Teaching Deaf or Hard of Hearing Students

Educators that teach deaf or hard of hearing students must familiarize him or herself with the special requirements the student will need. There are many students that may be classified as deaf or hard of hearing that attend mainstream classes. These students may use a cochlear hearing implant, may read lips, or other forms of technology to communicate. It is important for educators to realize that the use of a cochlear implant does not necessarily indicate that a student has normal hearing. Educators with students who use cochlear implants may need to institute additional communication methods in order to ensure each student understands and retains provided information in a cohesive manner.

Educators that are new to having a hearing impaired or deaf student in their classroom should take as much time that is necessary to prepare. Speaking with other educators that have successfully integrated hearing impaired or deaf students in their classrooms is a great starting point. This can give the novice educator a personal contact and someone to whom they can go to with questions or concerns. Keep in mind that you are not an island unto yourself and though you may face new challenges integrating the hearing impaired student in your classroom, you are not alone. Speak with speech language pathologists, other educators, the child’s parents, and other resource teachers in order to create a conductive learning environment that is based upon proven methods other teachers have used. Never underestimate the information the student’s parents can give you regarding their child. There is no point wasting time on unproven or methods that have shown themselves to be ineffective. By carefully preparing for the hearing impaired student and speaking with a team of professionals, you can make certain you start your class and the student’s learning experience in the best manner possible.

Communicating with the hearing impaired student is of the utmost importance and you may find that creating a signal for the student to use if he or she does not understand a lesson is the best strategy. You may wish to speak to the full class so they are aware of the hearing impaired student’s condition. Make certain to do this in a manner that does not isolate the student or cause him or her to feel self-conscious about their hearing loss. You may find the best strategy is to meet with the hearing impaired student before class starts on a one-on-one basis. This can enable you to assess the student’s current strengths and weaknesses. Make certain that the student has the support and resources need to properly integrate in the classroom.

Educators must familiarize him or herself with the technology used to improve hearing. These include hearing aids, cochlear implants, assistive listening devices, and soundfield FM system. Educators may find that keeping a spare set of hearing aid batteries on hand for the student who wears them is a good strategy. Usually, students wear two hearing aids, depending upon the degree of hearing loss. It is important to understand that hearing aids do not restore hearing loss to normal levels, but rather serve to amplify sounds so that tones may be heard. Students with hearing loss should sit up close to the teacher or the direction in which the sound is coming from.

Educators with students that use cochlear implants should familiarize themselves on the nature of these implants and how they are best used. Often, students with cochlear implants use additional forms or communication methods such as lip reading and speech training. Do not assume that because a student uses a cochlear implant, they are ready to integrate in your classroom without any assistance. The student may still require special attention and may continue to have difficulty hearing in the classroom. Also, keep in mind that each student with hearing loss is different and two students with cochlear hearing implants may respond differently to sounds. You must treat each and every student on an individual basis and find the best communication methods for all.