Your big kid is grown up and ready for school!
You've already been working on teaching your child to be their own advocate for their hearing. Now, around age five, they'll begin to rely more heavily on these skills. Whether your child's been wearing devices since they were a newborn or only recently got their devices, self-advocacy will be critical to their success.
In addition to fostering self-advocacy, there are key steps you can take to help them on their journey. This is an important time as they develop the skills needed for school and life. Support your child's growing independence and their hearing at this age, as they navigate school, friendships, activities, and more.
Most children at this age have their hearing devices on all day (14-16 hours). Listening is part of their personality now, so they're often eager to put their devices on as soon as they wake up and keep them on until they go to sleep at night.
If your child doesn't want to wear their hearing devices, learn why. Talk with them first and make an appointment with their pediatric audiologist. It could be an indication that your child's hearing has changed, or the devices need to be adjusted. If your child is experiencing self-consciousness or bullying, talk about these issues with the audiologist for tips on addressing them.
In our Family Support Community (FSC), you can find advice from other parents about the school years and tips for helping your child explain their hearing loss to other children.
At this age, your child is likely managing their hearing devices on their own, with some support for device care, changing settings, and troubleshooting. It's a good habit to check your child's devices regularly to make sure there are no cracks in the casing, tubing, or earmolds, if they wear hearing aids. For cochlear implants, check cables, magnets, battery holders, and chargers for any issues. Your child's teachers and caregivers should be carefully trained and comfortable supporting your child to manage their devices.
Around this age, your child will notice if a device isn't working and will likely report it to you, a teacher, or caregiver. Have a plan in place for addressing issues at school or other environments outside of your home.
Talk with your child to create a plan together for addressing issues at school or other environments outside of your home. Practice their self-advocacy skills by asking them what they would do in different situations, like if the battery died or they can't hear their teacher well. These skills are fundamentally important to their success so continue to foster and grow their independence when it comes to their devices. Help your child feel empowered to talk about their hearing and to speak up for what they need.
Whether hearing devices are new to your child or they've been wearing them for years, it's still important to do a daily device check and listening check every morning. These checks allow you to confirm that:
If your child uses a remote microphone system, include it in your daily checks.
Use our helpful handouts to learn more about these important daily checks and how to do them.
Remote microphone (RM) systems solve any problems created by background noise and distance from the person talking. RM systems can help your child hear whoever is speaking more clearly, whether that's you at home, their teacher in school, or their coach at practice. It can improve the quantity and quality of the information that reaches your child’s brain.
If your child uses a remote microphone system at school, your pediatric audiologist must get the system, microphone, and receivers connected and set up to work correctly with your child's devices. Bring the microphone system to your child's pediatric audiology appointment before school begins so your child is prepared for the year. Continue to bring the microphone system to every audiology appointment during the year so it can be checked.
Talk with your child's teachers to show them how to use it in the classroom. Consider others at school who may need to understand how it works, like the librarian, gym teacher, or after-school care provider.
As your child gets older, they're likely spending less time at home as they go to school, sports practice, music classes, dance rehearsal, or friends' houses. Talk with your child to make sure they're comfortable and prepared to manage their devices. Teach them to talk with their teachers, coaches, and friends about their hearing loss and hearing devices. Your child will need to be able to tell an adult when they're having trouble listening or when their batteries aren't working.
You can also ask your child's teachers and coaches to monitor what your child hears at school and other places outside of the home. Ask them to let you know if they notice any red flags or have concerns.
Hear how one student prepares a plan to share his devices with his teachers.
Your child needs to be comfortable speaking up in the classroom and taking charge of their learning. At this age, they should be comfortable asking for what they need because of the self-advocacy skills you taught them. This will allow them to fully listen, learn, and participate in all aspects of the school curriculum and social activities.
If your child uses remote microphone technology, they need to be comfortable maintaining that system as they do with their hearing devices. They'll need to coordinate with their teacher for charging the transmitter and confirm the teacher is wearing the microphone correctly.
Your child should play an active role in developing and maintaining their support system at school. You can set them up for success by building their self-advocacy skills before school starts and throughout the year. Your child should always feel confident in seeking the support they need for school success. Teach them it's not just OK but it's important that they speak up for themselves.
If your child's hearing has remained stable, your audiologist will likely want to evaluate your child's hearing status at least once every year. If your child has cochlear implants, your appointments may be scheduled every six months or any time a new map is needed.
Remember to call your pediatric audiologist any time you have a question or concern about your child's hearing or their devices. Concerns may include changes in your child's:
You want to address any concerns immediately so don't delay in sharing these with your child's audiologist.
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Outstanding Website: HearingFirst.org
Best Advocacy Website: StartsHear.org