How to help children with hearing loss succeed in school

Last update on Oct, 20, 2021

The school plays a fundamental role in the integration of children with hearing loss in the social context and in promoting school learning with other children. Compared to the past, today the school uses many multimedia technological tools that favor the use of alternative communication channels to verbal language and that allow easier integration of children with hearing problems. Let's see what these tools are and how school and family can help learning at school and in general favor inclusion in all social contexts.

What can be done?

Knowing the child's level of hearing loss is essential to identify the best strategy to adopt to facilitate learning. Depending on whether the child has a minor or severe hearing loss, an individual educational plan can be put into practice that respects the real needs of the child.

The first thing to do if a hearing problem is suspected is therefore to carry out a hearing test on the child: these are objective painless audiometric tests that do not require the collaboration of the little patient, but which allow to obtain a quantitative assessment of the child hearing. If the outcome is positive, the family must inform the school, so as to be able to implement the necessary strategies.

Learning strategies for children with hearing loss

The teacher-child relationship has always been based on verbal communication: oral lessons and dictations are primary activities in schools, which however can be very difficult for a hearing-impaired child to follow. Fortunately, in recent years the use of multimedia tools has spread to promote learning and understanding, through the use of an alternative to verbal language, thus helping the integration of children with hearing impairments.

In particular, in many schools the Interactive Multimedia Whiteboard is used, a very valuable support to make the school lesson more complete. It is an electronic whiteboard on which you can write, draw, attach images, but also view videos and search on the Internet. A fundamental support for enriching the learning possibilities of a hearing-impaired child, for example by enlarging the teacher's lip or the use of images accompanying verbal language.

Another very useful tool to facilitate the school integration of hearing-impaired children is the use of a hearing aid, if the hearing care professional deems it useful for the degree of hearing loss detected. Also in this case there have been many evolutions compared to the past, so much so that today a child can wear an invisible hearing aid, so it is not necessary for other children to be aware of it. Instead, it is essential that teachers know this, also because today it is possible to take advantage of advanced technologies which, using the wireless network, allow the teacher's voice to be transmitted directly into the child's ears. This is an extremely advantageous system for the learning of the child, who in this way will be able to hear the lesson exactly like the others.

The consequences of hearing loss in the child's development

It should not be forgotten that hearing loss in children does not only produce negative effects in learning, but in general can also have consequences in their growth and cognitive development process. A child who does not hear well is unable to relate correctly to others, and this causes a social isolation that has serious repercussions on his personality.

The difficulty of associating words and objects slows down his linguistic development and can create a distorted view of reality. For these reasons, it is absolutely necessary to intervene promptly to identify the presence of a hearing loss in children more than in other subjects, because the lack or reduction of hearing during school age can interfere with the correct psychic growth of the child. If you have any doubts about your child's hearing abilities, it is advisable to book an appointment with a hearing specialist, who can recognize the child's possible degree of hearing loss.

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