Purpose: We investigated trends in hearing aid maintenance and assumption of responsibility for hearing aids in school-age children who are hard of hearing. Specifically, we examined the extent to which families own necessary hearing aid maintenance equipment, whether and by whom hearing aid maintenance tasks are being completed, and the effects of grade and receipt of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan on a child’s assumption of responsibility for hearing aid care. Method: Participants included 167 children who are hard of hearing in 1st to 4th grade. Caregivers reported whether the families owned various types of hearing aid maintenance equipment (listening tube, battery tester, and dri-aid kit) and who normally completes various hearing aid maintenance tasks. Information about children’s audio logical characteristics was also collected. Results: Thirty-two percent of families reported not owning at least 1 piece of hearing aid maintenance equipment. Using a battery tester and performing a listening check were the maintenance tasks completed the least frequently, with 49% and 28% of caregivers reporting that these tasks are not completed regularly, respectively. Children’s responsibility for hearing aid maintenance increased with grade. After controlling for maternal education and degree of hearing loss, children with an IEP or 504 plan took more responsibility for hearing aid maintenance tasks than children without these services. Conclusion: Important hearing aid maintenance tasks, such as listening checks, are not completed regularly for many children, even when families own the necessary equipment. Ensuring that children who are hard of hearing have an IEP or 504 plan throughout elementary school may support self-advocacy and encourage children to take responsibility for their hearing aids, which may lead to more consistent hearing aid functioning.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Speech and Hearing