Deaf or Hard of Hearing
This section of the Inclusive Virginia Adult Education website provides information, instructional strategies, resources, and accommodations for adult education practitioners on serving adult learners who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
Deafness means a hearing impairment that is so severe that the learner is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects a learner’s educational performance. Hearing impairment means an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a learner’s educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness in this section (IDEA Sec. 300.8).
For more information on the differences between Deaf and Hard of Hearing, see the descriptions here.
- Find out which method of communication the learner prefers and adapt the environment to support that method (i.e., sign language/use of interpreter, speech-read, use of devices such as hearing aids)
- If needed, provide an interpreter
- Create a visual environment, using written descriptions where possible.
- Provide written directions and so the learner can focus their full attention on the speaker or interpreter
- Make sure only one person is speaking at a time
- Arrange the room so learners face each other (e.g., in a circle) so those who speech-read can see others’ faces
- Avoid backlighting or lighting which makes it difficult to see faces
- Use closed-captioning when showing videos
- Always speak when facing the learners; avoid speaking while writing on a board or when your back is turned
- For more instructional strategies, visit these websites:
- Here are some tips for creating a visual environment from PANDA MN.
- The University of Texas provides some tips for working with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; these tips include instructional strategies and tips for interpreters. They also provide a brief two-page document with instructional strategies and communication tips.
- This document from the University of Maryland describes possible communication issues, teaching strategies, and some information about assistive listening devices.
- This website provides teaching strategies, assessment strategies, impacts of hearing loss.
- Alerting Systems
- Instant Messaging (IM)
- Internet Captioned Telephone Service
- Internet Relay (IP Relay)
- Sign Language Interpreters
These resources provide more detailed information related to the accommodations tools commonly used to support learners who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing:
- Assistive Technology for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing)
- Assistive Technology | National Deaf Center
- Deaf or Hard of Hearing: Common Assistive Technologies