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Dr. Susan Easterbrooks Professor, GSU Dr. Nanci Scheetz Professor, VSU

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1 Dr. Susan Easterbrooks Professor, GSU Dr. Nanci Scheetz Professor, VSU
10 Things You Should Know about Hearing Loss: Orientation to Terminology and to the Population Dr. Susan Easterbrooks Professor, GSU Dr. Nanci Scheetz Professor, VSU

2 I. How many school-aged children have a hearing loss?
24th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of IDEA ( The 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, schools served the following numbers during the school year Ages ,243 Ages ,662

3 What does this mean to you as a general education teacher?
Around the same year there were about 65,000,000 children in school, or 1 per This means that most likely sometime during your years of teaching, you WILL have at least one child with a hearing loss in your class, or at least in your school building. Depending on the size of your school/district/state, you may have several. Hearing loss is a low incidence disability. Most children are educated with 6 or fewer of their peers. Some attend schools for the deaf, where there may be a dozen or more students of the same age, and many are the sole student with a hearing loss in their county. Many counties share the services of one teacher of the deaf.

4 II. What causes a hearing loss?
Prenatal Genetics/heredity (most common prenatal cause) Syndromes Ototoxic agents Perinatal Prematurity/low birth weight Birth trauma- low oxygen, severe jaundice, etc. Viral infections (cytomegalovirus, congenital syphillis) Postnatal Meningitis (most common postnatal cause) Significant ear infections and ototoxic agents In about ½ of the cases, the cause is unknown.

5 It is important to talk with someone knowledgeable about causes of deafness because different causes lead to different problems for the child. E.g., CMV- likelihood of additional disabilities Genetics- likelihood of other members in the family with hearing loss

6 III. What are some basic definitions that I need to know?
IDEA 2007 defines hearing loss in this manner An impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness. Deafness means a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing with or without amplification, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. In other words, a deaf child is one who cannot understand spoken communication even with a hearing aid. A hard of hearing child is one who can hear spoken communication, but this does not necessarily mean that he understands it.

7 Two misunderstood terms
Hearing impaired Although this term is still used by the Fed, it is not preferred by members of the Deaf community Deaf and deaf “Deaf” refers to an individual who identifies himself as a member of the Deaf community “deaf” with a small d refers to a designation on an audiogram (described later)

8 IV. Are all children with hearing loss totally deaf?
In reality, most children with hearing loss can still hear SOME information, but this is often more of a curse than a blessing. Because they can hear SOME things, most people expect them to hear ALL things, and this is not what happens. For example, the child might hear you say “ship”, but because he can’t hear “sh”, he thinks you said “chip.” As you can imagine, this will be a problem as the child is learning to talk and to read.

9 Another way to define a hearing loss is by degrees of loss
Typically these are: 0-15 dB Normal Minimal Hearing Loss Mild Hearing Loss Moderate Hearing Loss Moderately Severe Loss Severe Hearing Loss >90 dB Profound Hearing Loss (Categories from the National Institutes of Health)

10 V. What learning characteristics are associated with the different degrees of hearing loss?
The tip sheet associated with this PowerPoint presents the characteristics and needs of children with differing degrees of hearing loss. 0-15 dB Normal Minimal Hearing Loss Some minor confusion of sounds Mild Hearing Loss May influence vocabulary and phonics development Moderate Hearing Loss Definite influence on communication development Need support. Moderately Severe Loss Cannot access spoken communication without amplification and modifications Severe Hearing Loss May not be able to access spoken communication even with amplification. May need alternative communication options. Require significant instructional assistance. Tips and Facts

11 VI. What is an audiogram, and why is it important?
An audiogram is a graphic representation of a person’s hearing or auditory responses (another word is “thresholds” or the “softest” sound detected 50 percent of the time). Across the horizontal plane of an audiogram are frequencies in Hertz (Hz), or “pitch” information of the sounds presented during a hearing evaluation. On the vertical plane of the audiogram are labels for “loudness,” measured in decibels (dB) For more information on reading an audiogram, consult your school’s audiologist or teacher of the deaf, or go to

12 Why do we need to look at a child’s audiogram?
We make decisions about surgery, communication options, auditory training, and speech approaches based on the audiogram. It is also important so that parents know what to expect their child to respond to in the environment.

13 VII. What is the “Speech Banana” and what does it tell me?
The audiogram to the right demonstrates different sounds and where they would be represented on an audiogram. The yellow, banana-shaped figure represents all the sounds that make up the human voice when speaking at normal conversational levels.

14 Interpretation This represents the hearing of an individual with normal hearing in the low frequencies sloping to a severe high frequency hearing loss in the left ear ( blue Xs)and a moderate to severe hearing loss in the right ear(red Os).

15 Results The listener is able to hear all the low and mid speech sounds but is not able to hear the high pitch speech sounds in the left ear. The listener is not able to hear any normal speech sounds in the right ear. This person would rely on the left ear for speech understanding and would experience difficulty hearing in noisy environments. For additional examples, go to:

16 VIII. What does in mean when some says that the deaf/hard of hearing population is heterogeneous?
The population of children with hearing loss is not a homogeneous population. Every child is different. What you do for one child may be totally ineffective with another because there are so many differences to consider.

17 These include: Deaf or hard of hearing (degree of hearing loss)
Additional learning disorders or not Early identification and intervention or not Early, appropriate amplification Presence or absence of another deaf person in the home Home language Age at which child began schooling and number of years in school.

18 IX. There are many different ways we can increase the likeliness that a child has access to sound.
Although these will be described in greater detail in an upcoming PowerPoint, here are some commonly used listening devices: Sound field amplification system Individual aids (digital and programmable) Group amplification systems Cochlear implants

19 X. Ways to communicate visually with a child who is deaf
There are many different ways we can represent English Signed English, Signing Exact English, Cued Speech, Fingerspelling, etc. American Sign Language is its own unique language, separate from signed version of English, and separate from signed forms from other countries. These will be described in greater detail in a later PowerPoint presentation in this series.

20 References and Resources
Location of the 24th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of IDEA. This site have hundreds of fact sheets and other resources on deafness. This site has hundreds of resources and suggestions and was developed by teachers and parents. This site was developed by folks in teacher preparation. Along with the PowerPoint presentations in this series, you will find lots of teaching suggestions.

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