Deafness and Hard of Hearing

Alyssa Kingkiner


Deafness and Hard of Hearing are hearing losses that impair one's understanding of sounds and communication.

Deafness is when one cannot understand words or sounds with or without a hearing aid and hearing is not the primary method of receiving information

Hard of Hearing is when information is gained through hearing, usually with a hearing aid

(Smith and Tyler 2014)

About Deafness and Hard of Hearing

2 to 3 out of 1000 children are born with detectable hearing loss. About 15% of Americans over 18 experience some type of hearing loss (NIDCD 2015). Deaf people tend to have a strong culture among other Deaf people and use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate. Deaf people who do not learn ASL at an early age often develop their reading and writing skills slower due to delayed language (Student Disability Services). It is common for Deaf children to learn ASL at a later age or not at all because over 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents (NIDCD 2015). Deaf or Hard of hearing students often rely on lip reading and hearing aids to help with communication.

How this Exceptionality Effects Learning

Deafness and Hard of hearing make it difficult for students to communicate with peers and teachers. This inhibits learning and improving social skills. Without the ability to communicate, students may miss out on instructions, information, and other important knowledge. Although people with this Exceptionality may rely on lipreading in certain situations, it does not provide the same understanding as hearing. Only about 30% of spoken english can be understood through lip reading (Student Disability Services).
What is it like to be DEAF?

Instructional Practices

One major characteristic of Deaf people is relying on lipreading and ASL to communicate. This can cause many problems in the classroom because most people do not know ASL and lipreading is unreliable. One accommodation that can be made is to have an interpreter in the classroom to translate everything that is spoken into ASL. 1. Another accommodation would be to always face toward the students when speaking so that any students that are hard of hearing can use lip reading along with their residual hearing. 2. Finally, a teacher should use a microphone for students that are hard of hearing with the amplifier either on their desk or integrated into their hearing aid. 3.

Strategies for in the Home

There are many accommodations and modifications that can be made in the home for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. One important modification is using flashing lights to convey information. The lights can be used to notify a person that someone is ringing the doorbell, the phone is ringing, a smoke alarm is going off, or to wake them up in the morning. Another modification is having a videophone or a TTY in place of a regular phone. A TTY is a teletypewriter, it allows Deaf and Hard of hearing people to call and receive calls through the Telecommunications Relay Service which listens to the hearing person speak and types to the Deaf or Hard of hearing person to read on a small screen, they will then say what the person types back to the hearing person. It is also important to keep a lot of open spaces to facilitate communicating with ASL. With open spaces it is easier to see people from across the room. More information on teletypewriters here
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Student Disability Services. Deaf/Hard of Hearing. Office of Student Disability Services. Retrieved April 25 2015.

NIDCD. 2015. Quick Statistics. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Retrieved April 26 2015.

Smith, D.D. 2014. Introduction to Contemporary Special Education: New Horizons. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.