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Audiological Evaluations in the Schools: Going Beyond the Audiogram
Track: Audiology/Hearing Impaired
“Audiologic Services” is a broad term used in schools. Audiologists are qualified to measure areas which go beyond traditional audiograms. Areas such as theory of mind, self-advocacy, listening effort, etc., may be added to evaluations. This presentation is designed to give resources for audiologic services that go beyond traditional audiometric tests.
Audiologists provide testing that is important to the school. This includes the traditional audiometric tests, which define the type, degree, and configuration of hearing loss, ability to understand speech, etc. Testing can also include functional testing, such as speech recognition in noise and functional listening evaluations. However, children in the schools may have additional difficulties which cannot be defined by these more traditional tests.
For example, educators indicate that children with hearing loss are not always able to relate well to others. Research has found that children with hearing loss have poorer theory of mind development than children with normal hearing (Moeller, 2007). This is true even if the child has received a cochlear implant (e.g., Peterson, 2004, as cited in Moeller, 2007). Studies have also indicated that “socio-pragmatic language” impacts academic success (Thagard, Hilsmier, & Easterbrooks, 2011). As such, theory of mind needs to be assessed to examine both social and emotional awareness. Theory of mind has implications on the child’s educational development.
Educational audiologists are also aware of how often a child does not have functioning equipment. However, the child may not take an active role in letting the educator know that the equipment is not functioning. Self-advocacy plays a large role in a child’s success (Sheetz, 2001). Evaluation of self-advocacy skills can assist with setting educational goals.
Teachers mention how a child with hearing loss performs more poorly at the end of the day as compared to children without hearing loss. Research has shown that children with hearing loss have increased listening effort (e.g., Hicks & Tharpe, 2002). While listening effort has been a topic of many research articles, evaluating this in the schools is more difficult. However, the audiologist can incorporate the concept of listening effort in their evaluations.
This presentation is designed to give resources for evaluations which go beyond traditional audiometric tests.