Supporting Students with Hearing Loss

If you know that you will soon have students who are hard of hearing or deaf in your class, now is the time to examine the teaching materials you use, as well as your approach to instruction. These are normal tasks for faculty, but accommodating a student with a hearing loss will require some extra considerations.

We’d suggest investigating the use of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles in your teaching. In short, this approach advocates integrating the principles and practices used to provide accommodation to students with disabilities into your teaching practice for all students, as these approaches support good teaching and learning for all. Durham College is encouraging the adoption of UDL principles as best practice for teaching and learning because it benefits all students while assisting those students who need some additional accommodations to support their learning. More information on UDL can be found the curriculum section of the CAFE site.

Beyond UDL, some of your students may need specific accommodations to address their disabilities and ensure academic success. If a student needs accommodations, he/she will communicate this to you via a letter from the Centre for Students with Disabilities (CSD). Students with hearing loss may need note-takers or sign language interpreters in class. CSD can arrange this.

If you use videos as part of your teaching practice you will have to get them captioned. This process is time consuming and begins with obtaining copyright permission to do so. There are videos that have been purchased by the college that already are captioned so check for this first to see if an alternate selection can meet your teaching needs. Currently the Centre for Academic and Faculty Enrichment (CAFE) can assist with the captioning process given a significant lead time (a month or more), but our goal as a college is to build a collection of fully accessible resources for teaching/learning over time.

Your student may request your assistance in the use of an FM transmitter to support their hearing. The linked document provides an explanation of this device and its uses: FM System Info. Or, the student may bring an interpreter to class: here is a document to assist you in working successfully with an interpreter: Working with an Interpreter.

Finally, here are several documents with overall tips to assist your student with a hearing loss to keep pace with and be successful in your course "How do you teach” and “Teaching tips”.

Accommodating a student with hearing loss or other disability can be a catalyst to transforming your teaching in ways that will better support learning for all of your students.

Additional resource material courtesy of the Canadian Hearing Society & Centre for Students with Disabilities entitled, Understanding the Experience of Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: An Introduction and Strategies for Course Design and Delivery.