The following are a list of frequently asked questions about the
Hearing and Speech Clinic at Children's Mercy.
a Child Need a Referral at the Hearing and Speech
Many insurance plans need a
physician's referral. A family can get a referral to the Hearing
and Speech Clinic from a pediatrician, school, a health care
agency or other educational and social organizations.
Keep in mind that state programs and
Medicaid plans must approve a child's outpatient visits.
The Hearing and Speech Clinic does not
require a referral to see a child, unless the child's insurance
company requires the child to have one. It is important for
a family to check their insurance coverage. The
staff recommends that families ask their physician for a written
Is There Financial Help Available Through the Hospital?
Children's Mercy Hospitals and
Clinics has financial counseling and other payment
arrangements. The Hearing and Speech Clinic has hearing
aid and therapy grants.
For more information, call financial
counseling at (816) 234-3559.
How Can Parents Help Their Child Adjust to Wearing Hearing Aids?
Sometimes the transition to wearing hearing aids is hard for
Try to make wearing hearing aids a good
thing by making it fun. Put the hearing aids in
and begin a fun activity with the child right
away. If the child likes music, turn on a favorite CD and
dance together. If the child likes to read, put in the aids
and read a favorite book. If the child likes to play a
certain game, then do that. Do whatever the
child enjoys. If the child takes the hearing aids out, do
not punish him/her. Simply take the hearing aids, put them
away, and go do the dishes or make dinner or some other daily
activity. After that task is done, put the hearing aids back
on the child and begin another fun activity. Soon, the
child will realize that when he/she wears the
hearing aids, the child gets undivided attention and has
fun. When the child takes the hearing aids out,
the fun stops and his/her parents pay attention to other
If the child will only wear the hearing aids for
very brief periods of time, try this. Put the hearing
aids in. Do a fun activity with the child and at the end
of the activity the adult should take the hearing aids
out and put them away. Give plenty of praise to the child for
keeping the aids in long enough to finish the
activity. Let the child have a break, then put the aids
back in. Complete another activity and then again the adult
should take the hearing aids out and put them away. Repeat
this routine at least three times a day. Each day the
activities should last longer. This way, the child knows
that the aids will be removed at the end of the
activity, so the child is less likely to take them out
Keep in mind that the goal is for the child to
wear the hearing aids all his/her waking hours every
day. These strategies are to help the child
with learning to wear hearing aids. By the end of one
month, the child should be wearing the hearing aids
whenever he/she is awake. Once the child has
accepted the hearing aids for the activities listed above, begin
treating the hearing aids as part of the
child's clothes. When the child gets dressed in the
morning, put in the aids. When the child gets undressed, take
out the aids. The sooner the child reaches this point,
the better the child's speech, language and learning outcomes
Parents should contact their audiologist
if they have problems getting their child to
wear the aids. The audiologists at the Hearing and Speech
Clinic will happily work with the child and parents.
How Long Should a Child Wear Hearing Aids Each Day?
The audiologists at Children's Mercy like to tell children that their new hearing
aids are now part of their clothes. So, when a
child gets dressed in the morning, they should put on a
shirt, pants and hearing aids. When the child gets
undressed at night, they should take off the shirt, take
off the pants and take off the hearing aids.
Children should not wear their hearing aids when
sleeping, bathing/showering, swimming or around loud noise.
The more time children spend
wearing their hearing aids, the better their speech,
language, learning and social outcomes will be.
When the hearing aids are not
in the ears, they should go into the dehumidifier where
they will be kept safe and dry. Hearing aids should
never be put in a pocket, on the coffee table or
in a back pack. They could go through the washing
machine, be eaten by the dog or be crushed by books!
Hearing Aids be Cared For?
For young children, an adult should listen to the hearing aids
every day before putting them in the child's ears to make sure the
aids are working right.
If there is any problem with the aids such as no sound, quieter
than usual, static or if the hearing aids work on and off, change
If a new battery does not fix the problem, clean out
earmold with a wax loop and/or blower to make
sure that wax is not blocking the tubing.
If neither of these fix the problem, bring the hearing
aids to the Hearing and Speech Clinic for
repair. When bringing in the hearing aids, there is a repair
form to fill out. It can be downloaded by
clicking hearing aid repair form. It is also found on
Should Hearing Aids be Cleaned?
Hearing aids can be cleaned with a dry
earmolds can be cleaned with a wax loop. If the wax
loop does not get rid of all of the wax, take
the hearing aid off of the earhook and blow air from the
end of the tube down into the earmold. If a
child has clear earmolds, they will turn yellow over
time. No amount of cleaning will change that.
Will sweat ruin a hearing aid?
No. Like any electronics, moisture is not good for the hearing
aid, but it will not ruin it either. Be sure to keep the
hearing aids in the dehumidifier when they are not in use. Talk to
an audiologist about products that can help protect hearing aids
from sweat, and about tubing that fights water build up for
How Can a
Squealing Sound be Fixed on a Hearing Aid?
"Squealing" or a high pitched noise is
also called feedback. This happens when sound that is leaving
the hearing aid comes back into the aid's
Feedback usually happens for these
reasons (from most to least likely):
- The earmold is not all the way in the child's ear.
- The earmold is too small.
- There is something is too close to the hearing aid.
- There is a lot of wax in the ear canal.
- There is a crack in the
tubing or the earhook.
If the problem is wax in the child's ear canal, call the child's
pediatrician or Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor to have them
remove the wax. Do not use cotton swabs to get rid
of the wax. Children's ear canals are small and doing this
will only push wax deeper into the canal.
The Hearing and Speech Clinic can help with all other problems.
If the hearing aid is squealing, but the earmold is all the
way in his/her ear and nothing is too close to the hearing aid,
then call the Hearing and Speech Clinic to set up a time
to have the hearing aid checked. It is important that the child,
the hearing aid and the earmold all come to the appointment; do not
drop off the hearing aid to be fixed. Please visit the
contact information page to schedule an appointment.
What Should be
Done if a Child Loses a Hearing Aid?
Loss and damage can only be claimed one
time on each hearing aid, within the warranty period. If the child
loses a hearing aid and has not already claimed loss and damage on
the aid, parents should call the Hearing and Speech
Clinic and click here for the loss and
damage form. The loss and damage form needs a signature from
the parent in front of a notary. There is a notary available
at each of the Hearing and Speech Clinic locations. Also, most
banks have a notary.
Once the form is turned into the
Hearing and Speech Clinic, an audiologist will send the
paperwork to the hearing aid company. A new hearing aid will
be ordered for the patient. A fee may be charged for the loss and
damage claim if the child's insurance does not cover the hearing
aid. While the child is waiting for the new hearing aid to come in,
the Hearing and Speech Clinic will give the child a loaner aid if
one is available. Please call the Hearing and Speech Clinic
for more information about a loaner hearing aid.
Is it Normal
for Children's Ears to Make More Wax When They Wear
Yes, it is normal for children's ears to make more wax
when they wear hearing aids. When a hearing aid is put into an
ear, wax glands make more wax because the
ear thinks the hearing aid is a foreign body. The
ear produces wax to help break down foreign bodies and clean
out the ear canal. The same thing happens in
the mouth when retainers
are put on teeth; the mouth thinks the
retainer is a foreign body and makes more saliva to break
down the foreign body.
Parents Clean Their Child's Ears?
Never use a cotton swab to clean a child's
ears. Children's ear canals are very small. It is easy
to harm the eardrum and middle ear by going too far into the
ear. If a child has wax in his/her canals, a cotton swab will only
push it farther down the canal, which will cause more problems.
Also, damage can be done if the child coughs,
sneezes or moves suddenly during ear cleaning. If it seems
like a child needs to have his/her ears cleaned, talk
to the child's pediatrician or Ear, Nose and Throat
Swimmer's ear (external otitis) is an infection of the ear canal
usually caused by bacteria on the thin lining of the
canal. When an ear canal is around
moisture, the ears can get infected. Swimmer's ear
is usually easy to treat, but taking care of it early
is the best way to avoid more serious problems.
Signs of swimmer's ear are itchy and painful ears, ears feeling
plugged, pain when the ear is moved up and down, pain when the ear
is pushed in, and drainage from the ear. If a parent thinks that a
child has swimmer's ear, contact the child's pediatrician or the
Children's Mercy Hospital Information Line at (816) 234-3188.
For more information please visit the
swimmer's ear care card.