A teacher recently asked IDK how to improve their classroom environment for a young child who hears on one side only.
Background noise complicates listening for children who rely on one ear for hearing, so teachers need to manage ambient sounds in the classroom.
Environmental sounds from school playgrounds, assembly halls, traffic, outdoor machinery or even inside the classroom may need to be reduced.
Some general teaching tips:
- in class, suggest the child sits at the front or near the teacher
- allow the child to move around to find their best acoustic location in class
- know that the child may turn away from you, to hear better as you talk
- be aware sound may reach the child from one direction only
- in very young children, vocabulary development should be monitored
- display key vocabulary words in the room or on the board
- use visual cues in class when possible (objects, images)
- ensure lessons and topics are understood before introducing new material
- during group work or discussions, ensure the topic can be followed
Using FM & Sound field Systems:
Children who hear with one ear can benefit from sound-technology systems.
FM & soundfield systems send sounds from the teacher (via a microphone) to one, or more students. FM systems can be used by children of all ages with a hearing-aid, or without, if a receiver is provided. Sound from a teacher’s microphone goes directly to the child’s ear, maybe via a sound receiver in a headset if a hearing-aid is not used.
Soundfield systems conversely create a ‘local’ area of slightly amplified sound that can benefit all children in one class. The microphone can be used by one person (the teacher), passed around the room, or placed on a table for group discussions. Sound can be sent to remote speakers if required.
IDK also has tips for new teachers of young deaf children …