Did you know?
Over 450 million people worldwide, including 34 million children, live with some degree of hearing loss. (World Health Organization, 2020)

Cochlear Implants

A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that stimulates the hearing nerve, or the cochlear nerve.

The cochlear implant has external as well as internal parts, the external part sits behind your ear. It picks up the sounds in, for example, a classroom. It then processes the sound and transfers it to the internal part of the cochlear implant.  A thin wire and small electrodes lead to the cochlea part of the inner ear. The wire sends signals to the cochlear nerve, which sends sound information to the brain to produce a hearing sensation. Although full hearing is not restored, with appropriate therapy and practice, the improved hearing experience can mean an increased awareness of sounds in the environment, as well as better communication through easier lip reading and listening.


Some children and adults do not want cochlear implants because being deaf is part of their identity and they do not feel ‘impaired.’ Many in the deaf community are opposed to cochlear implants, especially if it forced upon a child that does not have a say in the matter. They argue that people who are deaf shouldn’t be thought of as disabled, but as members of a distinct cultural group. (Sparrow, 2005)


In addition, not every person who lives with hearing loss or deafness can afford the implants. Cochlear implants are pricey and without insurance the costs of surgery can run between $30,000 to $50,000 USD.

Assistive Listening Devices

picture of a teacher wearing an assistive listening device speakerAssistive learning devices help amplify the sounds you want to hear, especially for students in a classroom. An example can be a device for teachers, we call this a streamer device. Teachers can wear this device around their neck. The device has a microphone build into it which then sends a wireless radio signal to the receiver in the student’s hearing aid. Through this the student gets a clearer sound and is able to focus on what the teacher is saying. When it is no longer relevant, the teacher can switch off their device.

Another useful tool is the induction loop system. With this, teachers can connect a microphone directly to a student’s hearing aid with a wire that goes across the room. The electric current that moves through the wire when the professor speaks make it easy for the hearing-impaired student to hear. This works even when there is lots of noise or an echo in the classroom. (Clerc Center, 2014)

Similarly, frequency modulated (FM) systems can use radio signals to transmit sound from a professor’s microphone to an individual at a constant volume, regardless of a person’s distance from the FM microphone. Depending on the student’s level of hearing loss, FM systems are used as augmentative communication devices as well. (Clerc Center, 2014)

Useful Apps


Live Transcribe App LogoLIVE TRANSCRIBE is a Google App that transcribes speech into live text. This can be beneficial for students as they can follow instructions more easily and are able to read back what has been said. It is even beneficial for students with  hearing aids or cochlear implants.

Live Transcribe can provide students with a confidence boost as they can read the live text being spoken. Sometimes implants and hearing aids pick up too much background noises so this allows students to understand  the speaker.


SOUND AMPLIFIER  can be used to enhance the audio of a device through headphones and produce clearer sounds. Sound Amplifier could be used to filter noises and sounds in the environment. It amplifies important sounds, like conversations, without any background noises that might make it challenging to follow a conversation.

WIKA MEDIA: Glass Hub, Sub Hub and Dub Hub are devices created by Roland Benzon and Vic Icasas, entrepreneurs in Singapore who hope to create something to improve the experience of watching movies and TV shows for the deaf community. With specially designed glasses, children and adults can able to enjoy movies. with in-sync sign language in addition to subtitles, which provides a richer, more meaningful experience (Benzon, 2019).

Click to learn more about WIKA and watch videos to see how the devices work.

signly logo - browser extensionSignly is a pioneering British Sign Language online translation tool. Deaf students are often excluded from access to essential content. This could be interesting for schools that use technology to teach their students. Schools that work with tablets or computes, know that videos and spoken audio is becoming an important aspect of learning. This extension could provide signing for the audio and text on websites as well as videos to improve student learning. In the corner of your screen a signer appears that gives more depth to the text, audio or video in sign.


Primary sign language logo

To make sure your classroom is inclusive for students who have sign language as their ‘first’ language it could be helpful to teach your students some basic signing. There is a free module online on the website https://www.primarysign.com/free-module/, this website can provide you with greetings, how to fingerspell, introductions. This includes videos and live motions. The website offers much more than this free module, they have a variety of plans which offer complete courses. For the students in the class, it might be helpful to have some posters with basic signs on them. Like the image on the right, this could help the students communicate with each other without having to use speech.

School of Sign Language, connected to Primary Sign Language, has its own YouTube channel, on this channel they have provided a variety of videos that include British sign lessons. School of Sign Language (SoSL) has an interactive programme that offers the opportunity to get familiar with British Sign language. The videos are not long, therefore interesting to watch and can be implemented in lessons during schooltime, but this platform offers students the ability to learn some sign at home as well.

You can also learn and teach your students American Sign Language. This link is only one of the many websites you can use to start your sign-language journey.

Key Takeaways

Schools can start by providing key technologies as named above for deaf and hard of hearing students. To consider ways to implement them when initially designing classrooms and students experiences. When these students’ needs are served, their academic performance and ability to reach graduation improve significantly.



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Inclusive Perspectives in Primary Education Copyright © 2021 by room305 and Inclusive Education Class 2020-2021 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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