How to Assist Students Who are Hard of Hearing

How to Assist Students Who are Hard of Hearing

Bonnie L. Baehr, Au.D. Hearing Loss

Bonnie L. Baehr, Au.D.

Have you ever wondered how you can contribute to students that are hard of hearing become more successful in their school lives and their academic performance? Education, information and raising public awareness are some of those ways. From personal enrichment to paying forward knowledge about students that suffer from hearing loss, we can all stand to gain.

Hearing loss has become the third most concerning public health issue in the US today asides from cancer and diabetes. Due to multiple factors such as noise pollution, personal practices, genetics, illness, and medications, it is increasing at a rapid rate for younger and younger generations.

Technological advances allow the hearing impaired to engage in and have access to more activities. According to KidsHealth, “Students with hearing impairments may:

  • wear hearing aids, have cochlear implants, or use FM systems, which include a microphone/transmitter worn by the teacher and a receiver worn by the student
  • need to use real-time captioning for any audio-visual videos used in the classroom
  • need voice-recognition software on their computers, which can help with note-taking
  • understand speech by watching the speaker’s mouth movements, facial expressions, and gestures, within context. This skill is called speech-reading or lip-reading.
  • use ASL (American Sign Language), Cued Speech, or other sign languages
  • need an interpreter to facilitate communication
  • require speech therapy due to delayed speech or language development
  • need to sit closer to the front of the class to read lips or hear more clearly
  • need quiet areas
  • need instructions repeated.”

Accommodating Students with Hearing Loss

Teachers and parents alike will have to do their research and incorporate communicative methodologies for the benefit of the hearing impaired on a daily basis.

In the classroom, the physical layout is a good place to start. A semicircular or “horseshoe” is most beneficial to all.

An assessment of the individual students hearing ability will let the teacher know which strategies would work best for them. Working with the parents and school nurse is also a good idea to have a more comprehensive and informed opinion of student capabilities.

Common sense techniques such as keeping face to the students, for those that can lip read, using infographics, illustrations, texts, and labels can all contribute an easier learning environment.

Encouraging them to partake in all activities, and even using earplugs for the normal hearing students to understand how their hearing-impaired counterparts experience class time would promote an empathic experience.

Things You Can Do as a Parent

Parents should look into including their child in the individualized education program (IEP). The goal of IEP is to keep the student in the general classroom as much as possible. However, if parents and educators work in tandem, students can be assessed and qualify for more individualized classes or instructors with Special Education qualifications.

From this point onwards teaching and studying strategies will be put into place that are specific to the students’ needs and addresses their weaknesses. The procedure has several steps before implemented and parents review them at each point. The school will have teachers and administrators that can provide details of the entire procedure.

Paying Attention to Pediatric Hearing Loss

For students that are beginning to feel the effects of hearing loss, it is a good idea to inform them of the factors that can contribute to the condition and schedule an assessment with an audiologist as soon as possible. If they are diagnosed as needing hearing aids, let them know that they are free to ask their audiologist any questions that they may have. Hearing loss no longer carries the stigma it once did and hearing aids are available for students of all ages – and can be customized to look fashion-forward and fun.

Beverly Hills Hearing Center

Beverly Hills Hearing Center is here for all your hearing needs. We look forward to meeting with you and creating a wellness program for you or someone you love. Bring a friend or a loved one and with your first appointment, we can get started on a richer hearing experience now and for the future.