American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Information for Educators

Hearing loss can lead to numerous problems in school. Students with hearing loss can have difficulty with academic achievement, including language arts, vocabulary, arithmetic, and problem solving. They score lower on achievement tests, and have greater needs for special education or extra support in the classroom. Hearing loss can also cause social development problems.

Here are three things educators can take to help prevent hearing loss in their students 

1. Incorporate the topic of noise and hearing loss into your lesson plans or a classroom activity.

Help students learn to identify the sources of noise in their lives, what they can do to keep noise levels down, and how they can protect their hearing. Use noise in the classroom as an example. (View lesson plans and classroom activities about noise and hearing loss.)

2. Be informed and aware about the implications of hearing loss in children.

Hearing loss can affect a child in many ways including social interaction, communication skills, behavior, emotional development, and academic performance.

Children with hearing loss typically exhibit delays and/or difficulty with:

  • Tasks involving language concepts
  • Auditory attention and memory, and comprehension
  • Receptive and expressive language
  • Syntax, semantics, and vocabulary development
  • Speech perception and production

Academics: Children with hearing loss may have: Problems in various subjects, including language arts, vocabulary, reading, spelling, arithmetic, and problem solving

  • Lower scores on achievement and verbal IQ tests
  • Greater need for enrollment in special education or support classes

Socially: Children with hearing loss may:

  • Have self-described feelings of isolation, exclusion, embarrassment, annoyance, confusion, and helplessness
  • Refuse to participate in group activities
  • Act withdrawn or sullen
  • Exhibit lower performance on measures of social maturity
  • Have significant problems following directions

3. Be aware of the warning signs.

Does your student...

  • Frequently misunderstand what is said and want things repeated?
  • Have difficulty following verbal instructions and/or respond inconsistently?
  • Get distracted easily?
  • Have difficulty listening or paying attention when there is noise in the background?
  • Have speech and/or language problems?
  • Have a short attention span or poor memory for sounds or words?
  • Have trouble identifying and/or localizing sounds?
  • Have reading, spelling, and other academic problems?
  • Have self-described feelings of isolation, exclusion, annoyance, embarrassment, confusion, and helplessness?
  • Have behavior problems?

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