​​​​​​Working with Students that are Deaf/Hearing Impaired

The student who is deaf or hearing impaired may require nothing more than some form of amplification to participate in class--a hearing aid, public address systems, or a professor/student transmitter/receiver unit (also known as an auditory training unit or an FM unit). Students may just need to read your lips. Deaf students will most often be using an interpreter.


Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Provide a syllabus with clearly delineated expectations and due dates.
  • The student should have preferred seating in the front row.
  • Wear the microphone system/personal amplification system, if needed.  The student will bring it to you and collect it after class.
  • Only speak when facing the student.  If a question is asked in the back of the room,  repeat the question for the student to read your lips.
  • Try to point in the direction that someone is speaking and/or point at the item/display you are referencing.
  • Look at and talk directly to the student who is deaf.  Do not talk to the interpreter instead of the student.
  • The interpreter is only there to assist the student, not other classmates or the professors.
  • Speak at a natural, modest pace.
  • Make sure there is adequate lighting (so that the student can see the interpreter). Do not stand directly under a light source, as this puts your face in a shadow and makes lip reading more difficult.
  • If the student who is deaf needs to meet with you outside of class, an interpreter will be provided.
  • Use multiple formats, such as visual aids, three-dimensional models, charts/graphs or visual examples when presenting information.
  • When playing a videotape to the class, make sure it is captioned.  If you need some assistance with captioning please call the disability services office.
  • Allow the student to use the accommodations listed on the approved accommodation letter from the Office of Accommodation and Inclusion.