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Advice for Schools in supporting children with Hearing Impairment

Advice and helpful hints for schools to use with children or young people with hearing impairment during Covid-19 period

The current situation with regards to the SENSS service considering the Government’s advice around Covid-19 is as follows:

 First and foremost, the SENSS service continues to operate but in a slightly different way. We appreciate that this might be a very worrying time for schools with a child or young person with a sensory (hearing or visual impairment) or a physical disability or complex medical needs, but rest assured that we will continue to be available to support you (as we have been doing since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic) in any way we can.

We are striving to maintain a high level of support to you through alternative means, for example, virtual video meeting or conference calls. and in line with Government guidance, we will support you in ways that do not involve face to face meetings or go into settings. We may undertake face-to-face visits deemed essential and only after all other alternative ways have been exhausted. 

To help schools the SENSS service is mindful that certain measures necessary during this pandemic may impact access to the curriculum for pupils with a hearing impairment and we wish to support them and you with mitigating this. The service has produced the guidance below that has general ideas that may be helpful to support a child or young person with a hearing impairment during these uncertain times.

You may continue to contact SENSS staff via their email or alternatively, you can contact the SENSS service by email on enquiries.senss@hounslow.gov.uk

Hearing Impairment

It is advisable that all staff working with a child or young person who is deaf and has audiology equipment, such as hearing aids, the information below:

  • Ensure that any pupil in your school who wears hearing aid(s) or speech processor(s) sits at the front of the classroom, in the best position to be able to hear you, and to lip read you and their peers.  Lip reading is often an essential element of communication for children and young people who are deaf.  This advice is based on the understanding that staff will not be wearing masks.
  • For younger children, if their hearing aids become dislodged, please replace them washing your hands before and afterwards and wearing protective gloves if preferred. 
  • Families have been asked to insert fresh batteries into hearing aids on Monday mornings, to minimise the risk of battery failure/the need to change batteries at school.
  • Pupils must not be left without their amplification during the day as this will impact on their ability to access learning and to make progress. There may be safety implications if pupils do not wear their amplification
  • If you have a pupil who has a radio aid system, please see the sanitisation document attached. If you still have concerns about cleaning the fabric lanyard please contact your Advisory Teacher of the Deaf.  Attention needs to be given to cleaning all parts of devices.  The Inspiro radio aid systems are more challenging to clean, as they do not have an integral microphone.  The Inspiro should be used with the clip rather than lanyard fitting for effective cleaning purposes.
  • Whether a pupil has a radio aid or not, deaf friendly communication will be even more critical than usual due to the communication obstacles presented by social distancing. See top tips for the classroom communication attached.
  • If you have a soundfield system, we would suggest that where possible only one class teacher uses/touches the microphone and speaker at present.  These will also need to be cleaned.
  • Please do not hesitate to contact your Advisory Teacher of the Deaf (ToD0 by email on: enquiries.senss@hounslow.gov.uk.