Interventions and Supports for School-Aged Learners with Hearing Loss


Effective teachers of the learners with hearing loss have always recognized the critical link between assessment and instruction in curricular areas. CEEDAR Center (2014) recommends some special things to consider when assessing learners with hearing loss. The learner’s level of hearing may delay communication, language, reading and writing and can impact the learner’s ability to demonstrate their academic knowledge; a delay in reading ability due to language can impact the student’s abilty to gain content knowledge; 25-50% of learners have an additional disability. For professionals, it is important that those assessing are trained or have experience assessing learners with hearing loss; that they know the difference between accommodation and modification; that they are fluent in the primary mode of communication the learner uses; and that they have made sure that the assessment is accessible for the learner. In addition it is important that the educational interpreter is knowledgeable about the student and the content to provide the best experience possible for the learner.

Hands and Voices provides a list of common assessments used for learners with hearing loss on their website.

The Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the state of Indiana has put together Guidelines for Assessment and Educational Evaluation of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. We hope to have a similar document for Ohio soon.


Assistive Technology and the Deaf Learner

For an overview of Assistive Technology (AT) in Ohio, please visit the Assistive Technology and Accessible Educational Materials Center website.

Although a learner may be described as Deaf, chances are they have some ability to hear. The amount of sound a person can hear is called "residual hearing". Technology does not "cure" hearing loss, but may help a learner make the most of their residual hearing. Using technology is a family, or school team choice, and there are many options, including:

  • Hearing aids
  • Cochlear implants
  • Bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHA)
  • Other assistive devices

Hearing aids make sounds louder. They can be worn by people of any age. There are many styles of hearing aids. They can help many types of hearing losses. A young child is usually fitted with behind-the-ear style hearing aids because they are better suited to growing ears.

Cochlear implants may help many learners with severe to profound hearing loss. It gives that child a way to hear when a hearing aid is not enough. Unlike a hearing aid, cochlear implants do not make sounds louder. A cochlear implant sends sound signals directly to the hearing nerve.

A cochlear implant has two main parts — the parts that are placed inside the ear during surgery, and the parts that are worn outside the ear after surgery. The parts outside the ear send sounds to the parts inside the ear.

Bone-anchored hearing aids are a type of hearing aid that can be considered when a child has either a conductive (Hearing loss caused by something that stops sounds from getting through the outer or middle ear. This type of hearing loss can often be treated with medicine or surgery), mixed (Hearing loss that includes both a conductive and a sensorineural hearing loss) or unilateral hearing loss (Hearing loss is in one ear) and is specifically suitable for children who cannot otherwise wear 'in the ear' or 'behind the ear' hearing aids.

Other Assistive Devices may include:

  • FM system. An FM system is a kind of device that helps people with hearing loss hear in background noise. FM stands for frequency modulation. It is the same type of signal used for radios. FM systems send sound from a microphone used by someone speaking to a person wearing the receiver. This system is sometimes used with hearing aids. An extra piece is attached to the hearing aid that works with the FM system.
  • Captioning. Many television programs, videos, and DVDs are captioned. Television sets made after 1993 are made to show the captioning. You don't have to buy anything special. Captions show the conversation spoken in soundtrack of a program on the bottom of the television screen.
  • Other devices. There are many other devices available for children with hearing loss. Some of these include:Text messaging, Telephone amplifiers, Flashing and vibrating alarms, Audio loop systems, Infrared listening devices, Portable sound amplifiers, and videophones.