small child looking at smartphone screenIt is very important for all students, including students who are deaf or hard of hearing (D/HOH), to be able to access sound via the variety of technologies used throughout the academic school day.  This may include “smart boards,” laptop or desktop computers, tablets, and other devices.  There are many options for the D/HOH student to access the sound, because all technology should have a jack for headphones and/or “audio out.”  Some students may not require special equipment as they can effectively access the information through the sound speaker, but most will need a way to connect their amplification (hearing aids, cochlear implants and/or Bone Anchored Hearing Aids) directly to the headphone jack/audio out in order to control the volume, improve clarity, reduce the impact of background noise, and maximize understanding.

The following options are available with most technology:

  • Use headphones over the hearing aid microphone or CI microphone if the headphones are comfortable for the student and do not cause feedback and the sound does not get distorted.
  • Any FM/DM user can use a patch cord between the headphone jack and the “audio in” jack of the transmitter/microphone.
  • A DAI cable can be used to connect the headphone jack of the device and the audio shoe of the hearing aid, bypassing the need for a FM/DM transmitter.
  • A “Personal Audio Cable” can be used between some Cochlear Americas cochlear implants and the headphone jack.
  • A “Direct Audio Input” cable can be used between some MEDel cochlear implant and the headphone jack.
  • An “Auxiliary Connector” is available on some Advanced Bionics cochlear implants to connect to the headphone jack.
  • A streaming device may be provided by the family to connect directly to the headphone jack with a patch cord.
  • A Bluetooth compatible hearing aid or cochlear implant may also access auditory input from a Bluetooth ready technology.

The best approach is to try the different options with the individual student to determine which would be the best approach in the given situation.  Check regularly for comprehension to ensure that the student is fully accessing the content.  Some students may benefit from captions and/or other supports (such as pre-teaching of key information) when accessing information via media.

Any questions can be directed to the Teacher of the Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing or the Educational Audiologist.