Choosing Amplification Devices

Deciding on Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants

When babies are born, they are still developing their ability to use their senses, including hearing. Using hearing aids or cochlear implants to make sounds louder or clearer is called using hearing devices.

Babies who can use at least some of their residual hearing will benefit from early chances to listen, provided by devices like hearing aids or cochlear implants.

What decisions will we make about hearing technologies?

You will probably be making decisions about the following:

  • what type of digital hearing aid to select
  • if your baby is a candidate for a cochlear implant
  • whether or not to consider a cochlear implant

To make these decisions, you will need to gather information from many sources:

  • Professionals: audiologist, otolaryngologist, speech-language pathologist, family-infant specialist, service coordinator, teacher of the Deaf/Hard of hearing, deaf mentors, and others
  • Parents and Support Organizations
  • Internet

What are our hearing amplification options?

You want your baby to grow up in touch with the environment.

Hearing Aids

To help the baby who can use residual hearing to keep in touch, you and your audiologist will be deciding on appropriate amplification. Will you look at hearing aids? If you do, what kind of hearing aid will help your baby the most?

Cochlear Implants

If your baby is severely or profoundly deaf, will you explore the appropriateness of a cochlear implant? If you do, what information do you need to have before making such a choice? Who can give you information about how cochlear implants work differently with different individuals?

Other Technology/Assistive Devices

Helping a profoundly deaf baby to keep in touch with the environment may mean changing sound into light or touch. Today, you can choose from many devices that flash or vibrate when the telephone rings, when the alarm goes off in the morning, or when someone knocks at the door.

Many Deaf individuals use computers, text messaging, instant messaging, video relay services, video phones, facetime and other technologies to stay in touch with their community. As your baby grows up, computers will continue to develop, bringing the whole world within reach.