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Hearing Impairments Special Needs Factsheet

What Teachers Should Know

Some people are born with hearing impairments, while others incur hearing loss through injuries, infections, or even loud noises. About 28 million Americans are deaf or hearing impaired.

Some students may use hearing aids, which come in various forms that fit inside or behind the ear. Cochlear implants are surgically implanted devices that bypass the damaged inner ear and send signals directly to the auditory nerve. New technologies are making it possible for more hearing-impaired students to attend school and participate in activities with their hearing peers.

Students with hearing impairments may:

Kids and teens with hearing impairments may be self-conscious about their condition, especially around classmates.

What Teachers Can Do

Encourage your hearing-impaired students to participate in all classroom and extracurricular activities.

Most hearing-impaired students can lip-read to some extent, but try to determine how well. To help your hearing-impaired students lip-read, make sure to face them when you talk, talk slowly and clearly, and do not yell. As long as they have their amplifiers on, you can speak in a normal tone. Consider arranging chairs in your classroom in a circle so your hearing-impaired students can interact with classmates.

Use lots of pictures, graphics, and text labels. Try not to turn your back and speak while writing on a board. Remember: Many hearing-impaired students are visual learners.

Check with a special education teacher, speech-language pathologist, or school nurse to see if any assistive hearing devices or other technology might be helpful.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: September 2013

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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