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Daily Listening Check for Hearing Aid

It is essential that a student’s hearing aid(s) is properly working to be able to benefit from the classroom’s auditory environment. If a student’s hearing aid is malfunctioning problems with his/her educational progress (access to the general curriculum) is in jeopardy. To ensure that the hearing aids are working properly, a daily listening check of the hearing aids must be performed by an adult in the school who has normal hearing ability. How to conduct a daily listening check of hearing aids Equipment needed: hearing aid stethoscope, battery tester, air blower, wax loop, latex/nonlatex gloves (to be worn by the adult) and audio wipes or alcohol swabs. The daily listening check for hearing aid consists of two (2) procedures: electronics of the hearing aid(s) and how the student functions when wearing the hearing aid(s). Procedure checklist for the electronics of the hearing aid: 1. Have student turn off their hearing aid(s), remove from their ear(s) and hand it to the adult (wearing gloves).
earhook tubing

Do a visual inspection of the hearing aid. - Check the switch (M for microphone, T for telecoil and O for off) and the wheel of the volume control (if appropriate) to make sure it is not broken. - Open the battery compartment located on the bottom of the hearing aid. Are the battery contacts inside the battery compartment clean? Is the battery inserted properly in the battery compartment? Match “+” on the battery to “+” in the battery compartment. Is the battery

compartment completely shut? DO NOT FORCE THE DOOR CLOSED. If the battery is dead, replace it. Is the clear tubing connecting the earmold and the earhook free of twists, cracks or holes? Does the tubing fit snugly onto the hearing aid? Is the tubing free of moisture? If moisture (looks like water droplets) appear, use the air blower to extract (suck out) the moisture by removing the tubing from the earhook and inserting the air blower into the end of the tubing. Then replace tubing to earhook. Is the earmold free of earwax and moisture? If there is any build-up of earwax, insert the earwax loop to remove the wax. Wipe off the loop using audio wipes or alcohol swabs. Only use audio wipes to wipe off earmold if necessary. Alcohol will damage the earmold. If moisture appears in the earmold, use the air blower to extract (suck out) the moisture by inserting it into the opening of the earmold.

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2. Do the listening check of the hearing aid. Analog Hearing Aid: a. Turn the hearing aid off (O). b. Turn the volume control switch (wheel) of the hearing aid completely down. c. After inserting the stethoscope tips into your ears, insert the opening of the earmold into the nozzle of the stethoscope. d. Switch the hearing aid to M (microphone). e. While listening through the stethoscope, begin to slowly rotate the volume control switch (wheel) of the hearing aid up and down. Have a sound source such as having the student talk as you rotate the volume control wheel. Note whether the sound gets louder and softer as you rotate the wheel. The volume should increase and decrease in a smooth fashion. There should not be any crackling sound, cutting in or out or no sound at all. The sound quality should be clear, not scratchy. If you hear nothing, most likely the battery is probably dead and needs to be replaced. f. If there is a smooth transition in loudness and the sound quality is clear, the hearing aid passes the listening check. Record the results of the listening check on the student’s daily listening check documentation sheet. g. If there is not a smooth transition in loudness and the sound quality is not clear or you replaced the battery and there is still no sound, document the results on the student’s daily listening check documentation sheet and follow appropriate building/district procedures for reporting problems with the hearing aid.

Digital Hearing Aid: a. Depending on the brand of hearing aid, turn the hearing aid off (O) using program selector switch or open the battery compartment. b. After inserting the stethoscope tips into your ears, insert the opening of the earmold (or tulip dome) into the nozzle of the stethoscope. c. Depending on the brand of hearing aid, switch the hearing aid to M (microphone) using the program selector switch or close the battery compartment. The hearing aid is set with “programs”, either two or three programs. Make sure the correct program is set. Usually there is a specific number of “beeps” to indicate the specific program. d. When working with children (students), most dispensing audiologists will lock the volume level so the student does not have any manual control over it. So you will not be able to make the sound louder or softer because there is not a volume control wheel per say. You will be hearing the intensity level of the student. This is on an individual basis and needs to be noted if the volume level can be manually controlled by the student. If it can be manually controlled, you can decrease or increase the volume by moving the volume control switch (wheel). e. Have the student talk, while listening through the stethoscope. There should not be any crackling sound, cutting in or out or no sound at all. The sound quality should be clear, not scratchy. If you hear nothing, most likely the battery is probably dead and needs to be replaced. f. If there is no break in the sound and the sound quality is clear, the hearing aid passes the listening check. Record the results of the listening check on the student’s daily listening check documentation sheet. g. If there are noticeable breaks in the sound and the sound quality is not clear or you replaced the battery and there is still no sound, document the results on the student’s daily listening check documentation sheet and follow appropriate building/district procedures for reporting problems with the hearing aid.

How the student functions when wearing the hearing aid(s): Using The Ling Six Sound Test Make sure the student is wearing his/her hearing aid(s) and are turned on when performing The Ling Six Sound Test. The Ling Six Sound Test consists of six sounds (ah, ee, oo, sh, s, and mm) indicates a student’s ability to detect all aspects of speech as these sounds encompass the frequency range of all phonemes.

The Ling Six Sound Test can be used to determine what sounds the student is able to detect or identify/discriminate. -The student may only be able to detect the presence of the sound which can be indicated by the student raising or clapping his/her hands. -The student may be able to identify/discriminate the sound by either repeating the sound or pointing to a picture/letter representation of the sound.

Administration Procedure: 1. Position the student at 2 or 3 feet from away from you in a quiet environment. The distance between you and the student is important. Whatever distance you start with to establish your baseline data that is the distance you need to always use. Have the student face you with his/her eyes closed (so student does not use visual cues) or use a listening loop (embroidery loop with acoustical material) and have the student’s eyes open. The listening loop will conceal any visual cues but not distort the sounds. Do not cover your mouth with your hand, as this can distort the sounds. Remember: this is an auditory-only test. Initially, take at least three (3) days to establish baseline data (what sounds the student can or cannot detect/identify/discriminate). 2. Instruct the student to either detect or identify or discriminate the six Ling Sounds. This is determined on a case by case basis and depends upon student’s auditory functioning level. 3. Present, using a normal conversational level voice, the six sounds in a random order (vary daily) and vary the length of the pause between each sound so that the student does not anticipate the sound. Occasionally say nothing, so that the student learns it is okay to say he/she does not hear anything. 4. Record your results on the documentation form under Ling Six Sound Test. 5. If a difference in responding (misses sounds that the student had previously been able to detect/identify/discriminate) is noted, follow appropriate building/district procedures to report the possibility of a problem. Missing sounds previously “heard” can possibly indicate middle ear pathology, new earmolds, new hearing aids, recently reprogrammed hearing aids, dead batteries or malfunctioning of hearing aid(s).

Lepi, 2007