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Hearing Impairments

Hearing Impairment
Fact Sheet
What is hearing impairment?

According to the National Dissemination Center
for Children with Disabilities, hearing loss is
generally described as slight, mild, moderate,
severe, or profound, depending upon how well a
person can hear the intensities or frequencies
most strongly associated with speech.
Impairments in hearing can occur in either or both
areas, and may exist in only one ear or in both
ears. When a student is negatively affected
because of a hearing loss that is either permanent
or variable, they have a hearing impairment.
However, hearing impairment is not the same as

What are the signs of hearing

A child with one or more of the following
signs may have hearing impairment:
-Does not babble or imitate sounds when
young (six months to one year).
-Has delayed or unclear speech.
-Substitutes or deletes sounds in words,
especially at the end of the word.
-Does not respond to sounds or own name.
-Is not startled by loud noises.
-Asks for things to be repeated often.
-Constantly turns up the volume on the TV
or radio.
-Struggles to correctly identify letter sounds
for a given letter.

How can hearing impairment affect students in

Children with hearing impairment have both their
expressive and receptive language affected.
Students with a hearing impairment do not hear the
same way peers or teachers do and we learn
language by hearing it. Students with a slight to
mild hearing impairments often benefit from speech
services. Students with hearing impairments may
struggle to become strong readers, most hearing
impaired students reach a fourth grade reading level
but struggle to go further when vocabulary and
phonics make reading difficult to decode new words
while reading. Having few hearing impaired
students read above a fourth grade level is not
because of intellectual problems. Unless there are
multiple impairments or disabilities, traditionally
students with hearing impairments work and
function on the same level as their grade level peers.

Tips for Teachers:

If there are students with hearing impairments in your
classroom here a few helpful suggestions:
-Speak clearly and at a normal rate, ensuring you are
facing the students and nothing is blocking your lips.
Students who rely on lip reading need to be able to see
your face.
-When having a class discussion, repeat other students
questions or answers so students have a second chance to
hear what is being shared.
-Graphic organizers or an outline of the days notes will
help students be able to follow along.
-Create visuals or specific gestures to quickly
communicate events such as emergencies.

For more information on hearing impairment please visit the following sites:

March of Dimes:
Parent Center Hub: