Assistive Technology for Children with Hearing Loss in the Classroom
Originally Published on August 22, 2018
With a track record spanning more than 25 years, CCHAT knows that children who are deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) can thrive in mainstream programs alongside their hearing peers. In fact, our entire curriculum is dedicated to this singular goal.
A key component of mainstream success is the use of hearing-assistive technology (HAT) systems in the classroom. These enhancements amplify the quality of sound received by children with hearing loss and give them every opportunity to enjoy academic success.
Classroom Learning for Children Who are DHH
Hearing aids, cochlear implants and other assistive devices can help with hearing loss, but inside the classroom there are a number of solutions that can increase the fidelity and clarity of sound quality. As a result, these additions can increase a student’s comprehension, engagement and overall success.
Personal HAT systems are a perfect example. With this approach, teachers can use wireless microphones throughout their lessons. An audio signal is sent directly to the listening devices the students are wearing. This direct connection helps bypass background noise that serves as a distraction or deterrent to processing sound.
Portable, lightweight and non-disruptive, this solution allows children who are DHH to participate more fully in classroom learning.
Another popular approach is to utilize Soundfield systems within classroom settings. These can be wall mounted or standalone speakers which can be shared among several children simultaneously. The downside, however, is these systems are less portable than their personal HAT counterparts.
For lessons involving audio or video (A/V), captioning can also be beneficial. This technology is similar to the “closed captioning” typically used in TV shows, and under federal law, schools are required to provide captioned A/V content on request.
Teaching Those Involved How to Use Assistive Technology
In many cases, mainstream staff members are unfamiliar with the technology that accompanies a child with hearing loss. This includes both the listening devices and HAT system to be used in the classroom. CCHAT works to rectify this issue in two ways.
Part of CCHAT’s comprehensive program is to help students with hearing loss learn more about their own listening devices and HAT system. Children are taught how to troubleshoot a malfunctioning unit, replace batteries and care for their devices. They also learn how to affix HAT equipment and connect to a HAT system or Soundfield, allowing them to be independent when entering a mainstream classroom.
Additionally, CCHAT specializes in helping mainstream schools prepare for an incoming child with hearing loss and the technology that accompanies this transition. CCHAT’s listening and spoken language experts hold in-service sessions to train staff on how to use HAT technology and how to more effectively address the unique needs of children with hearing loss. These support services are available for parents, educators and administrators who work with students who are DHH from Pre-K through 12th grade.
Helping Children with Hearing Loss Succeed in the Mainstream Classroom
Although no single approach is best for all situations, schools can design the ideal complement of assistive hearing technologies to help meet the unique needs of students with hearing loss. CCHAT provides a number of resources to help with this process.
To learn more about using assistive devices for students who are DHH, schedule a consultation with CCHAT today.