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Advocating for Your Child with Hearing Loss in the Classroom

By now, the new school year is in full swing.  And while it might have started with newly made memories of a great summer, it may also bring new challenges—a new classroom, a new teacher, a new setting.  All parents want the same thing for their children—to be safe, healthy, happy and successful.  But the latter can be more challenging in the educational setting for children with hearing loss of any level.  So, as a parent, how do you ensure that your child with hearing loss succeeds in the classroom?

  1. Understand the impact of hearing loss on learning, and how to manipulate the classroom on your child’s behalf.  Hearing loss, even a minimal degree, can have a significant impact on learning.  Request preferential seating for your child.  Sitting closer to the teacher will help improve the signal-to-noise ratio (or how loud the teacher’s voice is relative to background noises).  This will help make listening and learning easier.  Work with your child’s teacher(s) to minimize background noises.  Your child should be positioned away from noise sources, such as HVAC systems, heaters, windows if there tends to be a lot of external noises like traffic or the playground.  Being informed on acoustics and noise management is also helpful.  
     
  2. Work closely with your child’s team in the development and updating of his/her IEP (Individual Educational Plan).  Any child with special needs (ie: ADHD, autism, hearing loss) is a great candidate for an IEP, which is uniquely developed for each child with goals for progress during the school year.  It is important to know that the IEP should be updated every 6 months. 
     
  3. Keep the school, teachers, and educational audiologist informed of the hearing loss. Provide ...

Having trouble understanding television dialogue? Assistive Listening Devices can help!

Understanding television dialogue can be challenging when one has hearing loss.

Some report that a program’s soundtrack in the background can obscure the dialogue. Others report difficulty understanding fast talkers and speakers with accents while watching TV. Still others state that they feel as if the newscaster is mumbling while delivering the evening broadcast. Some choose to increase the volume on the television to compensate. This can result in discomfort for those living in the same home.

Understanding speech on television can present some challenges because the two dimensional projection on the screen limits lip reading cues that are easily identified in person. Additionally, the actors’ mouths may not synchronize with the dialogue which can pose additional challenges.

Some people may continue to experience challenges listening to TV despite wearing hearing aids. This may be a result of the degree of hearing loss and the brain’s ability to process speech. Hearing aids and amplification help, but sometimes additional devices know as Assistive Listening Devices (also known as ALDs) can also be used to enhance understanding:

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