Students with hearing disabilities may be difficult to recognize in the classroom.  Some students use hearing aids and have learned to read lips or use sign language for communication.  The term "hearing disability" is used to describe a person with any type of hearing loss.  "Deafness" refers to individuals with nonfunctional hearing.  In most cases, English is not their first language.  Students may not perceive word endings and subtle differences in pronunciation.  There may also be difficulties with grammar and spelling due to sign language having its own unique grammar.  "Hard of hearing" is used to define a person who has a functional sense of hearing and whose English language skills will be developed through auditory means.

Accommodation Examples

  • Seating where there is an unobstructed view of the professor or sign language interpreter.
  • Try to repeat comments and questions asked by other students who are not in the range of vision of students who have hearing disabilities.
  • Use of visual media as they are effective tools.
  • Provide a script or outline of slides, films, or video taped materials.  Captioned films for students who are deaf are beneficial.
  • Supply a list of technical terminology or specialized vocabulary to the interpreter as well as the student with the hearing disability.
  • Assure that students who have hearing disabilities are informed of important information like class cancellations, class relocations, assignments, and tests by stating details in writing in a hand out or the chalkboard.
  • Be prepared to reword sentences for a student, who does not understand what is being said.
  • Direct remarks to the student directly, not to the interpreter.
  • Assistance will be needed in arranging for a volunteer note-taker for the student.  Students who are deaf cannot watch the interpreter and take notes at the same time.