Hearing A–Z

A hearing loss may impact on students’ ability to:

  • produce speech sounds
  • hear and understand language
  • produce oral language
  • acquire and use background knowledge across a range of topics
  • access information presented in the classroom
  • understand new concepts – particularly language-based concepts
  • interact with others

The student may often be more comfortable in a small group or one-to-one situation. This will impact on each student differently at different stages. The student may have additional difficulties in intellect or mobility, or may have a diagnosis in another disability area.

A student with a hearing impairment will learn key concepts from the curriculum, and develop the skills to apply these. Some students with a hearing impairment may exceed year level expectations in subject areas of interest, but then have fewer skills in other areas.

Adjustments in planning

  • Plan with other team members (speech language pathologist, advisory visiting
    teachers, special education staff, year level teams, subject area teams) to
    incorporate priorities for the deaf/hearing impaired student.
  • Consider interactions between students and other members of the school
  • Consider the structure and organisation of the school (e.g. timetable, behaviour
    management policy).
  • Consider the selection and use of curriculum materials (e.g. worksheets, videotapes,
    sport equipment).
  • Consider the classroom setting (e.g. open-area, single classroom).
  • Consider settings inside and outside the classroom (e.g. lunch, physical education
    activities, work experience).
  • Consider extra-curricula activities (e.g. religious education, sports days, school
  • Consider specific needs in KLAs/subjects.
  • Use the IEP (Individual Education Plan) to prioritise the adjustments needed for the
    student to access the curriculum.
  • Allow time for the development of language and listening skills in the classroom
  • Use routines and structures to support students to predict what will come next in the

Adjustments in teaching

  • Pre-teach specific language and concepts required to ensure the student has the
    required prior knowledge for the activity.
  • Gain the student’s attention before you give instructions.
  • Ensure that you are clearly visible to the student at all times.
  • Keep your hands and other objects away from your face while speaking.
  • Use normal clear speech. Do not exaggerate your speech.
  • Avoid speaking while facing the blackboard.
  • Avoid moving around the classroom while speaking.
  • Communicate clearly. Repeat and rephrase when necessary. Emphasise key words.
  • Use a focusing phrase e.g. “listen to this question”.
  • Check for understanding by asking the student to tell you what they need to do or
    repeat what they heard.
  • Use buddies to help relay and rephrase information.
  • Give students time to look at visual aids before talking to the aid so that the student
    with a hearing impairment has time to shift their attention from the visual to the
  • Use visual aids such as word webs and semantic maps and concrete examples to
    illustrate the links between information.
  • Provide an outline of what is to be learnt, focus on key concepts and opportunities to
    practise and demonstrate competence in a number of ways.
  • Increase opportunities to practise new skills and concepts – teaching a younger child;
    demonstrating to other adults in the school; practising on the computer with a peer.
  • Utilise available human resources – peer tutoring, teacher aides, special educators,
    therapy services, interpreters, notetakers.
  • Encourage class members to use sign language with the student if needed.
  • Teach routines, expectations of behaviour and consequences explicitly.
  • Display routines visually using timetables or calendars of upcoming events.
  • Explain sudden changes of routine so students know what is going on around them.

Adjustments in assessment

  • Identify barriers in assessment that may prevent the deaf/hearing impaired student
    from demonstrating their knowledge and skills or competence.
  • Consider the provision of special arrangements and/or exemptions.
  • Change the nature of the task (e.g. requiring the student to demonstrate skills rather
    than write an explanation of them).
  • Alter the procedures of a task (e.g. allowing the student to listen to a live presenter
    instead of listening to an audiotape, allowing the student to sign an oral presentation.
  • Provide specialised equipment (e.g. allowing the student to use a TTY, captioned
    videotape, FM system).
  • Vary the conditions for a task (e.g. providing the student with extra time or alternative
    seating arrangements).
  • Revise the language used within a task, if appropriate (e.g.rewording a worksheet or
    assessment task so a student can understand it clearly).
  • Revise the language expected in student responses (e.g. focusing on the content
    students give in response rather than vocabulary and grammatical structures used).
  • Consider the practical arrangements relating to the assessment.
  • Consider the venue (e.g. Do the acoustics and visual conditions provide optimal
    opportunities for the student? Does the student need a separate venue?).
  • Plan seating arrangements (e.g. does the student need to sit close to the front to see
    and hear the presenter clearly?).
  • Consider the delivery of instructions or task (e.g. Does the student require spoken
    directions to be signed? Does the student need a live presenter or written script to
    access an audiotape.
  • Provide extra time (e.g. how much extra time does the student require to overcome
    language barriers?).

Adjustments in environment

  • Be aware of the effect of environmental noise on a deaf/hearing impaired student.
  • Minimise environmental noise by using curtains or pictures on windows, book bags
    on chairs, carpets, felt or rubber tips on the legs of chairs, hanging mobiles of
    students work.
  • Install a Soundfield Amplification System (SAS) to cut down background noise in the
  • Avoid glare or light behind you – don’t stand in front of windows to speak to the

Adjustments in resources

  • Use assistive technology such as an FM system, Soundfield Amplification Systems
    as required.
  • Use pictorial programs or sign-based web-sites to create a range of resources from
    instructions to readers.
  • Utilise peers, volunteers, teaching teams and specialists.
  • Borrow resources, materials from the Advisory Visiting Teacher or a nearby Special
    Education facility.

From Education Queensland

Download a printable version of the fact sheet: For teachers – Adjustments for students with a hearing impairment FACT SHEET