WHAT IS THE ISSUE?
As children with hearing loss return to school during the ongoing COVID crisis, schools are implementing mechanisms to protect students and teachers and slow the spread of disease. Two important health and safety recommendations—cloth face coverings and physical distancing of 6 feet or more present significant auditory learning barriers for all students and school personnel but especially those with diverse learning needs such as students with hearing loss. Learning opportunities will be affected by the degraded speech signal from face masks, the elimination of lipreading and speaker expressions, and social distancing.
SHIELDS AS A RETURN TO SCHOOL OPTION
Face shields offer an alternative to face masks in school settings, an option that responds to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) considerations to slow the spread of COVID-19 while providing better communication access for children and staff. ACI Alliance published a research-based paper exploring shields as a return to school option that provides access to facial clues while providing a reduction in inhaled virus of 92% at 6 feet. First author Carrie Spangler AuD is an educational audiologist and cochlear implant user. Click here for the full paper.
WHO: The American Cochlear Implant Alliance (ACI Alliance) is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to advance the gift of hearing provided by cochlear implants and other hearing technology through research, advocacy, and awareness. Members include those who provide the intervention (e.g., ENT surgeons, audiologists, speech-language pathologists); other professionals on implant teams and in other settings supporting children and adults with hearing loss (e.g., educators, therapists, psychologists, social workers); researchers in clinical and academic settings; parents of children using cochlear implants and other hearing assistive technologies such as hearing aids; adult recipients, and other advocates. For more information: www.acialliance.org