Thursday, March 18, 2010

Miles got a Hearing Aid

Last Fall, we finally got a loaner hearing aid for Miles to try out. Actually, we got two. He got to try a BAHA and a BCHA for a total of 3 months.

A BAHA is a bone anchored hearing aid. You can either wear it on a "softband" or get a permanent implant so it attaches to your skull. I don't have a picture of him with it, but it looked like this, but red:


The BCHA is a bone conduction hearing aid and is on a metal band--kind of like the old timey walkman earphones:


Normally the BAHA is preferred over the BCHA, but Miles preferred the way the BCHA felt, plus it turned out that his hearing tested better than the BAHA (also a surprise to the audiologist).

We had a hard time getting him to actually wear the hearing aid. Because of this, we had pretty much decided not to spend the money on one. But then I spoke to his teacher and she said it makes a big difference on the way he pays attention in the classroom. He tends to be a day dreamer--"off in Miles world," as we say. I think some of this is due to his hearing loss and some is just his personality. But she said he pays better attention and stays more engaged when he wears it, so we decided to go for it.

Luckily, the BCHA, which he preferred, is cheaper than the BAHA: about $1,500 vs. $7,000. New legislation makes insurance companies provide coverage for children's hearing aids. Ours had a $350 deductible, then they paid 85%. We haven't gotten the bill yet, but I expect it to be about $500.

He doesn't wear it much at home and I don't push him too much. But his teacher reminds him to wear his aid at school, and I think he does most of the time. He doesn't wear it in particularly loud situations, like music class, since the noise bothers him.

So far we're glad we did it.


Jill said...

WOW. We had a loaner BCHA on a softband that Charlie really didn't tolerate well at age 3 1/2; I was thinking of doing surgical BAHA just so we didn't have to fight with him about keeping the headband on. I wonder if we should try a metal-band BCHA for school only? Hm.

Miles' parents said...

I would recommend seeing if you can get a loaner to try out.