kids hearing loss facemasks

School is starting – we hope (I think)

School is starting again and everyone needs to remember what it is like for a child with a hearing loss to be in school now. We need to be sure that everyone is protected, including our kids.

Everyone needs to wear masks. This is just not negotiable. Covid is an awful disease and now, with the Delta variant, children are getting sick, some very sick.


What can parents do:


  1. Be absolutely certain that the school understands that your child has a hearing loss and that masks make it difficult to hear. I am pretty sure that anyone who has been wearing masks all this time understands this but we really need to reinforce it.
  2. Discuss the types of masks and the effect on hearing. Every child will be effected by masks but children with hearing loss will have more difficulty. Paper masks make it easier to hear through than cloth masks. If the child relies on speechreading a clear mask will help a lot.
  3. In my opinion, every child with a hearing loss needs a teacher of the deaf to monitor academic progress and provide pre and post teaching. This is especially critical now that hearing in the classroom is being compromised. If this is not on your IEP get it added.
  4. EVERY child with hearing loss needs an FM system in school – a personal, wearable system. An educational audiologist or TOD needs to educate school staff about how to use the mic with masks.
  5. If your child is receiving remote services, the quality of the computer microphone will be a problem. Consider investing in a good speaker if possible. This is something you could ask your school to provide to give your child equal access to education. Be sure videos are captioned.
  6. Work hard to arrange for socialization for your children. This has just been an awful time and fear of Covid has but us in a difficult situation but socialization is critical. Consider arranging for outside visits, use masks, and have the visitor child use the FM mic.
  7. Get to know the TOD or SLP at your school. Make them your friend. Help them get to know your child and your child’s needs. They have skills that parents do not have. It takes a village.


About Jane Madell

Jane Madell has a consulting practice in pediatric audiology. She is an audiologist, speech-language pathologist, and LSLS auditory verbal therapist, with a BA from Emerson College and an MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin. Her 45+ years experience ranges from Deaf Nursery programs to positions at the League for the Hard of Hearing (Director), Long Island College Hospital, Downstate Medical Center, Beth Israel Medical Center/New York Eye and Ear Infirmary as director of the Hearing and Learning Center and Cochlear Implant Center. Jane has taught at the University of Tennessee, Columbia University, Downstate Medical School, and Albert Einstein Medical School, published 7 books, and written numerous books chapters and journal articles, and is a well known international lecturer.

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