How People with Hearing Loss Learn Language

woman holding hand to ear

Learning a new language while deaf or when you have hearing loss may be difficult. All of the nuances in pronunciations and accents will be challenging to learn, particularly if you have difficulty hearing every detail. However, it is not impossible. Here are some pointers for learning a foreign language with hearing loss. 

Can Students with Hearing Loss Study a Foreign Language?

Communication can be a factor in choosing which courses to attend for those with hearing loss. Every deaf person is unique, with varied degrees of hearing loss and access to various hearing devices. What works for one person may not work for the next.

The critical thing to remember is that no one should allow their hearing loss to prevent them from reaching their objectives. It’s quite feasible to study a foreign language while deaf. You will need to have some goals in mind before you begin so you can make the right choices when it comes to the course you take and the learning environment you take it in. 

Choosing a Foreign Language 

There are usually many foreign language choices, and you might not think that it makes much difference as to which language you actually choose. You’ll just choose the one you feel would be most beneficial to you or the one you are most interested in. 

However, some languages are easier for those with hearing loss to learn than others. French and Spanish are higher-pitched languages, so they are potentially more challenging to learn because they are more difficult to hear. German has a low pitch, which makes it simpler to understand. Furthermore, German nouns are pronounced whole. Compared to other languages with silent or soft word ends, this makes the language easier to lipread.

Someone else may have other criteria, such as selecting a language that is more commonly spoken and is similar to English. Examine all options and pick the best decision for you.

Planning, Preparation and Output

To begin, it’s usually a good idea to meet with the teacher to review the course plan, address any issues that could be difficult and what measures can be taken to overcome these obstacles. Hearing aid accessories for the classroom may also be helpful.

Every Day Learning

When opposed to oral, audio and speaking activities, someone with hearing loss may find it simpler to use visual reading and writing tasks. As with any topic, having anything visual to help learning, such as books, diagrams and accessible videos, is beneficial. People with hearing loss are considerably more sensitive to visual cues, which aids in information processing.

Group Situations 

Foreign language courses, like any other topic in the classroom, may involve group work. Remind pupils to raise their hands before speaking and to speak one at a time. This makes it simpler for the deaf person to follow.

Technology for Hearing

Technology can be very helpful in improving someone with hearing loss’s hearing levels. Some of them may be utilized in one-on-one or group settings. Consider microphones, which can decrease background noise while focusing on people’s speech. Technology can be especially helpful in foreign language courses if it can help students hear certain sounds.

Take Advantage of Subtitles and Closed Caption Services of Foreign Films and TV Shows

It is essential to remember that to learn a language, you must immerse yourself in it, therefore avoid using English subtitles. Set the audio and subtitles to the same language instead. If you’re watching Netflix, you can convert the audio and subtitles to Spanish, for example, for numerous programs. You may now hear and read Spanish at the same time. Reading it while hearing it trains your brain to better listen to noises and makes speech easier to comprehend.

Take Advantage of Language Learning Apps on Your Smartphone

There are several excellent apps that combine both audio and visual lessons and games to assist you in learning a new language. Since we use our smartphones so much, it makes sense that any hearing-impaired people who might want to learn a language can use their phones to make the process much easier. 

For more advice about how you can learn a language when you have hearing loss, it’s a good idea to speak to your hearing instrument specialist. They will be able to talk through your options and determine what kind of hearing aid might suit a classroom environment or home learning, for example. Contact Hearing Well Matters at (647) 247-2704 to find out more.