Back to School: Learning Tips for Students with Hearing Loss

Over the last month, students across the country have returned to classrooms to begin the school year. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) says that two to three out of every 1,000 children in the U.S. are born deaf or hard-of-hearing. Each has unique learning needs in the classroom.

Last week, we asked our Facebook fans – including parents, teachers and students – to share tips to help this school year be the best yet for students who have hearing loss. Here are some of our favorite responses:

“Look at the student when talking; don’t shout and don’t get too close to his or her face. That's based on my experience as a student with a hearing disability. Make sure you are not chewing gum or anything while talking and keep your lips and mouth clear from any type of obstruction. I read lips all day long and it can be frustrating. Also, don't have your back facing the child while talking and don't talk behind them.” – Rachael Chmiel

“The best tip we give teachers is that it's a lot for our son to process hearing sounds and concentrating on listening all day. In the afternoon, give students two to five minutes to just relax somewhere quiet.” – Melissa Grubbs

“I'm not a teacher, but I work in an audiology office. What a joy it is to see kids smile from ear to ear when they can hear. Have patience and don’t make them feel different. There’s no need to yell at them. Speak to them and speak clearly. Let them see you. Today so many people talk too fast and mumble while not looking at each other. Take the time to slow down.” – Lisa DeVita Leaver

“Ask the teachers to take the time to read the Individualized Education Program (IEP) so they know what the school system is or is not supposed to be providing or doing for your child. That would be extremely helpful but does not always get done.” – Sharon Burns Weinstein

“Avoid standing in front of windows when speaking. It creates a glare and students cannot see/lip-read.” - Debbie Ammerman

“Our school has tiled floors. The school put little tennis balls at feet of the chairs so they would not make a lot of noise when kids are moving. Avoid using a fan and having windows open in the classroom as they create too much background noise. If not possible, seat the child away from the fan or window. Avoid writing on the chalkboard and talking at same time. The tapping sound and having your back to the child makes it difficult to hear. When another student has a question, identify the student's name and repeat the question so that all students can hear. When dictating important information or directions, ask the child to repeat what was said to confirm comprehension.”– Mark Watychowicz

“If your child uses an amplification or listening device, use an FM system to help combat background noise and distance from the speaker. Your school district should be responsible for providing this equipment if your child has an Individualized Education Program. Also, make sure your child is seated closest to the speaker and preferably next to another student who is helpful.” – Traci Vinali Gellman

“I like to be called hard of hearing, not hearing impaired. I can read lips very well and read people’s facial expressions. I have played the violin for two years and the viola for six years. I go to school with hearing people and a few deaf friends and I perform with hearing people in my school orchestra. People do have to take the time to look at my face and talk slower for me to understand them.” – Israelle Johnson

Have anything else to add? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Starkey Hearing