Author: Eleanor T. Robertson, Ph.D. Director, School Psychology, Trinity University

The availability of a variety of technological devices can have a positive impact on counseling and on the general functioning of students with auditory impairments. You should familiarize yourself with the options most appropriate for the child’s age and needs.


  • Hearing aids may be used by the student who needs amplification. With this device, all sounds in the environment become louder to the individual with the same intensity. Individuals may hear sounds better but be unable to discriminate words well (Harris & Vanzandt, 1997). Keep this in mind as you speak to the child with a hearing aid.
  • If you need to contact a student by telephone, several helpful devices are available. Telephone receivers may be equipped with a volume control that allows a person with a hearing loss to amplify incoming messages. A teletypewriter (TTY) is a device at each end of a telephone that types messages on a paper roll or displays the words on a panel screen that looks like a calculator. Phone relay services are available that provide an operator to facilitate communication between a person using a telecommunication device on their phone and someone with a regular telephone (Harris & Vanzandt, 1997).
  • You may want to suggest programs or videos on specific topics. Television sets may be equipped with closed-caption devices that display sub-titles. Films are also distributed through various agencies with sub-titles. 
  • Be aware that teachers may utilize electronic amplification systems consisting of a microphone/transmitter for the instructor and a receiver for the student that allows personal amplification in the classroom (Harris & Vanzandt, 1997).
  • To assist students in detecting situations requiring an immediate response, alarm systems using flashing lights or vibrations can be used to warn of fire, signal ringing doorbells, or provide a wake-up signal. Specially trained dogs can also be utilized to respond to sounds in the environment. 
  • Never touch an adaptive device without asking permission. This would be like touching a body part uninvited.