Raising and Educating a Deaf Child

International experts answer your questions about the choices, controversies, and decisions faced by the parents and educators of deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

Question from J.O., Indiana

I am a Teacher Consultant for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students. I have a parent who is interested in purchasing a neckloop for her daughter who has a bilateral hearing loss and utilizes hearing aids. The parent was wondering if there is a source for reading reviews on neckloops or other equipment that an individual with a hearing loss may benefit from, before purchasing something, as the equipment is not cheap.

Question from J.O., Indiana. Posted October 24, 2013.
Response from Elizabeth Jackson Machmer - NTID

Assistive listening devices are an excellent augmentation to hearing aids for many children, however there are many options and it’s important to select the right one.  The parents’ first step should be to consult with their daughter’s clinical or educational audiologist.  The audiologist can determine which types of neckloops or other technology are compatible with her current hearing instruments.  The audiologist can also help select a type of assistive device to best match her needs.

Prices can range from $40 to several thousand dollars for different types of technology, and it may not be necessary to spend a lot of money.  Conversely, if the parents decide to invest in a more expensive system they should be sure that the system will work with their daughter’s current and possibly also future hearing instruments.

Some types of technology can only be purchased through an audiologist or hearing aid dispenser.  Others can be purchased by the consumer directly.  If the neckloop is purchased independently, there are often user reviews on the vendor’s website such as Harris Communications (www.harriscomm.com).  Another vendor with useful reviews and an informative newsletter is Beyond Hearing Aids (http://www.beyondhearingaids.com).

A wonderful resource for parents is the Hearing Loss Association of America (www.hearingloss.org), a non-profit support group for those affected by hearing loss.  Their website has in-depth information about assistive technology and offers special support for parents.  The online forums offer an opportunity for the parent to ask questions directly to other parents and benefit from others’ experiences.