It is important to have a clear procedure in place for checking audiological equipment. This should ensure the safety of both the child and the adult.
Hearing Aids (HAs) and Cochlear Implant Processors (CIs)
Ideal Scenario: Access to a room that is quiet and has facilities to wash hands. Adult and child to wash hands prior to handling HA(s) and immediately afterwards, if the child requires assistance in removing/inserting HA(s). Where possible ask the child to remove and insert their HA(s) to reduce contact. Observe social distancing when not directly removing or inserting HA(s).
Next Best Scenario: When a room with washing facilities is not available then adult and child should find somewhere else to wash their hands before going in to a quiet room. Again, where possible ask the child to remove/insert their HA(s) if able. After entering the room use hand sanitizer before and after handling the HA(s), ask the child to do the same. If you need to assist the child to remove/insert HA(s) use hand sanitizer afterwards. Always observe social distancing where possible. On completion of HA check and on leaving the room hands should be washed again. (Ensure permission is sought before allowing the child to use hand sanitizer).
If PPE equipment is available please be mindful when using face masks. Lip Pattern is very important for people with a hearing impairment and face masks make lip reading very difficult. This may need further discussions within your school.
- If the child or adult is presenting with a cough or are actively sneezing then checks should not happen at this time.
- Where possible encourage the child to remove/insert their HA(s) to minimise contact.
- Observe social distancing when direct contact is not needed.
- Hands should be washed before and after all contact with HA(s). This includes the adult and child. Handwashing should be thorough and in line with government guidelines.
Radio Aid Systems
The same procedures should be followed as those for checking hearing aids. In addition, ensure that the transmitter is thoroughly cleaned with 70%+ alcohol wipes, along with the lanyard, before being passed to another user. The transmitter should also be cleaned at the beginning and end of each day.
Note: School should endeavour to provide a suitable room for hearing aid checks and easily accessible facilities for washing hands. Schools will need to provide alcohol gel or gloves and 70% alcohol wipes.
– 20 May 2020 (produced by STePs HI Team)
– 1st June 2020 – Adapted for use by SENDsuccess HI Team
See also our advice sheet ‘Return to school for Hearing impaired students’