Students with Hearing Loss

Tips for Teachers: Students with Hearing Loss in the Classroom

Back to school season is here, and for teachers, this can be an intimidating time of year. New classrooms, both in-person and digital, filled with children you do not have experience with yet. While getting to know your students can be fun and rewarding if there is a student that is hard of hearing or has hearing loss, following your regular routine can prove to be complicated, especially if this is your first time having a deaf or hard of hearing student in your classroom. Students with hearing loss come with unique challenges, which as a teacher, you need to overcome so you can ensure your student is learning and growing with the rest of the class.

Being an educator is hard work. When there is a student with impaired hearing or who is deaf, teachers are expected to take the steps needed to help that child succeed. While this can be a difficult task, checking out these useful tips can help you successfully accommodate students with hearing loss in your classroom.

1. Project Your Voice- Some teachers do this naturally, but projecting your voice can help a hard of hearing student follow along. Plus, in many cases, other students are too shy or afraid to speak up when they can’t hear what’s going on, so projecting your voice more will benefit the whole class.
2. Give Them Your Notes- Giving your hard of hearing student a copy of your notes, or even an outline of the lesson can help them follow along. Reading lips and utilizing technology usually only goes so far, so bridge the gap by giving them a copy. If you are unable to do so, have them work with another student who takes good notes.
3. Get to Know the Student- Everyone comes with their own set of unique needs, and every hard of hearing student will have their own preferences when it comes to communication. Maybe the student prefers to sit in the front row or needs some other kind of accommodation to follow along. Scheduling a meeting with the student and his/her parents can help you learn more about the student, the accommodations they require, and what they need in the classroom.
4. Limit Background Noise- Background noise can be distracting for everyone, but for a hard of hearing child, extra sounds can become overstimulating. It can quickly become exhausting, trying to listen to a person talk while another noise is going on. It takes more mental processing for a hard of hearing person to separate the sounds, which can quickly become exhausting. Aim to keep all background noise, such as side conversations and moving chairs, to a minimum.
5. Repeat Yourself- Kids in many cases don’t sit still or focus, so more often than not, when you say something to the class, there are always some who will not “hear” you. So repeat yourself when you speak, especially when it’s something they need to know, as this can benefit everyone in the class, even the children who can hear. Doing so can help the hard of hearing student understand what you said, and even your deaf student who reads lips follow along.
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