The University of Bolton Student Services

Disability Services

Hearing Impairment D/Deaf


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D/deaf and Hearing Impairments

In the UK, hearing loss is common, it affects 12 million people in the UK. Hearing loss and deafness happen when sound signals don’t reach the brain. This is caused by a problem in the hearing system.

There are two main types of healing loss. It’s possible to have both types, and this is known as mixed hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss

This is caused by damage to the hair cells inside the inner ear, or damage to the hearing nerve, or both.

It makes it more difficult to hear quiet sounds and reduces the quality of sound that you can hear.

Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent, but can often be treated with hearing aids.

Conductive hearing loss

This happens when a blockage, such as ear wax, stops sound passing from your outer ear to your inner ear.

Sounds will become quieter and things might sound muffled. It can be temporary or permanent.

Conductive hearing loss is usually caused by ear problems.

D/deaf and Hearing Impairments differences
The word deaf is used to describe or identify anyone who has a severe hearing problem. Sometimes it is used to refer to people who are severely hard of hearing too. We use Deaf with a capital D to refer to people who have been deaf all their lives, or since before they started to learn to talk.

If you are a Deaf student you are likely to have British Sign Language as a first language and English will be a second language.  You would mostly communicate via sign language and will usually require the support of a Sign Language Interpreter.  You may also lip-read as part of communication.

If you are deaf or have a hearing impairment you may have hearing aids and use those as well as lip-reading to communicate.  Induction loops may be used in lecture theatres or in different places in university to support the hearing aids. 

How might this affect my studies?

Depending on the severity of your condition it might impact upon hearing what has been said by tutors in lectures. If you are a British sign language user, you may experience language difficulties working with English language.

How to Disclose:

If you have a hearing impairment it can be helpful to disclose this to the Disability service in order to look into accessing support through the Disability Service.

There are a range of ways to disclose a hearing impairment at the university.

·         You can fill in a disclosure form and provide this to student services. The link can be found here: https://www.bolton.ac.uk/assets/Uploads/Disclosure-Form.pdf

·         You can call the Disability service on 01204 903478 or email on disinfo@bolton.ac.uk to make an appointment to discuss possible support available. You do not need to disclose your condition outside the Disability team if you prefer.

·         You can attend a Disability drop in at the student centre. Drop in times are usually Mon, Tuesday and Wednesday 2.30-4pm though these can vary according to staffing.

Disability Service: Support Available

At the Disability service we can provide a range of support. Depending on your eligibility and individual needs, this can include:

·         Disabled Students Allowance: This is an individualised support package which students may be able to apply for and can result in recommendations for assistive software such as support recording lectures and support workers such as BSL interpreters, note takers and language support tutors. More information can be found here:  https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas/overview

·         Exam Support: Disability service can arrange exam support which can include extra time and adapted questions in plain English depending on the individual needs of the student.

·         Notification: An individual notification can be sent to your academic department to advise tutors of inclusive teaching adjustments.

·         Lectures slides in advance: We can ask your tutors to provide copies of your lecture notes in advance in order that you can review them effectively.

·         Equipment Loan: Disability service has limited numbers of Dictaphones and laptops which can be loaned out to students on a short term basis.

Anything else you want to know?

Contact the Disability Service on 01204 903478 / disabilityinfo@bolton.ac.uk

Inclusive Teaching Strategies for D/deaf and Hearing Impaired Students



Students with Hearing Impairments: How to assist lip readers.

  • Don’t exaggerate words.
  • Don’t block your mouth e.g. with your hand, a pen – beards and moustaches can also be a drawback!  Stop talking if you have to turn away.
  •  Keep background noise to a minimum – it interferes with hearing aids.
  • (Rooms with carpets and curtains can help.)
  •  Repeat contributions/questions from other students.
  •  In group work, indicate when different people are speaking.
  •  Stand in a good light – not in front of a window.
  •  Speak directly to the class, not to the board or screen.
  • A room with plain walls is best – patterns are distracting.
  •  Wear plain clothes for the same reason.
  •  Stand where the student is most likely to be able to follow your lecture.
  •  Don’t wander around the lecture room.
  •  Don’t use exaggerated gestures – they distract from your face.
  •  Speak clearly, in a normal speech rhythm, and a little more slowly.


BSL: Students Using a BSL Interpreter:

  • Provide good lighting for the interpreter any time a presentation requires darkening the room to view slides or films.
  • Allow only one person to speak at a time during group discussions.
  • Do not rush through a lecture, tutorial or practical.
  • Allow time for students to study handouts, charts or transparencies. A deaf person cannot watch the interpreter and study written information at the same time.
  • Ensure that the student and interpreter are seated at the front of the class so that there are no distractions.
  • Face the deaf student and speak directly to the deaf person, not the interpreter and speak to them in a normal manner.
  • Do not make comments to the interpreter you do not wish to be interpreted to the deaf student.
  • Remember that the interpreter is a few words behind the speaker. Give the interpreter time to finish before you ask questions so that the deaf student can ask questions or join in the discussion.