The American Academy of Audiology reported recently that receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aids could benefit infants with hearing loss in a variety of ways including a reduced need for custom earmoulds and a better and more comfortable fit.

Parents and audiologists of hearing impaired infants at two clinics in Sweden and the United States were surveyed and results showed that using a RITE hearing aid could “ensure uninterrupted use of the hearing aids and preserve the consistent auditory input to the developing brain.”

This is because RITE hearing aids are often used with an instant ear-tip that fits directly into the users’ ear canals. This minimizes the need for custom earmoulds, which often need to be refitted every 2-3 months due to the changing size of infants’ ear canals. Instant ear tips can be easily changed when necessary, eliminating the need for frequent earmould impressions, which can be costly.

Audiologists reported that RITE hearing aids and ear tips fit “very well.” Parents also reported that they never or almost never moved out of place and irritation and pain never occurred. Parents’ overall impression of the hearing aids varied between “good” and “very good.” At the end of the study, all parents decided to keep the RITE hearing aids given to them for the study.

According to the article, “the results of this study showed that the physical fit, stability, safety, and security of the study RITE hearing aid (and ear-piece) were evaluated positively by audiologists and parents at both sites.”

I often get asked by parents if we have an alternative to the NHS option. My first answer tends to be a cautious no. However, on reflection I think that this maybe a decision that has been made based on foundations of cost and reluctance. But comparisons of size, performance, cosmetics and fit as highlighted in reports like this indicate that we should at least try the alternatives before ruling them out. Cost should not be the only factor. If your child is struggling with hearing loss and you would like to explore alternatives then contact us on 01494 765144.