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Deaf or hard of hearing

If you have restricted or no hearing you may need extra resources to help you study effectively. When choosing your modules, find out as much as you can about how they're taught and what support you might need.

Things to consider

If your preferred language is not English but British Sign Language (BSL) or Signed Supported English (SSE), these aspects of study may be more time consuming.

  • Reading your module materials
  • Writing assignments (essays) and completing assessments
  • Group activities with other students
  • Lip-reading and taking notes at tutorials

Access modules, which are an optional starting point in our undergraduate qualification, have DVDs in BSL. As you progress onto modules at a higher level, you’ll need to read subtitles for audio visual material.

Our booklet Studying when you are D/deaf (PDF, 602.2 KB) gives you more information on what to expect from Open University study.

Getting the right resources for you

Make sure your student profile explains what you as an individual find difficult and the areas where you require support. Have a preliminary discussion with your tutor and request things that might help you.

To check the accessible formats available on a module go to the module website from StudentHome and look under the Resources heading for a link to Downloads. (You could also look up your module in the online prospectus).

You can also take a look at the adjustments available by study elements to see what we can offer you.

Communicating with other people

During your study, you’ll need to communicate with OU staff and other students. We can

  • tell your tutor how best to communicate with you (e.g. text or email instead of a phone call)
  • find other ways of sharing information if online discussions are difficult
  • organise communication support for residential school, group work in tutorials or exams
  • provide equipment such as a portable personal loop if you use a hearing aid.

Try to arrange a meeting with your tutor and support worker(s) before your study starts to discuss the best way to work as a team. Here are some other things to consider.

  • If you’re having problems understanding or being understood, let the tutor know as soon as you can.
  • You’ll need an environment that suits listening and lip reading.
  • Ask your tutor to send you handouts before the group meets.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or ask people to speak one at a time or repeat what they’ve said.

Exam arrangements

Individual arrangements can be made for you where there’s clear evidence that you would otherwise be disadvantaged. If you're likely to need extra time or have an interpreter or communication support worker in your exam, you must apply to do so at least two months before the exam. Take a look at Exam arrangements for disabled students for more information.

Residential school

If your module has a compulsory residential school, we'll work with you to make your stay beneficial and effective. Discuss disability support at residential school with an adviser as early in your module as possible to give us enough time to make arrangements.

If you can't go to residential school in person, an online alternative learning experience (ALE) may be available so you can fulfil the module requirements.

Professionally trained and registered guide dogs and medical assistance dogs can attend face-to-face venues with you in line with each venue’s policy. You will need to provide evidence, such as a certificate or identification card, to demonstrate that your dog is fully trained to the required standard of behaviour.