Distance Learning with Hearing Loss

The COVID-19 pandemic sent most of us home for work and school back in March. Now, with school re-starting, teachers, parents and kids have all been on the edge of their seats waiting to find out whether the doors would reopen for students.

Many districts across the country have implemented distance learning in order to keep everyone safe. While this has benefits, it certainly has challenges, too. Perhaps some of the most affected are students with hearing loss.

If your child is doing distance learning and has a hearing impairment, read our tips below on how you can best support them.

Reduce Background Noise

Girl raises hand while distance learning

People with hearing loss usually have significant difficulty trying to make out speech in background noise. Another notoriously difficult listening situation is trying to communicate via phone (or Zoom) call. These factors combined would make it difficult for most of us to follow the conversation, but make it feel almost impossible for someone with hearing loss, especially when straining to make out detailed instructions.

To reduce background noise, first move your child to a quiet space in the house, away from siblings or a parent who may also be on a video call. If this is not possible, try to work with your family members to designate a quiet time while your child with hearing loss is having class. You can also close windows and doors, turn off nearby appliances and talk quietly wherever you are in the house to reduce background noise.

Perform a Listening Check

To ensure your child doesn’t miss any instruction time, make sure to perform a listening check.

  • If your child is wearing headphones, test them to make sure they work.
  • If your child’s hearing aids are Bluetooth compatible, make sure they’re set to stream the call directly to their ears rather than the computer speaker, which can be distortive.
  • Check that the volume is loud enough for your child to hear, and that their teacher can hear them too.

Keep the teacher updated on how they can best support your child’s distance learning and meet their communication needs.

Use Assistive Listening Devices

There are a wide variety of assistive listening devices on the market that can ease you child’s communication difficulties. Noise-cancelling headphones can mitigate much of the background noise in your home as well as provide clearer sound. A Roger microphone can also be beneficial.

For more information or to talk to an audiologist about how your child can be successful during distance learning, call Topeka ENT today.

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