Hearing impairment is a term used to describe all types of hearing defects, ranging from a minute hearing loss to profound deafness. If you are deaf or experience hearing loss you may have a combination of the following:
- Slight, mild, moderate, severe, or profound loss of hearing
- Fluctuations in hearing
- Speech difficulties
- Difficulties with the structure of written language and comprehension of text
- Understanding idioms or colloquialisms, and the subtleties often construed through spoken language
- Difficulty picking up tone of voice, particularly confusing when tone is used to portray sarcasm
- Social isolation from the rest of the class
The impact of hearing loss depends on the type, extent and timing of loss.
How does a hearing impairment affect my learning?
- You usually prefer a visual /kinaesthetic style of learning which means learning by reading, looking and writing.
- You may require the support of a Communication Support Worker or a specialist teacher of the deaf to understand others.
- You may or may not use speech.
- Expert support will be needed for advice on your needs within the college.
- You will need note takers who are trained in preparing notes for British Sign Language users. You may depend on lip reading, although only 25% of words can be lip read.
- Hearing aids may be used but they do not give perfect hearing, particularly as they amplify all sounds including background noise.
- Loops which can be permanent or portable can be set up and worn around the neck.
- You will take longer to read as the process of lip-reading a word and seeing the actual word are separate and do not come together automatically, as is the case for fluent readers.
- There may be significant gaps in understanding vocabulary.
- You may misunderstand words with more than one meaning, for example, insight/incite, red/read, plane/plain.
- You may have difficulty learning vocabulary, grammar, word order, idiomatic expressions, and other aspects of verbal communication.
- Group work may be stressful for you. The learning environment will need to be well-lit, and you will need to be seated near the front of the class if possible.
- You may be entitled to Exam Access Arrangements.
Further guidance, information and support on Hearing Impairment can found here: Action on Hearing Loss.
Strategies to support learning for those who are hearing impaired
- Make sure that you are seated at the front of the class and have a clear view of the tutors face.
- Ask questions to check that you have fully understood what you are expected to do and what you think is expected.
- Make it clear what support you need to enable your needs to be met.
- Discuss with the your support worker and tutor how you need things to be modified.
- Create a glossary of key words, technical terms and definitions.
- Make sure that you have understood the full instruction.
- Repeat the instruction to ensure that you have got the correct sequence and all of the detail and steps.
- Ensure that a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) takes place.
- Ensure that the visual appearance of handouts/text is appropriate, as this is an important aid to understanding.
- Ask the support worker to make notes that support you learning needs.
- You may require transcripts of video and audio tapes.
- A phonetic approach is often taken to spelling.
- The use of a spell checker, computer-based dictionary and a thesaurus may be necessary to support written work.
- You may be entitled to exam concessions.
Last updated: 13th June 2019