Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism and Hearing Impairments

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Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism and Students with Hearing Impairments

Practical / Sport Coaching – Sport and Exercise and Hearing Impairments

Generally individuals with auditory difficulties can participate in all sporting activities, however, activities such as swimming may have to be restricted if there is a middle-ear infection, a perforated ear-drum or a post-operative condition. Always remember that athletes who are deaf rely greatly on visual cues, therefore, adjust your methods of communication accordingly.

In all situations, it is necessary for the coach/tutor to endeavour to:

  • be as near to the student as possible (between four and six feet, 1.2m-1.8m should be adequate).
  • be still when speaking.
  • face the light so that his/her face is not in shadow.
  • avoid shouting, overemphasising words, chewing or covering the mouth whilst speaking. Normal rhythm and intonation should be used.
  • be at the same horizontal level as the student.
  • use visual cues to support instruction.
  • ensure that instructions precede activities and keep everyone involved by explaining any comments, questions or jokes made by group members.
  • check that all participants understand and are not just copying others.
  • attract the student’s attention by touch, vibration (e.g. by stamping on the ground) or by a visual sign such as waving a hand in his or her line of sight.
  • being patient if the student is experiencing difficulty understanding, remember it is more frustrating for the student than for the person trying to be understood.

It should be remembered that normal warning signs (such as alarms) may not be heard, therefore, the coach/tutor should devise warning signals that students with auditory difficulties can recognise and to which they will know how to respond. Another individual could be used to act as a buddy. Peripatetic teachers of the deaf can be a valuable course of help.

This information is taken from the Staffordshire University Strand 2 project SIDE-STeP (Staffordshire Inclusive Disability Education – Sport TEaching Practice)



Hearing Impairments

Read more detailed information about Hearing Impairments.

Teaching strategies associated with Hearing Impairments

These strategies are suggestions for inclusive teaching. This list should not be considered exhaustive and it is important to remember that all students are individuals and good practice for one student may not necessarily be good practice for another. You may also like to contact the Disability Specialist in your institution for further information. If you have any good practice that you would like to add to this list, please email your suggestions to

  • Provide sufficient time to discuss needs with the student before/during their initial teaching session.
  • People who depend on their eyes to ‘hear’ will not be able to take notes as well as lip read or watch an interpreter, so it is helpful to provide notes or to arrange for copies from another student.
  • Face the person at all times when speaking. Speak clearly and encourage other students to do the same. Speak at a measured but normal speed as speaking too slowly distorts lip patterns, which then become impossible to read.
  • Arrange lighting and seating so that everyone’s face is well lit. Avoid standing in front of a window or light: this places the face in shadow.
  • Do not talk and write on a board or talk and demonstrate at the same time.
  • Try to keep background noise to a minimum.
  • Be aware that loud noises can be distressing when amplified through a hearing aid.
  • Lip-reading is very tiring: students may need to have periodic rests.
  • Unknown vocabulary is hard to lip-read. Write vocabulary down and check that it is understood.
  • It is difficult to lip-read if the context is not known. The better a talk is structured the better is it followed. Handouts and overheads can be very helpful in complementing spoken instructions and descriptions, but provide these in advance, as students cannot lip-read at the same time.
  • Use short clear statements and vocabulary, avoiding or explaining abstract concepts or jargon. If students misunderstand, a different way of explaining the same idea should be explored.
  • Important announcements, key concepts and new technical words should be written on the board or given as a handout.
  • Repeat the beginning of an utterance and not just the end, and do not change the wording. Deaf and hearing impaired people may tune-in late to the fact that they are being addressed and miss the beginning.
  • When working with interpreters make time for them, and always address the deaf person, not the interpreter.
  • Interpreting is tiring: do not speak too quickly. During long sessions allow interpreters to have short rest breaks. There might be times when two interpreters are needed.
  • Any videos or audio tapes that are to be used in the session should have written transcripts. Deaf students will benefit if interpreters and communication support workers have access to these before the session and are given notes, handouts and scripts of videos in advance.
  • If a student has speech difficulties, this is not a reflection of intellectual ability or understanding. Encourage students to contribute to discussions and be patient to allow communication to take place.
  • Students with hearing impairments may experience difficulties with grammar if they are using British Sign Language as a first language. These students may require extra time and/or assistance for their written work.
  • Some students may need to record lectures; others may have a note-taker or interpreter. Make time for interpreters, be aware of time lags, e.g. when asking questions, and allow time for the hearing impaired students to answer.
  • Group work can be difficult for hearing impaired students as they may not know who is speaking and thus who to watch unless an interpreter is present. Encourage students to indicate with a gesture when they are speaking.
  • Provide extra time after group sessions to check that the content has been understood. 
  • Approach a deaf student who is working from the front or side to avoid startling them.

Potential challenges to the achievement of learning