You have a student in your class who has hearing loss.. now what?! Sure, she or he might have a hearing aid or a cochlear implant or an interpreter. Sure, he or she might have a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.. but what else can YOU do as the regular ed teacher or specials' teacher?
1. Remember that amplification(hearing aids, FM system, cochlear implant) make voices louder-ALL voices-and every little tapping, coughing and stamping sound. It is not like putting glasses on. When we put glasses on, our vision improves, we see fine,done deal. Amplification is different.
2. Due to that, it is important that the student with hearing loss NOT sit near noisy children, open doors, loud fans,or open windows. We want to MINIMIZE auditory distractions!
3. Call the student by name BEFORE asking him or her a question. Children with hearing loss have a few second wait time to process information. If you ask a question and then call their name, they are like a deer in headlight-NO clue what you asked of them. Get their attention first, their brains can be ready , and then you ask the question.
4. Allow a few extra seconds' wait time.. so often, we are quick to say,"Oh, do you need more time or do you want Johnny to help?" The student has not processed what you asked in the first place, so you can't expect him or her to answer the second question.
5. Repeat what the other children are saying or responding. A child with hearing loss may be able to understand the teacher, but often is not able to understand the quiet, far away voices of their peers.
6. Most importantly, BE SYMPATHETIC.. Be patient, be kind and be willing to compromise. If a child with hearing loss sees you care, she or he will work all that much harder for you!
Allison Schley has been in the field of deaf and hard of hearing education for 20 years. She founded a nonprofit for families with hearing loss. She most recently wrote a children's book, entitled Forever Friends. This book shows the how a deaf dog and deaf boy teach the world that all kids are good and being deaf is okay.