Lesson 04: Hearing

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Distance Learning Course
SUBJECT: Accommodations 4: HEARING

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PURPOSE

The purpose of this lesson is to increase your awareness of the issues and strategies related specifically to accommodations for students with HEARING IMPAIRMENTS.

By reflecting on YOUR own course while reading the CONTENT, you will be guided to consider possible modifications to your course SPECIFICALLY related to HEARING impairments. By considering and discussing the ACCESS ISSUES in a case study reading, you will develop an awareness of additional strategies and accommodations.

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Questions to REFLECT upon while reading the CONTENT

What challenges might students with HEARING impairments face in your selected course? What accommodations might they require?

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CONTENT

We are now concentrating on accommodations for students with specific disabilities or impairments. This lesson presents issues and suggestions for accommodating students with HEARING IMPAIRMENTS.

The term "hearing impairment" refers to functional hearing loss that ranges from mild to profound. Often, people who have no functional hearing refer to themselves as "DEAF." Those with milder hearing loss refer to themselves as "HARD OF HEARING." Accommodations for students with hearing impairments can be classified as VISUAL and AURAL. Visual accommodations rely on a person's sight; aural accommodations rely on a person's hearing abilities. Examples of visual accommodations include sign language interpreters, lip reading, and captioning. Examples of aural accommodations include amplification devices such as FM systems.

HARD OF HEARING STUDENTS
Some students who are hard of hearing may hear only specific frequencies or sounds within a certain volume range. They may rely heavily upon hearing aids and lip reading. Some students who are hard of hearing may never learn, or only occasionally use, sign language. A student who is hard of hearing may have a speech impairment due to the inability to hear his own voice clearly.

Hearing impairments can affect students in several ways. They may have difficulty FOLLOWING LECTURES in large halls, particularly if the acoustics cause echoes or if the speaker talks quietly, rapidly, or unclearly. People who have hearing impairments may find it difficult to SIMULTANEOUSLY WATCH demonstrations and FOLLOW VERBAL DESCRIPTIONS, particularly if they are watching a sign language interpreter, a captioning screen, or a speaker's lips. IN-CLASS DISCUSSIONS may also be difficult to follow or participate in, particularly if the discussion is fast-paced and unmoderated, since there is often lag time between a speaker's comments and interpretation.

Students who are hard of hearing may use hearing aids. Students who use hearing aids will likely benefit from amplification in other forms such as assistive listening devices (ALD's) like hearing aid compatible telephones, personal neck loops, and audio induction loop assistive listening systems. Some students use an FM amplification system that requires the instructor to wear a small microphone to transmit amplified sound to the student; this accommodation may also be used in small group discussions with the microphone handed from speaker to speaker.

DEAFNESS
A student who is deaf may have little or no speech depending on the severity of the hearing loss and the age of onset. She will often communicate through a sign language interpreter. American Sign Language (ASL) is widely used and has its own grammar and word order. Other students may use manual English (or signed English), which is sign language in English word order. A CERTIFIED INTERPRETER is used for translation into either language. A student who is deaf may also benefit from real-time CAPTIONING, where spoken text is typed and projected onto a screen. It is important to remember that a student who is using an interpreter, who is lip reading, or who is reading real-time captioning CANNOT SIMULTANEOUSLY look down at written materials or take notes. DESCRIBING written or projected text is therefore helpful to this student. HANDOUTS that can be read before or after class are useful but can create challenges when referred to during the class session.

ACCOMMODATIONS for HARD OF HEARING and DEAF STUDENTS
Examples of accommodations for students who have hearing impairments include:
* Interpreters
* Assistive Listening Devices (ALD's), sound amplification systems
* Note takers
* Preferential seating for optimal listening or lip reading
* Real-time captioning
* Electronic mail for faculty-student meetings and class discussions, and as an alternative to teleconferencing
* Visual warning systems for lab emergencies
* Changing computer auditory signals to flashes or contrast changes.

Hearing impairments do not interfere with the physical aspects of writing. However, students who use American Sign Language may have POOR GRAMMAR because of differences between English and American Sign Language; English is considered a second language for many individuals who are deaf and use sign language. Typical accommodations that can be used to facilitate maximum participation in WRITING ASSIGNMENTS include:
* Examples of writing expectations (e.g., sample of a completed assignment of acceptable quality, including content and grammar/syntax)
* Grade writing and content separately.

There are also several ways you can direct YOUR SPEAKING STYLE and adjust the PACE of the classroom to make information more accessible to a student with a hearing impairment:
* When speaking, make sure the student can see your face and avoid unnecessary pacing and moving.
* When speaking, AVOID obscuring your lips or face with hands, books, etc.
* REPEAT discussion questions and statements made by other students.
* WRITE discussion questions/answers on the board or overhead projector.
* Speak clearly and at a normal rate.
* Use VISUAL AIDS with few words and large images and fonts.
* Provide written lecture outlines, class assignments, lab instructions, and demonstration summaries and distribute them BEFORE class when possible.

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SUMMARY

HEARING IMPAIRMENTS make it difficult or impossible to hear lecturers, access multi-media materials, and participate in discussions. It is important to remember that a student who is using an interpreter, who is lip reading, or who is reading real-time captioning will have DIFFICULTY looking at another resource at the same time. Writing assignments may also be a challenge.

Examples of general accommodations are:
* Interpreters
* Assistive Listening Devices (ALD's), sound amplification systems
* Note takers
* Preferential seating for optimal listening or lip reading
* Real-time captioning
* Electronic mail for faculty-student meetings and class discussions, and as an alternative to teleconferencing
* Visual warning systems for lab emergencies
* Changing computer auditory signals to flashes or contrast changes.

Remember also that there are several ways you can adjust YOUR SPEAKING STYLE and the PACE of the classroom to make information more accessible to a student with a hearing impairment.

Flexibility and effective communication between YOU, the STUDENT, and the DISABLED STUDENT SERVICES OFFICE are key in approaching accommodations. With this basic knowledge you will be better prepared to ask students with HEARING IMPAIRMENTS to clarify their needs and to discuss accommodation requests.

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QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION

After reading the following case study, SEND an email message to the group, suggesting strategies and accommodations to the ACCESS ISSUE questions.

Your email SUBJECT line should read: Accommodations 4: HEARING.

BACKGROUND
My name is Michael and I am a graduate student in Rehabilitation Counseling at San Diego State University. I have a severe-profound, bilateral hearing loss and use hearing aids and speech reading (watching the movement of a person's lips) to maximize my communication abilities. I have some knowledge of American Sign Language but not enough to effectively use a sign language interpreter as an accommodation.

ACCESS ISSUES
Graduate level courses emphasize student participation and the development of critical thinking skills. In addition to using a note taker and real-time captioning, in what ways can instructors create a fully inclusive classroom environment that meets and maximizes my communication needs?

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FURTHER INFORMATION

You can read answers to frequently asked questions, explore case studies or access additional resources at: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/Disability/Hearing

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(c) 2001 DO-IT. Permission is granted to copy material in this email for educational, non-commercial purposes provided the source is acknowledged. Contact DO-IT at 1-206-685-3648, or doit@u.washington.edu.