Students who are Deaf or have hearing impairment have difficulty hearing speech in background noise, over distances, and through AV equipment.
All students need a sufficiently quiet environment to listen and to make any meaning from the content. The following listening skills are important:
- determining the direction of the sound
- identifying the type of sound
- separating the sound from background noise
- then interpreting the sound
The student builds on what they have previously heard as well as using their life experience to clarify the auditory information to make it useful – so they can respond, act on it and be assessed on it.
If we think about the listening needs of students and then add factors of difficulty, such as deafness or hearing impairment and background noise in classrooms, then the situation has huge implications for students’ access to teacher instruction in all its forms.
Why is a quiet learning environment so important?
Classrooms by their design and nature can be noisy places and interventions are often necessary to improve sound quality and learning ambience for all.
Background noise interferes with the clarity of teacher instruction, e. g. students who are Deaf or have hearing impairment may have some difficulty identifying consonant sounds and blends in words or sentences in the presence of background noise. This actually distorts the meaning of the word and the overall comprehension of the message. The long-term educational and social implications are cumulative. This is why inclusive teaching strategies are so important.
Captions are essential to assist with equitable access to educational content delivered by audiovisual/multimedia in all classrooms, and especially noisy ones.
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