Exceptional Children's Services

FAQS Hearing Impairment

Questions and Answers about Hearing ImpairmentImage of back arrow

Question: What can I do to stimulate language with my child who has a hearing loss?

Answer: The most important thing that you could do to stimulate language in your hearing impaired child is to talk.

Oral Approach:

  • If you are using an oral approach with your child, look at a book and talk about what is on the page. Repeat the key words often. Speak in a normal voice but situate yourself as close to your child’s hearing aids as possible.

  • Talk about your busy day at bedtime. Make it part of your nighttime ritual. Get the child to contribute as much as they possibly can. They will assist your child with sequencing, also.

  • Make an experience book with your child. Use pictures you have taken, leaves you have picked up or a napkin from a favorite restaurant. By looking at the book you can talk about things that happened in the past. For example, you might say, “Here is a napkin from McDonalds. Remember, yesterday we ate lunch there. You had a hamburger and french fries.

  • Repeat often used phrases. Be sure there is a real reason for using these phrases.

 Using Sign Language:

  • If you are using sign language approach do all of the above in addition to signing as many words as you can. Encourage your child to use their voice every time they sign something to you. It will promote speech production later on. It is best to start with signs for nouns.

  • Look at a book and sign as many pictures as you know. If you don’t know a sign, look it up.

  • Encourage your child to learn a new sign each day. Use the new sign as many times as you can during the course of the day. If you don’t know a sign, finger spell the word you are intending to say. (Do not make up a sign for a word.)

  • Fingerspelling will increase your child’s vocabulary, reading and spelling skills.

  • Be sure to use your voice when you are signing to your child. It will demonstrate to your child that voicing is how most people communicate, and it will promote better speaking and speech reading skills for later in life.

 Question: Why does my child need hearing aids?

Answer:  Hearing aids can lessen your child’s hearing loss. If your child’s hearing loss is in the range where speech can be discriminated, it is quite possible that your child can to learn to speak. With the use of modern technology, most hearing aids have this capability. Speak to your audiologist about raising the power in your child’s hearing aids into the speech ranges.

Speaking is just one of the benefits of hearing aids. Hearing environmental sounds is a safety issue. It is important that your child be able to hear oncoming traffic, animals, bells, or horns. Hearing a car coming in their direction could save your child from an accident. Hearing a dog barking could help keep them safe. Your child should wear his hearing aids from the time he gets up to the time he goes to bed.

Encourage listening. Point out sounds in your environment, such as a knock at the door or a phone ringing.

 Question: What is the difference between an FM System, a hearing aid, and a cochlear implant?

Answer:  An FM System is used in an educational setting such as your child’s classroom. The teacher wears a microphone and the child wears the FM. The FM consists of a receiver with wires attached to personally fitted ear molds. This is beneficial to the child because it allows him to hear the teacher/speaker more easily. It also blocks out unnecessary background noise or the voices of others. The student only hears the person who has the microphone.

Hearing aids do not eliminate a hearing loss, though they can reduce its severity. Hearing aids amplify sound but the do not block out excess background noise.

There are several types of cochlear implants. Each implant consists of internal and external pieces. The internal piece consists of a wire and a receiver that is surgically implanted into the recipient. The internal wire is threaded through the child’s cochlea inside his ear. The wire serves as an electronic stimulant, replacing the non-functioning hair cells located in the cochlea. The receiver is implanted behind the ear, but under the skin. The external part of a cochlear implant can consist of a round antenna that magnetically connects to the internal receiver through the skin. It also can consist of a microphone that is connected to the antenna through an external wire. A long body wire connects the headpiece (the antenna and a microphone) to a processor. People who have received little or no benefit of hearing aids use cochlear implants. It provides an artificial, electronic sound to the recipient, where there may have been no sound previously. It takes practice and training to be able to translate these electric sounds into spoken words and language.

Question:  How does a sign language interpreter work with my child?

Answer:  An interpreter’s role is to act as a liaison between hearing, hard of hearing and deaf people. This includes signing everything that happens in the classroom, voicing for the student if required, signing announcements, assemblies, after school activities (related to school), field trips, and meetings (including IEP meetings). Occasionally, in the elementary school setting, the interpreter may help expand on the concepts introduced by the classroom teacher, but all questions (at any grade level) should still be directed to the teacher.

Question: Who is responsible for paying the interpreter?

Answer: For school related activities, the interpreter is provided for and paid by Cumberland County Schools, Exceptional Children’s Department.

Published by Shonda Virgil on August 12, 2019

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