Quick Tips for Working with a Hard of Hearing or Deaf Student

  1. Optimum use of visual cues, such as lip-reading will usually require seating at the front of the classroom. Remember gum chewing, hand placement, and a turned back can all interfere with the student's ability to read your lips/facial expressions.
  2. When communication breaks down, try to re-phrase instead of repeat. Consider using basic hand cues to assist with comprehension. Also, with most hard of hearing students, speaking very loudly or over-enunciating is not helpful. Instead, speak at a normal rate and enunciate clearly.
  3. Wear the FM system microphone if a student is using an Assistive Listening Device (ALD). There is no special set-up required to use a FM system. The student will give you a small microphone which will transmit your voice, via radio waves, to their earphone or hearing aid. Microphones vary slightly, but most clip on or have a light-weight loop to go around the speaker's neck.
  4. Check lighting. If you are darkening a room for a program (e.g. a slide presentation), make sure there is sufficient lighting on a speaker for the student to lip-read.
  5. Give materials to the student in advance whenever possible. Advanced copies of lecture notes, hand-outs, song lyrics, et cetera will help orient the hard of hearing student and allow him/her to track the class discussion. If you are playing an audio tape, discuss with the student how s/he can best access that information.
  6. Provide captioning for videos whenever possible. Check the library catalogue, Ohio Link or contact Lisa Nagy at the Wayne College Library 330-684-8950.

If there is a group discussion consider the best way for the hard of hearing participant to know who is talking when (possibly require raised hands, taking turns coming to the podium, etc). Also, consider how the discussion facilitates inclusion and/or makes it.