Assessment and Intervention Home

Our son received services through a local resource centre until he was five. Through this centre we had a Speech-Language Pathologist who came to our home, we participated in a parent support group, sign language classes, a toddler group, a peer group (for hard of hearing kids), and various workshops. These services were very helpful, as they were extremely family-centered, and focused on what we needed at any given time.

In the school system, our son is seen by a Hearing Resource Teacher once per week. He does not require the services of a Speech-Language Pathologist at this time, but we have access to one through the school if the need arises.

We bought our son's hearing aids through a private audiology clinic (which was excellent) and then eventually changed to our local health unit audiologist which was more convenient. He now sees the school audiologist (our school district is actually the only district in British Columbia that has a school audiologist).

Classroom Modifications

Our son uses an FM system in the classroom when appropriate. For those not familiar, an FM system consists of two parts, a transmitter, and a receiver. The teacher (or anyone else speaking) wears the transmitter. This transmitter has a small microphone attached to it, and is usually clipped onto their shirt, or just held in their hand. The child with the hearing aid, wears the receiver (usually on a belt or clipped on), which plugs directly into their hearing aid. When in use, the speakers voice is transmitted directly into the child�s hearing aid. This way the child will hear the speaker clearly, with no background noise. Usually these FM systems can be switched to only amplify what the speaker is saying, and cuts out all background noise. Some have an option to amplify the speakers voice, but also have a microphone to amplify the sounds close to the wearer as well.

At the beginning of each year, the Hearing Resource Teacher comes into the classroom, and explains about hearing aids, how the FM system does, and about hearing loss in general. We find this introduction and explanation satisfies the kids� curiosities, and has so far eliminated any teasing. The Hearing Resource teacher and our son teach some sign language to the class occasionally as well. Our son enjoys teaching the rest of the class, and the other kids like learning the signs.

We have also made some other changes to the classroom. We have added tennis balls on the bottoms of all the chairs to reduce the background noise when they are dragged across the floor. We have also added foam around the table legs, to reduce the noise when the chair legs hit the table legs (the same foam used to insulate copper pipes in the house, very cheap).

Monaural Hearing

The following is an excerpt from an e-mail on the Yahoo e-mail group. If you haven�t yet, you might want to check it out.

> Really I want to know what it's like to hear the world with one ear and why or why not you would have surgeries done to reconstruct an ear?

From what I understand, there are a couple of major differences when hearing with one ear. Jesse uses a bone conduction hearing aid, and as such hears in "mono", or similarily to hearing with one ear.

I think the main problem with "mono" sound, is that you can't localize sounds. Just as you can't tell depth with one eye, you can't localize a sound with one ear. You may be able to hear it just as clearly (if you hearing in the one ear is good), but you will have no idea where it is coming from (unless of course you can see where it is coming from).

Our son has adapted quite well to this. From a very early age, when he heard a sound or his name called, he would quickly scan the room to find where it came from. We have also tried to keep this in mind when he calls us. We are often saying "Son, Could you come here, We're In the Kitchen" and such.

In one-on-one situations, our son functions quite well. And most people would never know that he is hearing in mono. Where we notice a bigger difference is in a noisy situation. When you have hearing in two ears, your bran can localize sounds. And because of this, in a noisy room, your brain can help to "filter" out the sounds that you are not interested in, such as the voices coming from behind you, and the sound of the wind to the left of you, and the sounds of the cars on your right. This way, you can concentrate solely on what the person in front of you is saying, even if the volume of the person speaking is not much louder than the background noise. In this same situation, Our son has a lot more difficulty. All of these sounds are mixed together. He has no way of picking out what is in front, behind or beside him. So he can only hear reliably in this situation if the person talking is much louder than the background noise. And sometimes this can be impossible. In these situations, we either sign to Jesse, or we talk closer to his hearing aid to get our voices louder than the background.

I hope this helps explain a few things. I am strictly speaking from a physical standpoint, and from my experience with my Son, not from personal experience. All in all, our sons� hearing in "mono" has not been a real problem. We just have to keep reminding ourselves, and others, when he could be having difficulty hearing, and how to help him so he can. We are working on getting our son to advocate for himself, and be able to speak up and let others know what works better for him. But this is a tough skill to obtain, and he is only 5 3/4 now (the 3/4 is very important to him, almost 6 you know!!).

Links: � Assistive Listening Systems for People who are Hard of Hearing - MANY CLASSROOMS HAVE BAD ACOUSTICS THAT INHIBIT LEARNING