My child wears hearing aids.  He is able to respond to sounds even when he is not wearing them.  Is it okay for him to not wear them?

It is important that children have consistent access to all speech sounds.  Many people with hearing aids are able to hear some sounds, such as a dog barking or a car horn honking, even without the use of their hearing aids.   Without hearing aids, a person may easily respond to the presence of sound, but they may be missing so much more!  They may be missing only the quiet speech sounds which are just as important.  For example, a child may hear “Go for a ride?” when you say “Go outside?” or “See the bug” instead of “See the bus.”  In this case, they may be responding to the presence of sound, not the actual clarity of the words/phrases because they are missing the finest details of sounds.  Sounds are the building blocks of words.    

Work with your child’s audiologist or speech language pathologist to understand more about your child’s specific hearing loss and be sure to have your child’s hearing tested at the recommended intervals.  Here are some things to consider and share:  Has your child’s ability to follow directions changed?  Does your child watch other children for cues to see what to do next?  Is your child watching your face more?  Is your child able to hear from a distance and/or in competing noise (TV on, outside noise)?  Even if the answers to these questions do not raise concern, it is important that children have consistent and clear access to sounds to develop speech and language.