Auditory Positioning

UDL 3.3 UDL 5.3

With Auditory Positioning, a teacher strategically positions themselves near a student with hearing loss after a breakdown in understanding occurs, such as a missed word or difficulty discriminating a word. This allows the student to receive optimal auditory access with an assistive hearing device (e.g., cochlear implants, hearing aids). When applying Auditory Positioning, the teacher often sits next to the student and positions their head sideways and behind the head of the student. This allows the teacher to provide auditory input directly into the device. The strategic positioning of the teacher’s turned head also ensures that there is no additional noise picked up by the microphones (e.g., most commonly the speaker’s breathing). After Auditory Positioning is used, a teacher will typically ask the student to repeat what was heard to help monitor student understanding.

Implementation Tips

Creating Natural Auditory Positioning
Create natural Auditory Positioning when reading 1:1 with a student with hearing loss. Sit in a side-by-side arrangement, which limits lip reading, encourages the student to use listening skills, and makes it easier to provide auditory input directly into the student’s devices.
Pre-Planning for Accessibility
Position a student with hearing loss strategically to allow for easy accessibility when providing Auditory Positioning. Make sure the student is placed in a seat where there is space to sit next to and slightly behind them to reduce disruption in the classroom when this strategy is needed.
Introducing The Student’s Role
Direct the student to listen and look forward during Auditory Positioning to ensure that the student is not relying on lip-reading, as this option will not always be available in listening scenarios and often students with hearing loss often use lip-reading even when it’s not necessary.
Supporting Attention During Auditory Positioning
Support attention when applying this strategy by providing verbal prompts and visual cues to help a student process information and remain engaged (e.g., the teacher states, “Listen” or “Try to quiet your body. It’s time to listen,” while pointing to the ear used consistently, or tapping the student’s shoulder).
Encouraging Repetition of Auditory Messages
Encourage a student with hearing loss to repeat auditory information that was provided with Auditory Positioning to give the student opportunities to listen to their own production of messages or a word. This can also be used as a quick assessment if the student missed or incorrectly repeats the information.
Providing Direct Feedback
Provide direct feedback after a student with hearing loss repeats information offered with Auditory Positioning (e.g., “That’s right! He planted the seed.”). Direct feedback should also be provided related to errors to encourage the student to try the message or word again (e.g., “I heard you say cupay. That’s not quite right. Listen again, cupcake.”).
Individualized Interactions With Auditory Positioning
Apply Auditory Positioning when working in small groups or 1:1 with a student with hearing loss to minimize delays repairing auditory messages. Also, use this strategy when teaching new multi-syllabic words or words that are difficult to discriminate (e.g., rhyming words that often contain ch, sh, th, s, p, t, k, and f sounds).
Collaborative Support
Collaborate with additional classroom team members (e.g., paraprofessional, teacher assistant, classroom aide) to provide Auditory Positioning. Classroom team members can help a student with hearing loss maintain support when the ability to work 1:1 or in a small group directly with the student is unavailable.


Using Auditory Positioning To Present New Vocabulary
A teacher pre-selects new vocabulary to highlight and define before starting a new challenging read aloud. While reviewing these words, the teacher notices a student with hearing loss having difficulty reproducing the word “victorious.” The teacher then uses Auditory Positioning to help the learner gain accessibility to the sounds within the word. Once positioned next to the student, the teacher states, “Try pronouncing that difficult word again, listen first.” The teacher leans back slightly, turning their head while saying “victorious” clearly into the hearing device.” The student is prompted to reproduce the word correctly, and then direct feedback is provided (e.g., “You worked really hard to say all the sounds in victorious.”).
Supporting Listening Skills
During a small group reading session, a teacher notices that a student with hearing loss is constantly taking their gaze away from the text to look at other group members (e.g., for lip-reading, facial expressions), and sometimes becomes frustrated when they cannot see multiple speakers. To support the student in strengthening listening skills since visual supports are not always going to be available, the teacher reminds the student to bring attention to the text instead, and uses Auditory Positioning to repeat missed information directly into the student’s hearing device microphone (e.g., cochlear implant), minimizing any outside sounds and allowing the student to attend to the task.

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