Students who struggle with hearing loss often worry when it’s time to go back to school. School presents challenges for every student, and with hearing loss, these challenges feel ten times harder. However, by implementing simple and effective communication strategies, students will be able to get the most out of their school year.
Communication Tips for Teachers:
It’s very important teachers to get to know and understand the individual needs of students with hearing loss. Hearing loss is unique for everyone, and no two people experience it the same way. Therefore, students will have different preferences when it comes to maximizing hearing and communication. It would be a good idea to meet with the child and their parents to discuss what are some things you can all do to create effective communication for the child in the classroom. Some ideas include the following:
- Limit Background Noises — Loud background noises make it extremely difficult for someone with hearing loss to follow conversations. Although sometimes students will be chaotic and noisy, it’s important to try to keep control of the classroom and the volume at a normal level.
- Address the Child by name — This helps the student with hearing loss understand that you are speaking to him / her.
- Repeat the Question — Try to be as repetitive as you can when asking a question. Students with hearing loss may not have been able to pick up on it the first time around. Also, try to remember to repeat the question that a student may have asked.
- Project Your Voice — Try to project your voice and speak as clearly as you can, especially if you are a soft speaker. This way, students will be able to hear you and there will be less instances of them needing you to repeat the question.
- Be Patient — It can be difficult to try to manage a classroom full of energetic kids and at the same time make sure that students with hearing loss are getting the proper attention to comprehend the lesson being taught. Another idea to consider is asking the school if there are any classroom aides or student teachers that would be able to help out.
Communication Tips for Students:
- Ask the Teacher to Repeat the Question — If you missed the questioning asked, don’t be afraid to raise your hand and ask the teacher to repeat the question. Your other classmates who may have missed the question too will be glad you did,
- Sit in the Front — Seat yourself close to the board and in a seat where you have a clear and direct view of your teacher. This way, you have a better chance of hearing what was said and focusing on reading lips. Choosing a seat in the back corner of the classroom will not set you up for success.
- Use Live Captioning — If you are ever doing class virtually, ask the host to activate the option if it is available. Also, use the chat option to ask questions or points you missed.
- Wear Hearing Aids — If you don’t own hearing aids, consider making the investment. These can make a monumental difference in a students ability to connect learn and understand those around them. Learn more about hearing aids here [link]
- Seek Help Outside of Class — If you are finding you did not get the most out of the lesson as you had hoped for, ask your teacher if you can get extra assistance. See if you can set up a time outside of class hours where you can review and go over the material.
How to Fight Off Listening Fatigue
Have you ever felt tired after listening to someone speak for an extended period of time? This is what is known as listening fatigue and it is a common occurrence for someone who experiences hearing loss. With hearing loss, the brain must work harder to make sense of the information it receives from the inner ear, which can be mentally exhausting. After a long school day of intensely listening to friends, teachers, and conversations in a noisy lunchroom — listening fatigue often sets in. When this happens, it’s your brain’s way of saying it is time for a break.
Here are 3 things you can do when you notice you are experiencing listening fatigue:
- Go Outside – Ask permission to get a breath of fresh air outside. If this option is not available to you, try to find somewhere to close your eyes and relax for a few minutes – maybe this means asking if you can go visit the nurse.
- Eliminate Background Noise – One of the loudest environments in school is undoubtedly the lunchroom. Conversations come from every direction and students often interrupt discussions out of nowhere. For someone with hearing loss, it could feel overwhelming to keep up with everything that is going on. On days where you notice listening fatigue is setting in, maybe consider taking your lunch in a quiet environment like the library or a study hall.
- Practice Deep Breathing- When you find yourself feeling stressed and overwhelmed, spend a few minutes practicing deep breathing exercises. Doing so can help clear your mind and reduce stress and blood pressure.
Going back to school doesn’t have to be intimidating. By using these simple strategies, students and teachers can work together to establish strong communication with one another. At Lake Shore Audiology, our expert audiologists can provide specialized guidance and treatment for the specific type of hearing loss you are experiencing. Contact us today at (716) 674-4188.
Article Adapted from: https://www.hearing-speechcenter.com/blog/8-back-to-school-communication-tips/