TEACHING STUDENTS WITH HEARING IMPAIRMENTS
Students who are deaf or hard of hearing may use a wide range of services
depending on the language or communication system they use.
Some people who are deaf are members of a distinct linguistic and cultural
group. Often people who are hearing impaired have been deaf for a long
period of time. Some may live in a community or extended family that
includes numerous other individuals who are hearing impaired. They may use
American Sign Language as their first language. Therefore, members of this
cultural group are bilingual and English is their second language. As with
any cultural group, people who are deaf have their own values, social norms
and traditions. Because of this, faculty should be sensitive and attentive
to cross-cultural information in the class-room setting.
Indications that a student has a hearing loss may include a student's
straining to hear, intense concentration on the speaker's face, use of loud
or distorted speech, requests to repeat or spell words, and consistent
failure to respond.
Hard of hearing refers to those individuals who may use speech, lip-reading
and/or hearing aids to enhance oral communication. Hearing aids or
amplification systems may include public address systems and
transmitter/receive systems with a clip-on microphone for the instructor.
For those who use speech reading, only 30-40 percent of spoken English is
comprehensible even for those who are highly skilled.
For people who are deaf or hard of hearing who choose to speak, feedback
mechanisms are limited; therefore, vocal control, volume, intonations and
articulation may be affected. These secondary effects are physical and
should not be viewed as mental or intellectual weaknesses.
There are a variety of services available to students who are hard of
hearing. Students may use Signed English, American Sign Language, Cued
Speech, or oral transliterators in the classroom. These are visual systems
and enhance the reception and expression of spoken English.
Amplification systems such as transmitter/receiver systems (with clip
microphones) can be borrowed from; the ADA Office in Hampton Hall -- caIl
Things to Remember
Students who are deaf or hard of hearing will benefit from front row
seating. An unobstructed line of vision is necessary for students who use
interpreters and for those who reply on speech reading and visual cues. If
an interpreter is used, the student's view should include the interpreter
and professor. If the speaker is in a shadow or standing by a window with
movement outside of it, the person who is speech reading may have
difficulty seeing or attending to the speaker's mouth.
Keep your face within view of the student and speak in natural tones.
When using an interpreter, speak directly to and maintain eye contact with
the student, not the interpreter.
Recognize the processing time the interpreter takes to translate a message
from its original language into another language (whether English to
American Sign Language or vice versa), because this may cause a short delay
in the student's receiving information, asking questions and/or offering
comments. During translation lag times, maintain a comfortable eye contact
and postural regard with the student.
Repeat questions and remarks of other people in the room.
Use visual aids and the chalkboard to reinforce spoken presentations when
If requested, assist the student with obtaining a note-taker.
When possible, provide the student with class outlines, lecture notes,
lists of new technical terms and printed transcripts of audio and
Communicate with the student in writing when conveying important
information such as assignments, scheduling, deadlines, etc.
If the speaker has a beard or mustache that covers part or all of the lips,
remember that a student who speech reads will have a hard time following a
lecture or class discussion.
Do not obstruct students view of the interpreter by walking between them.