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Hearing Loss Accommodations at School and Work

Self-advocacy means standing up for your needs and requires both knowledge of your hearing health and may require some new communication skills. Children with hearing loss will need to develop these skills early so that they can request accommodations or assistance when parents or guardians are not present.  


Here are some basic self-advocacy resources anyone with hearing-loss can use to get started:

Self- advocacy checklist

This checklist has suggested skills relating to personal health and medical information, hearing and other assistive technology use, and accommodations.

Personal profile and accommodations plan

This plan describes a little about who you are, your hearing loss, how you prefer to communicate and what technologies you use. Use it to start the conversation about your preferred communication practices with anyone who may communicate with you. 

Hearing loss notification card

Print and complete this card and carry it in your wallet in case you need to use it in an emergency or to explain how you best communicate.

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Accommodations and modifications for hearing impaired students

At School

Accommodations give you better access to communication. Typical hearing loss accommodations include the use of a Roger system assistive technology, or an American Sign Language interpreter.

Accommodations may be provided through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), a 504 Plan or under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). An IEP and 504 Plans are plans developed in conjunction with hearing loss experts, parents, teachers and students to reduce barriers in education. These plans help ensure access to the learning environment. Reasonable accommodation ensures everyone has access to education and work.

Active participation in the modern classroom

For all students, from children to teens to young adults at university, for those with hearing difficulties, it’s important to hear well at school. Classrooms are a dynamic place for interaction and of course learning. In order to fully participate, every child needs to hear not only the teacher, but also classmates and multimedia devices within the classroom. 

'Hearing and me' template

A classroom resource that empowers kids and teens of different ages to talk about their hearing loss. This PowerPoint template consists of approximately 30 slides that students with hearing loss can choose from to present to their classmates.

The template is filled with fun facts, animated images and videos highlighting relevant topics such as  

  • “How we hear”,
  • “Types of hearing loss”,
  • “How hearing aids work”,
  • “Tips that will help me hear you” and
  • “How to protect your hearing”. 

Within the template, children upload photos of themselves, their hearing technology and even their audiogram to personalize it.

This resource is intended to help students with hearing loss:

  • share their hearing journey with classmates 
  • feel comfortable and confident talking about their hearing loss 
  • learn self-advocacy skills and empower independence 
  • be proud of their hearing technology 
  • answer questions regarding their hearing loss at the end of the presentation

There are 2 versions of the template. A version for younger children (5-10 years old) and a version for older children and teens (11 years old and above). Both versions have the same content but images of children in each template reflecting the different age groups. 

 
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Classroom Tips for Teachers

As a teacher who may have students with hearing-related challenges in your classroom, here are some tips for accommodating those with hearing loss and use Phonak devices, like hearing aids and Roger Technology.

  • Repeat other students’ answers and comments
  • Repeat instructions more than once
  • Make sure your mouth is visible, try not to turn your back to the students
  • Speak clearly
  • Don’t put students with hearing loss in the spotlight (e.g. Did you get that?)
  • Ask other students to speak up and speak slower
  • Remember to talk to the student directly (not an interpreter)
  • Teachers should talk loud, clear, and understandable

New to Hearing Technology?

Here are some good tips to remember when using hearing technology in your classroom:

  • Hearing aids don’t let you hear “normally” – hearing aids do not restore normal hearing but can provide a boost in hearing-related activities. 
  • Use closed captioning or real time captioning when available. 
  • Consider which media you use when testing students – an audio file alone will put students with hearing loss at a disadvantage.
  • Teachers and students need to know how to troubleshoot hearing technology.
  • Give students more choice in selection of amplification.  

Tips for Classroom Management

As a teacher, you will encounter students with hearing loss. Here are some tips for establishing and promoting an inclusive classroom where those with hearing loss can thrive:

  • Provide directions in writing
  • Writing assignments on board or in a planner for easy access
  • Provide the written transcript of movies or videos that are not captioned
  • Consider conducting testing in small groups of students

Some students you encounter may have Unilateral Hearing Loss (UHL) – permanent hearing loss in only one ear, while the opposite ear has normal hearing. Those with unilateral hearing loss can experience difficulties knowing which directions sounds are coming from, being less aware of sounds on the side with hearing loss and struggling to understand in noisy environments.

To understand what a student with unilateral hearing experience hears, you can experience UHL with these classroom activities – listening with only one ear to understand Unilateral Hearing Loss

 
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For Teens

As children with hearing loss grow into their tween or teenage years, their perspective of needs change. They may become more independent, start to advocate for themselves and may have different ideas for their hearing health care. Together with their parent or guardian as well as hearing care professional, teens with hearing loss can find hearing devices that will help them to continue to create connections at home, at school, at work and with friends. As teens begin to juggle school and part-time work, advocating for themselves becomes more important.

Guide to Access Planning

This guide is for teenagers and young adults with hearing loss and was put together by a team of audiologists and deaf educators. It provides information and tools to help increase your communication and participation in school and other activities. If you are a student, it will also help in planning your transition to university and the workplace.

Assessments

Complete these assessments and learning planners to identify your skills and those you still should learn to become an advocate for your communication needs. 

Transition checklist

This checklist looks at several areas that are important for self-advocacy and personal responsibility. 

Transition planner

This helps organize the learning goals that you identified through the Transition Checklist. It includes your goals, needed resources and who will help you in reaching those goals.

Self-assessment

This assessment specifically addresses your understanding about your hearing, hearing loss, technology and rights as a person with hearing loss. 

Self-assessment planner

This helps organize the information on which you will be working. It is important that you identify your goals, the needed resources, the persons who will assist you in achieving those goals, a timeline, and an evaluation.

Significant other assessment of communication

These assessments were made to identify communication difficulties associated with your hearing loss. There are two checklists: one for you and one for a friend to complete.

For post-secondary education

As you consider heading off to college or university, consult your school’s Student Services or Accessibility Services to determine the accommodation process, what supports are available to you, and how to incorporate any accessibility standards into your post-secondary education experience. 

 
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Hearing well helps boost your career confidence

For Work

When asked what type of challenges might present themselves, Rakita listed some of the most common. “There’s a difference between asking someone to repeat themselves, because you didn’t hear or understand them and asking them to repeat because you didn’t fully grasp the point they were making,” she said.

Many times, patients explain that they know someone is talking and they can make out some of the words but not enough of them to get full understanding or comprehension of what is being said. 

 
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Support for the workplace

Someone struggling with a hearing disability in the workplace may also arrive early to meetings to claim a certain position at the table, possibly in the middle if he or she is experiencing overall hearing loss, or at one end or side if the hearing issue is worse in a specific ear. He or she may choose a seat in the front row at a presentation so that he or she is closest to the speaker. 

Listening fatigue 

“You may feel tired at the end of the day because you’re straining to listen, also known as listening fatigue, due to higher effort used listening,” Rakita said. 

If you’ve ever experienced that exhaustion after a day of being tuned-in at a conference or all-day meeting, you’ve encountered a form of listening fatigue. That feeling is multiplied if you are struggling with hearing loss, since you’re working that much harder to hear and comprehend everything being said, filling in words and making your ears and mind work that much harder. 

The career effect 

“You feel like you’re missing things that other people are understanding because you look around to see if other people seem to be getting it or are also missing out,” Rakita said. “Those with hearing issues try to compensate by nodding, by taking a guess at what’s said based on a couple of words they heard, or by not saying anything at all.” 

The struggle of not feeling like you fully know what’s going on can lead to withdrawal because it’s difficult, embarrassing, or frustrating to continue to participate in certain meetings and conversations and equally difficult to not be included in them. 

“Withdrawal should be a huge red flag, but it takes some self-awareness to notice it and seek help,” she added. “Family members or a significant other might notice hearing loss first, since hearing loss can be difficult to sense in yourself.” 

Focus on work rather than on hearing 

Advanced hearing aid technology does a great job of helping you hear friends and colleagues. However, when hearing in noisy places or at a distance, even the most powerful hearing aids have limitations. For this reason, we have developed state-of-the-art wireless microphones to give your hearing aids a boost. Placed on a table or clipped on to a speaker’s clothing, the microphones transmit speech clearly from wherever the conversation takes place. 

Roger solutions at work 

Depending on your needs and your work situation, you may need to use more than one microphone. Conference calls, boardroom meetings, and workshop presentations tend to be challenging listening environments. Roger is designed to help you cut through the distractions, so you can fully communicate, participate and contribute at work. 

Roger solutions at work 

Depending on your needs and your work situation, you may need to use more than one microphone. Conference calls, boardroom meetings, and workshop presentations tend to be challenging listening environments. Roger is designed to help you cut through the distractions, so you can fully communicate, participate and contribute at work.