Maximize your child’s access to sound in the classroom
Anita Stein-Meyers, AuD. CCC-A. Asst. Dir., CHC’s Shelley and Steven Einhorn Audiology Center
With the back-to-school season underway, here are CHC’s Top 6 Audiology Tips for parents and teachers of children with hearing loss. If you follow these recommendations, you will ensure that your child or student with hearing loss has maximum access to sound in the classroom.
All systems go – Make sure your children’s equipment is working! Hearing aids, cochlear implants and FM systems should be listened to every day. A listening check should be done first thing every morning by parents and then can be done by a teacher or support staff member and should take less than two minutes. For hearing aids and FM systems, the most common way to check amplification is to use the Ling Sounds Test. Have a listening tube or stethoscope and listen to speech through the equipment by saying the sounds “aah, ee, oo, sh, s, m.” If you hear them loudly and clearly, without static or intermittency, the equipment is good to go for the day. For cochlear implants, additional equipment specific to each device may be needed to confirm working order. Alternatively, students with hearing loss can participate in this process by simply listening and then repeating back the Ling Sounds after you say them.
Batteries charged and ready – Make sure batteries are new and/or fully charged. And always have extras on hand. Extra batteries can be stored by a teacher, nurse, support staff provider or, for older students with hearing loss, in their desks or book bags. Batteries should be tested at home every morning to make sure they are working. Batteries are just as essential as paper and pencils for children who use hearing aids or cochlear implants.!
Protect against loss – All children are prone to losing equipment. Ways to reduce chances of loss can include the use of a retention clip to attach hearing aids to clothing (most often for younger children), the use of double-sided tape to hold a device close to the skin behind the ear or using a headband to hold devices to head. Consider printing a small label with name and/or phone number to affix to devices. Have a hearing aid case on hand in case of any need to remove devices and make sure that your child’s hearing aid insurance is up-to-date, just in case!
Assistive technology – If audio-visual equipment will be used during the school day, consider talking to your child’s private or educational audiologist to ensure the best way for your children to access this material, whether through the FM system, Bluetooth accessories or direct connections.
Educate your educator – Consider writing up a brief “Meet my Child” letter from parent to teacher. This can include information about equipment/devices and tips for how to best communicate with your child, such as how your child best listens and learns. Below are sample letters that you can download and customize based on the needs of your child. Once you save them on your computer fields will appear that you can fill in with appropriate information. Also below are fact sheets you can print and share with educators with important information about making accommodations in the classroom and on the playing field.
Self-advocacy – Help your child learn to speak up! Self-advocacy is the best tool in the classroom and elsewhere. Being comfortable with saying I can’t hear you may not be as easy as you think. Practice makes perfect!
Should you have questions about any of these recommendations or wish to schedule an appointment with your CHC audiologist or technician, please contact us using the links below.
We’re here to help your child with hearing loss make a successful transition to a new school or grade this back-to-school season!