Auditory Equipment Self-Help

UDL 6.4

Auditory Equipment Self-Help is a self-monitoring strategy in which a student is encouraged to recognize and report equipment issues with personal hearing devices (e.g., hearing aids, cochlear implants, FM Systems) using self-advocacy statements, such as “My batteries are dead” or “I’m having signal malfunctions.” A teacher first introduces common issues that the student might face while using hearing devices along with helpful terminology to use while seeking auditory equipment support. This strategy can be used to bring awareness to equipment issues (e.g., “Oh no, I notice that your cochlear implant is not working.”) or to encourage a student to independently seek support (e.g., “Next time, you can tell me, “I need new batteries.”). While applying this strategy typically happens in real time when breakdowns with devices occur, a teacher could also set up scenarios where the student can practice Auditory Equipment Self-Help (e.g., planning when batteries die to strategically work on a student’s use of self-advocacy statements).

Implementation Tips

Understanding Devices
Become familiar with how individual student hearing devices work (e.g., how to change the batteries or a receiver). Ask educational audiologists for a reference guide if necessary, since hearing devices and battery types vary from model to model. Make sure to have backup batteries stored for easy access.
Introducing Self-Help Advocacy Statements
Introduce the language that can be used by a student with Auditory Equipment Self-Help. Explain that initial phrases, such as “It’s not working” or “I need help” can be used before using specific terminology (e.g., “I have lost signal.”). Model this with toys or other devices (e.g., “Oh no! The iPad is not working!”).
Equipment Check
Check equipment often to ensure devices are working especially in the initial stages of Auditory Equipment Self-Help since some students with hearing loss may not acknowledge if their equipment is dead or malfunctioning. If a device is not working, ask the student to collaboratively troubleshoot the issue.
Fostering Independence
Plan a scenario with an Educational Audiologist or a Deaf/Hard of Hearing teacher, where a student’s hearing device will malfunction or turn off (e.g., putting batteries in one device that will only last part of the day). This will allow the student additional opportunities to practice self-advocacy statements.
Discussing Auditory Equipment Self-Help
Conduct a discussion with a student with hearing loss about the importance of functioning auditory equipment and what can be missed if devices are not working properly. Consider using a social story, similar to [[ | this sample ]], to help engage the learner and make self-advocacy more relevant.
Building A Routine
Set specific equipment check times (e.g., first thing in the morning upon student arrival) to ensure a student’s hearing device is working before instruction begins. Also, check in with a student after physical activities (e.g., P.E., recess) as excessive sweat can also cause some devices to turn off.
Monitoring Cochlear Implant Cables
Teach a student that wears a cochlear implant how to notice if the device cable is producing intermittent, or non-continuous sound as this tends to be a common issue with these devices. Have the student practice checking the cable independently.


Building Awareness With Auditory Equipment Self-Help
After delivering an announcement to clean up center work, a teacher notices a student wearing cochlear implants continues to work. The teacher approaches the student and states, “It’s time to transition for snack,” but the student still does not react. The teacher notices the student’s device has a solid red light on it (i.e., indicating the device’s battery has died). The student is lightly tapped on the shoulder and then the teacher points to the non-functioning cochlear implant and asks, “Is your CI working?” When the student replies, “No,” the teacher then asks, “What do you think is the issue? What can you do to fix this?” The student thinks and then replies, “Oh, my battery is dead! Can you change my battery?”
Supporting Self-Help Language
After several practice scenarios, a kindergarten student easily recognizes when the batteries in their hearing aids are no longer working. When this occurs, the student takes the aids off and hands them to the teacher. To support the student in also applying Auditory Equipment Self-Help advocacy statements, the teacher models statements that the student can use (e.g., “My batteries are dead. Can you help me?” / “My batteries are no longer charged. May I have another set?”). The teacher reminds the student, “Remember to also use your words to explain what you need. Try practicing those messages.” After, the student practices repeating the messages to teacher.

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