If you’re a parent, you know how important it is to help your child transition to a new school year. And with hearing loss, It can be a little nerve-wracking for you and your child, but there are some helpful tips to make the process smoother. Here are some back-to-school hearing loss tips to help your child have a successful and enjoyable school year.
1. Develop a communication plan
Developing a personalized communication plan with your student’s teachers and school staff is crucial. This plan should provide the student’s preferred communication methods (i.e., lip reading, sign language, use of assistive listening devices), strategies for classroom interactions, and ways to communicate clearly with peers.
Before the start of the school year, take advantage of opportunities like open houses or “meet the teacher” events to educate your child’s teacher about their hearing loss. Teachers may not realize the impact of hearing loss on a child in a noisy and dynamic classroom environment. A little explanation and connection could make a big difference.
Creating an informative sheet that covers your child’s essential details about their hearing loss and hearing aids can be an excellent resource for their teacher. Consider providing a few of the following key information:
- Details about their hearing loss and how it affects your child.
- Details about their hearing aids and how they help your child.
- Communication tips and strategies include getting your child’s attention before speaking with them or minimizing background noise.
- Include your contact information if any unanticipated questions or concerns occur throughout the year.
Ensure you and your child understand how to troubleshoot their hearing aids and assisted devices, including connectivity, battery replacement or charging, cleaning tools, etc. Doing this will benefit your child greatly, as most school staff are unlikely to know how to operate or troubleshoot them in case of a malfunction.
2. Use of assisted listening devices
It is important to use appropriate hearing aids, cochlear implants, or FM systems if an audiologist recommends it. , there are some helpful devices parents may want to explore—the Phonak Roger Products. The Roger lineup includes wireless microphones that connect to the student’s hearing aid.
Some devices also have a sensor that allows them to lay on the student’s desk, enabling the child to participate in group learning. Checking these devices and making sure to maintain them ensures optimal performance.
Collaborate with the school’s technology support to ensure that any assistive listening devices are correctly set up and functioning in the classroom. Also, a teacher may use a device to stream their voice directly to the child’s hearing aid, making it easier to hear over background noise.
3. Utilize Tech
Today’s classrooms utilize more technology than ever, with many using computers or tablets for learning and often requiring children to wear headphones. For a student with hearing aids, this might be difficult. However, most hearing aids can connect via Bluetooth. Speak to your child’s teacher to have them connect via Bluetooth rather than headphones, giving your child optimal sound quality and preventing headphone feedback.
Note-taking tools and apps
Use note-taking strategies like digital apps, requesting teacher’s notes, or collaborating with peers to better understand class materials. These tools aid effective content review and studying.
Work with teachers to secure a favorable seating position in the classroom. Ideally, a good spot in the classroom is near the front so you can hear and see everything the teacher is saying and doing. Avoid any noisy areas or places where distractions can occur. And make sure they can see the whiteboard and the teacher’s face. That way, they can hear and lip-read if you need to.
Minimize background noise
To ensure that your child is not disturbed by external noise, it’s recommended to make some minor adjustments. Start by closing any windows or doors in the classroom to minimize any sound coming from outside. Additionally, sitting away from vents or air conditioning units can help reduce unnecessary noise that might compete with your child. These simple changes can go a long way in creating a peaceful and conducive environment for your child to focus and learn.
4. Advocate for your child’s needs.
It is highly recommended to encourage students with hearing loss to advocate for themselves and educate their peers on their unique needs. By doing so, they can better communicate their requirements and improve their overall classroom experience.
Promoting an open and inclusive atmosphere in class can also increase participation and awareness of the importance of clear speech and facing the student when speaking. This can significantly benefit all students, as it fosters a culture of mutual respect and understanding. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize the needs of those with hearing loss and facilitate a positive learning environment for all students.
The start of the school year can be an exciting and hectic time for kids and parents. And for children with hearing loss, this requires an extra layer of preparation. Let your child know that hearing loss shouldn’t have to stand in the way of enjoying their educational experience. Only the sky’s the limit to what they can do or achieve.
Salem Audiology Clinic will help you with your child’s needs before starting the school year. Remember to have an updated hearing test before your child begins school if they need their hearing aids adjusted.
Call us today at (971) 701-6322