How can technology help my child manage hearing loss at primary school?
Starting primary school is one of the biggest milestones in your child’s life. It’s an exciting time, with opportunities to learn and make new friends. But it’s natural to wonder if they will keep up and join in, especially in a noisy classroom or a busy school environment.
Luckily, there are plenty of products that may help them integrate with their classmates, learn more effectively in the classroom and feel at ease during this exciting time.
In the classroom
In today’s classrooms, students are no longer just looking at a whiteboard. Even from kindergarten, they’re using computers, listening to audio files, watching videos and taking part in interactive online activities. And that’s on top of all the group activities and games of a typical primary school kid.
This means it’s important to create an environment that makes hearing easier. Here are some devices that may help keep your child in the loop:
- Wireless microphone: The Roger Pen is a wireless microphone that looks like a normal pen, and helps to make speech more intelligible in the classroom. It’s unobtrusive so it won’t draw unwanted attention.
- Remote microphone technology: the teacher wears a small microphone transmitter, that transmits directly to your child’s hearing aid or cochlear implant. The sound of their voice stays at a constant level and stands out from background chatter.
As your child gets older and becomes a confident reader, they can also use written text to support their learning, including:
- Interactive whiteboards: ‘smart’ boards provide captioning for video or visual resources being shown in class.
- Real-time captioning: This software converts the teacher’s speech into text on a computer screen so they can follow the lesson or instructions.
At home or personal devices
School doesn’t end when the bell rings at 3pm. There are after-school activities, sports, social catch-ups and homework to be considered. Devices that your child can carry around with them, or use at home, will help them learn to manage their hearing loss on their own, even when they’re out and about.
- Personal amplifiers: These are useful when playing sport outdoors or travelling in a car to and from school activities. The device works by increasing sound levels and reducing background noise.
- CL ILOOP: A hands-free neck loop for audio equipment, it improves audibility through a direct connection between the device and your child’s hearing aid.
- Mobile phones: The right age to give children their own phone is hotly debated, but if this is something you are considering, look for models that are hearing-aid compatible, with features like a large digit display, loudspeaker and a simple menu layout.
- Mobile accessories: Neck loops or a T-link headset plug into a connector on a compatible mobile phone, and are activated with the T-switch on a hearing aid or cochlear implant. The phone connects directly to a hearing aid for clearer hearing.
- Alerting devices: Extra-loud vibrating alarm clocks ensure they never miss a before-school practice or activity, helping them to feel more independent.
Have a chat to your audiologist, child’s teacher or support staff at the school to find out what services and devices are available. Finding the right solution can empower your child to make the most of this exciting time.