Classroom accommodations for deaf + HOH

classroomHearing aid and cochlear implant technologies do wonders to help children with hearing loss hear, speak and participate fully in a mainstream educational setting. But there are still some accommodations needed to help students who are deaf and hard of hearing achieve their full potential in the classroom.

With the back-to-school season right around the corner, here are CHC’s recommended tips for teachers of students with hearing loss.

Understand/Get to know your student

Recognize his/her unique needs – Each student will have personal preferences when it comes to maximizing hearing and ensuring optimal communication. We suggest a private meeting with the parents and the student (ages 12 and up) to try to find some common ground where you can help be an advocate for him/her.

Facilitate communication in the classroom

  • Keep background noise to a minimum – Please do not open windows, allow side conversations, run the pencil sharpener, turn on loud electric fans/AC units, move chairs around, etc. while class is in session.
  • Enunciate your words – Speak naturally without exaggerated lip movements; be clear and easy to understand.
  • Address the child by name – This will help your student with a hearing loss know you are speaking to him/her.
  • Repeat the question – Many times when a student asks a question, other students cannot hear what was asked. Repeating the question will help all students understand the answer.
  • Project your voice when far away – This will help not only your student who is hard of hearing, but the whole class.

Other things you can do

  • Give your student a written copy of notes – Providing an outline of the lesson will allow the student to listen to all of the important points you make. If this cannot be done, help your student obtain notes from a classmate who takes quality notes.
  • Check in – Create a signal with your student who is hard of hearing to use to be sure he/she understands the instructions. It is also advised that you ask other students if they have heard/understood the directions to avoid always singling out the child with hearing loss.
  • Turn on closed captioning when playing videos in class – This will help your student with a hearing loss better understand the video.
  • Learn to easily operate the FM system – Your student may be self-conscious about the FM system, or any other assistive listening devices used in the classroom. It would be ideal for you to conduct a trial run with your student before class.

What to avoid

  • Facing the board as you speak
  • Chewing gum as you talk to students
  • Singling out students with hearing loss

Download the classroom accommodations fact sheet »

Learn more

Education Specialist Dana Selznick with CHC client

Education Specialist Dana Selznick with CHC client

Dana Selznick, MA, MEd, Coordinator of CHC’s Family Resource Center, is available to address any questions you might have regarding classroom accommodations  and other topics related to the academic needs of students with hearing loss. She can be reached at (917) 305-7855 or

Other educational support services available at the Center for Hearing and Communication include:

  • IEP support
  • School in-services
  • 1-to-1 academic support
  • Academic assessments
  • School application assistance
  • Social skills groups

Request more information »

With proper guidance and accommodations, children with hearing loss can achieve their listening, learning and academic potential. In fact, alumni of CHC’s children’s program typically thrive in mainstream schools and often attend top colleges and universities. With the right support, they can look forward to a future of unlimited possibilities.

Click below to hear from Ali, a talented CHC alumnus who will be heading off to Harvard later this summer. Thank you, Ali, for speaking at our golf fundraising event and for participating in the 2015 Winter Appeal! Best of luck with your studies.