The day was subtitled ‘New Hearing Aid Technology --- What Teachers of the Deaf Need to Know’
Firstly, we learnt about the differences between analogue and digital aids, and how each one functioned. We were guided through the intricacies of peak clipping vs compression and linear vs non-linear. We were instructed on real ear measurement and how the size and shape of the ear canal can have an effect on the output of the hearing aid. The Desired Sensation Level prescription (which has been developed for young children ) was explained.
Next, we were shown the range of hearing aids available on the NHS Scotland contract and the differences among them. The issues around setting the hearing aid volume and of the number of programmes a child should have access to were discussed. We were shown a very useful hearing aid summary sheet, which we could use for each child, and therefore have a complete record of all relevant information regarding the child’s use of their hearing aid.
After lunch, we were given the opportunity to hear about the many tests that are used to ascertain what exactly the child is hearing with their hearing aid. Some were tests used in a clinic setting and others could be carried out by the Teacher of the Deaf in a classroom setting.
We then went on to discuss the day-to-day management of hearing aids and radio aids. Some discussion on the different types of radio aids available followed.
The day ended with information regarding the use of a test box, some services have access to one, others not. It was felt that services should have one, and that hearing aids should be tested on a regular basis. Unfortunately the funding for such a large piece of equipment would use up a lot of a service’s budget. Perhaps the Scottish Executive would consider funding them???