Unfortunately, many school districts do not have an educational audiologist. What does that mean? Well, It means that there is no one in the school district who really understands hearing loss and its effect on learning. There is no one who fully understands how to monitor personal wearable technology. There is no one who understands classroom acoustics, and can help the school staff and family understand why and remote microphones are critical, and how to use them. There is no one in the school who can help teachers understand how to best meet the needs of children with hearing loss and to assist children with hearing loss in learning to advocate for themselves.
While teachers of the deaf can assist in some of these issues, TOD’s and audiologists have different skills. I am an audiologist. I know a lot of things about hearing loss, but I am not competent to teach academic materials to children with hearing loss because I am not a teacher of the deaf.
Because hearing loss is a low incident disability, many school districts do not have educational audiologists or teachers of the deaf on the staff. That is a difficult and unconscionable situation. Children with hearing loss are entitled to have both educational audiologists and teachers of the deaf to assist them in maximizing their performance in schools.
IDEA and what it requires
IDEA requires that equipment children with hearing loss need be working every day. An educational audiologist is the only person qualified to select Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT) equipment for an individual child, assure that it is working well, and teach the child and school staff how to use it optimally.
Additional services include assisting teachers in how to present information, how to be sure a child with hearing loss is receiving information, understanding the need to repeat other students comments, addressing classroom acoustics, assuring that all film and video are captioned, and assuring that teachers understand how to use HAT.
Educational audiology is a “related service” under IDEA. Families should press to receive Educational audiology services. If a child has an IEP families should insist on having an Educational Audiologist. If a child has a 504 a request for an Educational Audiologist should also be requested.
Where to find an Education Audiologist?
If your school district does not have an educational audiologist, there are a number of possibilities for finding one.
- Contact the Educational Audiology Association (edaud.org)
- Contact your child’s clinical audiologist and ask them if they can provide educational audiology services or know someone who can
- Contact your state speech and hearing association and ask them if they have members who can provide the services.
- Ask your school district if they can obtain services from another school district
Do not let the school district tell you that because they do not have an educational audiologist and that, therefore, none is available. There is always a way to obtain necessary services. Tell them “Just do it.”