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Helping Students Who are Deaf or Hearing Impaired

The extent of hearing loss in students with a hearing impairment may range from mild to profound, and may involve the loss of frequencies of sound.  It is often possible for people to hear certain sounds but not others.  Students coughing, chatting in the back of the room, or the sound of the air conditioner or heating system may interfere with how well a hearing impaired student can hear what is going on in class.  Some hearing impaired students rely on lip reading and notetakers while other students may need a sign interpreter.

  1. If you have a deaf student enrolled in your class that student will have an interpreter and notetaker accompanying him/her to class.  The notetaker should set next to the student.
  2. You will receive an email or letter from the ODS Office before classes begins, if possible, letting you know that a deaf student, interpreter, and notetaker will be in your class.
  3. Please give this student preferential seating.  You may wish to discuss with the student and the interpreter the best location for the interpreter to provide the greatest benefit for the hearing impaired student without distracting the other class members.  You may wish to experiment with different placements until you find the most successful one for accessing the interpreter and for lip reading clues.
  4. If you are going to show slides or movies, it would help the hearing impaired student greatly if you could provide an outline or summary of the materials to be covered.  She/he is going to be at a disadvantage in trying to process information from such presentations – an alternative assignment might be considered or giving the student access to the slide show or movie at a later time.
  5. You may have hearing impaired students in your class, they may or may not be wearing hearing aids or we may ask you to use an FM Loop System to help the student hear better.
  6. Try not to talk with your back to the class (as when writing on the chalkboard)… it destroys any chance of the student getting facial lip-reading clues.
  7. When questions are asked from the class, it would be a great help to the student if you would repeat the question before answering it.  If you have given her/him preferential seating so that you can be seen and heard easily, the student will not be able to see or hear the rest of the class as well.
  8. Beware of giving procedural information while handing out papers, etc.  Make sure that information is clearly understood by the student.