By: Amber Govey, Karli Kubincanek, & Cassidy Martin
It is estimated that about 131 of every 1,000 school-age children have some degree of hearing loss that can potentially affect communication, learning, literacy, psychosocial development, and academic achievement (ASHA Take Action, n.d.). Therefore, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) needs strengthened to enforce and clarify the need for educational audiologists for the deaf or hard of hearing children in the school system.
What is the issue? Why is it important?
The role of educational audiologists is to interact directly with parents, teachers, nurses, speech-language pathologists, and other related service professionals to form an educational team, which serves students under IDEA or 504 plans. Specifically, they provide education related to the effects of hearing loss, auditory processing deficits, and ideal listening environment; therefore, it is important that children with hearing loss are consistently provided with optimal, language rich environments (Educational Audiology Association, 2009).
Educational and private audiologists work together to ensure that students are receiving the highest quality hearing technology and support services within a school setting. Hearing loss prevention programs, hearing screening programs and classroom acoustics are other areas within the scope of practice of an educational audiologist. Providing consultation to the school nurse on screening programs, the speech-language pathologist for communication strategies, or a classroom teacher regarding acquisition of the phonemic information critical to literacy -- are all part of the role of the educational audiologist within a school system (Educational Audiology Association, 2009). However, this type of service is not readily available in most school systems under current laws. As a result, many children are not receiving proper audiological services that best suit their needs.
To address this concern and strengthen IDEA, contacting legislators and federal Department of Education is essential. Since IDEA is a federal law, a bill would need to be drafted in order to clarify the role of educational audiologists in the schools. Therefore, to take action, our primary goal is to advocate for this concern and spread awareness to not only the general public, but to those who are able to get a bill introduced. To begin, we will construct a letter to send to the senate and house committee members to bring their attention to the issue at hand. Within the letter we will be asking that a bill be drafted by a member who shows interest in the topic we are addressing. We will also create a Facebook post regarding the issue to bring awareness to the topic. The Facebook post will include statistics, the link to the ASHA Take Action Issue Brief, and a pre-constructed letter addressed to the legislation and federal department of education, with instructions for how to submit the letter.
What can you do?
As you can see, it is of high importance that children with hearing loss are provided with the proper hearing environment in order to learn, develop, and grow to be successful students. To help spread the word, here are some ways in which you can advocate:
1. Educate yourselves and others on the topic.
2. Share the Facebook post to help spread awareness.
3. Submit the pre-constructed letter to legislation and federal department of education in order to address the issue.
Educational Audiology Association. (2009). School-based audiology advocacy series school-based audiology services. Retrieved from
ASHA Take Action. (n.d.). Children with hearing loss. Retrieved from https://takeaction.asha.org/asha/DHHC