All children with bilateral atresia will require hearing aids. The decision to aid unilateral atresia is determined by parents and professionals.
Traditionally, children with a unilateral hearing loss were not aided. However, current research now supports the case for aiding children with a unilateral hearing loss. Children with a unilateral hearing loss may hear well in a quiet listening environment such as at home, but can having trouble hearing when there is a lot of background noise and have trouble locating the direction sound is coming from. Hearing aids can help with both of these situations. Aiding these children gives them the best access possible to sound in all environments and stimulates the auditory nerve and pathways, which is particularly important during those formative early childhood years.
The majority of children with unilateral Microtia & Atresia are now aided. Australian Hearing now routinely offer bone conduction aids to children with Microtia & Atresia.
To learn more about single sided hearing loss in children and the benefits of aiding this type of hearing loss, please refer to the article “ Single Sided Hearing Loss in Children “.
Because there is no canal for sound to travel through, traditional hearing aids are usually not suitable for atresia patients. There are several alternatives available. At present, the types of hearing aids suitable for atresia patients are –
Bone Conduction Hearing Aids (BCHA)
Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA) – a range of implantable bone conduction hearing aids are now available, including the Cochlear Baha, Oticon Ponto and the Sophono Alpha.
Vibrant Soundbridge (VSB) – an active middle ear implant
Behind The Ear hearing aid (BTE) – only suitable for patients who have stenosis (narrow canal) or have had Atresia repair surgery and still could benefit from amplification
BCHA, BAHA and VSB are great alternatives for patients who are not candidates for Atresia Repair, who cannot access a skilled Atresia Repair surgeon or those who choose not to have Atresia Repair.
Follow the links above to learn more about each type of hearing aid.