Hearing Loss & Child Student Success

Whether you are a student yourself or you have a child that is a student, success in the classroom while dealing with a hearing issue is vitally important. The Hearing Loss Association of America says that, “About 2-3 of every 1,000 children are hard of hearing or deaf.”1 This does not necessarily mean that the child is a student, but it is safe to assume that a large majority are.
Parents and educators alike should be aware of their students hearing ability and if there is a need for assistance. By knowing which children in the classroom have hearing issues, one can better prepare the classroom environment for those children. This is important because it can play a significant role in the student’s success.
For parents, many will already know if their child has hearing loss from a hearing screening that every newborn receives before leaving the hospital to go home. This evaluation, in most cases, takes place at every check-up for the baby. During this time, hopefully, the parent and health care provider would find out if the child has any hearing issues.
The earlier an issue with hearing is found, the better the outcome for the child’s language and speech development. This also goes hand-in-hand with learning outcomes in the classroom for the rest of the child’s life. Those with hearing loss can experience confusion, have an effect on school work, and even have problems hearing what the teacher is saying in the first place.
According to The Hearing Loss Association of America, “Research has shown that on average, children with mild hearing loss perform poorer than their normally-hearing peers and may need to repeat a grade.”1 This number has been on the rise due to more noise exposure children are coming in contact with. Some examples include the noise from MP3 players, iPods, musical instruments, and more.
However, an organization called Supporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss has developed a list of tools for parents and educators to use to help create child student success.2 Although this is not an exhaustive list, this is a great starting point of accommodations and modifications for students with hearing loss. One of the main goals of the list is to “provide maximal access to the general curriculum and meet the learning needs of the student with hearing loss.”2
The following is a list of accommodations to consider to aid in the success of child students:
Amplification Options: 

  • Personal hearing device (hearing aid, cochlear implant, tactile device)
  • Personal FM system (hearing aid + FM)
  • FM system/auditory trainer (without personal hearing aid)
  • Walkman-style FM system
  • Sound-field FM system

Assistive Devices:

  • TDD
  • TV captioned

Communication Accommodations:

  • Specialized seating arrangements
  • Obtain student’s attention prior to speaking
  • Reduce auditory distractions (background noise)
  • Reduce visual distractions
  • Enhance speech reading conditions (avoid hands in front of face, mustaches well-trimmed, no gum chewing)
  • Present information in simple structured, sequential manner
  • Clearly enunciate speech
  • Allow extra time for processing information
  • Repeat or rephrase information when necessary
  • Frequently check for understanding

Physical Environment Accommodations:

  • Noise reduction (carpet & other sound absorption materials)
  • Specialized lighting
  • Room design modifications
  • Flashing fire alarm

Instructional Accommodations:

  • Noise reduction (carpet & other sound absorption materials)
  • Use of visual supplements (projected materials, whiteboard, charts, vocabulary lists, lecture outlines)
  • Captioning or scripts for announcements, television, videos, or movies
  • Speech-to-text translation captioning (i.e., computer on desk)
  • Educational interpreter (ASL, signed English, cued speech, oral)
  • Buddy system for notes, extra explanations/directions
  • Check for understanding of information
  • Down time / break from listening
  • Extra time to complete assignments
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Note taker

Curricular Modifications:

  • Modify reading assignments (shorten length, adapt or eliminate phonics assignments)
  • Modify written assignments (shorten length, adjust evaluation criteria) Pre-tutor vocabulary
  • Provide supplemental materials to reinforce concepts
  • Provide extra practice
  • Alternative curriculum

Evaluation Modifications:

  • Reduce quantity of tests or test items
  • Use alternative tests
  • Provide reading assistance with tests
  • Allow extra time

Other Considerations:

  • Supplemental instruction (speech, language, pragmatic skills, auditory, speech reading skills) Counseling
  • Sign language instruction
  • Transition / Vocational services
  • Family support
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing role models
  • Recreational/Social opportunities
  • Financial assistance
  • Monitor progress periodically by a specialist in Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Source of List: Johnson, Benson, & Seaton. (1997). Educational Audiology Handbook. Appendix 11-A, p.448. Singular publishing Group, Inc.
Minor adaptations by Karen L. Anderson, PhD
Posted August, 2012
The above list gives insight into the amount of options that exists to improve students hearing and learning capabilities in the classroom. This involves the educator, the parent, and sometimes both. To influence student’s success, the first step is for those involved with the students learning to be aware of whether or not they have hearing loss issues. From there, extensive accommodations can be created to support student success.
1. Basic Facts About Hearing Loss | Hearing Loss Association of America. (n.d.). Retrieved July 27, 2016, from http://www.hearingloss.org/content/basic-facts-about-hearing-loss
2. Accommodations for Students with Hearing Loss – Success For Kids With Hearing Loss. (n.d.). Retrieved July 27, 2016, from http://successforkidswithhearingloss.com/relationship-hl-listen-learn/accommodations/
Image : https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1465143192652-61c44e8449bd?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&s=bdc4a6da28c8a2f257fdfbcc24bfb8f8


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