You have a student in your class who has hearing loss.. now what?! Sure, she or he might have a hearing aid or a cochlear implant or an interpreter. Sure, he or she might have a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.. but what else can YOU do as the regular ed teacher or specials' teacher?
1. Remember that amplification(hearing aids, FM system, cochlear implant) make voices louder-ALL voices-and every little tapping, coughing and stamping sound. It is not like putting glasses on. When we put glasses on, our vision improves, we see fine,done deal. Amplification is different.
2. Due to that, it is important that the student with hearing loss NOT sit near noisy children, open doors, loud fans,or open windows. We want to MINIMIZE auditory distractions!
3. Call the student by name BEFORE asking him or her a question. Children with hearing loss have a few second wait time to process information. If you ask a question and then call their name, they are like a deer in headlight-NO clue what you asked of them. Get their attention first, their brains can be ready , and then you ask the question.
4. Allow a few extra seconds' wait time.. so often, we are quick to say,"Oh, do you need more time or do you want Johnny to help?" The student has not processed what you asked in the first place, so you can't expect him or her to answer the second question.
5. Repeat what the other children are saying or responding. A child with hearing loss may be able to understand the teacher, but often is not able to understand the quiet, far away voices of their peers.
6. Most importantly, BE SYMPATHETIC.. Be patient, be kind and be willing to compromise. If a child with hearing loss sees you care, she or he will work all that much harder for you!
This time of year germs are flying around, mixing with the cold winds and freezing temperatures. These all mix together to create.. COLD and FLU season.. Not good. This is especially not good for our children with hearing loss.
Go ahead and put your fingers in your ears-that is how a child with a mild hearing loss hears. Now, imagine that you already hear like this and we add another layer of hearing difficulty on top of that because of fluid in our ears due to a cold or flu. Children with normal hearing have their hearing affected negatively this time of year with cold and flus, as well. Their ears get filled up with fluid and now their normal working ears are functioning like your ears with fingers pushed in them.
It is important that we are all aware of this at this time of year. If children experience severe pain or have any drainage from the ear, take them to the doctor immediately. This is probably sign of an infection!! They will need antibiotics to clear their ears up. If they don’ t have pain or drainage, keep an eye on their ears. The fluid from a cold may just back up and then go away as they get better.
During the time they have fluid in their ear canals, their hearing will be compromised. It is important to teach our children to not just say,”HUH?” but rather explain to the speaker that they are having trouble hearing because of a cold. They need to be sure to be closer to a speaker, have eye contact and ask for repetition. Hoping the cold and flu season passes you and your family by and that if it does land in your home, it is fast lasting!!
In the blink of an eye, summer is over. No more late mornings, long nights, dips in the lake, eating whatever you want whenever you want. It is back to routine, early mornings and early nights, long sleeves and strict eating.
School is back in session. I love getting new school supplies-organizing my pens and markers, labeling new folders, creating new hopes for the year. Transitions back to school, however, can be hard for a child with hearing loss. There are so many unknown routines and vocabulary. Things happen fast the first few weeks of school and teachers often forget our young students have a hard time keeping up.
It is our job as parents and Deaf/HH teachers to help our children learn how to advocate for themselves. Teach them it is OK and GOOD to ask the teacher to slow down,repeat, use the FM or turn to look at them. It is their RIGHT to have equal access to education.
My hope is by now, your child's deaf/hh teacher has contacted you and you have had some kind of communication about your expectations and hopes for the year. If not, I encourage you to reach out. It is best to get the year off to a good start.
How has your child's year gone?What are two amazing things and what are two things you would like some help improving? I hope it is a great year!
I just entered a new stage of my life.. 45 year old "stuff". I am really enjoying this age-feeling healthy and accomplished. I love my husband and am very proud of my kids. I am also proud of who I am at this point in my life. I know I can always do better,and I work at it every day.
I went to get new glasses this week and realized, sigh, it was time to admit I need the start of readers. I really don't have a problem seeing anything on my phone or a book,but tiny print on boxes are starting to blur. I only have a +1 prescription (it starts at +75 and my husband has +2.5 ,so I am feeling good).
I figured if I was going to get progressive lenses, I would do so in style. I got these fun and crazy glasses and love them.. or at lest how they look. It is hard to get used to wearing them. I have to look up high in the lenses to see far away, in the middle to see the screen and then to the bottom to read. My head is all over dizzy.. if I look at the wrong place, I almost fall. It would be comical, if it was not happening to me.
I started to think about all of you who get hearing aids. It must be the same issue. You are excited to hear or hear better,but then you and your brain have to agree on what you are hearing. I am interested in your stories or your children's stories of how they adjusted to new hearing equipment. I got my glasses loosened,as they were pinching my nose terribly. I am hoping that this readjustment and realignment will help me. My headaches are gone,so that is a good start.
My last blog was about the big decision of whether or not you should buy or not
buy a hearing aid. Now, you have made the decision that it is time for you to
buy one. Now what? Where do you go?What do you buy?
are many types of hearing aids made from many different hearing aid companies.
You can buy a Behind The Ear (BTE) hearing aid, In The Ear (ITE) hearing aid,
Cross hearing aid, In the Canal hearing aid....the list seems
First and most importantly, you need to find an
audiologist that you are most comfortable with. It is important that you find a
pediatric audiologist if you have children or a good audiologist for adults if
you are an adult. Next, you need to understand your type of hearing loss. You
might have a sensorineural hearing loss ,which is in the inner ear, or a
conductive hearing loss, which is a middle ear hearing loss. Different type of
hearing loss require different hearing aids.
respect the professional and follow her suggestion. It may be hard for you to
accept your hearing loss and you might not be quite ready for hearing aids,but
you are making an investment. it is important that you choose wisely. Why buy
something that won't last or won't be helpful?
and professional opinion is that In the Ear hearing aids might be ne
invisible,but they are not very successful for many kinds of hearing aids. Think
wisely before you purchase those. Today, you can have so much fun accessorizing
your hearing aids! Hailey's Cherished Charms are great charms purchased for your
hearing aids to jazz them up.
I would love you to share
your pictures of your hearing aids and how you decided on the type,color and
There are so many confusing questions around buying hearing aids. Let's start, however, at the beginning. How do you know if your hearing loss even warrants a hearing aid?You go to the expert,right?
Sure, adults and kids alike go to to the audiologist who tests their hearing. They depend on this audiologist to explain the hearing test results , called an audiogram, and explain whether or not they have a hearing loss. General public also relies on the audiologist to recommend if they need a hearing aid or not.
Here is where the trouble begins. I have had students with moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears be told by their audiologist that they do NOT need hearing aids. I have seen adults who have a mild high frequency loss be told that they do need hearing aids... How do you know what is right?
In general, I would suggest you listen to the audiologist. You can even consider getting a second opinion. Ask why the audiologist thinks you do or do not need them. This is the important part. For children, language learning and concept mapping takes place during the early years of life. If you are wanting your children to become listeners and speakers, then it is important to get them aided early. In quiet, in a booth, children might be able to understand sounds and even words. It is more important to have your child tested in noise. This is when hearing and understanding breaks down. Many audiologist are not educational audiologist or pediatric audiologists. I encourage you to take your children to someone who has a good understanding of not just hearing loss,but also how hearing loss affects learning in a noisy classroom.
As for adults, again, if you can hear well in a quiet booth, have your audiologist test you in noise. Can you understand?Think about your job, your hobbies, your life..what do you do? If you are often lecturing in a quiet setting or working alone or even 1:1, you might not need hearing aids. However, if you enjoy dining out, attend conferences with many people, are a part of a large corporation where numerous staff sits at a table and "takes turns"(ie, interrupts each other) talking, you might need hearing aids.
Hearing aids are a big decision. Take time to think it over, ask for second opinions, and read up. Let me know what you decided.
This last school year was the most difficult and most challenging of my career. I had to step WAY outside my comfort level, try new things, learn new things.. and in doing that, I became someone new.
I wore three (or more)hats this year-a mainstream support teacher, a resource/pull out teacher, a classroom 1:1 teacher for a child with extra needs..the list goes on. I learned about new medical related things( like using a G tube feeding tube) and new educational related things (like Rapid Prompting Method).
There were many trials and tribulations, failures and successes,but in the end, I became a better me. I learned about facing fears, crossing them, trying things I thought might not work and seeing their successes and their failures, I learned to adapt on the fly and to be flexible.
The biggest success I had was in using Rapid Prompting method. It is an amazing educational system that helps teach nonverbal kids academic skills. I invite you to watch these videos on Soma's website. She invented RPM to help her Autistic son. Watch them with skepticism, watch them with an open mind, watch them again and again. I believe in this method and have seen success on children in our neighborhood and within my classroom.
Transitions can be really hard for all of us..change is the unknown, then unforseen,the never been done before.. We might think we know what to expect,but often it is better or worse than we imagine. For children with hearing loss, transition can be very difficult.
There are many types of transitions kids go through. It is the end of a school year-that is a huge transition. Changing to all day daycare vs home or school is a big transition. Changing from home to camp to swim lessons are littler transitions,but still have impact. Children with hearing loss often need information broken down, repeated,and rephrased in learning new information in school. The same goes for talking about transitions. Without extra prep on your end, transitions can become quite scary.
What can we do to help ease the fears and worries that go with these transitions? It is really important that families and staff working with children who have hearing loss talk alot about upcoming transitions. Create visuals-have a calendar to count down the days. Have a calendar to show the new events-are swim lessons weekly, twice/week, will day care be daily, half a day, twice/week? The options are endless. Sometimes children with hearing loss don't understand the full message-they might think they are going to day care or swim one time and that that event is over. Having discussions, preplanning,and having visuals lessens the confusion.
Try to keep some routine and some comfortable parts of the old routine mixed into the new-maybe they will use their school backpack to go to daycare, maybe they will take a stuffed animal from home for nap time at day care, maybe they will always get picked up for swim lessons at the same time of day. Try to incorporate things that give your children comfort when you are planning transitions.
Most importantly, remember, you were young once, too. Slow down and try to picture the world from their eyes. What may seem silly or inconsequential to you might be the biggest fear of these little guys' lives-give them the attention and love you know they deserve. A hug and a smile go a long way!
Advocacy seems to be the word of the month at my school-my day job. My students are probably quite tired of hearing that word and seeing that sign. I am really hitting home now with this topic. What does advocacy mean to you?
It can have a lot of meanings to a lot of different people.We are working on how kids can advocate for themselves in regards to hearing loss. These students have so many adults in their lives-interpreters,classroom teachers, deaf and hard of hearing teachers,,speech pathologists, auditory therapists..the list goes on. They need to learn how to advocate and take of their OWN needs.
I have preschool students learn how to tell a teacher when their hearing aids or cochlear implants are not working. I have preschool students learn how to take out the ear molds and take out the batteries. I have older children aid in putting in their ear molds and putting in the batteries. I have children early on learn where it is "appropriate and helpful" for them to sit in different situations. I have students learn where to ask the interpreter to sit or stand.
I have students learn when they need an interpreter to ask a question of the teacher(perhaps in a noisy class time)vs when the student should go up to the teacher and ask a question alone(perhaps in a quiet work session). I believe if we don't teach them these skills early on,they can become too dependent on all the adults in their lives. They also can miss important information. The children with hearing loss are the ones who can tell the adults if their equipment is not right or if they can't see the interpreter.
It is hard and a scary concept,but please help me help your children. Start on Monday-ask them to take ownership of one thing-testing the FM each day, checking the battery, sitting in the right place. It will make you both feel wonderful!
What on earth is a speech banana,?" you may ask. It is the yellow portion of the image to the left. If you look at it, doesn't it look like a banana? We then color it yellow and voila, speech banana!
The image,as a whole, is called an audiogram. An audiogram is a pictorial representation of your hearing (or hearing loss). The numbers on the left side of the audiogram are measuring decibels(dB) or the loudness of a noise. The numbers along the top are measuring the hertz(Hz) or frequencies of a sound. For example, a telephone ringing is listed at 90 dB loud and it has a high frequency of 3,000 Hz. Low pitches are on the left of the chart and high pitches are on the right.
The speech banana then shows where speech sounds are produced-what level loudness and what pitch. We use this information to find out what speech sounds a person with hearing loss might be missing. If your hearing loss is less than the yellow banana, then you will hear and understand the speech sounds. If, however, your hearing loss is higher than the yellow speech banana, chances are you are not understanding speech sounds or words. This is a good piece of information,especially for children with hearing loss. If you go to the audiologist, they often will just put your hearing loss information on a blank audiogram. Ask for them to put it onto an audiogram with these pictures included. That will help you have a more realistic understanding of how your hearing is working.
Please comment below if you have used one like this before or if you have any questions.
Allison Schley has been in the field of deaf and hard of hearing education for 20 years. She founded a nonprofit for families with hearing loss. She most recently wrote a children's book, entitled Forever Friends. This book shows the how a deaf dog and deaf boy teach the world that all kids are good and being deaf is okay.