Teaching Self-Advocacy

It is important for hearing peers to learn about the ways to interact with their peer with hearing loss. Students can be both very mean and very understanding. The more information they have the better decisions they can make, we always hope! Today there are many resources online that can be incorporated into learning activities for students. Students can complete an online scavenger hunt to view simulations of hearing, hear samples of what it is like to have a hearing loss, or hear with a cochlear implant and much more!
Below is a list of topics to cover when providing training to students.
  • What causes hearing loss?
  • What are the different kinds of hearing loss? (Show an audiogram that illustrates what can be heard at different levels of loss.)
  • What does it sound like when someone has a hearing loss? (Listen to samples)
  • What does it sound like to use a hearing aid, a cochlear implant? Do they make someone hear correctly like glasses can help someone see correctly? (Listen to samples)
  • Why do some people with hearing loss speak and others do not? Explain a bit about how speech is affected by level of hearing loss and when someone loses their hearing.
  • Does everyone use the same sign language? (Many people assume that there is only one version of sign language, even used world wide!)
  • How is American Sign Language different from English? Explain differences that may be seen when a deaf student writes if English grammar errors are common in their writing.
  • How does a Deaf student use an interpreter? Does the interpreter sign anything that is said in class? Explain some of the basics about using an interpreter. Students are usually very interested in watching the interpreter and learning sign language. Having them understand the profession and the role/responsibilities will give them information to be more respectful and may also turn a few students onto a potential profession.
  • Explain how students will be able to interact with the student who will be or is attending their class or school. Be careful about what information is shared and discuss what information to share about the deaf or hard-of-hearing student before offering the workshop. Some
  • students are shy and do not want information shared about themselves. Other students are very willing to help their peers understand their individual loss and educational needs.
  • Bring a hearing aid test kit and a hearing aid and allow students to perform a hearing aid check to listen through the aid.
  • Bring Sign Language Flash Cards or a Worksheet and allow students to learn some basics.
  • If multiple students with hearing loss are willing and able to present with you, allow them to talk a bit about themselves and answer questions the students may have. It is always great for students to understand the difference in hearing loss, speech, and educational needs from one student to another.

Related Web links and Resources:

How Stuff Works - Hearing
Neuroscience for Kids - The Ear
Cochlear Fluid Lab, Washington University
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders - Hearing, Ear Infections, and Deafness