Tips for Teaching a Student with a Hearing Impairment

Inclusion and Hearing Loss

More students with hearing loss are instructed in the “regular” classroom each year. Here are some strategies for instructing a student who is deaf or hard of hearing.

When working with hearing-impaired students in the classroom, use these tips for successful instruction.

  1. Have the student sit with his or her better ear toward the speaker. The student should have a clear view of the teacher, visual aids, and the interpreter (if using one). If the student will be participating in a group activity or discussion it is best to have students face each other in a circle.
  2. Most hearing-impaired students have some residual hearing. The residual hearing may only be for environmental sounds (such as a lawnmower or motorcycle) or it may be in the speech range. If the residual hearing is in the speech range it is helpful to minimize the background noise.
  3. Many hearing-impaired students have speechreading skills. Speak slowly and face the student when speaking. (Do not over enunciate.) Try to avoid having the hearing impaired student face the window because of glare.
  4. Most hearing-impaired students wear some type of amplification. This can be a personal hearing aid or an auditory trainer (f.m. system). It is important to monitor that the student wears the amplification and to check daily if the equipment is working properly.
  5. Some hearing-impaired students benefit from a sign language interpreter. When communicating through an interpreter look at the student and speak directly to him instead of to the interpreter.
  6. Peer notetakers can be helpful for the student who is deaf or hard of hearing. Notes can be photocopied or pressure-sensitive notetaking paper can be provided.
  7. Study strategies can increase the success of the hearing impaired student in the classroom. Previewing a chapter, study cards with key vocabulary and definitions, and reviewing questions at the end of the chapter is helpful.
  8. When teaching a hearing-impaired student, ask questions to check for understanding of materials and directions. Avoid asking, “Do you understand?” The answer will often be ‘yes’ – It is human nature to want to appear as if one understands.
  9. With the advance of technology and medical science, more and more children have cochlear implants. When wearing the processor that transmits sound to the implant, the student will be able to hear — at times it will seem with better hearing than other children. It should be remembered that background noise (even minimal) or not wearing the external processor will greatly impact the child’s ability to hear. In addition, children with cochlear implants still display difficulty with new vocabulary, concepts, and understanding and using advanced sentence structures.

Above all remember that the child with impaired hearing is a child first. He wants to be a part of your class. It is important for the student to be included in activities, discussion, behavioral expectations, and FUN!