How do you convey the experience of hearing loss to your friends and loved ones? For adults with hearing loss this can be tricky, but for children who face hearing issues, explaining their experience can be especially difficult. Children growing up with hearing issues may struggle to understand the ways in which their hearing differs from their friends and classmates. Moreover, hearing loss can make children vulnerable to bullying from their peers. Now, a new virtual reality simulator is being launched to help build understanding of childhood hearing loss.
The virtual reality takes viewers onto a playground and into a classroom where they experience familiar situations with the muffled, illegible sound experienced by someone with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. The VR experience is shot from the point of view of a child, making it easier to empathize with the situation of a young person coping with hearing difficulty.
Launched by The Shepherd Centre, an Australian charitable foundation, the VR production paired virtual reality designers with audiologists to create a tool for sharing the experience of hearing loss. Virtual reality is being brought into classrooms where students can experience a simulation of what speech sounds like to their classmates with hearing loss. In many cases, school children are surprised at the way the world sounds with hearing impairment. The VR makes clear why a student struggling with hearing issues would have difficulty in the classroom and in social situations.
By taking a walk in their classmate’s shoes, students can better understand not only how people with hearing loss experience the world, but they also get a sense of how important a student’s hearing aids are to their everyday life. Introducing the VR experience into the classroom hopes to build empathy and understanding among students.
The virtual reality simulation isn’t just for kids. The scenario is also designed to show parents and teachers what the world sounds like to a child with hearing loss. For teachers this is an important thing to understand while in the classroom and considering teaching accommodations that best suit a student with hearing issues. The exposure to the experience of hearing loss drives home how important it is for students with hearing loss to have thorough learning support through writing, visuals and other teaching tools.
For parents, getting a taste of what hearing loss is like can help them when considering hearing treatment options with their child. Comprehending the degree of hearing loss their child experiences is an important part of understanding why it is important to treat their hearing loss early. For many people who don’t have hearing loss themselves it is hard to picture just how difficult everyday situations can become without the level of hearing they are accustomed to.
While most hearing loss is a permanent condition, treatment can help. Using hearing aids and assistive devices not only makes hearing comprehension easier, it also helps prevent cognitive hearing from worsening. For children who are born with hearing impairment, early treatment can give them the step up to stay engaged in the classroom. Introducing hearing aids early with children has the added benefit of helping their speech and language development progress.
Making Hearing Fun
Experiencing virtual reality hardly feels like learning, but that’s what this new program is all about, encouraging students and adults alike to understand hearing challenges better. While VR makes learning an intriguing experience, hearing technology has also worked hard to make hearing aids a fun and easy experience for young users.
Pediatric hearing aids come in customizable colors, and comfortable designs for young ears. For young people who will be facing hearing challenges their whole life, adapting to hearing aids early on means healthier hearing and a better quality of life.
Desert Valley Audiology
At Desert Valley Audiology we know the challenges people with hearing loss face. We offer total hearing care for all ages. You are never too young -or too old- to treat hearing loss. In fact, the earlier hearing issues are treated the easier and more immediate the benefits of hearing aids can be felt. When there’s a hearing concern, Desert Valley Audiology can help, so contact us today for an appointment!