Learning in school is a process, which presents a number of different challenges. This process becomes even more difficult when it comes to a child with hearing loss.
Hearing loss can range from mild to complete hearing loss.
Severe hearing loss is usually identified before children enter school, but mild and moderate hearing loss may be identified later.
For this reason, teachers must be familiar with these difficulties, so that they can identify and help their students to face these challenges and achieve success.
1. Know the signs of possible hearing loss in children
Children are often reluctant to speak when they cannot hear well, so teachers should pay attention to their behavior patterns. If a student regularly asks you to repeat what you say, instructions, misunderstands your questions, writes a lot of mistakes, or does not respond when you call his name, do well to talk to him privately as well as to his parents. And if they do not confirm what you suspect, continue to look for other signs and behaviors of the child and discuss them with the parents.
2. Find ways to communicate effectively with the child
If you know your child’s hearing difficulties, try not to talk when you are away from him, when you move around the classroom or write on the board. The student will understand much more of what you say if he can see your face while you are speaking. Thus, you should keep your face non-static, using lively and natural facial expressions.
- Speak clearly and evenly while looking directly at the child, rather than moving, as you speak. Also use body language to emphasize important things.
- Keep your face free and do not put your hands in front of your mouth.
- Stop talking when you reverse.
- Maintain a normal rate and intonation of speech, or repeat and change the vocabulary if he did not understand.
- Avoid sudden subject changes.
- Give your student a handout of some notes so that he is not concentrating on the writing while trying to listen.
- Or you can use pairing as a method, where you assign another student to take notes or listen carefully so that the student picks up any notes they missed or has as a guide to repeat.
- Also make sure that if you use the projector in the classroom to conduct a lesson, the videos, films or other materials are written or subtitled. Likewise, develop a secret signal with the student to indicate when he has trouble hearing. A signal can be a word like “well done”, or something else that can be discreet but effective.
- Speak in a normal tone of voice and the speed of the voice should be adopted: neither too fast nor too slow.
- Use short phrases.
- Use visual materials because they reinforce the teaching and help the child understand better.
- Use auditory training as a method to help children make the most of their remaining hearing by participating in activities that help them improve their listening skills by recognizing the sounds of language. In this way, emphasis is placed on the awareness of sounds, their localization or the discrimination of sounds where the differences between sounds are distinguished such as: a male and a female voice, between a fast and a slow song, etc.
3. Planning the classroom environment
- Organize the classroom environment in such a way that it helps the hearing impaired child to hear as well as possible. The placement or where they sit is very important.
- Therefore, place the benches in curved rows, so that the child can see them all, and make sure that he is sitting away from noisy areas such as corridors, doors, etc. This makes it easier for the child to read lips and follow what is being said, ensuring that the level of the lips is kept low.
- Lighting without excessive glare is also important. If the child cannot hear clearly, good vision is doubly important. So use the shutters to protect yourself from the strong glare of the sun, as well as avoiding in front of windows where the face remains in the shade.
- Close the classroom door tightly so that noise from the corridor or other classrooms does not enter.
- Place supports under the legs of benches or chairs so that no noise is created when students move or sit and stand.
- If the classroom has a tiled floor, it is good to place a carpet so that the sound of feet on the floor is not heard. This mode helps with classroom acoustics and absorbs incidental sounds.
4. Help the student engage with the rest of the class
Talk to other students in the class, introducing them to their friend’s difficulty and increasing cooperation between them. For this reason, it is good that the benches are placed in a circle, so that the student can see and respond to others in the class. This will help him feel engaged and involved, even if he can’t always hear what is being said. Whenever you address students, speak by name, as this helps the child direct attention from speaker to speaker and reduces the likelihood that he or she will miss something that was said. Also, if the student uses sign language, teach the other students some sign language words so they can communicate together. Thus they learn that hearing difficulties are not insurmountable and that effective communication is possible.
5. Use special methods
If you are a special education teacher, it is very good to use those methods with the child. The oral approach, which includes the auditory-verbal program and the auditory-oral program, sign language, gestures, finger explanations, etc. are a natural way for children to express themselves and understand others. For this reason, it is good to follow continuous training and practice as much as possible in your work.
If you give your best effort and follow the guidelines above, you will succeed with your students!