Hearing aids and cochlear implants

Children with a permanent hearing loss may be fitted with hearing aids. They are:

  • Miniature amplifying devices that make sounds louder.
  • Devices which help children with a hearing loss to make the best use of their existing hearing.

Different types of aids

There are three types of aids:

1. Hearing aids – behind the ear (BTE) or air conduction hearing aids.

How a hearing aid worksImage courtesy of Cochlear Limited © 2017 All rights reserved.

2. Bone conductors – bone conduction or bone anchored hearing aids (BCHA/BAHA)

How Baha 5 Connect works Image courtesy of Cochlear Limited © 2017 All rights reserved.

3. Cochlear implants – (CI)

A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted device, which can provide useful hearing sensations by sending electrical signals to the nerve endings in the inner ear (called the “cochlea”).

How a cochlear implant works
Image courtesy of Cochlear Limited © 2017 All rights reserved.

Unlike hearing aids, which simply amplify sound, a cochlear implant goes around the part of the ear that is not working and electrically stimulates the hearing nerve directly.

The surgery is performed by a cochlear implant surgeon. While the surgery may only take an hour, it usually involves an overnight stay in hospital.

Every child who attends a cochlear implant clinic is carefully assessed. The cochlear implant team will discuss the process with you, advising you and your family of the potential benefits and the likelihood of success. Only those who are suitable candidates are recommended for an implant.

What are the benefits?

The aim of a cochlear implant is the same as that of hearing aids: to allow a child to hear as much of the range of speech sounds as possible so they may develop useful listening, speech and spoken language skills.

The major benefits of cochlear implants are:

  • Children develop a greater awareness of everyday sounds in the environment (e.g. people talking, telephone ringing and car driving on the road)
  • Improved speech and language abilities
  • The ability to participate easily in a regular class.

Australian Hearing

Australian Hearing is an Australian government agency that helps people manage their hearing loss to improve their quality of life. They provide hearing services to children and young people up to 26 years of age.

Australian Hearing can provide hearing aids and other devices at no cost, other than a low annual maintenance fee that covers batteries and repairs.

Hearing aids make voices and other sounds louder and help children to hear easily.

What will happen at your Australian Hearing appointment?

  • Your child’s hearing will be tested
  • The audiologist will work out how the hearing loss is affecting your child.

Australian Hearing can help you decide what to do next.

If hearing aids are right for your child, Australian Hearing will provide them, fit them and show you how to look after them.

Hearing aids are free to you.

Batteries, repairs and replacement of aids are low cost.

Which hearing aids might be the right ones for your child?


For more information on communication and when to think about hearing aids, refer to the brochures The Good Hearing Book and Listen Up!

For further information, contact your family support facilitators.

For further information see the Queensland Hearing Loss Family Support Service Possibilities and Pathways resource.

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Contact us

Queensland Hearing Loss Family Support Service (QHLFSS)

t: 1800 352 075 (toll free)
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander childrens health hub