Children with Disabilities

How Teachers and Parents Can Accommodate for a Child’s Temporary or Permanent Hearing Loss

The National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management at Utah State University (NCHAM), Early Childhood Hearing Outreach (ECHO) Project focuses on promoting successful hearing screening and follow up for children ages birth to 3 in Head Start and Health Care settings. The following information provided by this project may help parents and teachers accommodate for a child’s temporary or permanent hearing loss.

How Teachers and Parents Can Accommodate for a Child’s Temporary or Permanent Hearing Loss

Parents and teachers can minimize the negative consequences of hearing loss by creating an optimal language-listening environment. It is important to remember that even children with middle ear infections nearly always experience some degree of hearing loss which can negatively affect their social and learning experiences.

Reduce the background noise level when speaking to the child:

  • At home, this may mean turning off the TV or stereo. 
  • At school, cover large surfaces with carpet and other sound-absorbent materials. 
  • Provide separate “quiet” areas for intensive verbal interaction or as a place where a child can retreat from a stressful sound environment.

When it is important for the child to hear a verbal message:

  • Be sure the child is attentive before you begin speaking. 
  • Stand as close to the child as necessary (this may mean preferential classroom seating or not calling to the child from another room). 
  • Face the child (to increase visual information from the lips, facial expressions, [and] gestures). 
  • Check to be sure the message has been received (repeat, rephrase, or demonstrate, if necessary).
  • Provide periods of intense, one-to-one language stimulation (reading aloud, verbal play or conversation) as a regular part of the child’s home and school education, within an optimal listening environment.

To find out more information and resources about NCHAM’s Early Childhood Hearing Outreach (ECHO) Project, view the website.