Resource | 12.10.2023 | By Teresa Quail

Bluetooth hearing aids and exams

In response to information that deaf students had been advised to remove their hearing aids in exams after the initial instructions have been read, BATOD’s statutory assessment and examination access arrangements working group sent the following response to JCQ. 


“Deaf candidates should not be asked to remove their hearing aids/cochlear implant speech processors during any exam/assessment. It would be disorientating for a candidate to be without their hearing aids/cochlear implant speech processors and would not align with their normal working practice. Removal of the hearing aids/cochlear implant speech processors would cause a change in physical sensation in/on their ears as well as a change to their auditory access and sense of the space surrounding them. Hence, causing an impact on their social emotional well-being with unnecessary distractions for the candidates during exams.  It would also be a health and safety issue for the candidate as it would put the candidate at risk if there was an emergency e.g. fire alarm went off. Any insistence to remove or switch off hearing aids would be discriminatory

It would be advised the candidate unpairs any Bluetooth connection they have with their device and that they set their hearing aids to ‘flight mode’ as that will disable Bluetooth connection. 

In relation to external interference, staff in the exam room should be reassured that the candidate’s hearing aids/cochlear implant speech processors will not auto-connect to their [staff] personal devices that have Bluetooth features.

Candidates should already be aware of the existing regulations about location of their mobile devices and phones during exams.”

Please continue to let BATOD via [email protected] know of concerns you have about exam/assessment practice and the questions set in papers.


JCQ note “should this happen in future it might be that the candidate is eligible for special consideration depending on the circumstances and the nature of any disruption caused – the school or college would need to make an application to the relevant exam board (more information on JCQ’s website)”