The people in the following list all have something in common: Whoopi Goldberg, Pete Townshend (lead guitarist of The Who), Huey Lewis, Helen Keller, Ludwig Van Beethoven, and Thomas Edison. If you were unable to guess, all of these people had a hearing loss. In terms of formal definition, a hearing loss is, “a spectrum of disorders causing a disruption or distortion of auditory information reaching or being processed by the central nervous system.” Hearing losses not only effect adults or the elderly, they are also prevalent among children. As future teachers, we should understand everything that accompanies a hearing loss considering we may have a few children with this disability through our careers as educators.
To have a better understanding and appreciation of students with a hearing loss, I will introduce the types of hearing losses that are prevalent among children. The first classification of hearing loss is called congenital, or a hearing loss that occurs because of a birth defect or malformation. Most cases of congenital hearing loss are caused by, “genetic malformations, or infections caused by maternal ototoxic drug use during pregnancy.” The other type of hearing loss, acquired, happens during the first few years of life, is called an acquired hearing loss. “Acquired childhood hearing loss is usually caused by infections, trauma, ototoxic medication or missed congenital cases.” (Butler, 2012, p. 314) Acquired hearing losses are more common than congenital when we are dealing with children. Hearing losses are also classified by which ear the loss is in. A Unilateral hearing loss, occurs only in one ear, and a bilateral loss is in both.
Even if a child has a hearing loss during their early life it is difficult to diagnose due to a few different factors. The first factor deals with the fact that most cases are non-syndromic. In particular, seventy percent of genetic, congenital, cases have no syndromes. Children are often diagnosed around twenty months due to this factor. Also, a good amount of genetic hearing losses, eighty percent to be exact are autosomal recessive. This means that the parents do not have a hearing loss, but they are carriers. This gives physicians less information that would alert them of an infantile hearing loss.
During the elementary years, children with this loss can encounter a variety of obstacles. One big obstacle can occur with the development of reading skills. Since reading and reading comprehension is so important for life this can be a huge setback if it is not met with intensive intervention. According to research, “the median reading level for high school graduates with hearing loss falls between fourth and fifth grade.” If a child with a loss is able to begin their school years already knowing the alphabet, they will have a much higher chance of being a grade level reader. Knowing the alphabet early on in life is able to increase the phonological awareness that the child has. Their phonological...