Tips for Virtual and In-Person Learning Environments for Students With Hearing Impairments

Students With Hearing Impairments

As a new school year begins, students, faculty, and parents face a school unlike any they have ever known. Facing unique challenges becomes even more daunting for students also dealing with hearing impairments. While meant to keep people safe, many new requirements can also create difficulties for the deaf or hard of hearing. However, these challenges come with new opportunities to help these students thrive while also staying within the limits of changing public health measures. If you are unsure of what to be aware of, we have compiled this set of tips to help you be in the know as we adjust to new sets of guidelines for students with hearing impairments.

Tips for Virtual and In-Person Learning Environments for Students With Hearing Impairments

Virtual Learning

When utilizing video platform technology, it is crucial to use audio enhancements or real-time closed captioning to help hard-of-hearing students have better access to the curriculum. At home, make sure that the lighting in the area where your child is doing school work is well lit and free from background clutter and distractions, especially if they are required to use a webcam during class. It’s a good idea to talk with the school’s administrators about what services are available.

In-Person Learning

There have even been significant changes in the classroom; physical distance and face masks can hinder visual cues, like lip reading and facial expressions, and dampen voices, making it more difficult for those with hearing loss to understand instructions. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) recommends that teachers wear transparent plastic masks or face shields to prevent obstruction to communication. Some schools are implementing audio enhancements in the class to help with volume issues due to physical distancing. Make sure to ask the school faculty about what steps are being taken to mitigate any sound or communications issues that may have arisen.

Alternating between Virtual and In-Person Learning

Many school districts have been using a hybrid model, alternating between in-person and virtual classrooms. Consistency is vital to a healthy learning environment; going back and forth between learning at school and home can present significant challenges to students as they cope with changing formats. Make sure to double-check to ensure that your child has everything they need for both environments. It is important to talk with your child about how they are doing, be sure to share their experiences with the school so they can make adjustments to better help students cope and thrive during this difficult time.

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