At Starkey, we understand the stress and anxiety many parents face when it comes to supporting children with hearing loss, especially in a distance learning environment. As children head back to school, we asked Camie Sefcik — a student who is navigating virtual school with hearing aids — to offer a few tips to help alleviate some of that stress.
Camie is a vocal advocate for children with hearing loss. You can follow her on Instagram at @ChefCamie08.
What would you tell other children with hearing loss who are headed back to school during this time? Do you have any distance learning tips?
Camie: I want to tell other kids with hearing loss that they are not alone. I know it can feel that way. I'm the only one that I know of in my class with a hearing loss. I know there are younger kids that have a loss. Learn to be your own advocate when it comes to your hearing loss. Talk to your teachers. The teachers will work with you. They want they best for you. Use the tools you have. FM systems are great and help with understanding in the classroom. I also use a Table Microphone for classroom discussion. It helps me so much.
In distance learning, things can be hard. I have to use two different Zoom accounts and three devices to get the closed captioning that I need. The people in the meeting need to be muted, rather than the speaker. That way, my CC will pick up the voice. It is hard to set up at first, but once you figure it out, you got it. You have to learn how to do things differently, so you can get the access to the sound. There will be a learning curve for you and the teachers. Do NOT give up.
How do your hearing aids help you with your hobbies outside of school?
Camie: I love wearing my hearing aids, and I love to bring attention to them. I make charms now to hang from my hearing aids. I love to cook. Without my hearing aids, I would not be able to hear the timers going off. I also love talking walks and listening to nature. I hear so many wonderful things in nature with them on. I love hanging out with my friends and family, and my hearing aids help me hear them. Laughing is so much better when you can hear it.
How do you use your hearing aid accessories?
Camie: I have the Remote Microphone+ that my teachers wear, so I can hear them better. My mum will also wear it when we are out. It helps me hear in noisy places. I also use the Table Microphone in the classroom at school. I can put it on the table, and it will pick up the other kids talking during group discussions. If the teacher starts talking and is too far from the table mic, I just switch to the Remote Microphone+. Most of the time, the teacher will walk to where they are in range so I can hear. It’s nice having both accessories. I can use what is best in the situation.