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Hearing Impairment

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    Melanie Elletson EDU330 The Exceptional Learner Hearing impairment paper Due May 2, 2007 According to Rena Lewis and Donald Doorlag, authors of Teaching Special Students in General Education Classrooms, a hearing impairment is a disability characterized by a decrease in ability to hear (pg 425). A child with a hearing impairment has trouble hearing sounds in the range of normal human speech. There area three basic types of hearing impairments: sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss.

    Along with these impairments there are many different signs that as parents and teachers we can look for so that we can have accurate testing done. Once the impairment is identified we can decide what type of amplification device is best for the child. Finally there are several tips to help both teachers and parents. Having a hearing impairment is exactly that an impairment, it is not something that will prevent anyone from having a normal life. A child can have one of three basic types of hearing impairments: sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss.

    If a child does have a hearing impairment they most likely have sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss or SNHL accounts for about 90% of all hearing loss which is about 8% of our population. Conductive hearing loss is the second most common form of hearing loss, it affects only about 0. 8% of the population. Finally the third and most rare type of hearing impairment is mixed hearing loss. The third and moat rare type of hearing impairment is mixed hearing loss, which is when a person has both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.

    The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association considers sensorineural hearing loss damage to the inner ear or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss not only involves a reduction in sound level, or ability to hear faint sounds, but also affects speech understanding, or ability to hear clearly. This type of hearing impairment can be caused by disease, a birth injury, drugs use while pregnant, or it can be genetically passed on.

    Sensorineural hearing loss has also been known to occur as a result of working around loud noises (rock stars, construction workers), viruses, head trauma, aging, and tumors. Unfortunately sensorineural hearing loss cannot be medically or surgically corrected, it is a permanent hearing impairment. Conductive hearing loss is when sound is not conducted efficiently through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the tiny bones of the middle ear (The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association).

    When a person has a conductive hearing impairment they never totally loose all their hearing, but it does cause a loss of volume. Although many sounds may become to quiet to be heard, those that are heard sound clear and are not distorted. A person with this type of hearing loss can often have it corrected surgically or with a medical treatment. There area many causes for this type of hearing impairment: fluid in the middle ear from a cold, impacted earwax, an infection in the ear canal, or even the presence of a foreign body (paper, cotton).

    If this is a condition that a child is continuously getting it could cause the child to have serious learning difficulties and perform poorly in school. Repeated ear infections may also cause a child’s hearing loss advance itself to sensorineural hearing loss, which means that there has been damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear or auditory nerve. Signs of a hearing impairment are very important to watch for especially in young children because the longer impairment goes unnoticed the worse off it is for the child.

    The Department of Health and Human Services list a few of the sings we should look for in children: child does not turn toward source of a sound by three to four months of age, pays attention to vibration noises or noises that can be felt, rather than heard, does not say single words, such as “dada” or “mama” by one year of age, turns head when he or she sees you but not if you only call out his or her name (this is sometimes mistaken for the child not paying attention), and finally they hear some sounds but not other sounds.

    As children get older three years and above there are other signs to look for adds Strong Health Audiology these may consists of using excessively high volumes when watching TV or listening to the radio, responding in appropriately to questions asked, or failing to answer when being talked to, intently watching others so that they can imitate what they are doing, experiencing speech problems or they have delayed speech, they may also be having difficulty in school, and they may also speak differently than other children of the same age.

    When any of these signs are noticed an assessment should be done. Assessment for a hearing impairment is very important, a hearing screening test will separate you into two groups: a passing group and a failing group. The ones who pass the screening are presumed to have no hearing loss. If you fail you are in need of an extensive evaluation which would be performed by an audiologist and you may also need follow-up care from other professionals. Tests for hearing impairments can be performed any time from birth through adult years.

    According to the Hearing Loss Association of America “more than 7 million children are diagnosed with a hearing impairment, many of these can be present at birth, or they can develop later in life. The percentages rise when an infant is born with another serious medical problem. Many times hearing impairments are not detected until a child reaches the ages between two and four. Detection often occurs during these years because it is such a critical period for children to develop language.

    If there is a failure to identify a hearing impairment at this age it can cause serious implications for a child’s speech later in life. There are many different tests that can be performed to determine what type and the severity of the hearing impairment. The tympanometry assists in the detection of fluid or wax buildup in the middle ear. The pure-tone audiometry is completed in a soundproof room that has special wall, ceiling and floor that guarantee there will be no background noise to affect the results of the test. This tests different tones, frequencies and pitches.

    A speech reception threshold test determines the faintest level at which a person can hear and correctly repeat easy to distinguish two syllable words. Once all the assessments are complete the audiologist will make suggestions for amplification devices. Hearing aids and cochlear implants are a few ways to help people with hearing impairments. A hearing aid is an electronic device that amplifies and changes sound to allow for better communication. A hearing aid is best suited for someone that is hard of hearing not deaf.

    A hearing aid receives sound through a microphone which then converts the sound waves to electronic signals an amplifier then increases the loudness of the signals and then sends the sounds to the ear through a speaker. A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that can provide sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. The implant does not restore normal hearing; it gives a deaf person a useful representation of the sounds in the environment and helps them understand speech.

    The implant consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin. A cochlear implant has a microphone that picks up sounds from the environment, a speech processor that selects and arranges sounds picked up by the microphone, a transmitter and a receiver that receives signals from the processor and converts them into electronic impulses, and finally an electrode array which is a group of electrodes that collect the impulses from the stimulator and send them to different regions of the auditory system.

    Sign Language is the most familiar aid to us, because we see it you can’t always see a hearing aid or cochlear implant but when a person with a hearing impairment starts speaking with there hands you can see. Sign language as defined by the Oxford American Dictionary is a system of communication used among and with deaf people, consisting of gestures and signs made by the hands and face. People with a hearing impairment commonly use sign language manual communication, body language and lip patterns instead of sound to convey meaning.

    As with any language signing can differ from region to region, but it is significantly easier to pick up on than any foreign spoken language. What can you so when you are working with children with hearing impairments or hearing loss? There are many things that you can do for these children at school and at home. The most important thing to always remember is to make sure that the child can see your lips and facial expressions when you are talking never talk with your back turned to the student. Speak naturally and not too loudly remember the child maybe wearing a hearing aid.

    Try not to move around too much when you are speaking, if you have to move about, be sure to try and face the child as much as possible. Do not overuse hand gestures; keep in mind that children do not like to be treated differently. Always ensure that directions, assignments, instructions are understood before the child begins working. Ask the child to repeat instructions and directions back to you, rather than ask if he/she understands this way you can be sure. Use visual aids when appropriate, it is very helpful to write lists on the board.

    Maintain close contact with the professionals that may be involved. Always speak from an area that has good lighting we want to make sure the child can see your face. Ask school board for audio/video equipment for your room and use it as often as possible. Try to reduce any extra noise in the room. Ask yourself how you can make the lesson or activity more visual. And finally if appropriate, teach some sign language to the class. A hearing impairment is a disability characterized by a decrease in the ability to hear.

    Knowing the three basic types of hearing impairments and some of the signs teachers and parents can get children the help they need. Knowing what type of hearing devices will fit your child best interests and learning some sing language will help them to communicate better and be more productive in school. Finally knowing some tips to help them fit in and make them more comfortable with their impairment may be the most important thing of all. Remember having a hearing impairment is simply a bump in the road it should not prevent anyone from living a long normal life. [pic][pic][pic][pic][pic][pic]

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