Today I have a small bit of advice that can be shared with your child’s classroom teacher (and others) that goes very far. When at school today, I was talking with one of my student’s teachers about her seating in the classroom. This student has a unilateral hearing loss, with her left ear being her “good” ear. The teacher placed the child up front with her left ear facing towards the front of the room and where the teacher generally stands to teach. In theory, this sounds perfect, right? Maybe not! We discussed the idea that “left ear towards the speaker” doesn’t necessarily mean towards the teacher. In this day and age, much of what goes on in a classroom is guided class discussion, meaning a lot of the important information comes from other students. The way the classroom was set up and that this student was positioned, her ear with hearing loss was towards her peers. So in the case of class discussion, she would be at a disadvantage. As I explained this to the teacher, I could see the “Aha!” come across her face. We could then discuss many different classroom situations (on the rug in a clump, during student presentations, during spelling tests, etc…), and how preferential seating would work best for this child.
This piece of advice doesn’t only work for students with unilateral hearing loss. It also works for children with unilateral cochlear implants, children with asymmetric hearing loss, and any child who has better speech perception on one side.