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how to teach music to the hearing impaired child

How to Teach Music to the Hearing Impaired Child

I have said it before and I’ll say it again…EVERY child can and should learn music. I never want any student to feel like they can’t learn music because of a disability.   In this blog post, I want to give you ideas for how to teach music to the hearing impaired child.  Some of the most gifted musicians  have had a hearing impairment, but they did not let that hinder them.



Famous Musicians with Hearing Impairments

One of my all time favorite composers is Ludwig van Beethoven.  He started losing his hearing in his 20’s, yet went on to compose some of the most famous piano and orchestra works of all time. He would lay on the floor next to the piano while composing some of his pieces to feel the vibrations from the keys.  Chris Martin of “Coldplay” has struggled with tinnitus for 10 years, yet has gone on to have a successful career as a lead singer for one of the most famous bands of today. of “The Black Eyed Peas” has said that every time there is silence, it causes a ringing in his ears, which makes him want to keep on creating music.


Every Hearing Impairment is Different

There will be a wide array hearing impairments.  You may have student’s who are completely deaf and need a sign language interpreter and student’s who have only slight hearing loss and need hearing aids or have chochlear implants.  Understanding the needs of the child with the hearing impairment is the first step in knowing how to best go about teaching them music.  Children with a hearing impairment want you to know them just like any other student and want to learn music.  It is our job as their music teacher to get to know them and how we can best help them learn.



How to Teach

Children with a hearing impairment can develop a strong sense of rhythm by using body percussion to learn popular songs like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.  Using clapping, stomping, snapping, and patting, children can sway and march to the beat or the rhythms that they memorized by echo learning.  More advanced music student’s can learn songs by reading the score just like any other piano or orchestra student.  They may not be able to hear what they are playing if they are completely deaf, but they can feel the vibrations by taking their shoes off.  While learning a song, deaf children will have a sign language interpreter with them most of the time.   If the child is not comfortable or is unable to sing the song, they can sign the words and participate by playing an instrument part or doing the motions.


Involve the Other Student’s

One of my favorite things to do was to take a simple song and teach the sign language to it.  In music, we are constantly learning music from other countries and cultures, yet learning to sign is just as important.  For a child with a hearing impairment, having their classmates make an effort to sign a song with them, will make them feel like they are part of the group and included.  Have one of the student’s sit next to the child with the hearing impairment so they can be a leader while playing a rhythm on the rhythm sticks, or while doing the motions to a song.



Do you have a child at home or in your class with a hearing impairment?  What are your favorite ways to teach music to these children?  


If you are a parent, student, or teacher who wants to learn more about music, connect with other musicians, or wants to post their latest videos of what they’ve been working on, I would love for you to join my Facebook group Music Education Connection. Collaborate, learn from each other, and grow new friendships. This is a place to receive encouragement, positive feedback, and to ask questions.



how to teach music to the hearing impaired child

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Jessica Peresta

Music teacher and music education blogger who helps parents and teachers by providing online music education lessons for kids.

18 thoughts to “How to Teach Music to the Hearing Impaired Child”

    1. I appreciate you commenting. I will make sure to use the word Deaf for now on. I really meant no offense at all. I have friends who are Deaf and had students also who were and some of them used the phrase hearing impaired, but now after looking at your link and others I see that it’s an offensive phrase. Thank you for letting me know.

  1. I love how inclusive your blog and educational practice are. You work hard to help all learners access and benefit from music. Truly inspiring.

  2. Oh I love the idea of teaching the sign language of a song to a child! As a primary school teacher, we come across students of various abilities and some with disabilities. I think it is important to include all children in every lesson, so I love these simple ways to include hearing impaired children in music. Thank you!

  3. These are great ideas for how to teach music to those with hearing impairments! I know the feeling of the vibrations from the music can be really soothing for them just like the sound of music is soothing to those who can hear. Great post!

  4. My little sister is severely hearing impaired, my mother and I both played musical instruments and wanted to teach my sister how to appreciate music. The vibrations of music can be soothing to their ears and they feel it a lot more than us, so music was definitely her favorite thing.

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