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Early Years: Hearing impairment

Identified barrier and / or need:

  • Children may mishear words or instructions and need reinforcement and reassurance before beginning task.
  • Fluctuations in attention, may struggle concentrating.
  • Difficulty in understanding peers in group discussions or in noisier environments.
  • May have delayed language.

Strategies and approaches:

  • Remove or reduce background noise.
  • Where appropriate, use hanging objects to support sounds to bounce back to child level.
  • Ensure staff work together with other professionals e.g. Sensory Support Team
  • Use appropriate seating and visual materials – see Individual Plan and One Page Profile for requirements.
  • Ensure instructions are specific and delivered clearly and at an appropriate volume.
  • Check instructions have been effectively communicated and understood, particularly when delivering new information, and/or using unfamiliar vocabulary. Provide gesture or visual cues to support this such as basic Makaton and re-visit the instruction with the child if not understood. 
  • Repeat / rephrase pertinent comments made by other children ensuring the children accesses those comments.
  • Be aware the children may use lip-reading and visual cues to support their hearing. Ensure that they are face on when you are giving instructions. Try not to move around the room whilst talking.
  • Be aware of non-verbal communication including eye contact, body language and facial expressions.
  • Use visual reinforcement (pictures and other visual prompts), to support learning as well as pointing and gestures.
  • Use visual timetables and visual cues, such as sand timers, to support sharing.
  • Be aware that during physical games and activities, particularly in large open spaces, it will be more difficult to follow instructions. Therefore, planned activities may need to be adapted.
  • Consider that words spoken on an audio/visual recording may need a person to repeat what is being said.
  • Consider the environment e.g. carpeting, soft furnishing, rubber feet on the table and chair legs etc. will reduce noise.
  • Seat away from any source of noise e.g. window, corridor, fan heater, projector, the centre of the room etc.
  • Provide prompts for good listening behaviour: sitting still, looking and listening.
  • Encourage children to ask when not sure what to do.
  • Establish quiet spaces within the environment, particularly for specific listening work.
  • Ensure all staff and visitors who work with a child with hearing impairment are aware how best to support. They should be familiar with the child’s one-page profile and Individual Plan.  
  • Arrange for adults working directly with children with HI to have appropriate training i.e. British Sign Language (BSL) / Makaton / Say it, Sign It.
  • Work together with other professionals to share strategies and advice to support the children.
  • Staff employ techniques to monitor and support all CYP with noise levels.
  • CYP are given prior warning regarding fire alarms. If appropriate an alternative exit route is used.

Last updated 2 November 2021

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