How to handle hearing loss in the classroom

Hearing loss can present a number of challenges for children as they grow up, none more so than when they are in a classroom situation. It’s important to remember that there really is no need for hearing loss to compromise a child’s school years. Sure, there may be some obstacles along the way, but these can be overcome.

girl in classroom

As a parent or teacher, one of the most important things you can do is remain aware of the needs of children who have hearing loss. Here are some tips that can make schooling that much easier:

Seating tips for teachers

  • Children don’t have to sit front and centre if that’s not their style, but they should sit close to their teacher in a place where their view is not obstructed.
  • If the child notices an echo, they should be allowed to move to a different seat.
  • Make sure each child can clearly see the whiteboard or screen without glare. Pull down the blinds if it means seeing the whiteboard or screen more easily.

Be prepared

  • Help children prepare ahead so they know what is going to be discussed. This will make it easier for them to follow the lesson.
  • Identify a buddy who a child can partner with—someone who can share notes or assist if the child misses some of the lesson.
  • Help minimise background noise by sitting children with hearing loss away from noisy areas such as windows and doors—and talkative classmates especially!

Other tips for teachers

  • Speak clearly (but don’t feel the need to be excessively loud or exaggerated because that can make things worse).
  • Try not to move around too much if the student is trying to lip-read.
  • Face forward when speaking. Avoid talking when your back is turned and be careful to ensure your hands and other objects aren’t obstructing the student’s view of your lips.
  • If the child uses an FM system, wear the transmitter and understand how to use it properly.
  • Help reduce environmental noise in the room by installing carpets and rugs, wall hangings, curtains, and felt or rubber on the bottom of the legs of chairs and desks.

Australian Hearing offers training and advice for teachers who have hearing-impaired children in their class. Call 1300 412 512 to learn more.

 
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