Hearing Impairment Communication Strategies

AccessAbility Services Hearing Impairment Communication Strategies

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Students with a Hearing Impairment - A Guide for Staff

Working with Interpreters

Amplification Devices

Students who have been deaf since birth, or prelingually, may have varying degrees of speech. Depending on the nature of the impairment students may use a combination of lip reading, sign language interpreters and specialised equipment to augment their hearing. Do not make assumptions about how a student with a hearing impairment will communicate.

  • Ask the student how they would like to communicate with you throughout the semester

  • If the student has a hearing aid communicate in close proximity as hearing aids may not be effective over certain distances

  • If the student is a lip reader ensure that you face the student when speaking

  • Keep sentences short and simple

  • Avoid communicating in situations where there is competing background noise

  • Use gestures and facial expressions

  • Ask questions to check the information has been understood

  • Ensure all instructions are in writing

Working with Interpreters

Interpreting is described as simultaneous translation; however the translation is slightly delayed.

  • If the student who is deaf uses a sign interpreter, always talk directly to the student and not the interpreter

  • Provide the student with names and terminology, as early as possible, in order to develop new signs

  • Do not speak too quickly, particularly if difficult terms and concepts are being introduced with which the signer may not be familiar

  • Write unfamiliar names or terminology on the board

  • Allow sufficient time for some terms to be translated letter by letter

  • Ensure that only one person speaks at a time

  • Give a rest break of 10-15 minutes per hour

  • Summarise regularly, where possible

  • Make sure there is adequate lighting that permits the student who is deaf to see the interpreter

Communicating with interpreters cartoon

Speak directly to the person with a disability;

not to their carer or interpreter


Amplification Devices

There are various devices that assist with amplification.

Hearing Aids

Hearing aids amplify speech and other sounds within close proximity of the speaker.

FM Systems

FM Systems are used to transmit sound from one person to another over distance. FM Systems assist with hearing from a distance in lecture theatres, for example, and reduce the impact of external noise.

An FM System is made up of:

  • a microphone and transmitter worn by the speaker

  • a receiver worn by the student. If the student does not wear a hearing aid, the FM receiver can be used with lightweight earphones.

More Info

Audio Induction Loop

An audio induction loop is a way of transmitting sound through a wire loop to a telecoil (t-coil) in a hearing aid or a suitable receiver. Audio induction loops are mostly used to eliminate background noise. Some lecture theatres at JCU have induction loops installed. Rooms with the system are indicated by this sign.

Hearing Loop ID for lecture rooms

How does it work?

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