What is a hearing impairment?
As you may well surmise, a hearing impairment is different than deafness. In the context of education, a hearing impairment is defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as “an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but is not included under the definition of ‘deafness.’” Since deafness is defined as a hearing loss above 90 decibels, a hearing loss under 90 decibels is considered a hearing impairment.
Hearing loss is usually categorized as slight, mild, moderate, severe or profound, based on how well someone can hear the frequencies commonly associated with speech. Regardless of the degree of hearing impairment, online learning for hearing impaired students or deaf students is an option well worth considering.
Why traditional brick-and-mortar schools may not work for hearing impaired students
Students with a hearing impairment face significant challenges in the conventional classroom, including:
- Inability to hear lectures or educational videos well enough to take notes
- Difficulty participating in classroom discussions
- Difficulty with grammar, spelling and vocabulary
- Difficulty doing oral reports due to inability to articulate words clearly
- Potential for limited social contact and interaction with other students
While hearing aids can help many hearing impaired students, they don’t work well when the teacher’s voice is competing with background noise or rooms with poor acoustics. For hearing impaired students to function in a conventional classroom, special accommodations are usually needed. These can range from instruction in lip reading to training in articulating words, having a designated note taker for the student, having a teacher use sign language, and using assistive technology.
Unfortunately, not all schools are able to provide this degree of assistance, and many students with hearing impairments are often incorrectly assessed as having low intelligence. The e-learning environment, on the other hand, offers distinct advantages for hearing impaired students.
Benefits of online learning for hearing impaired students
For hearing impaired students, online learning offers several advantages over traditional classroom instruction. Perhaps the most significant is the ability to learn at their own pace. With online learning, students can spend more time on the subjects and concepts they find difficult, while having the freedom to breeze through those that come easy to them.
The technologies used with online learning help “level the playing field” for hearing impaired students—particularly the use of streamed classroom lectures, which can be replayed if the student has difficulty understanding anything. Online chat and email is also useful for students to communicate with both their teachers and other students, as it removes the biggest obstacle to communication for hearing impaired students.
eAchieve Academy takes great pride in helping hearing impaired students reach their full potential through individualized instruction. We have a dedicated, full-time special education staff (including a Speech Language Pathologist) who are continually collaborating and communicating with all eAchieve Academy teachers to ensure special needs students and their parents get the support and accommodations they need.
Learn more about how eAchieve accommodates hearing impaired students
If you’re a parent of a student with a hearing impairment, you probably have a lot of detailed questions about how eAchieve works with special needs students. We welcome your questions! You can contact us online, or call. To help parents and prospective students get a feel for our school, we host Open House events throughout the year, as well as virtual open house events.
Students in all Wisconsin school districts are welcome at eAchieve. Thanks to open enrollment and online learning, you’re not limited to the traditional educational resources in your area.
Whether you’re looking to start your child at the beginning of the school year or considering a mid-semester transfer, we’ll be glad to help you get started. Like any other public school, eAchieve Academy is tuition-free for all Wisconsin students, and you can apply for our online program in 2 easy steps. Your student will even be eligible for a free laptop and a monthly stipend for internet access.