The question of “to wear or not to wear” has been around for ages. Often, we hear parents asking the question of whether or not their children should wear their amplification on the weekends, in the summer, when they play sports, or go to friends’ houses. The answer amongst parents is often different, depending on the child’s age, hearing loss, activity level, tolerance to hearing aids or cochlear implants, and tolerance to sound.
However, from a professional standpoint, the answer is more consistent. The answer is almost always, “Wear your amplification at all waking hours.” Remember, the key to connections is communication and the key to communication is language. If you choose the spoken and listening language route, then consistent amplification is key. In order for a child with hearing loss to map information into his/her brain, s/he needs to hear the information 100 times. Children with hearing loss do not overhear information as a person with hearing does. This language needs to be presented in a structured setting in numerous manners. In order for a child to be successful in learning this information, s/he needs the best amplified situation.
Children with hearing loss need to focus and listen harder than children with normal hearing. Due to this, they are more likely to be tired after a long day. Amplification lessens the strain a child will need to make to hear correctly, thus lessening their exhaustion level.
Children playing sports or on a playground in the summer are at a distance from the speaker. The distance makes it harder for the children to hear the speaker. The speaker’s voices are distorted and quieter the farther away they are. Children’s amplification will increase the volume of the speaker, so that the child is able to accurately hear the speaker.
Of course, children will need to remove their amplification during swim time, boating, or beach play. The family could benefit from a plan relating to these activities -do you take the amplification out and leave them at home, in the beach bag or in the car? A consistent place for amplification is critical, so the child learns routine and is able to be independent.
Overall, while children might wish to have a break from their amplification on weekends, holidays, or summer vacation, it is my strong suggestion that children wear their amplification during all waking hours. There is never a time during your child's waking hours that they can't benefit from overhearing information. If a set routine is established, children will go with that and the possibilities are endless. For more information about hearing loss or early intervention services for families with hearing loss, please contact Allison Schley, MEd at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Communication Connections, Inc. on the web at www.communicationconnections.org or https://www.facebook.com/#!/communicationconnection for programming for children, families, and parents.
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.