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How Does A Hearing Impairment Affect Learning?

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    If you have a hearing impairment, it can be challenging to keep up with what is happening in class. You may feel like you are falling behind or cannot do well in school. But did you know there are ways to help make learning easier for students with a hearing impairment? In this blog post, we will discuss some of the ways that a hearing impairment can affect learning and how you can help your child succeed in school.

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    How Common Is Childhood Hearing Loss?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 15 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 19 have a hearing loss of at least 16 decibels in one or both ears. A little less than one percent of the population has severe hearing loss.

    Even hearing loss in only one ear can have a significant effect on academic performance. According to research, anywhere from 25 to 35 percent of children who have hearing loss in only one ear are at risk of failing at least one grade level.

    Hearing And Learning Are Connected.

    Hearing loss that is not treated can lead to delays in the development of speech and language. These delays, in turn, can cause learning problems, which can frequently result in poor academic performance.

    Even a mild hearing loss can make it difficult to keep up with others, despite the fact that this type of hearing loss is the most difficult to detect and diagnose. This is due to the fact that children learn how to compensate for their hearing loss at a very young age, and the milder the hearing loss, the easier it is to do so. And parents might not be aware that their child can hear but is unable to comprehend what is being said. In the long run, however, this will come back to haunt them at school.

    Speech, Language And Vocabulary Development

    For instance, if a teacher faces the blackboard while instructing, rather than the class, his voice will be directed towards the board, which will cause students with hearing impairments to miss a portion of the lesson. Hearing loss can also make oral changes to homework assignments difficult to understand, make it more difficult to understand a teacher with an unfamiliar accent, and slow down the learning process.

    A child who has hearing loss faces challenges in the classroom not only related to the environment but also those that are inherent to the subject matter. Although hearing ability has an impact on every facet of academic success, the aspects most likely to be impacted are those dealing with the comprehension of linguistic concepts. A child with hearing loss will have a very difficult time understanding language concepts such as vocabulary, language arts, sentence structure, and idiomatic expressions.

    Inadequate academic performance can also be significantly influenced by factors such as frustration and confusion. A child with only mild hearing loss may have perfectly normal speech, but they may still have trouble hearing a teacher from a distance or when there is background noise. If you can begin to imagine the difficulty and confusion of not being able to hear the high-frequency consonants that impart meaning in the English language (ch, f, k, p, s, sh, t, and th), then you can begin to understand some of the academic struggles a child with hearing loss faces on a daily basis. For a child who has hearing loss, for instance, the words "chick" and "thick" might have the same sound.

    Social Struggles Due To Communication Challenges

    Hearing-impaired children may have difficulty communicating with their peers, in addition to the academic challenges they face at school. They frequently experience feelings of isolation and unhappiness because they are unable to communicate effectively, which is a necessary component of social interactions and positive peer relationships.

    Imagine a situation in which a child who is hard of hearing is excluded from social interactions or is unwilling to participate in group activities due to the fear that they will be embarrassed. In that scenario, the outcome is that she may become socially reclusive, which ultimately results in more unhappiness for her. Children with hearing loss also mature socially more slowly, which can make it difficult for them to form healthy relationships with their peers.

    How To Help Deaf Students In The Classroom

    Teachers are in a privileged position to assist students who have hearing impairments because they are equipped with the knowledge necessary to understand how a student with a hearing loss receives and comprehends information, as well as extensive information regarding the capabilities and level of comprehension of each individual student. Because early intervention is so important, some of the warning signs that teachers can look out for in the classroom include the following:

    Inappropriate responses to questions
    Having difficulty in following the directions.
    Speech problems

    A child who is having difficulty in school should have their hearing checked by a trained professional, particularly if there is a history of hearing loss in the child's family or if the child has had recurrent bouts of ear infections.

    You will be able to recommend an appropriate course of intervention and appropriate accommodations for hearing loss students based on the results. It is essential to intervene because a child who is supported both at school and at home has the best chance of succeeding in all aspects of life, including academics.

    If you suspect that your child has hearing loss, make an appointment with a paediatrician or a hearing healthcare professional in your area as soon as possible. Check out our directory of hearing care providers to find one in your area.

    Impact Of Hearing Loss On School Performance

    It does not make a difference whether a child has a mild or minimal hearing loss, tinnitus, sensorineural, or profound hearing loss; any amount of hearing loss will affect a child's performance in school, and this impact is frequently directly proportional to the severity of the hearing loss.

    Students who are deaf cannot participate in the daily conversations that take place around them, so they miss out on a significant amount of information. In addition to this, many words have the same sound to them, which means that they have to put in a lot of effort to try to differentiate between conversations that are happening around them and conversations that are happening with them specifically.

    The child may quickly become worn out as a result of the extra listening effort that is required continually and consistently. The following are some additional factors that contribute to tiredness caused by prolonged listening:

    Bombardment of Auditory Stimulation: If a child is using a hearing aid device, they are being subjected to a large amount of auditory stimulation that is very challenging to ignore. This is referred to as a "auditory bombardment."
    Learning to Recognize Speech Sounds Many words have the same sound or a sound that is very similar to it, which can make it difficult for children who have hearing loss to understand what they are hearing. They have to put in a significant amount of effort just to differentiate the sounds of speech, such as the difference between their mother and brother or between their father and daughter.
    When new information is presented to a student who has hearing loss, they expend the majority of their mental capacity trying to identify the speech sounds being presented to them. Because of this, they are left with very little cognitive capacity to process and remember the new information.
    Learning Under Stress – For students with normal hearing, the majority of these issues can be addressed with relative ease and require very little conscious thought on their part. Children who have a hearing disorder have to pay close attention to everything they hear and constantly learn new things, which can be very taxing and stressful for them. According to the findings of some studies, learning is completely impossible during times of high stress.

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    Impact Of Hearing Loss

    The following are some of the ways in which students who have hearing loss may have their learning processes impacted:

    In terms of the educational disadvantages they face, students who become deaf in early childhood can often be very different from students who lose their hearing at a later stage in life. For instance, they may have a restricted vocabulary, which, in turn, may have an effect on the level of English literacy they possess.
    Students who are deaf or hard of hearing may find that visual learning strategies best suit their needs. In an atmosphere in which the majority of vital information is transmitted solely through oral communication, this can prove to be a difficult task.
    It may be necessary for students who have hearing loss to make use of various forms of assistive technology in order to participate in class. This assisting technology might take the form of a laptop equipped with software like Skype, which is able to deliver captioning or Auslan interpreters. Listening devices are going to be the mode of delivery for some people. For some people, it will be a combination of technologies such as listening devices and software that runs on computers.
    The consequences of hearing loss can result in a delay in the reception of educational material. Students who require information to be transcribed from a tape are often required to wait for a considerable amount of time for this to be completed. It is necessary to take it into consideration when formulating reasonable deadlines for the completion of work for each individual student.
    Hearing-impaired students might get the impression that they are the only ones in the classroom. It is common for students to have few opportunities for social contact and interaction with one another; the resultant feeling of isolation or separateness may have an adverse effect on academic performance.
    It's possible that your participation and interaction in the tutorials will be restricted. Students who have trouble following the rhythm and picking up on the subtleties of rapid verbal exchange will be at a disadvantage.
    Some hearing-impaired students coming straight from the school system have been accustomed to a structured learning environment and may require adjustment when entering the learning environment of a post-secondary institution. It's possible that problems with communication and making adjustments will cause you to feel anxious about performing in front of other people. It may make it difficult for students to participate in tutorials, particularly those students whose hearing loss has had an effect on the development of their speech.

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    Teaching Strategies

    There is a wide variety of inclusive teaching methods that can be of use to students of all different learning styles. In spite of this, the following techniques can be helpful when instructing a class that contains students who have hearing impairments:

    Encourage students who have trouble hearing to move closer to the front of the lecture hall so that they can see clearly and have a clear path to follow. It is of utmost significance if the student is relying on visual cues, lip-reading, an interpreter, or a hearing aid that has a restricted frequency range. Be mindful that some of your students might not feel comfortable following this suggestion, or that they might have alternative methods. Honor the decisions that they've made.
    In the theatre where the lecture is being given, assistive listening devices such as induction loops should be used. Hearing aids may come equipped with transmitter and receiver systems, as well as a clip-on microphone that can be worn by the lecturer. It is not necessary to alter the way you speak or teach in order to make use of a microphone of this type.
    Make sure that there is as little background noise as possible.
    Before answering any questions that students ask during the lecture or class, repeat any questions that they ask.
    When you are facing the blackboard, you should not speak. Be aware that keeping your hands, books, or a microphone in front of your face can make it more difficult for people who read lips to understand what you're saying. Students who lip-read are unable to function in environments that are too dark. There is a possibility that you will need to make some changes to the lighting in your classroom. If a sign language interpreter is used, it is important to adhere to the guidelines provided for collaborating with a sign language interpreter.
    When a student watches an interpreter take notes from an overhead or blackboard, it can be challenging for them to follow along. It is not possible for an interpreter to simultaneously translate your words and any information that is provided on an overhead. Therefore, each piece of information ought to be made available in the form of handouts.
    It would be helpful if you could supply written materials to accompany all of the lectures, tutorials, and laboratory sessions. Both verbal and written communication should be used when making announcements pertaining to class times, activities, fieldwork, industry visits, and the like.
    Make it possible for students to record your lectures, or better yet, make copies of your lecture notes available to them. Students who have trouble accessing information in the typical ways can also benefit greatly from the flexible delivery of instructional materials through electronic media. Students who have hearing loss can close many of the gaps in their education with the help of new technology, and the internet in particular.
    Make sure that students have access to lists of the topic-specific jargon and technical terms as early as possible in the class. These are skills that they will need in order to succeed. If an adjustment is going to be made, such as the use of interpreters or captioning, make sure that the professionals who are providing the service have access to this list as soon as possible.
    Captions need to be provided for any videos or films that are used, if at all possible. If this cannot be done, you will need to think of other ways for students who have hearing impairments to access the information in the event that this is not possible.
    During tutorials, you can help students who lip-read by having the student sit directly opposite you. You should also make sure that the student can see all of the other participants, if at all possible. Maintain order in the conversation by requiring that each participant take turns speaking.
    Students who have hearing loss may feel more comfortable having another student present their tutorial papers, particularly if the hearing loss is associated with speech difficulties.
    Depending on the age at which hearing loss first manifests itself, language skills are frequently affected. Students who suffered a hearing loss at a young age are more likely to have difficulties with reading and writing. Students who have hearing loss may benefit in some situations from having reading lists provided to them well in advance of the beginning of a course. If necessary, consider personalising these reading lists, and use them as a guide for important texts.
    Permit students to complete assignments or reviews based on an in-depth study of a select few texts rather than a general study of a large number of texts.
    When using Auslan interpreters and live remote captioning, it's possible that teaching methods will need to be modified, particularly in regard to the pace at which students are expected to learn. In order to identify any potential changes early on, early consultation with the service providers is recommended.
    When live remote captioning is provided, the transcript of a session can typically be evaluated within twenty-four hours of its completion. It is strongly suggested that these be sent via email to the student directly so that an accurate reference record can be maintained.

    About Hearing And Development

    Children develop their ability to talk and understand language more quickly when they are exposed to sounds and words. A child who has hearing loss will not be able to experience these sounds. Reading, academic achievement, and social skills may all suffer as a result of this issue.

    Hearing impairment in children can result in the following:

    Language and speech development that is behind schedule
    Problems with learning while at school
    Having negative feelings about himself.
    Having trouble making friends
    Read on for more information about potential issues that may arise for children who have hearing loss.


    Children who are hard of hearing take longer to master new vocabulary than their hearing-impaired peers. They might also:

    Acquire concrete vocabulary such as "cat," "jump," "five," and "red." On the other hand, they could have difficulty understanding abstract concepts like before, equal to, and shy. They are not permitted to use words such as the, an, are, or a.
    Find it difficult to differentiate between the various meanings of a word. Consider the word "bat" for a moment. It could refer to an animal that can fly or the ball that was used to play baseball. It is possible that a child who has hearing loss will not comprehend these meanings.
    As they get older, children with hearing loss will fall further behind children with normal hearing. Children who have hearing loss are unable to make up for lost ground without assistance.


    Children who have hearing loss may have difficulty following and using the structure of sentences. They might also:

    Children with hearing loss understand and use shorter sentences than their hearing peers.
    have difficulty with longer and more complicated sentences. It is forbidden for them to include clauses in their sentences. The sentence "I will eat dinner when I get home," for instance, is an example of a clause. They are not permitted to use the passive voice. One phrase that illustrates this usage is "Mary threw the ball."
    Have difficulty hearing word endings such as -s and -ed, for example. It's possible that they don't understand plural words or don't use them, like cats. They might not talk about things like walking in the past tense. Additionally, possessives such as Bob's can be challenging to either hear or use correctly.


    Children with hearing loss cannot hear sounds well. They may have problems speaking clearly. They may:

    • Not use sounds like s, sh, f, t, or k. These are quiet sounds that are hard to hear.
    • Not hear their voices when they speak. 

    School Success

    Children with hearing loss have trouble in school. Reading and math may be the hardest for them. Some facts about hearing loss and school success include:

    • Children with mild to moderate hearing loss may fall one to four grade levels behind without help.
    • Children with more severe hearing loss may not learn past the third- or fourth-grade level. School support will help them do better.
    • Children with hearing loss do not do as well as children with normal hearing. The gap between them grows over time.
    • Children with hearing loss will do better in school if they get help early. It includes support at home from parents and families.

    Social Skills

    Hearing loss can make it harder to talk with others. Children may not want to talk or play with other kids. Children with hearing loss may:

    • Feel alone and like they have no friends.
    • Be unhappy in school.

    You, as the parent of a child who has a hearing impairment, may be concerned about how this condition will influence your child's capacity for academic success in school. Unfortunately, your worries are not unique; studies have shown that children who have hearing impairments frequently struggle to keep up with the rest of their classmates in school.

    It's possible that they have to work twice as hard to compensate for the fact that they are missing out on auditory information. Nevertheless, success in school and beyond is possible for your child if you provide them with the resources and methods they need. Continue reading for more information about the impact that hearing impairments have on a child's ability to learn and the steps you can take to assist your child in achieving success.

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    Misdiagnosis Leads To Real Learning Problems.

    Children who have hearing loss can achieve the same levels of success as their hearing peers if they receive treatment in the form of paediatric hearing aids or cochlear implants. On the other hand, if a child's hearing loss is not properly diagnosed and treated, it can have consequences that are analogous to those of a learning or behavioural disorder.

    A child who has difficulty hearing will have difficulty keeping up, may become agitated and act out in class, or may disengage from the lessons being taught. Unfortuitously, this might result in getting checked for other conditions like learning disabilities, ADD, or ADHD. In the long run, this can have an effect on their sense of self-worth, which can then lead to behavioural issues.

    She explained this in a blog post about her experience where she discussed her hearing loss. "Hearing loss is a real and possible cause of behavioural and learning problems," she wrote. Always begin by assuming the child has a hearing loss and then have them undergo testing.

    Millions of students around the world struggle with academics. Dr. Study provides a variety of online learning and tutoring programs to assist your child to get ahead.


    A person's ability to learn can be hindered in a number of different ways if they have hearing loss. A common challenge is having difficulty understanding speech, keeping up with conversations, and learning in an environment with a lot of background noise.

    If you have a child who is having difficulty in school and you have any reason to believe that they may have a hearing impairment, you should have your child evaluated as soon as you possibly can. Helping children who have hearing impairments reach their full potential in life starts with getting them intervention as early as possible.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    The impact of hearing loss can affect a student's ability to learn. Many students with hearing loss may find the acoustics in a classroom challenging and may experience problems with literacy. 

    There is also a proven link between hearing loss and dementia, showing that those who suffer from hearing loss experience a mental decline of the auditory cortex. It is the part of your brain that processes sound frequencies, and it needs to be kept active for you to hear well.

    Language is learned through exposure to sounds. Children pick up words they hear in their environment. Therefore, children must be able to hear speech clearly and hear themselves. If your child suffers from hearing loss, you will often delay their basic language development.

    Students with hearing impairment may appear isolated in the learning environment. The possibility for social contacts and interaction with other students is often limited, and this isolation or separateness may impact learning. Confidence, self-esteem, and on their approach to learning.

    Hearing impairment is a major limitation in communication. It can obstruct psychological development, development of social skills and motor development. The overall results of this systematic review indicate that the children with hearing impairment exhibit suboptimal levels of motor skills, especially balance.

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