How Hearing Aids Can Help Children With Autism

4 May 2015
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Many children with autism spectrum disorders have a sensory processing problem of one kind or another. Usually it is either sight or sound that is affected, but taste and touch can also be affected. When an auditory processing issue gets in the way of their daily learning and activities, it turns into frustration and meltdown time. Rather than remove your child from a roomful of noise, you can remove a lot of the noise from the room with hearing aids. Here is how.

Hearing Aids Cancel Background Noise

Hearing aids are designed to cut down or completely cut out background noise. Because most adults who have developed partial hearing loss cannot hear others in crowded places, these hearing aids were developed with them in mind. Although your child certainly does not need hearing aids, providing them with something that can cut out all the other auditory stimulation can help him or her focus and keep calm.

What to Do If OTE Hearing Aids Do Not Stay Put

In the event that your child pulls the standard OTE hearing aids out and will not wear them despite the quieter room he or she is experiencing, you can try another type of hearing aid. ITE, or inside-the-ear, hearing aids are so tiny that it would be impossible for your child to retrieve them. Several makes and models of ITE hearing aids still provide the background noise cancelling feature, as well as the means for your child to tune into just what the teacher is saying and nothing else.

A Single Alternative to the Hearing Aids

Headphones with noise cancellation are now a hot commodity. Your autistic child may find such headphones very soothing because of the slight compression they have on the head and because they only have to listen to what is piped into them. His or her teacher could communicate daily lessons via WiFi into the headphones, allowing your child to remain in the classroom with his or her peers and not be overstimulated.

Finding an Audiologist 

Hearing aids used in this way to help kids with autism is a fairly new concept, and not one every audiologist is willing to sign a prescription for. You may have to take your son or daughter to several specialists before you find an audiologist who is willing to help. However, given the alternative of not mainstreaming your child or having your child's teacher deal with daily meltdowns and classroom distractions because your child is getting to much stimulation via his or her ears, it is worth the effort.

For more information about hearing aids, contact Bentley Hearing Services or a similar company.