A person can face many different hurdles in life, and when one of the most important senses of a person doesn’t work properly, life becomes all the more challenging. Hearing is one of the most important of senses, and a person can face hearing impairment problems at any point in their life.
Even though it becomes really hard to communicate with other people, and get on with life conveniently when you have hearing loss problems, you can still take various measures to make your life as simple as possible. Education is one of the fundamental rights of a person, and it can also be made simpler for deaf students.
Deaf students or students with some degree of hearing loss problem can face huge difficulties regarding pursuing education. Especially receiving conventional education can be really difficult for them.
But by using different devices such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, etc, students with hearing loss are doing really well in classrooms, and are adapting really well to the conventional system of education. They are going toe to toe with students with good hearing, and hearing aids really help them to communicate in the classroom easily and properly listen to what the teacher and others say.
But in recent times, during the covid-19 situation, most of the education programs have resorted to online. And online learning has become a huge challenge for deaf students.
There were always different online learning platforms, but they weren’t much deaf student-friendly. You can just sign up for a course and learn from those platforms, but deaf students would face a hard time in that as those courses weren’t designed by keeping deaf students in mind.
And during the pandemic, almost all kinds of educational programs and classes have resisted going online, where the teacher calls a video meeting via zoom or google meet, and the students join the meeting to get instructions from the teacher. Many teachers also provide recorded video materials, reading materials, etc. resources. But many deaf students are not able to follow through properly due to their obvious problems.
As online classes have become inevitable, and students with hearing loss need to be provided with extra care and attention, educators have to make their virtual classrooms more friendly and accessible to deaf students.
There are some common rules that go on among educators while providing online education to deaf students, which are- testing the video conference platform, utilizing captions, and knowing that the communication preferences are different for students.
How Deaf Students Can Get Benefited During Virtual Classes
There are many ways a deaf student can get proper help in pursuing online deaf education programs. First of all, they need to keep using the aiding devices they were using previously. Hearing aids can be of huge help in online learning too.
As hearing aids enhance one’s listening a lot, they might be able to listen to what the teacher is saying during an online class or in a video material more clearly. This will help them engage better, and understand what’s going on in the class. Hearing aids will also keep their hearing health in a good state, so these are necessary. And other than this, deaf students can also get help from below mentioned things-
Roger Touchscreen Mic
This mic can be plugged into the tablet or computer the student is using for online classes with a cable, and then can be paired with the hearing aid of the student. Also, the teacher and other participants can use high-quality headsets to provide clear audio input, which will help the student hear the teacher quickly.
Bluetooth Hearing Aids
Deaf students can have great services if they have Bluetooth hearing aids, and connect their hearing aids directly with their devices, and get their needed sound quality and support.
Roger Multimedia Hub
Deaf students can use Roger Multimedia Hub instead of the touchscreen mic. The multimedia hub can be paired with hearing aids and can be connected with devices via a 3.5mm cable. It works the same as the Roger touchscreen mic, but it has fewer functions. But it costs less too, so it can be a good budget option.
Using Visuals for Enhanced Communication
Visual communications, such as captions and sign languages can be of huge help in enhancing communication for deaf students. Teachers and other speakers should keep their camera on while talking so that the deaf student can try to speak, read or lipread, and keep the camera at a reasonable angle and distance so that the students can see their mouth.
WebEx can be used to type in real-time captions while talking during the online class, and it can help deaf students a lot. WebEx has a second panel where the live captioner’s text appears. The live captioning makes it easy to see any presentations that are being shared, the faces of the speakers, and captions all at once. And in the case of video materials, adding captions is a must.
There are some platforms like Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams, which use automatic captions. These services are often in the “beta” mode, and the captions aren’t always accurate. Still, these assisted texts can be a lot useful for deaf students.
Slowing Down While Talking
The teacher can and the other participants can talk slowly, so the deaf ones don’t find it too hard to understand them. The same can be done in the case of already made video materials and presentations.
If the mentioned measures are taken carefully, any deaf student can easily engage in the process of online education and keep up with the rest of the world conveniently.