The world has seen the emergence of hearing aids and, for the most part, the devices are fairly affordable.
But for a deaf kid, these hearing aids aren’t a good match for the other devices in his or her life.
As the head of the hearing aid advocacy group Audible, Sarah Jaffa says that for children with disabilities, it’s important to consider the benefits of hearing, including the comfort and safety.
“When I’m walking with my child, and he has a hearing aid and I’m hearing, I like that,” Jaffi says.
“I don’t have to worry about him hearing.”
Jaffi explains that there are two types of hearing aid available.
The first is a hearing-aid that’s typically worn on the inside of the ear and attached to the nose.
The other is a device that is usually worn on one side of the mouth and attached on the other side of your ear.
Jaffa adds that, for deaf children, the first type of hearing device is “not only the most affordable, but also the most comfortable.”
“The other option is to buy an otocon,” she says.
“For a child, hearing aids can be extremely helpful, especially for those who are able to do tasks that require that kind of hearing,” she adds.
For deaf children with hearing aids like those on the outside of the ears, the device can be “hard to use” and may not be “safe and comfortable” for those with disabilities.
The devices have been designed to accommodate hearing without affecting the child’s ability to communicate with their peers.
“That means that they have to be connected to a phone, so they’re going to need to have a phone for the whole day,” Jaffe explains.
“And that can be frustrating, because you’re not going to be able to use the device for communication with other kids.”
The technology is designed to make the device more comfortable and comfortable for children.
“So it’s more comfortable for them, but it’s not as comfortable for me,” says Jaffia.
“It’s more of a barrier to them hearing because it’s just too high up in my head.”
But the problem is that the device may also be difficult for a child to use.
“For a hearing child, they’re not really used to using a phone,” Jiffa says.
This makes it even harder for the device to work properly for a hearing person, who needs to move his or herself to use it.
The other concern for Jaffaris and other hearing advocates is that otocon earphones can “dismantle the whole ability to speak,” Jefi adds.
“The fact that they are not only less comfortable, but they’re also not as safe, they can make you think you can’t be heard,” she explains.
And, the more time that a deaf person has with an earphone, the harder it is to communicate.
Jaffas argument is that a child’s ear can “seize up” to 10 minutes of their day, and they’ll often go months without speaking.
“I can’t imagine hearing someone who can’t hear being able to hear,” Jelfi adds, citing hearing aids that are designed to work with a child in a wheelchair or with limited communication skills.
“There’s a reason they call them earphones,” Jalfi says, referring to hearing aids designed to be worn on either side of one’s mouth.
“If a deaf adult is walking down the street and hearing someone, they don’t even have to think about it, and that is because they are using a hearing device,” Jeffia says.
For some deaf parents, the issue of the technology’s safety is the most pressing concern.
“My daughter has a hard time hearing,” Jofia says, citing a recent case of an infant with hearing loss that was found to have an otonac device attached to his ear.
“She has to be very careful, because if she walks, or she speaks, or her fingers move, she might be able go over and hurt herself.”
The hearing aid manufacturer Oticon, which has been a leader in developing earphones for deaf and hearing-impaired people, says that while the company is aware of some of the issues raised by deaf parents and advocates, Oticon has a “zero tolerance policy” for safety issues.
“We are dedicated to working with parents and deaf advocates to provide safe and affordable hearing aids for children and families,” Oticon CEO Jeff Cressey says.