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Probes and Tips - Involve Teachers in Facilitating the OAE Hearing Screening Process

The National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management

This newsletter provides TIPS to enhance your OAE screening and follow-up practices and PROBES about current activities so we can learn from one another's successes and challenges. Check out our website for more helpful resources:

October, 2009 issue

Tip of the Month 

Involve Teachers in Facilitating the OAE Hearing Screening Process

In some programs,  a teacher may be conducting the otoacoustic emissions (OAE) hearing screening.  In most programs, however, it is a Health Coordinator, nurse, or some other individual who will be working with children to complete the screening.  When this is the case, it is important to provide teachers with information that will allow them to become involved in facilitating the screening process.  Children often feel the most comfortable if teachers or other trusted adults are holding or entertaining them while the hearing screening is happening.  Two short videos are available that help introduce OAE screening to teachers (or parents):


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Reinforce with teachers that the the OAE screening:
  • Is painless for the child and will take about 3 - 5 minutes per child.
  • Involves a tiny microphone being placed in the ear canal which produces a quiet sound and captures the ear's response.
  • Is done while the child is sitting quietly or sleeping and does not require the child to respond.
  • Is often the easiest to accomplish when other children are playing quietly nearby (loud crying, shouting, or banging will interfere with the screening, but the presence of children who are engaged in regular play activities can help the child to feel that screening is a part of the normal classroom routine.)

 Teacher can facilitate the screening process by:

  • Preparing the children for screening by playing a little game in which the children pretend to listen to the sound of a bird coming from a small toy or even the teacher's hand (the game should NOT involve actually placing anything in the child's ear canal).  It is best if the teacher avoids introducing the screening activity by saying anything like "You are going to have your hearing tested," which is likely to make children feel nervous.  It is much better for teachers to tell children that they will each have a chance to "play a listening game."  Giving children small rewards, such as stickers, after the screening is completed can be a good idea.
  • Recommending an especially cooperative child as the first one to be screened.  If one child models cooperative behavior during the screening, it can be reassuring to other children.
  • Engaging the class in quiet activities, such as a video with the sound turned down, or designating an area in the room where something special is set up for children that will make it easy for them to sit quietly while the screening is being conducted.
  • Holding children, occupying their hands and attention, or in other ways soothing children if they become fearful or distressed during the procedure. 
Probe of the Month

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