by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A mother wrote:
My daughter is seven years old, and has a sloping loss from moderate to profound in both ears. Her worse ear has a 70 dB loss, dropping to profound in the 2000 Hz range. I don’t think her current hearing aids give her the range of sound that she needs, especially in the high frequencies. I’m looking for a digital aid that gives her greater range. Any suggestions would be great.
There are three solutions as I see it.
1. Use standard digital hearing aids that are set to have more high-frequency emphasis.
This is only going to be of limited help because she can’t hear much or anything in the high frequencies now. Therefore, even if the new hearing aids had greater range and amplify all the high-frequency sounds, she still wouldn’t hear them!
2. Get a special hearing aid that transposes high-frequency sounds into lower-frequency sounds.
Sonovation (http://www.avrsono.com) makes a special line of ImpaCt digital frequency-compression hearing aids. These hearing aids transpose the high-frequency sounds down to the lower-frequency sounds your daughter still hears. Once her brain adapts to the new strange-sounding speech, these hearing aids can be an excellent choice. Many people with her kind of hearing loss love their ImpaCts.
3. Once her hearing deteriorates such that hearing aids no longer give her significant help, she may be eligible for a cochlear implant. Then she will have an excellent chance of having reasonably-good high-frequency hearing once more.
At this point in her life, I’d suggest investigating option 2. ImpaCt hearing aids could be an excellent choice for your daughter.