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  • Hearing impairment is a broad term which refers to hearing losses of varying degrees from "hard-of-hearing" to "total deafness." The major challenge facing students with hearing impairments is communication.

  • Hearing-impaired students vary widely in their communication skills. Among the conditions that affect the development of communication skills of persons with hearing impairments are personality, intelligence, nature and degree of deafness, degree and type of residual hearing, degree of benefit derived from amplification/ by hearing aid, family environment, and age of onset. Age of onset plays a crucial role in the development of language.
  • Persons with prelingual hearing loss (present at birth or occurring before the acquisition of language and the development of speech patterns) are more functionally disabled than those who lose some degree of hearing after the development of language and speech.

  • Students with hearing problems may have both experiential and language deficiencies. Because they do not hear environmental noises and day-to-day conversations, hearing-impaired children miss a great deal of crucial information usually learned incidentally by non-hearing-impaired children. Although students can overcome some of these problems to varying degrees through great investments of time, energy, and effort by parents and educators, such deficiencies continue to be fairly common within the hearing impaired population.

  • Not all deaf students are fluent users of all of the communication modes used across the deaf community, just as users of spoken language are not fluent in all oral languages. For example, not all deaf students lip-read; many use sign language - but there are several types of sign language systems. Finger-spelling is the use of the manual alphabet to form words.

  • Pidgin Sign English (PSE) combines aspects of ASL and English and is used in educational situations often combined with speech. Nearly every spoken language has an accompanying sign language.
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