A National Profile of Students with Hearing Impairments in Elementary and Middle School

This special topic report provides a national picture of the characteristics, background, programs and services, and outcomes for students with hearing impairments. This report first discusses the parent-reported level of students' hearing loss and students' demographics. Then it describes students' communication functioning, social and cognitive skills, school programs, practices, and instructional practices and accommodations, and outcomes as these relate to students' degree of hearing loss and their school setting. .

The level of hearing loss is an important issue for this population. Approximately half of students with hearing impairments have hearing loss described by their parents as “severe or profound.” These students have greater difficulty in communicating with others, are more likely to use signed communication, are more likely to attend special schools, and score lower on standardized tests of reading relative to their peers who have mild or moderate hearing losses. Among the three levels of hearing loss, students do not differ in their social and cognitive skills or their grades. However, these students who, in large part, have no identified cognitive impairment generally score quite low on standardized reading tests, regardless of degree of hearing loss. This pattern is particularly evident among students whose hearing loss is characterized as severe or profound: more than 80% of these students have test scores that fall within the lowest 30% of the percentile range. The vast majority of these students score lower than students with mild or moderate hearing loss. This special topic report underscores the diversity in characteristics, experiences, and outcomes for students who receive IDEA services for a hearing impairment.

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Complete Report

Last Updated 06/2010