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Describing the Impact of Hearing Loss to Parents/Teachers

How to Explain the Impact of Hearing Loss
to Teachers and Peers

Rather like trying to describe a new color of the rainbow that is not visible to most people, it is challenging to describe the affects and potential impact of hearing loss. Go to this page for a list of many audio and video materials that assist in understanding how hearing loss can impact listening, development, access to instruction, socialization and overall learning.

Experience is the most effective teacher. Think of how children learn to avoid items that are hot. Adults again and again describe that something hot can hurt the child but the real learning occurs when the child reaches out and finds out what ‘hot’ really means.

Demonstrations/Simulations of Hearing Loss and Listening with Amplification Devices
Earplugs to simulate listening challenges.
Listening Comprehension Exercise – Mother’s Aprons Activity to demonstrate classroom listening challenges as teacher(s) plug ears with fingers.

Teachers are busy!  Inservicing the classroom teacher often occurs in the fall during a time when the newness of the school year can be almost overwhelming. Scheduling a half-hour or greater block of time is often unrealistic. Leaving a packet of information all too often goes unread in the flurry of other demands on the teacher’s time. The most effective inservice may be material that fits into only 10 minutes!  Regular follow-up with tidbits can be very effective too!
Inservicing the Classroom Teacher
Relationship of Hearing Loss to Listening to Learning Needs handouts
Understanding Your Student’s Aided Hearing Using the Desired Sensation Level (DSL) Approach
FM Inservice PPT pdf: What you need to know
Emailable Tips for Teachers

Parents may be overwhelmed. Audiograms mean little when a parent is struggling to reconcile that their young child has special learning considerations. What information can be used to ‘break through’ and provide a meaningful way for families to understand how a hearing loss impacts their child and all future communication dynamics in their home life. Along with the audio simulations of hearing loss, the following materials may be of benefit:

Infants and Toddlers
Early Listening Function (ELF) checklist for parents of infants/toddlers
ELF Background Information and Scoring Examples      ELF in Spanish
Language is Caught, Not Taught
Language Unlocks Learning
Parent Resources – Infants and Toddlers with Hearing Loss


Children’s Home Inventory of Listening Difficulties (CHILD) checklist for parents of children age 3-12 years  CHILD in Spanish     CHILD in French   CHILD in Arabic

CHILD in Chinese   CHILD in Welsh  Understanding How Well Your Child Hears with Hearing Aids
Starting School LIFE (Listening Inventory For Education) for transition to school or a new school ages 3-12 years

Example Impact Statement

As part of identifying a student’s present level of performance and for IEP development it is necessary to provide a statement that summarizes the impact of the hearing loss on educational performance. The following is an impact statement for an example student that has been developed by Krista Yukow, educational audiologist, and included here with her generous permission:

It is absolutely critical to understand that hearing aids do NOT fix a hearing loss. Even with his hearing aids Tyler will continue to experience gaps in his hearing and understanding. This was observed this in a quiet, close environment and will occur even more often during: communication containing new vocabulary, fast-paced speech, speech from a distance of greater than 3 feet, when there is any amount of background noise, group discussions and communication that includes figurative language.  

It is important to understand that Tyler perceives himself as comprehending all that is said, as he hears more than he misses. He can actually “hear” without his FM/DM device and even without his hearing aids. As a result he perceives himself as “understanding” the entire auditory message. He does not know what he can’t hear, since he can’t hear it.

The complication is that the speech sounds and syntax structures that he doesn’t hear are the THE MOST important ones for speech understanding.  It is the minute details of speech that Tyler will not be able to access without his hearing aids and FM/DM system (e.g. the cats drink vs. the cat drinks). Continued use of both pieces of amplification technology are critical in ensuring Tyler’s access to the verbal instruction and to class discussion.

Updated May 2017. Sincere thanks to Krista Yukow for her review and revision of this web information.