Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hearing Screenings!

In my district, all kindergarteners need to have their hearing screened.  The SLPs are responsible for this task.  I asked on Facebook if you as SLPs conduct hearing screenings in your district.  It seemed to be about 50/50 - with many districts having hearing screens conducted by nursing staff.  If you do conduct
hearing screenings, here are a couple of tips:

  • Little guys and girls can be intimidated by the process.  Many equate it to visiting the doctor.  So, I typically tell them that they're going to wear headphones - like the kind you use to listen to music. Except,  my headphones don't play music, they play TRUCKS!  (You know what sound a truck makes when backing up, right? Beep-beep-beep).  I tell them that sometimes the trucks will be big (e.g., low pitch and/or high volume) and sometimes they will be little (high pitch and/or low volume) and that they need to raise their hands whenever they hear a truck, even if it's TINY!  This makes the task more like a game.
  • Some kids are intimidated by the headphones.  In the past I have used a mirror so they can see what they look like with them on.   
  • Taking the kids in pairs can alleviate some of the anxiety.
  • Many kids need LOTS of teaching of the expectation.  I typically instruct the whole class before beginning and have them practice raising their hands when I say "beep."  Then, when I bring the children to the room, I do more of the same.  If they still seem to need practice, I'll turn the audiometer up to full volume and hold the headphones open (you can generally hear the beeps at full volume without wearing the headphones).  We will practice together until the children seem to understand.
  • After all that practice, some kids will still have difficulty understanding the expectation "When you hear the beep, raise your hand."  Some alternate methods of response include:  dropping a block in a bucket in response to the sound, giving a thumbs-up, using picture icons (below - keep your finger on the SHH until you hear the truck, then slide your finger over), or using an app like Choice Board Creator (see below). 
(click picture to download)

Choice Board Creator

I created this form last year that you may find helpful for documentation purposes:

(click image to download)

I love using these Familiar Sounds Audiograms for parent information purposes.  This one is from Nadine Miller, Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (click the image to be directed to her site):

If you do conduct hearing screenings, I hope you found something helpful!  Do you have other tips/suggestions for conducting hearing screens?

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