Tips & Tricks For Parents

Face Masks And Hearing Loss In School: How To Support Your Child

For children with hearing loss, this year has created new challenges in the classroom. First there was the switch to online learning, and now as some schools return to in-person teaching, a new challenge has emerged: Face masks and hearing loss. Masks prevent lip reading, restrict visual cues and even dampen speech transmitted from the mouth. All of this can make listening harder for children with hearing loss and cochlear implants. Here are some ways you and your child’s teacher can help support their listening experience.

1. Find The Ideal Seating Arrangement

Even something as simple as preferential seating can help kids with hearing loss understand their teacher. Find a seat for them that’s close to their teacher, and away from background noises sources like air conditioning units and doors. This will help them concentrate on their teacher’s voice.

2. Make The Most Of Remote Microphones

Remote Microphones like Roger Pen, Roger Select and AudioLink let your child hear the teacher’s voice clearly, so they do not have to rely so much on lipreading or visual cues. Remind your child’s teacher to position the remote microphone as close to their mouth as possible.

3. Advocate For Clear Face Masks

Ask your child’s teacher and classmates to consider wearing clear face masks, so that your child can still read their lips. There are several companies that make face masks with a clear window, and some are even registered with the FDA. You can find an overview here.

4. Customize Your Child’s Face Mask

Having elastic bands around your ears can start to hurt, especially if you wear audio processors or hearing aids. Try a “mask strap”, like this one, to take some of the pressure off. And consider using wig tape to keep your child’s behind-the-ear audio processors in place when they adjust their mask.

5. Remind Teachers To Speak Clearly

Ask your child’s teacher to speak slower and louder than usual to help overcome the sound dampening effects of face masks. They can even use a bracket under their mask for extra clarity!

6. Ask Teachers To Check Understanding

Another way teachers can support your child is to purposefully check for understanding throughout the lesson. This way they can tell if your child is keeping up, or if they need extra attention.

7. Ask For Help

It’s not just teachers who can help, but classmates too! You can ask one of your child’s friends to share their notes at the end of the day and make sure they didn’t miss anything.

8. Prepare Ahead

Ask your kid’s teacher to provide a general outline for the day’s topics with instructions for tasks so the child can follow along easily.

9. Use Speech to Text Technology

Speech to Text software can help your child follow the lesson. Ask your child’s teacher to open a document on their phone, tablet or laptop and share it with your child. This way, they can then use Speech to Text for live captioning.

10. Prerecord The Lesson

Another way to provide captions is for the teacher to prerecord the lesson and use a captioning feature so that your child can follow along.

You can find more general tips for teachers of children with cochlear implants here.

Or if your child is still attending school remotely, share this guide with your child’s teacher.

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© MED-EL Medical Electronics. All rights reserved. The content on this website is for general informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Contact your doctor or hearing specialist to learn what type of hearing solution suits your specific needs. Not all products, features, or indications are approved in all countries.

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