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Technology helps growing number of hearing impaired students

The number of hearing impaired Americans doubled in the past 30 years according to a National Center for Health Statistics report. That includes children in Utah schools. To help those kids learn, teachers are using new audio devices.

LEHI, Utah (ABC 4 Utah)- The number of hearing impaired Americans doubled in the past 30 years according to a National Center for Health Statistics report. That includes children in Utah schools. To help those kids learn, teachers are using new audio devices.

Willowcreek Middle School in the Alpine School School District is one of Utah’s schools excelling at helping that student population so they can excel socially and educationally.

In the front row of a math class at Lehi’s Willowcreek Middle School sits attentive ninth grader Irelee Lund. But congruent angles aren’t her favorite part of school.

“I like hanging out around my friends because I don't get to see them at home,” said Willowcreek student Irelee Lund.

But listening to her teacher and chatting with friends wasn’t easy for Irelee when she first started school.

“My mom noticed I couldn't really hear in kindergarten because I was really quiet and I wasn't paying attention to the teacher as much,” said Lund.

Now, Irelee uses a hearing aid with a special FM device.

“She has her device attached to her hearing aid and then the teacher has the microphone and with that device he transmits his voice directly into her ear,” said Pathologist Melissa Porter.

Teachers wear a microphone around the neck which amplifies the sound in Irelee’s ear.

“If she doesn't have it she might miss a couple words especially if he turns around and writes on the board. She might miss that because she can't watch his lips,” said Porter.

Pathologist Melissa Porter says technology is only getting better to allow every student the chance to learn and socialize just like other kids. And it’s something parents can spot at an early age.

“Listen to their speech and see if there are any sounds missing. Are they able to follow directions especially if you're not looking directly at their face?” asked Porter.

Porter says she’s also noticing hearing loss with older kids. She says iPods are the culprit. Some kids listen to music through their ear buds too loudly or continuously.

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