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Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Posted Dec 12 2010 12:30pm

Students who are hard of hearing may use hearing aids. Students who use hearing aids will likely benefit from amplification in other forms such as assistive listening devices (ALDs) like hearing aid compatible telephones, personal neck loops, and audio induction loop assistive listening systems. Some students use FM amplification systems which require the instructor to wear a small microphone to transmit amplified sound to the student.

It is also important to remember that a person who is hard of hearing is not completely deaf. He or she will not automatically understand sign language or know how to read lips. These are skills acquired over time by those who are profoundly deaf, not necessarily those who have partial hearing loss. A person who is hard of hearing may be able to hear better from one ear than another, so speaking to that side exclusively may solve many communication problems.

Some people may wonder why a person who is chronically hard of hearing does not pursue medical treatment to improve their condition or obtain a hearing aid. There are many possible answers. Hearing aids can be prohibitively expensive for older people on limited incomes or those without sufficient health insurance. A professional audiologist can assess the level of hearing loss and suggest various treatments, but cannot force a client to obtain a hearing aids or undergo delicate surgery. Some people may also understand their hearing is not as good as it once was, but admitting such a decline can be socially or professionally embarrassing for them.

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