Hearing A–Z

Some schools may already have technology installed in the classroom for your child may receive a device to use in the classroom. Some technology will amplify the sound and some of the technology will allow sound to be directed to the child’s hearing aid to reduce the impact of background noise and make it easier to understand speech.

Remote microphone technology
Your child may receive a frequency modulated (FM) device (FM Unit) to use at school. With this device the teacher wears a microphone and the sound transmits directly to a transmitter (sometimes called a shoe) which is attached to the hearing aid or cochlear implant. As sound is transmitted directly the impact of background noise is reduced and the sound volume is more consistent. It is a good idea to be familiar with the system so you can explain it to the child’s teacher. There are similar devices available that perform the same function and your audiologist can discuss the best options with you.

Sound field amplification system
Some schools may have a sound field amplification system installed in the classroom. The teacher wears a microphone and sound is amplified through a loud speaker in the classroom. This allows the teachers voice to be raised above the background noise and spreads it evenly across the classroom.

Interactive white boards
Some schools may have interactive white boards that can deliver visual resources and provide captioning to the classroom.

Whenever a video is shown in the classroom ask the teacher to put on subtitles or you can also connect remote microphone’s to the television.

Prior to your child starting school it is a good idea to speak with the school to develop a plan that best suits your child’s needs.

Doorbell: A device flashes instead of ringing to let you know someone has arrived.
Alarm clock: A device that vibrate and or flash to help wake you up
Smoke detector: You can purchase smoke detectors that flash light

There are different devices that can help you hear the television without having to turn up the volume. This may include a device that you plug into the TV and connects to your hearing aid or headphones to bring sound directly to the hearing aid.

With the change in technology, there are more options to help you listen to music. This can include; specialised headphones or earphones to help you listen to music, a Bluetooth device or a ‘shoe’ that plugs onto the hearing aid to connect your phone to your hearing aids. The sound is easier to hear as it is transmitted directly to your ears. When wearing headphones, a good tip is to ensure that they cover the top of your hearing aid where you microphone is. This way the sound will be louder. Trying on headphones is also a good idea as the cups need to be big enough to cover your microphone on the hearing aid and not cause it to whistle.

Mobile phone
Some options to hear better on the mobile include: using the speaker option, using Bluetooth to connect to your hearing aids (directly or via a device). As technology changes it is a good idea to check what accessibility functions your phone has or what applications are available to assist with hearing.

Iphone has accessibility settings, which includes Live Listen to help you listen to conversations more clearly. You can also change audio volumes for each ear.

Google has developed applications that assist with increasing accessibility of Android devices for deaf and hard of hearing. Through Google Play you can download an app called Live Translate which will translate what is being said in real time. You can also download Sound Amplifier which amplifies quiet sounds without increasing loud sounds. You do need to plug in headphones to access the app.

Landline phone
You can get phones that are designed for deaf and hard of hearing people. You can use the speaker option; or you may be able to use a phone that has captions.

You can now Skype with live captions and subtitles during an audio or video call.

School years – Australia Hearing website on devices to use in the classroom
TV/ Music – Australia Hearing website on devices to use to help listen to the TV or music
Technology at home and school – National Deaf Children’s Society
UK website that covers extensively various technologies available for children at home
Information about Telecoils and Hearing loops http://www.hearingservices.gov.au/wps/portal/hso/site/eligibility/abouthearing/telecoils_hearing_loops/

Credit: Deaf Children Australia, https://deafchildrenaustralia.org.au/