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Special Education Resource Guide Disability Fact Sheet

Deaf and Hard of Hearing

1. Define hearing impairment, deafness, and hard of hearing.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), hearing impairment has a
special meaning. It is a permanent hearing loss or a decrease in hearing that is so significant it
negatively affects a child's performance in school or ability to learn.

2. Describe characteristics of students with hearing loss.

Speech Delays- Delays in the development of speech and language are classic
symptoms of hearing loss and deafness in children.
Communication Difficulties- The child might also have a peculiar voice, intonation,
pattern of speech or challenges with pronunciation.
Selective Hearing- Although it is relatively normal for children to "tune out" some
statements or commands from adults in authority, many children who seem to ignore
their parents are unable to hear them. Hearing-impaired children are often unable to
hear their names when called, and their behavior can be mistakenly labeled as
inattention or behavioral misconduct.
Behavioral Characteristics- Many children will turn up TVs or radios to an
inappropriate volume in an attempt to compensate for their sensory challenges. Children
struggling with deafness may also closely watch their peers to emulate behavior and
body language -- a symptom known as echopraxia. The American Academy of
Pediatrics notes that hearing-impaired children might appear dizzy or disoriented
because the nerves in the ears also control balance.

3. List classifications/types of hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss- when the nervous system is affected. It is caused by
conditions that affect the cochlea, eighth cranial nerve, spinal cord, or brain:
o Menieres disease
o Hearing loss of aging (presbycusis)
o Nerve injury from syphilis
o Hearing loss of unknown cause (idiopathic hearing loss)
o Nerve tumors
o Drug toxicity (such as aspirin and aminoglycosides)
Conductive Hearing Loss- when the portions of the ear that are responsible for
transmitting the sound to the nerves are affected. It is cause by conditions that affect the
ear canal, eardrum (tympanic membrane), and middle ear. Examples are:
o Ear wax blocking the ear canal
o Otitis media
o Osteosclerosis
4. Describe State of Wisconsin criteria for hearing loss. Note: MUST cite source of
Hearing impairment as a disability category is similar to the category of deafness, but it is not
the same. The official definition of a hearing impairment by the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA) is an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that
adversely affects a childs educational performance but is not included under the definition of
deafness.' Thus, knowing the definition of deafness is necessary to understand what sort
of disabilities are considered hearing impairments. A hearing loss above 90 decibels is generally
considered deafness, which means that a hearing loss below 90 decibels is classified as
a hearing impairment.

5. Discuss cause(s) of hearing loss.

A genetic abnormality
A congenital birth defect
Injury or trauma to the ear or skull
Persistent exposure to loud noises
Getting older
Ear wax or fluid in the ear

6. List and describe at least one resource specific to hearing loss. Note: A resource is not
an article on the Internet, but an organization specific to this disability category would be

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is committed to ensuring that all people

with speech, language, and hearing disorders receive services to help them communicate
Here you will find resources to help you understand communication and communication