MED-EL Podcast: What Does 360 Degrees of Reliability and Safety Mean?

What Makes MED-EL’s Hearing Implants So Reliable?

Discover how we meet the highest standards for quality, safety, and reliability.

Listen Now
Rehabilitation

What Teachers of Children With Cochlear Implants Need to Know

From checking that students' devices are working properly to creating an environment that makes hearing easier, teachers of children with cochlear implants, hearing aids, and other hearing devices can make many small adjustments to facilitate learning.

Children learning together at school: what teachers of children with cochlear implants need to know

The ability to understand and follow classroom instructions plays a key role in the academic success of students with hearing devices. Noisy environments, such as classrooms or school playgrounds, may be challenging for children with hearing loss since they may misinterpret social situations or miss crucial information from their peers or teachers.Van Der Straaten, T. F. K., Rieffe, C., Soede, W., Netten, A. P., Dirks, E., Oudesluys-Murphy, A. M., Dekker, F. W., Böhringer, S., & Frijns, J. H. M. (2020). Quality of life of children with hearing loss in special and mainstream education: A longitudinal study. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 128, 109701. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijporl.2019.109701[1]

Therefore, it is essential for teachers of children with cochlear implants, hearing aids, and other hearing devices to know about certain strategies to support the successful integration of these students into mainstream schools. By providing optimal access to classroom instructions, teachers can help these students reach their maximum learning potential.

Challenging Behavior May Indicate Hearing Device Problems

If a student’s behavior is challenging, it could be a sign that their hearing device is not working properly. In fact, studies have shown that students with hearing loss are more likely to exhibit challenging behavior; more details on this topic can be found in our blog article that provides advice from experts on dealing with behavioral issues in the classroom. However, keep in mind that the strategies mentioned below may help address the root cause of this behavior and that some students may not speak up or show obvious signs when their hearing device is not working its best.

Get Familiar With the Child’s Hearing Device

With the help of family members, the students themselves, audiologists, teachers of the deaf, and online resources, teachers can learn essential information about their students’ hearing devices and understand what hearing loss implies. With this understanding, they will know how to support the students better in the classroom. Comprehensive information about hearing devices and hearing loss is available on MED-EL’s website, blog, and YouTube channel.

Check Students’ Cochlear Implants Before Each Lesson

Check daily to make sure that students’ hearing devices are working properly. Performing basic troubleshooting (such as changing batteries) can reduce hearing device malfunction in the classroom significantly. Blair, J. C., & Langan, L. (2000). Can you hear me?. A longitudinal study of hearing aid monitoring in the classroom. Journal of Educational Audiology8, 34-36.[2] Students should be taught how to independently manage their devices and report problems they notice with their hearing. That is, however, not always possible, especially for younger students. In this case, it is crucial to check the device with the student before lessons begin to ensure they are ready to listen and learn new and exciting things.

Quick Check for Teachers of Students with Cochlear Implants

  • Check to make sure the batteries are working and have adequate power.
  • Check the audio processor to ensure the correct volume and program are in place.
  • Check the coil and wire to make sure there are no tears or cracks.
  • Report any problems to the child’s parents, audiologist, or teacher of the deaf.

Create the Optimal Listening Environment in the Classroom

Ensuring the best hearing environment possible is another major aspect of supporting language learning for students with hearing devices. Noisy environments, being far away from the teacher or audio source, and background noise limit access to classroom information for children with a hearing loss. The environment in which students can learn optimally is a quiet environment.

For teachers, it is important to know that some simple adjustments in the classroom can minimize the effects of noise and improve students’ access to lessons.

  • Close the windows and doors to reduce noises from outside the classroom.
  • Minimize any unnecessary sources of noise inside the classroom (such as computers, projectors, air conditioning, and fans).
  • Ask for support from the principal to make accommodations in the classroom to optimize acoustics—for example, hard surfaces can make sounds echo. It is possible to create a learning-friendly environment with minimum financial investment by placing rugs on hard floors, attaching rubber pads to the bottom of chairs and tables to suppress noise when they are moved, and utilizing tablecloths and curtains to dampen sound.
  • Implement rules about moving quietly and not making distracting noises during lessons.
  • The ideal signal to noise ratio in the classroom is at least +15 dB for accurate speech understanding. Smaldino, J., & Flexer, C. (2014). Acoustic accessibility: Room acoustics and remote microphone use in home and school environments. Pediatric audiology: Diagnosis, technology, and management, 255-267.[3] This means that the teacher’s voice needs to be at least 15 dB louder than the background noise (without the teacher having to raise their voice).

Make Use of Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)

The benefits of ALDs in the classroom are already well-known and well-researched. Zanin, J. & Rance, G. (2016). Functional hearing in the classroom: assistive listening devices for students with hearing impairment in a mainstream school setting. International Journal of Audiology55(12), 723–729. https://doi.org/10.1080/14992027.2016.1225991[4] ALDs pick up the voice of the speaker and transmit it via microphone directly to the receiver connected to the hearing device. This makes the information received by the student with a hearing device clear and eliminates interfering background noise. Supporting the child’s listening and language learning by wearing the ALDs in the classroom can improve their access to knowledge.

For effective use of assistive technology in the classroom, teachers should come up with strategies that allow participation in group discussions and group work such as:

  • passing the transmitter or microphone (if a soundfield system is available) to the students who are speaking or answering questions
  • or having a rule stating that only one person talks at a time.

Optimize Seating and Check for Understanding

Provide students with hearing devices with a seat that will facilitate their learning in a mainstream classroom. Keep the following points in mind to ensure students’ ability to understand the teacher and other students:

  • Students with hearing devices need to be seated away from indoor and outdoor noise sources (such as computers, projectors, fans, and windows next to sports fields or roads).
  • Students should be seated near the front, close to the teacher for good access to information.
  • The teacher should face the classroom while giving instructions to allow better understanding with the help of lip reading, facial expression and body language.
  • Ensure that students with hearing devices understand the subject of the classroom discussion by asking them to rephrase what they heard. Or ask, “What are we going to do next?”
  • To ensure understanding, encourage the students to ask questions and use repair strategies: “Can you repeat that, please?” or “I am not sure I understood: Is the test tomorrow or next week?”
  • Write the important information on the board, such as dates for tests, homework assignments, and new topics.

Ensure Optimal Access to Facilitate Learning

Children with hearing loss rely on amplification or other hearing technologies to acquire language and literacy skills. Geers, A. E., & Hayes, H. (2011). Reading, Writing, and Phonological Processing Skills of Adolescents With 10 or More Years of Cochlear Implant Experience. Ear And Hearing, 32(1), 49S-59S. https://doi.org/10.1097/aud.0b013e3181fa41fa[5]Archbold, S., & Mayer, C. (2012). Deaf Education: The Impact of Cochlear Implantation? Deafness & Education International, 14(1), 2–15. https://doi.org/10.1179/1557069x12y.0000000003[6]

If their devices are working optimally and their environment and seating are optimized to ensure better understanding, students can access auditory information and instructions in the classroom without interruptions. This makes it easier for them to develop their language skills and to learn the content of the lesson.

Small adjustments can make a huge difference in the classroom experience of students with hearing loss. With the proper understanding of how hearing devices work and what accommodations they can make, teachers of children with cochlear implants can ensure their classroom is a listening environment in which their students can learn. Students with a properly functioning hearing device and well-informed teachers will be ready to get the most out of their learning experience.

For more information about creating learning conditions for success, cochlear implant basics, and strategies to implement while giving instruction in the classroom, you may read more in this article and the download included in it.

References

  • [1]

    Van Der Straaten, T. F. K., Rieffe, C., Soede, W., Netten, A. P., Dirks, E., Oudesluys-Murphy, A. M., Dekker, F. W., Böhringer, S., & Frijns, J. H. M. (2020). Quality of life of children with hearing loss in special and mainstream education: A longitudinal study. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 128, 109701. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijporl.2019.109701

  • [2]

    Blair, J. C., & Langan, L. (2000). Can you hear me?. A longitudinal study of hearing aid monitoring in the classroom. Journal of Educational Audiology8, 34-36.

  • [3]

    Smaldino, J., & Flexer, C. (2014). Acoustic accessibility: Room acoustics and remote microphone use in home and school environments. Pediatric audiology: Diagnosis, technology, and management, 255-267.

  • [4]

    Zanin, J. & Rance, G. (2016). Functional hearing in the classroom: assistive listening devices for students with hearing impairment in a mainstream school setting. International Journal of Audiology55(12), 723–729. https://doi.org/10.1080/14992027.2016.1225991

  • [5]

    Geers, A. E., & Hayes, H. (2011). Reading, Writing, and Phonological Processing Skills of Adolescents With 10 or More Years of Cochlear Implant Experience. Ear And Hearing, 32(1), 49S-59S. https://doi.org/10.1097/aud.0b013e3181fa41fa

  • [6]

    Archbold, S., & Mayer, C. (2012). Deaf Education: The Impact of Cochlear Implantation? Deafness & Education International, 14(1), 2–15. https://doi.org/10.1179/1557069x12y.0000000003

References

CTA Form Success Message

Send us a message

Field is required

John Doe

Field is required

name@mail.com

Field is required

What do you think?

Send Message

The content on this website is for general informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Please contact your doctor or hearing specialist to learn what type of hearing solution is suitable for your specific needs. Not all products, features, or indications shown are approved in all countries.

Processing Comment

Comment Error Message

Comment Success Message

Leave your comment