Hearing Impairments and Deafness
In School and at Home
Deafness vs. Hard of Hearing
A child who is hard of hearing is someone who has a hearing impairment that negatively affects educational performance, but is not severe enough to be considered deaf.
Types of Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is sometimes called nerve deafness, as it is due to a problem in the inner ear or auditory nerve. These people hear different frequencies at different intensities.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
Auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder is when sound enters the ear properly but the damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve does not let sound organize properly so the brain can understand it.
Prevalence in School
What is it Like to Live with Hearing Loss?
Teaching Deaf Students and Students who are Hard of Hearing
Classroom Accommodations, Modifications, and Strategies
Students who are hard of hearing or deaf have difficulty in school due to the effort it takes to follow lectures and verbal directions, as well as their sometimes lacking social/emotional skills. Some strategies to help with this are:
- Interpreter - for students who only use manual communication, it takes a tremendous amount of effort to read the lips of a teacher who is lecturing. By providing an interpreter, the student can focus on the content instead of missing pieces while trying to read lips.
- Note-taker - since Deaf students learn best by watching what is going on in the classroom, watching their interpreter, or reading lips, it is detrimental to their success in school when they have to look down to take notes. By assigning a note-taker, or having another student volunteer, students won't miss what the teacher is saying by trying to look down to take notes.
- Captions on any videos - videos used in any class only have importance if you can hear them. So any video shown in class should have captions so that all students can learn from them.
- When speaking in a dark room, use a spotlight on the speaker so that if students read lips, they can still see them. Also, make sure that you are always facing all students and speaking clearly at a normal pace so that any student can see your lips if necessary.
- Using visual aids is vital since vision is these students main way of receiving information.
- Arrange desks in circular seating arrangements as this allows students the best advantage in seeing all of their peers as well as their teacher.
- Use of audio amplification devices also make it easier for these students to hear what is going on around them (amplifies sound, reduces background noise, feeds sound from the teacher's microphone directly into the student's hearing aid, etc.)
Accommodating Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing at Home
- Arrange study time for kids so that they know what is expected and their education is supported.
- Monitor academic progress and tutor one-on-one when possible to help support learning as well as being able to know if/when the child's grades start to slip due to their hearing or something else so that they can be accommodated properly.
- Learn communication strategies (ASL if necessary) and an awareness of deaf culture so that children can be a part of both hearing and deaf culture.
- Understand special education regulations, take an active role in their education, and become an advocate for an education that will maximize their potential.
- Provide a stable and loving environment for your children.
Deafness on TV: The Importance of Understanding Deaf Culture
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Smith, D. D. & Tyler, N. C. (2014). Introduction to contemporary special education.
Upper Saddle, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Teaching Strategies for Hearing Impaired Students: Disabilities Services: Retention and Student Success. (n.d.). Ferris State University. Retrieved April 26, 2015, from
Universal Design for Learning: Teaching Accommodations. (2015, January 1). University of Vermont. Retrieved April 26, 2015, from https://www.uvm.edu/~cdci/universaldesign/?Page=teaching-accommodations/deaf.php&SM=teaching-accommodations/submenu.html
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