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Educational Audiologist

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At the Academy we have a fulltime Educational Audiologist, Helen Maiden-Picarella. Helen has worked with deaf children for nearly 20 years and has specialised as an Educational Audiologist for nearly 10 years.

She initially trained as a mainstream secondary teacher and is a qualified Teacher of the Deaf with an MSc in Educational Audiology and Certificate Diploma in Speech Language and Communication Needs. She has BSL Level 2.

Helen is involved with the BATOD Pre-school Special Interest Group as member of the committee, she is also chair of British Association of Educational Audiologist (BAEA) and is chair of the more local, South Educational Audiology Group (SEAG) a branch of BAEA.

Educational Audiologist Support

Helen will work closely with you in college, monitoring your hearing aids and cochlear implant processors, conducting listening checks and test box checks as necessary or at your request. It is important for you as a college student to understand your hearing needs and be able to explain your needs to others. When you leave education, you will be transferred to adult audiology services at the hospital and it will be your responsibility to arrange appointments, request interpreters and make sure that your hearing is monitored once you leave the Academy.

As the Education Audiologist, Helen will monitor your needs and suitability for use of an assistive listening device (ALD) in lessons. If you have access to speech, it may be best for you to access information through an ALD, supported by SSE or BSL. In some cases, we find students can understand information better if they have access to both.

During your time at the Academy, Helen will monitor your hearing levels (pure tone audiogram), your hearing devices and assess your access to listening provision etc. If there is any change or deterioration in your hearing levels, you will need to look into this with your local audiology provision. If you are registered with the Academy GP, you can be referred to the Audiology Unit at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital to save travelling further afield for support.

Working closely with Speech and Language Therapists, Educational Audiology ensure students have the best access to environmental sounds (enjoyment of music etc) as well as accessing sounds to support your speech, lip-reading and language development. Helen also supports staff across the Academy, providing training and updates on the latest amplification equipment and raising awareness of your individual hearing potential and how you can best be supported in college classes.