The Noise Can Be Awful For Those With Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a disability that affects individuals of all ages that can either be genetic or can occur because of an accident or illness subsequent to birth. In researching the effects of hearing loss on students and how educators can accommodate students with hearing impairments, I found an article in the Washington Post discussing the irritating noises that individuals with hearing loss experience on a daily basis. Before reading this article, I did not know that tinnitus, a ringing noise or high pitched whining sound, was a symptom associated with hearing loss. Tinnitus is a condition where the inner ear produces noise at the frequency range where there has been hearing loss.

The author describes the noises that she hears as “intrusive” because they frequently amplify without warning. Her example was instead of hearing a knock at the door she hears a loud crash, which medical professionals call a tympanic interruption. Many individuals with hearing loss are forced to learn how to adapt to a world that is filled with whistling and buzzing noises that occur constantly through the day and night. There are different forms of treatment for this condition, one of which involves the retraining of the brain. The brain is retrained with a device similar to a hearing aid that produces low-level noise. Another form of treatment involves the desensitization to sound by producing a noise that is just beneath a level of discomfort.

The author ends her article with a discussion on background noise and how it is extremely problematic for individuals experiencing or who have experienced hearing loss. When individuals with hearing loss are in a noisy environment or gathering, it is difficult for them to distinguish between conversations and they often become confused with the topic or direction of a conversation due to amount of noise they are hearing. The facts presented by the author, who is currently experiencing hearing loss and the symptoms of tinnitus, provide many implications for accommodating students with hearing impairments in our classrooms. Teachers must provide these students with a quiet and comfortable environment in order to minimize the amount of background noise that the students are exposed to. It is also important that the educator be mindful of the frustration that students with hearing loss may be experiencing throughout the course of a school day and at home. Students may have difficulty concentrating or completing assignments because of the intrusive noises they are hearing. Differentiating assignments and providing extended time for completion of work are two of the most important accommodations that teachers need to provide students with tinnitus. I also believe that it is extremely important to build a culture in your classroom where students feel safe and comfortable so that student, particularly those with disabilities or impairments, do not hesitate to inform you of what they are experiencing and how you can better help them throughout the class period or school day.

The link to the Washington Post article is below:

1. Mestayer, Kathi. For Those with Hearing Loss, the Noice Can Be Awful. (2007, June
5). The Washington Post, p. HE05.

This Wikipedian assignment is provided by Emily Greenlee