February 28, 2015

Not Everyone Uses Hearing Aids

      As you can imagine, I come across several issues working with various deaf and hard of hearing students attending public school (PK - 12). Some are laughable and silly and some are downright serious. It is never a dull moment with my job.

      One of the issues I often encounter is when a student refuses to wear or use hearing aids. Whether it is a high school school student or a very young student, for whatever reason, they do not want to use hearing devices that are provided to them.
      As much as I would like them to use their hearing devices while at school, I can't force them. This can be hard for some teachers and staff to understand. 

      I had students shutdown after being told several times to wear their hearing aids by well meaning teachers. I talk with the teachers and try to explain that it is not worth having the student shutdown and refuse to communicate. I usually joke, "What are we going to do duct tape them to their ears?" I tell them that we will have to wait until they are ready. For the meantime, we will continue to try our best to encourage them and help accommodate for their hearing needs in other ways.

      There could be a number of reasons why they don't want to wear their hearing aids or use their hearing devices. Sometimes it is because the hearing device is not working well for them, too loud, too low, or itchy and uncomfortable. Maybe they simply don't want to be different. Perhaps they don't like how they look. Whatever the reason, they will not wear them until we figure out what the issue is and until they are ready to embrace hearing technology.

      Yes, it can be frustrating. I have some students who could really benefit from using their hearing technology in the classroom. It pains me to see them have to work extra hard and tire themselves even more than they would if they use their hearing aids.

      For the meantime, there are other ways we can help deaf and hard of hearing students whether they wear hearing aids or not. 

      Plenty of deaf and hard of hearing people don't use hearing technology and we should respect that and not ask them, "Why don't you wear your hearing aids?" It is none of your business.


1 comment:

  1. My daughter was recently diagnosed as deaf. We are looking for the right kind of hearing aids for her. It would never have occurred to me that kids wouldn't want to wear their aids and be able to hear. However, I can see by some of your examples like the fact that they are uncomfortable in the ear, that though there is a need, there is sometimes an apprehension to wear the aids. Hopefully, we are getting my daughter set up with hearing aids early enough for her to not really care.


Keep it civil.