girl resting

Hearing Impairments

People use senses to explore the world around them. The senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell allow people to define the objects surrounding them, relate to one another, navigate through places, and learn things in school. Often people rely heavily on sound to exchange information. In the classroom, these senses are used regularly, so when individuals have hearing impairments, it adds extra obstacles toward achieving an adequate education. This paper will help define hearing, as well as, look at the impact of this sense in the classroom and explore resources available in the community to help those with hearing impairments.

girl resting

Hearing includes collecting and interpreting sound. This involves different components of the ears and brain to gather and translate sound waves or vibrations in the air (Turnbull, Turnbull, Shank, Smith, & Leal, 2002). According to Turnbull (2002, p. 518), the three separate components of the ear work like this, “the outer ear is the microphone in the studio, the middle-ear the radio transmitter, and the inner ear the radio receiver.” The main receptor organ for hearing is the cochlea, which is in the inner ear (Heward, 2003). It “consists of two fluid filled cavities and contains 30,000 tiny hair cells arranged in four rows” (Heward, 2005). The different components of this complex organ help to translate high and low tones that are in turn transmitted by the auditory nerve to the brain (Heward, 2003). This multifaceted system helps us to perceive sounds in our environment. When it is not working correctly, it can lead to hearing loss or deafness.

Medically deafness is defined with specific measurements. Decimals measure the intensity of sound (Turnbull et Al, 2002). Hertz measure the pitch of the sound (Heward, 2003). Some individuals with hearing loss can hear only specific hertz or decimals that are more exclusive than the array of hertz and decimals those without impairments can hear (Turnbull et Al, 2003). For example, they may hear a siren but not a waterfall.

Within education, according to IDEA, hearing impairments are defined by a loss that interferes with and negatively impacts a child’s educational performance (Turnbull et Al, 2002). Hearing loss normally creates a communication barrier that impacts the child’s education by distracting from age appropriate lessons and focusing more on getting simple points across (Turnbull et Al, 2002). Often in school, children who are deaf are challenged most by math and reading, but find difficulty in all academic areas (Heward, 2003). It also creates extra barriers in the child’s social interactions and can leave children feeling low self-esteems. Teachers have a special job in helping build the child’s communication skills, social interaction, academic achievements, and self-concept. There are many options for children and families with children who are deaf. There are technology and surgical procedures. There are special classes and schools. There are a variety of communication techniques. Within the school, Children who are deaf can find help in speech therapy, assistive technology, resource rooms, special classrooms, special schools, and other social programs.

The deaf community is a great group for the children to find a place where they fit in and find others that relate to them. Within Arizona, there are specific nights that people within the deaf community meet at a coffee house, go to a closed caption movie theatre, or out to the local bookstore. There are also schools geared toward the deaf, like the School for the Deaf and the Blind.


Heward, William L. (2003). Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special Education (7th ed.).Ohio: Merrill Prentice Hall.

Turnbull, Rud, Ann Turnbull, Marilyn Shank, Sean Smith, & Dorthy Leal (2002).Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Today’s Schools(3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Merrill Prentice Hall.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.