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Hearing Impairment - Key Characteristics

Children with a hearing impairment may:

• rely on visual cues and lip-reading

• have some speech and language difficulties

• need ongoing support from a speech and language therapist

• need ongoing support from the local hearing impaired service

• need to wear a hearing aid

• have difficulties with hearing when there is background noise in the classroom

• misunderstand instructions and appear to copy others

• need to use some sign language

• have difficulty following audio or visual programmes.

A child who suffers with glue ear may:

• talk loudly and be unaware of the level of his voice

• have poor listening and attention skills

• experience difficulties with developing phonological skills

• often appear to be withdrawn or in a world of his own

• have difficulties interacting with more than one or two people at a time

• be unable to participate fully in group activities

• need to have the sound on the television or radio at a higher level

• need to have instructions repeated clearly and slowly

• find it difficult to participate in music or singing lessons

• put hands to his ears or head frequently (very young children may cry out with pain)

• have frequent ear, nose and throat infections.

• Support strategies

• Always alert parents if you are concerned about a pupil's hearing, as this is a medical condition and needs parental action. Within school it is important to support a child with glue ear by:

• speaking slowly and clearly, but not necessarily more loudly

• allowing him to sit where he can see your face

• making sure that you use the pupil's name to attract his attention

• having a low level of background noise when you are giving direct teaching to his group

• providing opportunities for him to work with a partner rather than in a group.