Skip to Content

Teaching Strategies for Students with a Hearing Impairment


This information is available to download in a word document - Strategies to help students with a Hearing Impairment.

These guidelines may be useful to teachers and students when working together to accommodate hearing impairments or deafness.

Strategies:

Please feel free to contact our service for further information.


Reasonable Adjustments

If a deaf or hard of hearing student satisfies the entrance requirements for a course, then all "reasonable adjustments" must be made to enable that student to complete the course, such as:

  • Providing interpreters and/or notetakers
  • Adjusting pace or class work plan to allow the interpreter to perform their duties
  • Arranging for alternative assessment or information in other formats


Communication

  • Talk directly to the person and not to the interpreter.
  • Speak clearly and concisely.
  • Use normal speech and language with a normal tone, rate and loudness.
  • Use facial expressions and gestures.
  • There is no need to use exaggerated lip movements.
  • Use sentences/phrases and not single words. Isolated words are difficult for the hearing impaired person to understand as without contextual clues meaning is limited.
  • Be careful not to obscure your mouth when speaking. Keep your hands away from your face.
  • Rephrase rather than continue to repeat.
  • Cue the student into conversations, "We were talking about…"
  • Be aware of gaining the student's attention when beginning new dialogue.
  • Sounds such as k, t, n and ng cannot be detected from lip movements. Words such as fan and van, park and bark are easily seen, but almost impossible to differentiate.
  • Take the opportunity to work closely with the student.
  • Encourage the student to use a friend to clarify/reinforce instructions.
  • Use a notepad and write your message.
  • Use finger spelling or sign language.

Remember to:

  • Be open with the student.
  • Be aware of student attitudes.
  • Discuss with the student ways in which a more effective learning and teaching environment can be provided.


Teaching Aids

  • Use visual presentations as much as possible e.g. diagrams, writing definitions/key words/formulas on the blackboard.
  • Avoid uncaptioned videos or tape recordings.
  • Lip reading and watching signing can be exhausting, so avoid student strain and fatigue by alternating between discussion and reading/activity time.
  • When using an overhead projector face the group when speaking and do not talk to the screen. Provide copies of notes and overheads in advance.


Ideal Classroom Organisation

  • Face the class/hearing impaired student when instructing rather than the blackboard.
  • Have the light on your face when you are speaking, i.e. not standing with your back to the window.
  • Try to avoid walking around the room while teaching.
  • Ensure the seating arrangements allow the hearing impaired student to be proximate to and see clearly the person/s speaking to the class. A circular or 'U' shape may be best.
  • For a student with a unilateral hearing loss (one ear) it is vital that the student's unimpaired ear is directed towards the speaker.
  • Be aware of background noise e.g. traffic/gardening/ adjacent classes/passage noise. Where possible use a carpeted room to reduce peripheral noise.


Group Discussions/Tutorials

Group discussions and tutorials are often difficult settings for a hearing impaired student. The following may be helpful:

  • Arrange seating so that as many faces as possible are visible to the deaf student.
  • Indicate the speaker by pointing to new speakers.
  • Repeating/rephrasing comments may be necessary.
  • The student could tape discussions to be transcribed at a later time.