Who is responsible for ensuring that a student’s hearing assistive technology (HAT) is working properly?
According to IDEA section 300.113 of Title 34, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), routine checks of hearing aids and external components of surgically implanted medical devices (e.g. Cochlear Implants, Bone Anchored Hearing Aid) are to be performed and the agency (e.g. the school district) must ensure that these hearing assistive technology (HAT) devices are functioning properly.
If the district were to be audited or taken into a due process hearing, how would they prove that the school is ensuring the HAT devices are functioning properly? This certainly would be a place where documentation would be imperative. Documentation could be completed daily, weekly, quarterly, etc. However, best practice would show daily documentation in order to prove the provision of free and appropriate public education (FAPE). One way to do this is by performing the Ling Six-Sound Test daily (see videos below on how to perform the test) and/or by using a hearing aid care kit by a school staff member. If a student is capable of informing school staff when the HAT device is not functioning correctly, then the school can still document that the student was asked if his/her devices were functioning properly.
However, it should be noted that IDEA determines under paragraph (b)(2) of 34 CFR §300.113, it is NOT the responsibility of the school district for maintenance, programming, or replacement of a surgically implanted medical device (e.g. Cochlear Implant, Bone Anchored Hearing Aid):
Routine checking of hearing aids and external components of surgically implanted medical devices.
(a) Hearing aids. Each public agency must ensure that hearing aids worn in school by children with hearing impairments, including deafness, are functioning properly.
(b) External components of surgically implanted medical devices.
(1) Subject to paragraph (b)(2) of this section, each public agency must ensure that the external components of surgically implanted medical devices are functioning properly.
(2) For a child with a surgically implanted medical device who is receiving special education and related services under this part, a public agency is not responsible for the post-surgical maintenance, programming, or replacement of the medical device that has been surgically implanted (or of an external component of the surgically implanted medical device).
District ESE Policies & Procedures (ESE P&Ps) must address the following at a minimum for D/HH:
Routine checking of hearing aids worn in school by students with hearing loss and the external components of surgically implanted medical devices (i.e., cochlear implants) is required to ensure that these devices are functioning properly.
Assistive technology and related services do not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device. Although cochlear implants are not considered assistive technology, children with cochlear implants maintain the right to receive related services that are determined by the IEP team to be necessary for the student. School districts are responsible for providing appropriate services for the students. However, appropriate services do not include maintaining, optimizing (i.e., mapping), or replacing cochlear implants.
Each learning environment shall have appropriate acoustic treatment, lighting, and auditory amplification equipment to meet the individual needs of each student. Auditory equipment shall be made available through the school district (e.g., Personal or Soundfield FM systems, infrared systems, induction loop systems, and other assistive listening devices). Auditory equipment will be calibrated annually, maintained, and considered for replacement on a five (5)-year cycle. Visual alarm devices shall be provided in all areas where students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may be separated from persons with normal hearing—group bathrooms, corridors, specific areas designated for the deaf, etc., in accordance with Rule 6A-2.0010, F.A.C.
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The information contained in the FAQs does not constitute legal advice. Please refer to the original sources listed in each FAQ for more information.