Tele-Health Tips and Tricks for Kids with Hearing Loss
Updated: May 9
By: Nikki Hinsley, M.S., CCC-SLP
Did you know, kiddos using hearing technologies like cochlear implants and hearing aids can hook up to the computer or tablet using Bluetooth and activate their FM systems? FM allows for the clinician’s voice to be amplified directly into their ears to improve listening across contexts. FM has always been a valuable tool in classrooms, at parks and while riding in the car to improve their access to a specific speaker’s voice but using this feature in teletherapy can make or break the experience!
Here are some tips and tricks to ensure our kids with hearing loss are accessing teletherapy as effectively as possible:
On the kiddo’s side:
Make sure the FM system is synced with the computer, laptop or tablet. Though this will keep other listeners like parents unable to hear the clinician (much like plugging in headphones) the kiddo will be getting input from the clinician directly to their technology.
Positioning: Ensure the kiddo is seated in a stable position (highchairs, booster seats and car seats are great!) so that they can always have a clear line of vision of the screen. Kids with hearing loss rely heavily on facial expressions and even lip reading to supplement their hearing so you want to make sure they can easily see the screen throughout the whole session.
Reduce ambient/ environmental sounds as much as possible. Finding a quiet room is preferred compared to having session outside or in the car to create the best opportunity for listening as possible.
A headset with a microphone helps increase the quality of sound the kiddo is getting throughout the session.
Keep the clinician’s face as the primary picture on the screen as much as possible. Videos, visuals and games abound when working through teletherapy sessions, but it is important that the kiddo can always see the clinician’s face for the crucial, supplementary information they gather from looking at the clinician.
Check and recheck for understanding. Kids with hearing loss have developed several tactics to ‘pass’ as hearing when they miss information or are delayed in understanding auditory information. Teaching them to advocate for themselves and asking for questions and content to be repeated is a crucial skill they will use across contexts.
Teletherapy can be an excellent resource for us all with a couple tips and tricks along the way! Happy listening and learning!