Minnesota ABE Disabilities Portal

Minnesota Adult Basic Education Disability Specialists

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Signs, Symptoms and Effects of Hearing Loss

  • The hard of hearing person may frequently ask people to repeat.
  • The hard of hearing person may provide an inappropriate response to what is said.
  • The person may have difficulty in understanding conversations in group situations.
  • Sometimes the person may blame people for not speaking clearly.
  • At times the person may become defensive about communications problems.
  • Intently watching a speaker's mouth is a normal reaction.
  • The person may have a strained expression around the eyes.
  • A puzzled expression on the face is shown when listening, and in reading speechreading while trying to understand what is being communicated.
  • It is common for a person to talk too loud or very softly due to the inability of monitoring their voice
  • Withdrawing and avoiding social situations can be a tendency for some people.
  • The person may turn the TV or radio up much too loud in an effort to hear well.
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears or head) is a symptom that becomes uncomfortable, stressful, tiring, and interferes with a person's hearing ability.
  • It is easy for a late deafened adult or hard of hearing person to become afraid and try to hide their hearing loss.
  • Speechreading (lipreading) is a difficult skill to acquire and often highly inaccurate. The person must listen, strain to hear, and watch the other person's mouth, which in turn becomes a stressful and tiring situation. It is estimated that one can grasp only 30% from speechreading.

Hearing people may treat a person with a hearing loss by doing these things:

  • It is very easy for a hearing person to become impatient and talk down to the hard of hearing person by saying, "never mind" or "it is not important."
  • The hearing person can become inpatient and judge the person harshly.
  • Not including the hard of hearing person in the conversation, and/or become unsupportive and neglectful is a common reaction from a hearing individual.

Though most of the ABE intake forms are standardized, pay close attention to the question related to accommodations needed for the classroom. If the student identifies a hearing loss, immediately ask if an interpreter is needed. You may have to reschedule the meeting but this is an important step in working with a new student – you want to make sure you have clear communication and can answer questions the new student may have. Do request to see the audiogram to get a better idea of the hearing loss.

If the student is hard of hearing, follow the communication tips provided. Try not to over enunciate or talk too loudly! The student may be a candidate for the distance learning program.

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