Should You Be Using Hearing Assistive Technology in the Classroom?

Should You Be Using Hearing Assistive Technology in the Classroom?

If you work with students who are deaf and hard of hearing, you’re likely already familiar with assistive technologies like hearing aids and cochlear implants. There are important differences in how these 2 technologies work. But they both help auditory information reach the user – allowing them to hear the world more clearly.

But even when wearing high-quality assistive hearing devices that have been carefully calibrated by professional audiologists, your students might still have difficulty processing auditory information in certain settings. 

Classrooms, for example, are often loud environments full of ambient noise. And many students struggle to distinguish between:

  • Useful information (like your carefully prepared lesson plans)
  • Irrelevant information (like the constant hum of an AC unit)

This problem can be especially pronounced when using hearing devices that can’t automatically adjust to dynamic noise levels in real-time.

However, it’s possible to overcome these auditory challenges with the use of Hearing Assistive Technology.

What Is Hearing Assistive Technology?

Hearing Assistive Technology is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of wireless or frequency modulation (FM) audio distribution systems. These technologies are similar to the PA systems that many stores, airports and schools already use – with a slight twist.

In addition to broadcasting information for all users, Hearing Assistive Technology can also wirelessly pair with hearing aids or cochlear implants to send auditory information directly to each wearer’s device. 

When used in classroom settings, Hearing Assistive Technology can help bridge the gap – allowing children who are deaf and hard of hearing to tune out ambient noise so they can focus 100% of their attention on the most important auditory information.

Although there are many different types of Hearing Assistive Technologies used in education, the 2 most popular include:

  • Personal Hearing Assistive Technology
  • Soundfield amplification systems

There are slight differences between how these technologies work. But the benefits of using either are the same in nearly all situations:

  • Students who are deaf and hard of hearing can more easily ignore background noise since the signal to noise ratio is improved
  • Those without hearing complications are able to hear the teacher more clearly thanks to sound amplification when using the SoundField system
  • Because everyone benefits from this improved clarity, students who are deaf and hard of hearing aren’t “singled out” for relying on Hearing Assistive Technology
  • As a teacher, you experience less vocal strain since you don’t have to work as hard to project your voice

The end result is a more nurturing environment for everyone. Students are able to learn with less stress and improved comprehension. And your own job as an educator also becomes easier as well.

Learning How to Use Hearing Assistive Technology in the Classroom

Hearing Assistive Technology is an invaluable tool – particularly in an environment like the CCHAT Center, where nearly every student experiences some degree of hearing loss.

Like all tools, however, the technology’s effectiveness is entirely dependent on how and when it is used. 

In many classrooms, for example, it’s not uncommon for teachers to use Hearing Assistive Technology throughout the entire school day – with no interruptions. They turn on their systems in the morning and only turn them off once the final bell has rung.

At the CCHAT Center, we take a slightly different approach.

We recognize the many benefits of Hearing Assistive Technology. But our teachers understand how to properly leverage this technology in the classroom:

  • When working through conventional lesson plans, for example, Hearing Assistive Technology can make it easier to connect with students and share important insights.
  • For group activities, playtime or self-learning, we prefer to rely on more direct face-to-face interactions – whether they are between teachers and students or among the students themselves.

Knowing when to use Hearing Assistive Technology can have a profound effect on your students’ ability to engage, learn and grow. For optimal results, however, it’s also important that you understand:

  • The wide variety of Hearing Assistive Technology options out there – and which is most appropriate for your own classroom
  • The limitations of using Hearing Assistive Technology – including when to explore more direct methods for communicating with your students
  • How to troubleshoot common connectivity issues – like pairing complications, dropped audio or incompatibility problems
  • How to help students overcome initial resistance when first exposed to Hearing Assistive Technology in the classroom

If you’re not sure how to address these areas, you’re in luck.

At the CCHAT Center, we’re hosting an upcoming conference that is designed specifically to answer any and all questions you might have about using Hearing Assistive Technology in the classroom.

CCHAT Conference 2019: A Sound Foundation

On November 1 (9 AM to 4 PM) at our Sacramento campus, the CCHAT Center will host the following workshop:

A Hands on Approach to Hearing Assistive/Frequency Modulation Technology (HAT/FM) with Students Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Led by CCHAT Center Executive Director, Laura Covello, and Director of Audiology, Katherine Isbell, this one-day workshop will be broken up into 2 parts:

  • Part 1 covers the basics of Hearing Assistive Technology – including best practices for getting the most out of this powerful classroom tool
  • Part 2 focuses on practical, hands-on training – including how to configure your system and troubleshoot the most common issues

After completing both of these modules, you will have a much deeper understanding of how to deploy Hearing Assistive Technology in the classroom for maximum impact.

Register Today and Receive an Early Bird Discount

If you have questions, reservations or frustrations surrounding Hearing Assistive Technology, this workshop is specifically for you. We even offer credit opportunities if you’re pursuing continuing education in Speech-Language Pathology or Audiology.

Registration for this one-day event is already open.

However, professional educators who enroll before October 1 qualify for 20% off the normal pricing. Discounts also exist for students and parents who would like to attend.

To learn more about this event or to reserve your spot today, visit: Hearing Assistive Technology Workshop.

And if you have any additional questions, you can always contact us directly.

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