Accessibility statement

Supporting students who are Deaf or hearing impaired

Hearing loss can range from mild to profound and may also fluctuate day to day. To communicate, students may use signing or oral communication or a mixture of both.

Students who identify as Deaf (with a capital D) will likely have profound hearing impairment and belong to a community with its own language, heritage and culture. British Sign Language (BSL) will typically be the first language of a Deaf student.

Other students, including many with severe and profound hearing loss, use oral communication. They are likely to use hearing aids or have a cochlear implant. Students often use lip reading to assist their hearing. Some students may also use Sign Supported English (SSE), a form of sign language but, unlike BSL, it supports spoken English.

Impact on the student

The impact of a hearing impairment/Deafness on a student’s study will vary significantly between individuals. Key issues will be:

  • accessing oral information in teaching sessions;
  • participating in group discussions;
  • accessing any auditory medium;
  • background noise;
  • note-taking can be very challenging.

Students with significant hearing loss from birth may have varying degrees of speech and their vocal control, volume and articulation can be affected. Some students’ language skills will be impacted by their hearing loss and they may experience difficulties with vocabulary, comprehension, grammar, spelling, sentence structure and phonological awareness.

Students may need longer to read and process written and spoken information and all students are likely to experience greater levels of fatigue than their peers.

Tutors should remain in close contact and more regular tutor/supervisor contact may be necessary.

How you can support the student

The following recommendations for academic adjustments may apply. Refer back to the Student Support Plan for individual recommendations for the student.

Occasional extensions

Occasional extensions for standard assignment deadlines where the student will be unable to meet a deadline due to their disability. The request must include the reason and, where appropriate, the duration to date of the period of particular difficulty.  There is no requirement for the student to submit additional evidence.

Students are advised that this is not a recommendation for a blanket extension to deadlines. Should the department become concerned about the use, frequency or effectiveness of extensions, they should call a review meeting with the student and Disability Adviser.

Lectures and seminars

Disability Services may have arranged a note taker for the student.

If requested by the student, wear (or place nearby) the student’s radio aid - they will bring along the device.

The student is likely to want to sit near the front. Please face the student and limit movement or walking when speaking. Avoid facing the board or covering your mouth. Talk normally and at a steady pace. Echo questions or comments made from the floor.

Room bookings

Rooms equipped with induction/T-loops should be prioritised and used where possible.

Group discussions

Arrange rooms in a semi-circle where possible and echo questions or comments made from the floor. Use gesture to indicate who is speaking. The student may need the speaker to repeat the question. They may also need longer than peers to process any question and to formulate a response.

Group work

Liaise directly with the student about group allocation and consider with them any relevant factors to discuss with the group - for example, the need for peers to be aware of speaking one at a time in group settings.

Video / audio material

Provide subtitles for video material where available and provide access to video/audio material in advance if it is to be used in teaching sessions. Check subtitles for accuracy, especially subject-specific words.

A Closed Caption function (displaying text on a television, video screen, or other visual display to provide additional or interpretive information) is available on most DVD formats.

Lecture capture and personal recording

Advised use of lecture capture. Allow the student to record lectures, particularly where no lecture capture facility is available in the timetabled room.

Lecture notes and materials

Where lecture notes and lecture materials are not available elsewhere in advance (for example, on the VLE), these should be sent to the student 24 hours in advance. Read our guidance on producing accessible documents and presentations.

Leave any additional board notes on display after the lecture to ensure that the student has sufficient time to copy them.


Give guidance on essential reading. Any reading material that is to be used in teaching sessions should be made available at least 24 hrs in advance, if not available on the VLE.

Provide copies of the reading list at the earliest opportunity.

Instructions and clarification

Give instructions and information clearly and be prepared to clarify the requirements of coursework, assignments, new vocabulary and technical language.

Written instructions for labs and practical sessions should be provided to the student in advance of the session.

Provide clear guidelines for specific formats (ie reports) to enable students to structure their work appropriately.

Support for you

If you find that it is impractical to put a particular adjustment in place, please contact us as soon as possible as it may be possible to find an alternative solution that will support the student.

If you have any questions, email