Deafness And Hard Of Hearing

by Hannah Scott


Deafness: a severe hearing impairment that dimishes an individual's ability to process linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplifiication, that adversely affects his or her educational performance.

Hard of Hearing: an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely effects a child's educational performance, but that is not included under the definition of deafness.

From the U.S. Department of Education, 2006,root,regs,300,A,300%252E8,

Types of Hearing Loss:

  • Conductive Hearing Loss: Hearing loss that occurs in the outer or middle ear which prevents sound from reaching the inner ear. It is typically a treatable, temporary issue.
  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Hearing loss that occurs in the inner ear due to damage of the hair cells in the cochlea or the auditory nerve. Cochlear Implants (CIs) can sometimes aid an individual with SNHL, but the condition itself is almost always permanent (when CIs are taken off, the individual is 'deaf' again).
  • Mixed Hearing Loss: a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
  • Central Hearing Loss or Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder: Hearing loss that occurs in the central auditory system.

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Major Characteristics

  • Delayed Speech Development
  • Difficulty Communicating
  • Isolation
  • Difficulty Hearing

Impact on Learning: "Children who are hard of hearing will find it much more difficult than children who have normal hearing to learn vocabulary, grammar, word order, idiomatic expressions, and other aspects of verbal communication."

From The American Speech and Hearing Association


  • The number of Americans with a hearing loss has evidentially doubled during the past 30 years. Data gleaned from Federal surveys illustrate the following trend of prevalence for individuals aged three years or older: 13.2 million (1971), 14.2 million (1977), 20.3 million (1991), and 24.2 million (1993). An independent researcher estimates that 28.6 million Americans had an auditory disorder in 2000. This estimate is reasonably well within projections from the 1971–1993 trend line that evolved from Federal surveys
  • The number of children with disabilities, ages 6–21, served in the public schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B in the 2000-01 school year was 5,775,722 (in the 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico). Of these children, 70,767 (1.2%) received services for hearing. However, the number of children with hearing loss and deafness is undoubtedly higher, since many of these students may have other disabilities as well. Data by disability are not reported by the Department of Education for ages birth to 5 years.
  • Several studies indicate variance in the prevalence of newborns with congenital hearing loss in the United States. The overall estimates are between 1 to 6 per 1,000 newborns.
  • As many as 738,000 individuals in the U.S. have severe to profound hearing loss. Of these, almost 8% are under the age of 18

From The American Speech and Hearing Association

Katie Mahr Deaf School and Students BEA

Classroom Accomodations and Strategies


  • Interpreter
  • Note Taker
  • Sound Amplification Systems
  • Closed Captions for Videos


  • Use visual aids with few words, large images and fonts
  • Face students when talking
  • Repeat questions or comments that other students make
  • Allow time after sentences, or between thoughts, or after a question/comment
  • Write discussion questions/answers on a whiteboard
  • Use basic ASL in the classroom
  • Keep in mind that ASL interpreters are about 1 to 5 seconds behind you as you speak. This is because they are usually waiting for the idea behind your words so they can interpret it. ASL is not a word-for-word translation of your speech.

Teacher Resources

Reaching every learner: Differentiating instruction in theory and practice; University of North Carolina:

The Center on Disability and Community Inclusion, University of Vermont:

Teaching Strategies for Hearing Impaired Students; Ferris State University:

Teaching Strategies and Information on Lip Reading, Relay Services, and Interpreters; Community College of Aurora:

Strategies for the Home

  • American Sign Language/Fingerspelling
  • Assistive Technology
    • Captions: for TV, movies, Netflix, radio, etc.
    • Listening Devices: FM reciever, electro magnetic loop, infrared reciever etc.
    • Lights: flashing alerts for doorbell/knock, phone ring, alarm/smoke detector sounds, baby monitors, etc.
    • Video Phones: for face-to-face conversation

Additional Parent Resources

Helpful Books for Parents of Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Parenting the Child Who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing

App: CaptionFish

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  • Uses GPS technology to find the most local theaters showing captioned movies and provides showtimes and directions to the theaters
  • Finds out which type of captioning is used by the theater (Rear Window, Subtitling, Open Captioning, or USL Closed Captioning System)
  • Shows captioned trailers of movies
  • Provides information about upcoming captioned movie releases

Retrieved from:


Antia, S. (2013). Deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the mainstream. Retrieved from:

Pollack, B. J. (1997). Educating children who are deaf or hard of hearing: additional learning problems. Retrieved from:

Rochester Institute of Technology. (n.d.). Hard of hearing students. Retrieved from:

Paul, P., Whitelaw, G. (2011). Hearing and deafness: an introduction for health and education professionals.

Smith, D. D., & Tyler, N. C. (2014). Introduction to contemporary special education: new horizons. Boston: Pearson Education.