Did you discover your child has hearing loss this past summer? Or is your child starting a new school where the administration is unfamiliar with his or her condition? In addition to the mechanical pencils and glue sticks, your back-to-school checklist should include everything necessary to ensure your child’s hearing impairment is recognized and accommodated by the school’s faculty. Your child’s education is essential, and a condition like hearing loss could be a major obstacle if ignored.
Wearing a hearing aid all day is a major adjustment, especially for a child or teenager who has to deal with staring and questioning from other kids in school. As a result, your child might resist wearing the hearing aid, at least at first. Teachers should be aware of the transition period, and know that not only is your child adjusting to the feel and sound of the hearing aid, but to the reactions from classmates as well.
Making your child understand how important the hearing aid is for cognition and mental strain might help him or her come to terms with the new earpiece. Also ask teachers to help monitor whether or not your child is wearing the hearing aid at school.
Taking advantage of parent-teacher conferences to educate your child’s teachers on proper care of the hearing aid would be beneficial in the event your child runs into any problems with it over the course of the school day. If your child’s teachers, or at least the school nurse, are familiar with common troubleshooting tips, they might be able to avert a minor hearing aid crisis.
Your son or daughter should also carry a hearing aid care kit in their purse or backpack so they can handle small problems on their own. This kit should include:
- Battery tester
- Extra batteries
- Earwax removal tool
- Cleaning brush
- Drying container
Hearing aids can go on the fritz anytime, so having a couple tools handy could save your child’s school day.
It’s important your child continue to live a normal life with hearing aids. That’s something they might have a hard time believing, especially if they are still adjusting to the feel of the hearing aid in their ear. Encourage them to continue any sports or extracurricular activities they enjoy, including intensive activities like swimming and football.
Keep the necessary sporting equipment for their hearing aid, such as a sport loop, splash guard and drying container. Educate your child’s coaches on his or her hearing impairment and request they help your child care for the hearing aid if necessary.
Your child will probably be sensitive to his hearing loss, and conscientious of how noticeable a hearing aid is to those around him. He might feel like everyone is staring at him, and whether that’s true or not, he should be able to feel comfortable with his new hearing aid. Ask the teachers to be on the lookout for teasing and bullying from other students, and to keep you in the loop if any problems arise.
If an issue does occur, try to set up a meeting with the bullying student’s parents. Chances are they’re not aware of their child’s behavior and they might have someone in their family who also suffers from hearing loss. Letting a child know that a loved one has the same condition could make him or her realize the harm their behavior causes.
School is a scary place for any child, what with the expectations of teachers and the pressure to fit in with classmates. Hearing loss only complicates issues further, so your child needs you and schoolteachers to help ease the transition as much as possible.