Hearing Impairment is defined as limitation in the process of hearing which impedes the educational process and necessitates the procurement of supportive services or programs. Students in this category usually require oral, steno, or sign language interpreters.
Accommodations may include:
- Seating in the front of the classroom.
- Written supplement to oral instructions, assignments and directions.
- Visual aids as often as possible.
- Speaker facing the class during lectures.
- Speaker repeating the questions that other students in class ask.
- Note-taker for class lectures.
- Unfamiliar vocabulary written on the board or a handout.
- Small amplification system such as an FM-loop system.
- Interpreter seated where the student can see the interpreter and the lecturer.
- Excess noise reduced as much as possible to facilitate communication.
- Testing accommodations: extended time, separate place, proofreading of essay tests, access to word processor, and/or interpreted directions.
Classroom discussions are difficult and should be followed by summaries of the relevant information. Videos without captions require a written summary or outline of the important points. Verbal assignments, due dates, changes in schedule, and other information may be missed by the student and should be provided in writing. Oral tests may be impossible for the student and can be solved by a written exam. The student may not hear what is said while the instructor writes on the board. The use of overheads and all types of visual aids provide better communication.
If the student uses an interpreter, remember to look at the student and not at the interpreter. The interpreter should be seated so that the student can see the lecturer and the interpreter. If overheads or videos are used, some lights should be left on so that the student can see the interpreter. Consideration of a brief break during a long lecture will give the interpreter and student a much needed rest.
Some students may use hearing aids and lip reading to assist in discriminating sounds; only 30 percent of spoken words in the English language can be lip-read. It is important when speaking to a student, keep hands away from the mouth, use shorter sentences, speak slowly, and use appropriate facial expressions and gestures. Technical and unfamiliar vocabulary should be written down for the student. Standing in front of a window or source of glare may limit visibility for the student. It is not helpful to shout or exaggerate lip movement.