Encouraging Use of Assistive Hearing Devices

Encouraging Hearing Aid UseDo your students complain about wearing their CI processors or personal FMs? I have several students who refuse to wear their listening devices to the extent that they have begun “losing” or vandalizing these expensive devices, so that they won’t have to wear them. How do you encourage students to be proactive about their hearing access and wear the devices that we know helps them?

Does your school handle this as a personal choice? I know the residential schools I’ve worked at did so. The student could decide. However, all the mainstream schools I’ve worked at make it an IEP team decision at which the parent and/or teacher can overrule the students choice. We then end up providing very expensive equipment the students don’t want. I spend many mornings arguing, consoling, demanding, and explaining in an attempt to get those students to use the equipment.

I feel like I’ve tried everything. We’ve done behavior charts with rewards for using the equipment. We’ve had class discussions with hearing peers to explain what the equipment is; we’ve read books and comics with Deaf characters who use hearing devices to encourage pride. I’ve taught self-advocacy classes, and I’ve taught science classes on sound, hearing and hearing aids, CIs, and personal FMs. W’eve brought in parents and had family discussions. I’ve given consequences and filed police reports on the damaged equipment. I am out of ideas on my own.

I’m looking for solutions. How do you handle this? Do you have any tips or suggestions to try? I would appreciate any and all ideas to help me reach these kids who are falling behind.