Question: How old does a child have to be before he or she can be fit with hearing aids?
Answer: This is an important question. For healthy full-term infants, it is possible for hearing aids to be fit within the first weeks of life. Several steps need to happen for an appropriate fitting, and this can take time. A comprehensive hearing test, that provides hearing levels for each ear individually at low and high frequencies, is needed to appropriately adjust the hearing aid settings. Professional guidelines (Joint Committee on Infant Hearing [JCIH], 2007) state that the hearing evaluation should be completed before 3 months of age, and hearing aids should be fit within 1 month of the hearing loss diagnosis. Sometimes determining how the hearing aids will be funded can cause a delay. Ask your audiologist if there are loaner hearing aids your child can use during this period.
Question: My child is hearing impaired in a mainstreamed, oral program with support services that include a TOD and personal FM system. What are options to include closed captioning for videos shown in the classroom? Currently, the only cc is when it is already built in to a video. Thank you
Answer: Thank you for your question. Yes, with today’s technological capabilities, children who are deaf or hard of hearing should always have accessible information during all classroom activities. When closed captions (CC) are not a built-in feature of a video, there are a variety of options the school can take to add this visual support. Of course, there are professional services that can add CC for a fee, such as rev.com, syncwords.com, or captioneasy.com. However, in many cases, your child’s school district’s IT (Informational Technology) division should have personnel who know how to add captioning relatively easily by using readily-available programs such as Adobe Premier Pro. Captions can be manually added or via speech-to-text conversion software. If you have not approached the school principal about getting captions added to videos shown in the classroom, this would be a good first step. If you have already raised the question with no resolution, you may consider asking the principal to contact the school district main office since there may be more IT capability at the district level than at the school level. We would be surprised to learn of substantial barriers given the availability of captioning technology. Good luck and please let us know if you have additional questions.