The Needs Of The Hearing Impaired

Problems with hearing impairment are hindering the learning progress for almost a fifth of the 5 % of school aged children with some degree of hearing loss. Like many other disabilities, early detection of the problem is critical. In order to help identity the problem, Ernest R. Nilo offers up some signs of hearing impairment including more response to vibration and touch than to speech and sound, little or no babbling during infancy, delayed speech and language development, communication of wants through gestures rather than speech, frequent requests to have things repeated, irrelevant answers, and more.

If a parent thinks that their child may be hearing impaired the best course of action it to get them tested, which can lead to a proper identification of which part of the ear is responsible for the hearing impairment. The deaf are divided into 2 categories, "congenitally deaf" for those who are born deaf, and "adventitiously deaf" for those whose hearing becomes nonfunctional despite being born with normal hearing. Early identification is very important also because this is an impairment that can be corrected if identified early enough.

Teachers need to understand that a variety of things assist the hearing impaired such as facial expressions, gestures, body movements, and the immediate physical setting.

I also learned some helpful suggestions for teaching the hearing impaired from the book "Train Go Sorry." First, you need to look at a deaf person when speaking to them. You should not exaggerate the movements of your mouth, but focus on speaking clearly. You should use your voices, not just lip your words, because many deaf people can hear some sound with the help of their hearing aids. If you want the attention of a deaf person you should stomp or tap them, anything that sent a vibration that they could feel (Cohen 4). Never speak to a deaf person if you are behind them. And most of all, never assume there is something you just can’t communicate to them. You can not give up on their ability, it is crushing.

If early detection is successful, Nilo presents several programs that can assist the hearing impaired like programs in speech reading, auditory training, speech conservation, speech correction, and language development.


Cohen, Leah Hager. "Train Go Sorry: Inside a Deaf World." Vintage Books. New York, NY. 1995

Nilo, Ernest R. "Needs of the Hearing Impaired." The American Journal of Nursing, Vol 69, No 1, January 1969. pg 114-116.