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Strategies for Dealing with Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be difficult to understand and deal with, not only for those experiencing the hearing loss, but also for those trying to communicate or teach those with a hearing loss. Below are some strategies for communicating and teaching children who are deaf or hard of hearing as compiled by Wendy Consoli, ESU #1 Deaf/Hard of Hearing Educator and Vernae Luhr, ESU #1 Audiologist.

Strategies for Teaching Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children

Strategies for Hearing People Regarding Communicating
With Hard of Hearing People

Strategies for Hard of Hearing People Regarding Communicating With Hearing People

 

 

Special Education Departments

Strategies for Teaching Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children

The number of students that have hearing ability difficulties are not only those on IEPs and thus identified, but also those that are experiencing colds and allergy symptoms. A simple head cold can dampen your voice volume anywhere from three to eight decibels. This would be similar to sticking your fingers in your ears and listening to someone else in a quiet non-distracting situation. Think about the ambient noise sources in your rooms: computers, furnace, etc., that compound the difficulty. You can then realize the importance of normal hearing ability and being able to comprehend the information that you present. The number of students affected can grow by leaps and bounds depending upon the time of the year and the general health of the students. When looked at from this perspective, it takes on a whole new meaning. You as a teacher must think about what modalities you will use to present material in your classes.

Ultimately your goal as a teacher is to provide the students with "information." That information may need to be provided in different ways for each student to use it and be successful. Here are some strategies that all teachers, no matter what the age of their students, can implement to enhance and cope with the auditorially challenged in the classroom.

  • Speak normally – Don’t exaggerate.
  • Use visuals – graphic organizers, pictures, diagrams, maps, etc.
  • When lecturing, make use of overhead projectors so you do not turn your back on your students that are making use of speech reading skills and your body language.
  • Monitor those students that you "know" are auditorially challenged by asking specific questions to check on comprehension. Not, "Joe did you get that?" but, "Joe, which graph are you to utilize when answering questions on page 32?"
  • Repeat, rephrase, review for clarity.
  • Provide vocabulary, outlines and notes of new material ahead of time. This makes it manageable for the auditorially challenged to follow and grasp the new concepts when you present them in class and to add meaning.
  • In a lecture situation, assign a note taker to provide a copy of notes or provide your own lecture notes for the student. Auditorially challenged students "look and observe" to hear what you are saying and cannot be "listening" and writing notes at the same time. There will be gaps of information missed.
  • Use closed captioned videos in the classroom. If they are not available, provide the written script ahead of time, especially if you are quizzing or testing over the material presented on the video.
  • Reinforce positive performance of the auditorially challenged on a one-to-one basis. Let them know you see improvement making use of the strategies you’ve incorporated into your teaching style.

If you have any questions or suspect that a student is having difficulty hearing in your classroom, do not hesitate to contact us and refer that student for a simple hearing ability check. We would rather find out that the student has normal hearing ability than find out later that we should have been doing something to help and/or intercede.

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Strategies for Hearing People Regarding Communicating With Hard of Hearing People

  • Speak normally and at a moderate rate – Don’t exaggerate.
  • Stand so the light is on your face.
  • Use facial expressions, gestures – emphasize the visual.
  • Don’t hide your mouth, chew food/gum or smoke while talking.
  • Check for understanding and re-phrase if you are not understood.
  • Give clues – pause, gesture, change posture – when changing subjects.
  • Be patient if responses are slow in coming.
  • Choose your attitude – stay positive and relaxed.
  • Talk to the hard of hearing person, not about him/her.
  • Value the person, respect them as an individual and encourage them to build his/her communications skills.

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Strategies for Hard of Hearing People Regarding Communicating With Hearing People

  • Be open and honest about your hearing loss and tell those you’re speaking with if a different location, lighting or proximity would benefit the interaction.
  • Anticipate difficult situations and think through what you can do to minimize them.
  • Stay focused on the speaker to follow the conversation.
  • Look for visual cues and body language.
  • Ask/request written cues if needed.
  • Let the speaker know how well he/she is doing.
  • Don’t fake it. Admit if you aren’t understanding to prevent trouble.
  • If you are too tired to concentrate, admit it and set a later time for the discussion.

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Questions? Comments? Please email Scott or Tracey.