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.


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


  • 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.