids we wanted. So, we saw a third audiologist, who said she doesn’t need hearing aids. He thought that the amount of improvement that the hearing aid would provide would be negligible. So, we decided no hearing aids. However, she has articulation issues and there is some debate as to whether hearing aid(s) would help with her speech. The speech teachers say no, the audiologist say yes. What do you think? Her latest evaluation results are below:

SRT- RE 20 96%/55dbhl
LE 20 88%/55dbhl WIPI utilized

     250     500      1000    2000    4000       6000      8000

RE 20 20 20 25 25 35 30
LE 20 25 30 30 35 35 30

I am not a doctor and don’t know if those numbers you posted warrant hearing aids or not. I just find it very odd that you are getting completely different answers ranging from needing two hearing aids to not needing them at all.

The rest of my comments are my opinion based on me experience. I am not a professional in anyway, just a patient.

I would start with a medical doctor that you trust to tell you if you need hearing aids, preferable a specialist, like a ENT. I will tell you this, if she needs hearing aids, you better get them on her ASAP, not sure what her age is, but if she is young, you should act fast. If you already waited a year, she may already have suffered some developmental damage already. If she is young and needs hearing aids and you don’t get them for her, she can suffer life long consequences, it is critical for her development and speech skills as well as social skills if she is not able to interact with kids her age. for her sake, get it checked out and do something sooner than later.

One last thing, I an very against just using one hearing aid, I thing you need to balance your hearing and have 2. That is just my opinion again.

**Just re-read your question about impact to speech. YES!!! WITHOUT A DOUBT if she needs hearing aids, having them will help with her speech. have you ever heard a deaf or hearing impaired person talk? Almost every single one of them has some sort of speech impediment. She will suffer life long consequences if she doesn’t get the help she needs NOW.

Good luck.

I also am not a doctor, but looking at her numbers, she has very mild loss in the upper frequencies. As a child it would be expected that her hearing should be better, but readings with 25 from what I understand can be considered in the normal range. Speech training may provide better results in the short term.

I’m actually not surprised to the differing opinions, as the benefits of fitting “slight” hearing impairments in children has been debated by audiologists for quite some time. My own position has evolved somewhat, and I tend to be a bit more aggressive in this situation as I once was. While thresholds of 20-25 dB are considered the borderline of the normal hearing range for adults, it’s important to remember that normal hearing children developing speech and language have thresholds around 0 dB HL (a HUGE difference).

It is a more far complex issue than any possible hearing loss = hearing aids, but in this case I would likely argue to aid. As far as getting a medical doctor’s opinion, keep in mind that most of them (including most ENTs) have very little training whatsoever on hearing aids or the effects of hearing loss on communication and speech/language development. Their training is in the diagnosis and medical treatment/surgery of ear disease, a very different area. Some pedi ENTs and otologists are very well read on the subject, but few and far between. I would go with the opinion of the audiologist who has the most experience and does not balk at producing evidence to back his/her position.

You didn’t say how old your daughter is or if she has been seen by an ENT or not. With that said I would start with seeing an ENT and see what they say and go from there.

Thanks for your input. My daughter is 4. Two other things to add to the complication of making a decision. The first is that her ENT seems to be completely indifferent regarding hearing aids. He is kinda like maybe she could benefit, maybe not. He is not compelled in either direction. The audiologist who are for hearing aids, seem to completely disregard his opinion, saying that he is not trained in hearing loss per se. Also, she has two different speech teachers, from different agencies, so they don’t talk to each other. They are both in agreement that her speech issues are related to jaw/mouth movement, not hearing. Thanks again.

How much of that loss is conductive? Do you have a bone conduction result?

If it’s a sensorineural loss, I’d consider getting it aided as it’s not likely to recover. If it’s a conductive loss (typical glue ear etc) and likely to be transient, I wouldn’t be so keen. As your daughter gets older this loss is likely to rectify itself as the eustacian tube straightens and widens as her jaw line develops. The ENT is correct from a surgical point of view (no need to interfere) while the positive Audiologists are correct from the ‘early speech cue’ development point of view.

You can probably make the decision based on whether you and her teachers feel she is not hearing well enough in class or in her peer group. Bear in mind that kids of this age will have hearing levels up at -10dB so her actual deficit may be nearer to 40dB. If the teaching staff is able to manage the situation effectively without aids, through better environmental control in the classroom then you ought to bear this in mind too. As a rule girls are better at developing early speech and language skills too which might mean that the level of loss has less impact than it would otherwise. If you observe that she’s regularly ‘tuned-out’ of what’s going on then you might let that direct you decision.

Nice work, Um bongo!