HOME

 About Us

 Teacher
 Resources

 Constitution

 Minutes

 Newsletter

 Membership

 Contact Us

 Related
 Links




Hearing Impairments - Strategies

Introduction

Over time, the average hearing impaired student shows an ever increasing gap in vocabulary growth, complex sentence comprehension and construction, and in concept formation as compared to students with normal hearing. Hearing impaired students often learn to "feign" comprehension with the end result being that the student does have optimal learning opportunities. Therefore, facilitative strategies for hearing impaired students are primarily concerned with various aspects of communication. Other problems arise because deafness is an invisible disability. It is easy for teachers to "forget about it" and treat the student as not having a disability. It has also been shown that hearing impaired students with good English skills also have good science concept formation. (After "Mainstream Teaching of Science: A Source Book", Keller et al.)

Deaf: "A hearing impairment which is so severe that a child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, which adversely affects educational performance."

Hard of Hearing: "A hearing impairment, whether permanent of fluctuating, which adversely affects a child's educational performance but which is not included under the definition of 'deaf'."

Deaf-Blind: "Simultaneous hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational problems that a child cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for deaf children or blind children." (All definitions are from IDEA.)

General Courtesy

(Note: all of these strategies will work on some of the students--some strategies will not. The degree of impairment and the background training of the student will affect the usefulness of the various strategies).

Since facial expressions, gestures, and other body language will help convey your message: Get the attention of a student with a hearing impairment before speaking and communicating and always face the student.
If not facing a student with a hearing impairment, gently touch a student on the shoulder or on the arm to indicate that you want to talk to him/her.
Do not be alarmed if the student does not understand and you cannot understand him/her. Generally, you will become accustomed to each other in time.
When communicating, always face the student with a hearing impairment.
Facial expressions, gestures, and other body language will help convey your message.
For reinforcement repeat new vocabulary in different contexts.
Sequence topics so that new material is related to that previously learned.
The use of visual aids is most helpful since vision is the student's primary means of receiving information.
Use written announcements (assignments, due dates, exam dates, changes in the class schedule, special event dates, etc.).
If ambiguities or difficulties arise in the home concerning assignments or lessons, have the parents make a note of these difficulties. Follow-up in written detail.
Provide an outline in advance of the lesson/activity to give to the student in advance, also list your expectations. Write all homework assignments, class instructions, and procedural changes on the chalkboard.
Use captioned films, videos, and laser disks.
Use interpreter where needed (see general strategies).
Avoid seating the student in heavy traffic areas.
Do not touch or pet a hearing dog. These animals are working animals and it may be hazardous for the hearing impaired student if the dog is distracted.
Avoid vibrations and excessive noise.
Make chalkboard notes legible.
Do not talk while writing on chalkboard.
Eliminate background noises. Sounds taken for granted and normally ignored by hearing individuals, are amplified by a hearing aid and interfere with the communication of the person who is hard of hearing.
Establish, with the student, a procedure in case of an emergency. For example, agree that for a fire drill (or fire) the teacher will write on board "Fire drill FIRE--go out backdoor." (Also, if you have a signing student, learn the signs for emergency, fire, go, etc.)
Get the attention of a person with a hearing impairment before speaking.
If necessary, use written notes to communicate.
Supplement audible alarm systems with simple visual alarms such as flashing lights.
When teaching a student with a hearing impairment, ask where he/she would like to sit, in order to communicate in an optimal manner.

General Strategies Bring to the student's attention a science role model with a similar disability to that of the student. Point out that this individual got ahead by a combination of effort and by asking for help when needed.
Obtain feedback from your hearing impaired students at every opportunity as an indicator of the student's level of understanding.

If the student lip-reads:
Have students sit closer to the lecturer.
Look directly at the student.
Speak slowly, naturally, and clearly.
Slowing down slightly may help.
Do not exaggerate your lip movements or shout.
If you have a mustache, keep it well trimmed.

If the student uses an interpreter:
Speak directly to the student rather than to the interpreter.
Signing may be distracting at first, but you and the other students will soon become accustomed to the interpreter's presence.
Give the student and the interpreter outlines of the lecture or written material, in advance, so that they can become familiar with new technical vocabulary.
Interpreters should not give their opinion of a student's progress as this can violate the student's rights.
Provide scripts of video and laser media when possible for both the interpreter and the student with a hearing disability (with or without captioning).
The interpreter is not to answer lesson related questions from the student with a hearing impairment. The student should direct all lesson related questions to the instructor.
The interpreter should stand closer to the section of the chalkboard that is being used by the instructor, thereby allowing the student to simultaneously see both the signs and the writing on the board.

When writing materials for hearing impaired students:
Break up long sentences.
Reduce difficult vocabulary load.
Reduce concept density.
When using a pronoun be sure that the antecedent is very clear.
Do not omit words such as: "that" where such words will clarify a sentence connection.
Stay with simple coordinating conjunctions (e.g., but, so, for, and) and avoid less common transitional words (e.g., however, as a consequence, nevertheless, although).
Keep cause-and-effect expressions in a very simple in form.
Keep conditional expressions which influence the meaning of a statement to a minimum (such as; if, when, assuming that, suppose, provided that, etc.).
If there is no other way to avoid using a difficult word, include a brief explanation in parentheses, however keep parenthetical explanations to a minimum.

If an important basic or technical word is to be taught:
Make meaning and application a
bsolutely clear.
Use context as a memory aid.

For a new term, repeat the word numerous times in a variety of contexts.
Certain language forms are generally to be AVOIDED:
Passive voice verbs.
Negative forms of verbs and other expressions of negation
. Too many modifying forms, such as prepositional phrases, relative clauses. (If a relative clause must be used, the relative pronoun [who, which, that, where, etc.] should be next to the word to which it refers).
Stylistic embellishments, such as rhetorical inversions.
Colloquial and idiomatic expressions.
Cut wordiness while retaining simple English.
Avoid the use of idioms.

Guidelines For Making Teachers Presentations and Materials Accessible to Persons with Hearing Loss

INTRODUCTION

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that materials and information be available in alternate formats whenever possible and reasonable to do so. It is a good idea to assume that there will always be people in your audience who have difficulties seeing your material or hearing your presentation. When you make your presentation accessible to persons with hearing or vision loss, everyone in your audience will benefit.

Strategies to Create Information Access for Persons with Hearing Loss

ENVIRONMENT

  • Provide the audience with a clear and direct view of your mouth and face.
  • Speak from a well-lighted area of the room.
  • Reduce background noise by turning off slide projectors or other types of apparatus when not in use.
  • Speak clearly and naturally and at your normal pace, unless you are asked to slow down.
  • For those with mustaches, trim so the lips show clearly

INTERPRETERS

  • Sign language interpreters are certified professionals who use American Sign Language or Signed English to interpret spoken English for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • If a sign language interpreter is used, introduce yourself to the interpreter and go over technical and specialized vocabulary before beginning presentations.
  • Interpreters at conference presentations should stand on one side of the platform at the front of the room, even with extra lighting if needed, in order to be clearly seen from anywhere in the audience.
  • When replying to a query from a hearing impaired individual using an interpreter, speak to the hearing impaired person, NOT to the interpreter.

CAPTIONING

  • Captioning is the on screen text display of spoken words or sounds that are part of a video or film presentation. Captioners are usually trained as stenographers and use special software to add captions to a previously produced video.
  • Video or film production services can also include captions as part of your original production.
  • If showing a videotape, have it captioned. (Open captions are preferred for this purpose as closed captions can be seen only with the use of a decoder.) If there is a script or transcription already available, this will make the captioner's job easier.
  • If captioning is not feasible, arrange for an interpreter to sign the audio portion of the tape. If possible, make the tape available to the interpreter a day, or so, before your presentation.

AUDITORY MATERIALS

  • Audiotapes, videotapes, and other auditory materials can be translated into print format to make them accessible to people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. When transcribing video, be sure to mention any sounds and actions that may occur independent of the spoken text, and indicate settings or changes of scene as well. To find a transcriber, look in the Yellow Pages under "Transcribing Services."
  • If available, use Assistive Learning Devices. These devices consist of a transmitter that sends electronically enhanced sound to receivers worn by individuals who are hard-of-hearing.
  • If available, use A Computer-Aided Realtime Translation (CART), which, usually originally trained as a court or stenographer, uses a stenotype machine with a phonetic keyboard and special software. A computer translates the phonetic symbols into English captions almost instantaneously. Presenters should provide conference organizers with a copy of their presentation or outline and a list of any unusual or technical words that will be used. The CART reporters will add these words to their computer to make translation faster and more accurate. For conference workshops, captions should be output to a large screen located to one side of the presentation area. Lights in this section of the room should be kept low so that the words on the screen can be easily read.

Avoid standing in front of windows or light sources that may silhouette the instructor and hinder visual cues. Begin explanations with concrete examples, working from the concrete to the abstract.
Present only one source of visual information at a time.
Erase the chalkboard except for the items being discussed to reduce "visual pollution." Engage the attention of the student with a hearing impairment before communicating with the class.
If possible, face the light source and keep your hands away from your face when speaking.
Use an FM audio trainer for hard-of-hearing students.
If a lip reader, refer to General Strategies.
Use captioned films/videos/laser disks, whenever possible.
If the student with a hearing impairment does not understand, try repeating. If the student still does not understand, rephrase a thought or use a different word order.
Repeat the questions other students in the class asked so that students with hearing impairments know what you are refering to.
Maximize the use of visual media.
It is crucial that students with hearing impairments have good note takers. It is impossible to simultaneously lip-read and take notes, or to watch/read an interpreter and take notes.
Carbonless note taking paper can be used. The paid or volunteer note taker needs to take legible notes and then give the student with a hearing impairment the original (or a copy).
Obtain feedback from your student at every opportunity as an indicator of the student's level of understanding. For reinforcement repeat new vocabulary in different contexts.
Sequence topics so that new material is related to that previously learned.
The use of visual aids is most helpful since vision is the student's primary means of receiving information.
Use written announcements (assignments, due dates, exam dates, changes in the class schedule, special event dates, etc.).
If ambiguities or difficulties arise in the home concerning assignments or lessons, have the parents make a note of these difficulties. Follow-up in written detail.
Provide an outline in advance of the lesson/activity to give to the student in advance, also list your expectations. Write all homework assignments, class instructions, and procedural changes on the chalkboard. Use captioned films, videos, and laser disks.
Use interpreter where needed (see general strategies).
Avoid seating the student in heavy traffic areas.
Reduce excessive noise as much as possible to facilitate communication.

Laboratory

Refer to the section on interpreters and lip reading above in the General Strategies.
Consider alternate activities/exercises that can be utilized with less difficulty for the student, but has the same or similar learning objectives.
Avoid seating the student in heavy traffic areas.
As you demonstrate a procedure or technique, deliberately alternate between speaking (use FM audio trainer for hard-of-hearing) and manipulating the materials. This allows the student who is hearing impaired to look at one thing at a time.
If the student does not understand, try repeating; if the student still does not understand, rephrase a thought or use a different word order.
Keep visual pollution on chalkboard to a minimum. Leave on the chalkboard only what you are discussing.
Write new vocabulary words on the chalk board before a lesson or laboratory.
Make chalkboard notes legible.
Do not talk while writing on chalkboard.
Maximize the use of visual media and demonstrations.
Repeat new vocabulary in different contexts for reinforcement.
Assign students with hearing impairments to a laboratory station that allows an unobstructed view of the chalkboard and the instructor and/or interpreter.
Begin explanations with concrete examples, working from the concrete to the abstract.
Insure that the student with a hearing impairment receives information about any changes in experimental procedure by writing on the board or paper.
Label equipment and materials to aid in the learning of new vocabulary items.
Provide concise, step-by-step directions prior to the laboratory activity and preview it with the student, if possible. Provide indicator lights for the on/off status of equipment.
When a partner is needed, the teacher should assist in finding an understanding lab partner for a student with a hearing impairment.
Use captioned film/video/laser disk material.
Obtain feedback from your hearing impaired students at every opportunity as an indicator of the student's level of understanding.
Use signaling devices to alert the student to a significant sound in the lab.
Use an overhead projector to show step-by-step instructions.
Mask all the instructions except the one that you want followed next.
Write all homework assignments and laboratory procedural changes on the chalkboard.
Present only one source of visual information at a time.
Use written announcements (assignments, due dates, exam dates, changes in the class schedule, special event dates, etc.). In advance, provide an outline of the activity and give to the student your expectations.
If non-captioned videos or movies are shown, a dim light is needed so that the student who uses an interpreter can see the interpreter's signing.

Reading

Provide or adapt reading materials at appropriate reading levels and provide resource material at these same reading levels (see writing section in the general strategies).
Use highly visual materials (e.g., many figures, pictures, diagrams) in reading assignments.
Use reading materials that follow the writing guidelines given above in the General Strategies section.

Group Interaction and Discussion

Be quite clear as to which topic is being discussed.
Expect and encourage the student to participate in class by answering questions, giving reports, and volunteering for other verbal activities.
Clearly identify who is speaking or asking a question (pointing is OK).
In group or team settings, develop procedures so the student who is hearing impaired can express his/her communication needs to others.
In group situations or discussions which include a student who is speech reading (lip reading) it is very helpful to have students sit in a horseshoe or circle for better inclusion of students with hearing impairments.
Repetitions or summaries of the most relevant classroom questions, responses, and discussions are helpful to the student with a hearing impairment.
Show special awareness.
Call the person who has a hearing impairment by name to initiate communication, (or a nod or a hand gesture is acceptable).
You may need to get the student's attention by tapping him/her gently on the shoulder, arm, or waving your hand or using a similar visual signal.
A circle is the best seating arrangement for a hearing impaired student. Seat the student with his/her "better" ear towards the class.

Field Experiences

Adapt as many activities as possible to a visual mode.
Consider alternate activities/exercises that can be utilized with less difficulty for the student, but has the same or similar learning objectives.
Whenever possible, allow for direct access to and manipulation of materials.
Use flash cards for clarity in field exercises. Use an Interpreter.

Research

Review and discuss with the student the steps involved in a research activity.
Think about which step(s) may be difficult for the specific functional limitations of the student and jointly devise accommodations for that student. Use appropriate lab and field strategies.

Testing

Refer to the writing section of the general strategies prior to writing test questions.
After tests or quizzes, give answers by using the overhead projector or give answers in writing.
Avoid overly complicated language in exam questions and clearly separate items when spacing them on the exam sheet. (See last part of Reading section above on writing for students with hearing impairments.)
Avoid the use of abbreviations or idioms, except for standard ones.
Due to difficulty with vocabulary, students may require extra time.
Interpreters may be asked to interpret a test. Because of the complex language involved, an interpreter can often rephrase a question so that a student is able to better understand the intent of the question.
Interpreters should not be used as proctors for tests.
Supplement oral or signed explanations with written material.
Use short sentences because they are easier and quicker to comprehend than longer sentences.
Keep the test reading materials at appropriate reading levels.

HOME