Teaching Students Who Are Hard Of Hearing

Source - NETAC Teacher Tipsheet

Warning Signs of Hearing Loss

Students with hearing loss may be hesitant to self-identify and faculty members may be instrumental in picking up the signs and following up with students to encourage them to do something about their hearing loss.

Warning signs of hearing loss are:

  • Giving inappropriate responses
  • Speaking in an unusually loud/soft voice
  • Not hearing when someone speaks from behind
  • Appearing to pay attention but not actively participating in class discussions
  • Asking for repeats often
  • Responding with smiles and nods but no further comments.

If you suspect that a student in your class has a hearing loss, meet privately with the student to discuss your concerns and see what follow-up actions need to be taken.

Tips for Instructors

  1. Use Good Communication Techniques
    • Repeat or rephrase questions/comments from the class before responding.
    • Face the class and speak naturally at a moderate pace.
    • Avoid the temptation to pick up the pace when time is short.
    • Do not speak while writing on the blackboard.
    • Lecture from the front of the room—not pacing around.
    • Point out who is speaking in group discussions.
    • Do not drink or chew gum while lecturing.
    • Do not stand or sit in front of a window where shadows will impede speech reading.
    • Beards and mustaches make speech reading harder. Keep them trimmed.
    • Discuss concerns about the student's ability to hear privately, not in front of the whole class.
    • Encourage open communication from a student with hearing loss about your teaching style.
  2. Provide Classroom Services
    • Provide handouts such as syllabus, lesson plans, and assignments.
    • Write announcements and assignments on the blackboard.
    • Write proper names, technical vocabulary, formulas, equations, and oreign terms on the blackboard.
    • Always use captioned films/videos or provide a written manuscript.
    • Help find seating near the front if requested by the student.
    • Arrange for a written instead of oral test.
    • Be aware of and know how to use assistive listening devices.
    • Be familiar with oral, sign, and cued speech interpreters and how to work with them in class.
    • Provide copies of your class notes if a note taker is not available.
    • Be familiar with computer-assisted real-time transcription (CART).
    • Support the student in advocating for communication access.

For more information, contact:

Northeast Technical Assistance Center, Rochester Institute of Technology
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
52 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5604

This NETAC Teacher Tipsheet was prepared by Brenda Battat, Deputy Executive Director, Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Inc., Bethesda , Maryland .

585-475-6433 (V/TTY)
585-475-7660 (Fax)

Email: netac@rit.edu