By Anita Stein-Meyers, AuD, CCC-A
Asst. Director, CHC’s Shelley and Steven Einhorn Audiology Center
During this time of transition from in-school learning to at-home learning via technology, some students who make use of hearing aids or cochlear implants may find it challenging to hear their teachers and classmates.
While computer or tablet speakers can be the simplest way to hear hands-free and with both ears, this may not offer sufficient volume or may interfere with others at home doing the same.
When setting up a work station, make sure there’s optimal lighting so that your child can see the speaker’s face. Choose a quiet location in the house where there’s a strong Wi-Fi signal and consider these technology solutions strongly recommended by CHC’s pediatric audiology team.
Tech solutions for remote learning
- If your child wears hearing aids or cochlear implants and is listening through a computer or tablet directly, consider adding high quality external speakers. You can do this with a hard-wired solution or in some cases by using a wireless speaker.
- Instead of using the microphone within the laptop or tablet, consider adding an external microphone to enhance the quality of your child’s voice. Suggest that the teacher do the same.
- Consider using a headset, preferably an over-the-ear kind that can fit over the microphones of your child’s devices so they don’t cause feedback. Headsets may be hard-wired (connect with a cable) or wireless. You may need to try different models to see what works the best.
- Do you have any unused accessories that came with your child’s hearing aids or cochlear implants? You may find audio cables or connectors that can be used with your laptop or tablet.
- If you have a Bluetooth device (e.g., Oticon Streamer, Phonak ComPilot) that pairs your hearing aids with devices, consider using this paired with your laptop or tablet or using the audio cable that accompanied it to plug in directly.
- Do you have an FM system at home? The FM transmitter has audio input cables that plug into a laptop or tablet, allowing you to connect to your receivers (which would be attached to your child’s hearing aids or cochlear implants) and hear through them.
- Do you have a wireless miniature microphone? This may also be used for streaming audio signals by being paired directly with a phone or tablet. Others may require an adapter (also called a dongle). Some devices with Bluetooth may still require an external dongle for audio signals.
- Is your child wearing a more recent model of hearing aid called a direct-to-iPhone or direct-to-Android hearing aid? Your child’s audiologist most likely paired the hearing aids to a smartphone. These hearing aids may also be able to be paired to a tablet or laptop.
Does all this information sound confusing? Do you not have any of the above technology available at home? Call us! Your CHC audiologists are available via phone or video using a private, secure video conference system. Also, your CHC audiologists are working with local school district audiologists to determine if it is possible to provide loaner equipment for use at home for remote learning. In addition, most of the major hearing aid and cochlear implant manufacturers now have consumer help lines that offer support with your equipment needs.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to your CHC audiologist. Or, if you prefer, you can call our main number in New York at 917-305-7700 or in Ft. Lauderdale at 954-601-1930. Click here to email us and we’ll direct your message to the appropriate clinician.