Hearing Impairment

Here are some suggestions that will enable participants with hearing impairments get the most out of your online session:

  • Personality and privacy check - do they want others to know and if so what is their preferred explanation?
  • Depending on the context, presenter can work from a script sent to the participant beforehand. Deviations from the script can be flagged in the chat by a facilitator.
  • Offer participants accessibility options such as lip reading via a video link like Skype, or transcribing voice in the chat pane or on a collaborative note making tool like Pirate Pad. This could be done by a palantypist, or by other members of the group!
  • Pause often to let interpreters catch up.
  • Ask participants which aspects of the session they would prefer to concentrate on. If they have already received the resources and script this will be easier, especially if they are in text format.
  • Build in staging points for facilitator to summarise key threads in text pane and or invite questions or comments.
  • Use relevant images to support slide text.
  • Participants may want to access some aspects of the session afterwards. Offer a summary of any spoken interactions.
  • If you have a co-facilitator, ask them to stand by to offer additional support and use periodic private messaging to check all is ok.
  • Participants may want to contribute to the session using chat, so make sure they have the opportunity.
  • Use the chat pane to paste the script if this is appropriate.
  • Give instructions to learners visually on a slide, as well as verbally.


There are many technologies, both specialist and mainstream, that can help participants who have difficulty hearing. These sites will give you more information:

Jisc TechDis - People who have difficulty hearing Action on Hearing Loss - Technology

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