Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that over 14 percent of children between the ages of 6 to 19 suffer from some level of hearing impairment in the classroom. The Prevention and National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NICDC) report three out of every 1,000 children are born with a detectable hearing loss. Added to these statistics are many childhood illnesses responsible for temporary hearing loss.
Hearing Impairment in the Classroom
As an adult living with deafness or temporary loss of hearing is difficult. For a child, it can be traumatic entering a classroom filled with peers.
Fortunately, there are classroom methods and tools for teachers to help a struggling student. These modifications are learning curves for the teacher, the students, and the community. Here, Teacher Funder can help make a difference for everyone.
Learning about Hearing Loss
Classroom difficulties affect a student’s language development and comprehension of the curriculums. Teachers can help reduce the challenges by learning how to recognize behavior related to a child’s loss of hearing.
Traditionally, teachers work facing the chalkboard or a whiteboard (dry erase) preventing a child with hearing loss from being able to read lips or facial expressions. Heavy accents, facial beards or rapid speech can pose another setback for the student.
- Children with hearing disabilities tend to focus on the speaker’s facial expressions and lip reading.
- For teachers, it helps to look directly at the child when speaking.
- Slow down the speed of the conversation and practice using clear pronunciations (mouth movements).
- Small gestures (thumbs up) and body language (head nod) can do wonders for a child who feels left behind.
Keep in mind. Hearing loss is not the only issue a child is dealing with in the classroom. The physical appearance of the aid carries some uneasy feelings for most children. Calming these feelings is another learning curve for hearing impaired students.
Classroom Study Aids
With all of the advancement in hearing aids, technology has yet to come up with a concept that restores normal hearing completely. Most hearing aids work better within close proximity of the speaker. In a classroom setting that means the front row. When selecting a seat for the student be sure that the aid is on the same side of the room as the speaker.
An enhancement device can amplify the sound to the hearing aid. It allows the child to increase or decrease the sound as the speaker moves in the classroom. Some designs help block out any background noises that interfere with the aid’s receiver.
Laptop computer programs now offer transcription apps. These programs convert voice to text on a screen so the student can follow the classroom conversation by reading it in real-time. Stenographer services (telephonic captions) will type classroom conversations to a viewing screen. It allows the student to participate in classroom discussions.
Similar services include American Sign Language (ASL). Today, it is common to see an ASL interpreter in the classroom.
- Younger children interact more often to visual boards.
- Copies of the day’s lessons help students follow the lectures.
- Depending on the age of the student access to tutorials may help.
- Electronic touch screens can prompt a student’s interest and engagement.
Hearing impaired students are challenged to keep up with the day-to-day lectures. A student’s outlook on school performance and study habits can be improved by modifying the instructional methods. By incorporating these methods into the curriculum, teachers impact the classroom values, student reactions, and overall testing results. These visual tools can also help normal hearing children who are struggling with school work.
Understanding What Hearing Loss Means
Hearing disability levels range depending on the cause, and the condition affects each student differently. Some students with hearing aids still have difficulty hearing, because there is a disparity in how the sound resonates. There is also a difference between deafness and hearing loss. Some students with hearing loss can hear high pitches while others can only distinguish low tones.
Teachers have an innate ability to listen. They need to talk with the student and ask about their difficulties. The answers can help develop the learning methods to change a student’s confidence in the classroom.
Be sure to include the entire class when making changes or modifications to the classroom delivery or course work instructions. It helps to create unity rather than emphasize the differences among the students.
- Adding electronic visuals or interactive boards can be motivational for everyone.
- Engage the brain and stimulate memory by handing out diagrams and lecture notes.
- The goal is to maintain traditional classroom routines.
For an average hearing person, the abundance of sounds can be frustrating. For a student with hearing loss, trying to hear spoken words is overwhelming. It is difficult for a hearing person to understand how hearing loss affects a student trying to learn. Image visiting a foreign country where no one speaks English. The situation is exhausting, but our human instincts kick in, and we find a way to communicate through signs or gestures.
Funding Classroom Assistance
Teacher Funder has been helping communities with the challenges of educating its students of all ages. The funder’s purpose can fill the gaps for the cost of supplies, provide innovative education methods so students can engage beyond the classroom curriculums.
Combined with traditional lectures, digital learning tools are opportunities to help every student study and keep pace with academic learning. Groups dynamics, workshops or project-based learning help children understand how collaborative learning works. Students can talk to each other and share questions they would not typically ask a teacher. These types of activities are opportunities for the student to connect with the learning material.
Imagine the possibilities when a struggling student finds a method of learning that they can take with them throughout life. The quality of education is still the major portal motivating students to pursue a higher level of knowledge and a healthy lifestyle.
For the teacher, these classroom methods are tools to support student study programs. As students complete each grade level, the new teacher should talk with the previous teacher. These meetings are stepping stones into the future for the teacher and the student. Effective communication between the student and teacher make a difference.
- Alternative study methods inspire students to learn.
- Students may benefit from after-class tutoring and study assistance.
Educational Facts on Hearing Loss
Young children with hearing loss tend to lag in developing comprehension skills. Speech impediments are more noticeable and interfere with the development of language and communications.
- Learning to participate in social activities is problematic and intimidating.
- Poor academic performance (frustration) can trigger a child’s poor behavior.
Lower academic performances emerge between first and fourth grades. Without some level of assistance and intervention, these children will not progress beyond the early elementary school levels.
- Too often these difficulties are linked to intelligence – it is not always the case.
In most instances, modifying classroom arrangements and methods of instruction can correct learning problems. For a child with hearing limitations, early development can help build peer relationships.
- Having a friend to help get through the tough times cannot be replaced.
Diverse mediums do not change the quality of educational programs. It diminishes the academic struggles for hearing impaired students.
Teacher Funder is dedicated to assisting teachers for the student’s benefit. Do you have a student struggling in class due to hearing loss? Early assistance, as well as parental and community involvement have proven to improve academic performances.