A few of my internet friends have young kids with DS who either already have, or will soon be getting hearing aids. As mentioned in a previous post, I've spent many years caring for other kids' aids before Angela came along. Isn't it funny how God prepares us for things, by giving us skills we're going to need later on? LOL
Anyway, Angela's new aids came a few weeks ago. Hers are open fit aids, and usually they don't need an ear mold. However, kids with DS usually have such tiny ear canals that fitting domed aids can be difficult. So we went with the newer, smaller ear molds. In 11 years this is the first set of home aids (she wears different ones at school) that she has tolerated!
Open fit aids are the "latest and greatest" when it comes to hearing aids. They're specifically designed to address mild/moderate hearing loss. They provide better sound, less feedback (that high pitched squealing noise that aids make when they're "leaking" sound.) and are easier to program than older models. They're also much smaller, which is really nice when you're trying to fit the tiny ears that kids with DS often have.
The new aids can be ordered either flesh colored, or in a variety of colors. We chose flesh colored aids, and bright pink ear molds. In the past we've always gone with clear molds that are pretty much invisible, however the colored molds allow me to see AT A GLANCE that Angela's aids are in her ears. This is especially helpful when we're outside (makes me cringe, having her wear her aids outside, but hey...she can hear the birds with them on!) or in other situations where she's apt to either loose them or ditch them on purpose. If you're dealing with a toddler the same would be true. From across the room you can see that the aids are in the ears where they belong! Here's a picture of Angela's new aids and molds.
When Angela was little her ears were tiny and very soft, and had a difficult time supporting the weight of her hearing aids. (they were much larger and heavier then.) Huggies are silicone rings that come in a variety of sizes. They fit around the ear to help the aid stay on. If you look closely in this picture you can see the huggies and the string from the critter clips on Angela's ears. Also notice the dark purple ear molds. (by the way, those earmods were about the size of a dime, and I still have them!)
Another tool to prevent loosing aids is to use otoclips. The concept is similar to pacifier clips. They come in cute little designs and can be easily fastened to your child's clothing.
The Phonak company also sells a "kidsclip" which is the same, just different. LOL
Ok, so you've just found out your child needs aids. THEN you found out your insurance doesn't cover them. THEN you found out how much hearing aids COST!!! (anywhere from $3000-6,000 PER EAR!) Where do you go now? Go to visit Hearing Mojo, and read all the information there. They will guide you to America Hears. This company is owned by the former employer of a family member of ours. He got sick of people not being able to afford hearing aids when their insurance won't cover.
I hope some of you will find this information helpful. Feel free to contact me privately if you're still feeling stuck, or need tips and tricks to keeping those darned things on your kid! I think I've tried everything! LOL