Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

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  • 0:04 Deaf or Hard of Hearing?
  • 1:40 Hearing Loss
  • 2:29 Accommodations
  • 3:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Working with students who are deaf or hard of hearing requires a unique awareness along with special accommodations. This lesson explores the issues faced by the deaf and hard of hearing student.

Deaf or Hard of Hearing?

Take a moment to think about the sounds you have heard today. Perhaps you woke to an alarm clock. Maybe you heard the phone ring, listened to music, or were alerted that your breakfast was ready by the dinging of the microwave oven. As a student, how much do you rely on your sense of hearing?

Many of us take these day-to-day sounds for granted because we have no idea what life might be like without them. This is the reality for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and students who are hearing impaired face unique challenges. Let's take a moment to define the terms deaf and hard of hearing.

Being deaf means that the individual cannot hear at all or has very little hearing ability. Someone who is hard of hearing can usually hear some level of sound but may struggle to hear certain volumes, pitches or frequencies. Language becomes difficult for those who are very hard of hearing or deaf, and depending on their level of hearing loss, they may or may not speak.

It is estimated that 30 out of every 1000 school children are deaf or hard of hearing. Causes of hearing impairment include gradual hearing loss, or a decline in the ability to hear over time, and congenital hearing loss, or hearing impairment at birth.

Gradual hearing loss may be the result of aging, noise, or both. Age-related hearing loss happens when the middle and inner ear are damaged and change over time. Congenital hearing loss may be genetic. It may also be caused by exposure to a harmful substance in the womb, or some complication at birth.

No matter the type or severity of hearing loss, it can present unique challenges for students in the classroom.

Hearing Loss

Imagine if you couldn't hear all or even part of what was being said in the classroom? That would make it really tough to do well in school, wouldn't it? It would probably affect how you feel about school, yourself, and even your future opportunities.

Hearing impaired students face unique educational, psychological, and behavioral challenges in the classroom. They may experience frustration, withdrawal, anxiety, or embarrassment as a result of the limitations on their hearing. The future may not seem as bright for these students, as they may struggle to live independently and establish a career or relationships.

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