1. If the Student is using an FM System:
  2. If a Student is using a Computer Notetaker
  3. Regarding Captioning
    1. Lectures
    2. Labs

Some students with hearing impairment use adaptive hearing devices (e.g. Cochlear Implant[1], FM system[2], hearing aid), in combination with lip-reading, audio-recording, and notetaking support.  Below are some strategies to make your class more accessible.

IMPORTANT:  If no visual emergency warning system exists in your classroom or lab, please designate at least one individual besides yourself to alert the student.

If the Student is using an FM System:

He/she will approach you to make arrangements to drop off the microphone/ transmitter in advance of lectures, which you can place on a podium or desk in front of where you lecture, clip to your lapel or collar, or wear around your neck (depending on the model).

If a Student is using a Computer Notetaker

A professional transcriptionist will attend all of your lectures/labs to take verbatim real-time notes on a laptop computer.  This individual has been hired by the PMC on behalf of a student with a hearing impairment. The transcriptionist’s verbatim notes will be made available only to the student.  The student may or may not choose to sit next to the transcriptionist during the lectures.

Regarding Captioning

Do you plan to show any videos or films in class?  If so, and if you have not already done so, please contact Hunter Calder as soon as possible (hunter.calder@carleton.ca ) with information about what you plan to show so that we can ensure prompt and efficient media delivery.


  1. Lip-reading requires an unobstructed view of your face. Try to avoid excessive pacing or “speaking to the board”. Facial expression and gestures provide contextual cues.
  2. Try not to hold your hand or other object (e.g. lecture notes) in front of your face while you lecture. A beard or moustache will make lip-reading difficult, but it is not expected that professors will shave them off.  Rather, we encourage them to be vigilant regarding other strategies to increase access to information.
  3. If you are wearing an FM system microphone/transmitter, be aware that sound clarity is compromised by objects such as necklaces, scarves, and ties.
  4. When playing a film, video, or audio recording in class, please place the FM System microphone/transmitter near the speaker.
  5. It is not necessary to bring the FM microphone to every student who makes a comment or asks a question. Please repeat or rephrase questions and comments from other students, especially from the back of the room.
  6. If you stand in front of a window or bright light, glare may obstruct the student’s view of your face and hence ability to lip-read.
  7. Speak clearly; at a normal rate (not too fast) and volume (shouting does not help). Try to avoid unfinished sentences, colloquialisms and jargon. But, please do not exaggerate your lip movements.
  8. If the student asks you to repeat a statement, whenever possible, please use alternative synonyms to facilitate understanding.
  9. Some students “fill in the gaps” using contextual informational cues, so if you frequently jump between topics, it can be difficult to follow.
  10. A student who is lip-reading cannot simultaneously take in other visual information (e.g. slides, handouts, diagrams, demonstrations). Allow ample time to take in all sources of information.
  11. Be aware that hearing aids and cochlear implants amplify all sounds equally. Students using them are disproportionately disadvantaged by ambient noise, such as fans, shuffling chairs, rustling papers, and chatter.
  12. Communicate announcements and changes (e.g. to lecture schedule, due dates, special events) in writing on the course website/by email.
  13. When possible, please provide access to written lecture material in advance, especially if you plan to introduce new terms.
  14. Please be aware that a student with a hearing impairment may require the use of a laptop or recording device. This facilitates their ability to take their own notes and follow the class, as they can dedicate more of their attention to lip-reading.

[1] Cochlear Implant:

An electronic device that stimulates nerve endings in the inner ear (cochlea) to receive and process sounds, including speech.  A small internal that converts coded signals into electrical pulses and an electrode array that carries decoded electrical pulses to the auditory nerve are surgically implanted.  A microphone, speech processor (that converts sound waves into coded signals), and transmitter (a coil that sends coded signals to the internal receiver) are worn externally.  While a cochlear implant does not restore normal hearing, it can provide a useful representation of speech sounds.

[2] Frequency Modulation (FM) System:

An assistive listening device used to reduce the background noise interference and/or mitigate the impact of distance between the “Speaker” and the “Listener” learner by selectively amplifying the Speaker’s voice and transmitting it via an FM signal. The most common type consists of a microphone/transmitter (worn by the Speaker) and a receiver (worn by the Listener).


  • Provide critical safety information in writing.
  • Allot a lab station with an unobstructed view of the area where introductory or summary information is presented before, during and after the lab.
  • Be aware that if lab instructors move around the room giving instructions or on-the-spot information, a student with a hearing impairment may miss out.

We do not expect you to be perfect! Thank you for your support and understanding.

For more information, please see Guidebook for Instructors for Hard of Hearing Students (Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, 1997)

These instructional strategies are based in the principles of Universal Instructional Design. For more on UID, please see http://www.tss.uoguelph.ca/uid/