Home » Others » Education access for people with hearing loss

Education access for people with hearing loss

Education access for people with hearing loss

Access to education is not a simple thing for a person with hearing loss. Because of the great diversity of communication situations in an educational environment, providing access is a complex and evolving problem. Providing access to hard of hearing, late deafened, and oral deaf persons in this environment has only recently been recognized as a problem that requires a solution.

One promising effort has been the collaboration between the Northeast Technical Assistance Center (NETAC), located at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, N.Y., and Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Inc. (SHHH), based in Bethesda, Md. They have recently announced training materials and classes that address providing access for hard-of-hearing students at postsecondary institutions. Read more about this effort here.

Even with all the accommodations that are starting to be provided for people with hearing loss, taking classes in a normal fashion is still TOUGH! Taking a class online might be considerably easier, especially if the online class has been designed for deaf and hard of hearing students.

The folks at NTID have done exactly that, and invite you to consider theirDistance Learning Program.

An ongoing issue reported by people with hearing loss is their inability to take advantage of standard training opportunities. This seems to be especially true for technical subjects with new and complex vocabulary, e.g. computers. NTID has just announced computer hardware and software courses that are restricted to participants with hearing loss. The first courses will be presented this winter/spring, with more to follow. This looks like a great opportunity for those of you who work in this field (or want to).


January 2001 – WGBH in Boston has been on the forefront of media accessibility for many years. Here’s an article on the WGBH Software Accessibility Guidelines.

March 2001 – We’ve been noticing a real proliferation of online education opportunities lately. WGBH is the latest organization to contribute to these expanding opportunities.

March 2001 – More on online education for people with hearing loss, as DeSales University plans an online MBA for people with hearing loss.

June 2001 – Here’s a double win! A non-profit organization called Equal Access to Software and Information (EASI) provides workshops on how to adapt computer and information technology for people with disabilities. That’s a win! Oh, yeah, and the courses are online! Another win! Read all about it here.

June 2001 – Most of us are pretty familiar with the famous colleges that cater to deaf folks. Gallaudet University and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) are the best known. In addition, there are several regional schools that do a great job of serving the hearing loss population. Here’s a press release about some of the programs at theSouthwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf in Big Spring, TX.

June 2002 – Thought about taking classes, but concerned that it would be tough to understand the instructor? Or maybe there isn’t a college that offers what you want within a reasonable distance. A new option that might just help level the playing field is online classes. Here’s some information on NTID’s online offerings.

September 2003 – Have you ever thought about the importance of classroom acoustics to a person’s ability to learn? It’s especially important to those with hearing loss. Here’s a report on Classroom Acoustics from the 2003 SHHH Convention.

November 2004 – Should local school districts pay for cochlear implant maintenance costs?

April 2005 – A report from British Columbia indicates that an inexpensive sound amplification system improves classroom performance for ALL kids – even those with perfect hearing!

June 2005 – Have you ever taken an online course and found lecture videos to be inaccessible. If so you might want to tell your school aboutProject ADEPT.

August 2005 – The ANSI Standard for Classroom Acoustics is not available at NO COST!

September 2005 – People with hearing loss have a much easier time attending college than they did years ago; note takers, CART, FM systems, etc. provide today’s student with advantages unimagined not too long ago. So why would someone with hearing loss choose to reject all these resources, a decision that surely made school much more difficult? Here’s one person’s answer to that question.

November 2005 – We often hear about the state Schools for the Deaf. But how much do we hear about the oral schools? Here’s a great article that discusses how one of them is working to educate kids with hearing loss.

December 2005 – Did you know that AG Bell provides FREE assistance to school programs that have oral programs? Here’s Grace Tiessen’s wonderful article on the PAP Program!

February 2006 – Teachers Find That Mikes Amplify Learning

June 2006 – Sound Field Systems on the Rise in Schools

June 2006 – Scientific Society Cautions on Use of Sound Amplification

August 2006 – Access Board and Classroom Acoustic Standards

August 2006 – FM Made Friendly

November 2006 – Kids Learn Better When Classroom is Wired for Sound

June 2007 – School to fight ruling that student should have CART

July 2007 – Handbook for Educating HOH College Kids Debuts!

August 2007 – Handbook for Educating Hard of Hearing Students Published

October 2007 – Classrooms need good acoustics

November 2007 – Gallaudet Learning System Includes Captions

December 2007 – Court affirms real-time captioning for 2nd deaf student

January 2008 – Voice amplification system enhances students’ education

January 2008 – Summer Academy in Computing for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

March 2008 – Amplification in the classroom: New technologies, new challenges

March 2008 – Sound Field Systems Improve Educational Outcomes

March 2008 – NAD Expands College Bowl Competition

March 2008 – University of Arkansas Reports Transcriber Shortage

May 2008 – Free online computer training and MORE!

July 2008 – HLAA Research Symposium: What Research Tells Us of Lifelong Learning and its Impact on Earnings for People with Hearing Loss

October 2008 – A Place to Learn: How Architecture Affects Hearing and Learning

November 2008 – Researchers Discover HOH Students Underserved

January 2009 – UA to Require ALL Classroom Media to be Captioned

April 2009 – Standard Available for Improved Acoustics in Classrooms

July 2009 – Clarke Jacksonville Auditory/Oral Center helps children hear

September 2009 – BHI Urges Teachers to Help Children with Unaddressed Hearing Loss

March 2010 – Training Vietnamese Educators to Teach HOH Children

July 2010 – From Mouth to Ear: Acoustic Architecture, Assistive Listening Devices and New Room Acoustical Standards

September 2010 – Deaf Education: Changed by cochlear implantation?


Classroom Acoustic Standard Available Free

August 2005

We’ve seen several studies in the past few years that reveal that the acoustic environment in most classrooms is bad enough that even kids with normal hearing sometimes have trouble understanding the teacher. Imagine how difficult it must be for kids with hearing loss!

The ANSI Classroom Acoustic Standard is now available to individuals at no cost. Many school districts cite this standard as a requirement for new classroom construction and for major renovations, so it’s an important document.

It’s a bit technical (ok it’s a LOT technical), so probably not something you’d pick up for casual reading. But if you have any involvement with schools (or other buildings where quiet environments are important), you should know about this document.

You’ll have to register on the ASA site to get it, but there’s no charge, you don’t have to give them credit card information, and the registration process is pretty painless. Once you’ve gone through the “checkout” process, there’s a (not very noticeable) link (ANSI_S12.60-2002.pdf ) that you click on to download the standard.

To be the first one on your block to have this standard, point your browser to http://asastore.aip.org/


Teachers find that mikes amplify learning


February 2006

Students and teachers are using wireless microphones with surround sound that make even the meekest voices sound as robust and clear as an American Idol. “I relate it to Madonna — I say we’re rock stars,” said Adrienne McElroy, a third-grade teacher at Liberty Elementary School in Port Charlotte. Full Story



Sound Field Systems on the Rise in Schools

Improved Test Scores Cited as Benefit

June 2006

Baltimore County Public Schools in Maryland may soon join a growing number of schools to amplify general education classrooms with sound field systems. Sound field systems amplify a teacher’s voice evenly throughout the classroom so every student can hear every word all of the time. If the school board approves the proposed budget, a large-scale $400,000 pilot study may put the systems in up to 25 classrooms in eight elementary schools.But schools in the district didn’t wait for the pilot project to begin. In at least three new schools in the county, forward-thinking principals added sound field systems during construction.  Full Story




FM Made Friendly


August 2006


Fortunately, classroom FM systems are very effective in managing these same factors (background noise, distance and reverberation) and FM systems can facilitate dramatic improvements with respect to speech recognition in noise (Chisolm, McArdle, Abrams and Noe, 2004). This article will present an overview of the rationale for FM systems, expected outcomes and challenges of classroom FM for children with hearing loss and a brief description of new FM products.Full Story


Kids Learn Better When Classroom is Wired for Sound

November 2006

Bassett has joined the growing ranks of schools embracing a deceptively simple technology at a time when federal No Child Left Behind accountability standards are compelling districts to find new ways to boost academic performance. Although amplification systems have long been used to help hearing-impaired students, recent research has shown that enhanced audio benefits all students by helping a teacher’s voice get through loud and clear, even at the back of the classroom.  Full Story


Handbook for Educating HOH College Kids Debuts!

July 2007

I’ve been involved for a couple of years in an effort to develop a handbook of best practices for educating hard of hearing post-secondary students. The project was coordinated by the folks at the Postsecondary Education Programs Network (PEPNet), and involved a host of knowledgeable experts from throughout the country. The official name of the document is  “Hard of Hearing Students in Postsecondary Education: A Guide for Service Providers.” It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally finished, and I think anyone interested in providing services to people who are hard of hearing, late-deafened, or oral deaf will find it an invaluable resource. You can read it or download your very own copy at http://tinyurl.com/2h4cpe – and please share it with anyone you think might be interested.


Classrooms need good acoustics

October 2007

During a press conference on Parliament Hill, the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA) alerted parents that a noisy classroom can affect a child’s ability to learn. With children back in school for a new year, audiologists and speech-language pathologists advise parents to be aware of the noise conditions in their children’s classrooms. Children, who primarily learn through listening, need a learning environment in which they can fully hear and understand the teacher’s instructions. A newly released study found that many classrooms had poor quality acoustics and that children were often working in below standard classroom listening conditions (Rubin, Flagg- Williams and Aquino Russell, August 2007). Results from a Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network study show that one in six words is not understood by the average Grade 1 student due to excessive background noise and poor acoustics in Canadian classrooms.   Full Story


Gallaudet Learning System Includes Captions

November 2007

Students at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, the only liberal arts university in the world for the deaf and hard of hearing, are benefiting from lecture capture software that includes closed captioning. That lets students view videos of lectures on demand, complete with text captions along the bottom of the screen. The content is created with capture software called Apreso Classroom, from Anystream. Students can go online to watch Gallaudet professors lecture in American Sign Language, while viewing slides, Web sites, or other content on the computer screen itself, along with any markups the instructor makes. At the same time, running captions display across the bottom of the video screen. Full Story


Voice amplification system enhances students’ education

January 2008

It’s time to say goodbye to one longtime classroom complaint.  “‘I didn’t hear you’ – I don’t hear that anymore,” Glenwood Elementary School kindergarten teacher Peggy Kenaga said. That’s due to the small silver microphone, decorated with purple and clear rhinestones, hanging around her neck. The microphone is part of a new classroom amplification system called LightSPEED, and now, thanks to a preventative special education grant, every Enid Public Schools kindergarten through sixth grade classroom has one. Pre-kindergarten classrooms don’t have the system because their class sizes are smaller and their work is more group-centered, said Amber Graham Fitzgerald, school and community relations director.  It’s been a big hit with both teachers and students.  “It’s like Surround Sound in the classroom,” said Marilyn Mitchell, Glenwood third-grade teacher. Mitchell especially likes the fact her students can use the second microphone that came with the system. She uses it in daily class activities, like reading lessons. The student answering a question gets to speak into the mike, amplifying his or her voice so the entire class can hear.  Full Story


Summer Academy in Computing for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

January 2008

The University of Washington and the Department of Computer Science & Engineering is please to announce the 2008 Summer Academy for Advancing Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Computing, now in its second summer. The Summer Academy is designed to introduce computing to deaf and hard of hearing students considering computer science, computer engineering, information science, information systems or information technology as a career, either in industry or academia. This is a challenging academic program from which participants will receive college credit. The Summer Academy is looking for the top 10 deaf and hard of hearing students, 18 and over, who excel in and enjoy math, science and/or computing (students 16 and 17 years of age who have exhibited exceptional scholastic achievement in math, science and/or computing may be considered for admission under specific conditions). Admission is very competitive, based on an assessment of ability in computing and enthusiasm to participate in an intensive learning experience in all things computing. The Summer Academy is fully funded by the National Science Foundation; tuition, room & board and transportation will be provided at no cost to selected applicants. This is truly an exciting opportunity!

Please view our website atwww.washington.edu/accesscomputing/dhh/academy which includes program information, a brochure and an online application form. The deadline is February 29, 2008, however applications received after that date will be considered on a space available basis.


Amplification in the classroom:

New technologies, new challenges

March 2008

A technological revolution has been under way in the classroom for the last decade, but you’d have to look hard to find it. In some cases, it’s a tiny audio pieceattached to a student’s hearing aid or a hand-held transmitter for a teacher that looks like an iPod. In other classrooms, it’s a flat-panel speaker strategically placed high above the teacher pointing out to the students ahead. Amplification in the classroom takes on many forms for students with hearing aids and cochlear implants. And newer sound field systems are getting wider exposure as more school districts are convinced that boosting the teacher’s voice above the ambient noise will benefit everyone in the classroom, not just those with hearing loss. More and more hearing-impaired students are benefiting from the latest technologies in FM systems and other devices that can be integrated into their hearing aids andcochlear implants. Manufacturers are working to make FM systems that are smaller and more advanced than the current generation, with new products hitting the market about every 2 years.  Full Story


Sound Field Systems Improve Educational Outcomes

March 2008

Rene Slater used to give herself laryngitis trying to talk over the incessant hum of the ventilation unit in her classroom here at Wyoming Elementary School, and her second-grade students still complained they could not hear. Now Mrs. Slater’s voice resonates over the drone of the ventilator through four speakers mounted on the classroom walls, thanks to the wireless microphone, resembling a half-moon pendant, that hangs around her neck. “It’s a more personal connection, because it sounds like I’m next to each child,” said Mrs. Slater, 54, who takes off the microphone only when leaving school and no longer loses her voice. “They can all hear my voice equally as well.” This school year, Wyoming Elementary has equipped every kindergarten through third-grade classroom with the amplification system, technology that was once reserved for large lecture halls or to aid students with hearing or learning disabilities. In an era of chronic ear infections, widespread iPod use and rampant attention-deficit disorders, school officials have embraced the microphones for mainstream classrooms, pointing to research suggesting that all children learn better when they hear instruction loud and clear.  Full Story


University of Arkansas Reports Transcriber Shortage

March 2008

A trained transcriber sits in class with a student and uses a laptop computer with specialized abbreviation software to transcribe – type the meaning of – what is being said in lectures and discussions, Jannarone said.   A hearing-impaired student then is able to read the transcript in real time from a second computer, type questions and comments to the transcriber to be voiced and take notes in the software program on the second computer, she said.   The shortage of transcribers is most commonly because of the hiring process.   “The hiring and retention piece of this issue is a bit more complicated than it may appear on the surface,” Jannarone said.  Full Story


Free online computer training and MORE!

May 2008

Learning to use a computer or a new computer program in a standard class is very difficult for people with hearing loss, because the instructor is typically demonstrating how to do something at the same time that he’s talking about it. The person with hearing loss has to choose whether to watch the instructor so she can lipread, or watch what is being demonstrated without understanding what the instructor is saying. So an online class that allows the student to work at her own pace is just the ticket. And here’s an organization that offers exactly that. And the classes are FREE!



Clarke Jacksonville Auditory/Oral Center helps children hear

July 2009

At first, Alex McGowen thought her daughter had a speech delay. But she didn’t know her daughter was profoundly deaf until doctors diagnosed her when she was 21/2 years old. McGowen knew almost immediately that she didn’t want her daughter’s primary form of communication to be sign language. “I wanted her to be able to talk and to sing and to be able to do all of the beautiful things other kids can do,” she said. So the family, then living in West Palm Beach, opted for Anna Maria to get cochlear implants, devices surgically placed in the inner ear area to help a person hear sounds. It wouldn’t be easy for Anna Maria. She would have a lot of catching up to do. Doctors in South Florida told the family of a school in Jacksonville that specializes in helping children with cochlear implants and hearing aids to listen and talk. And that’s how they came to live in Northeast Florida three years ago, and how Anna Maria, then 31/2 became a student at the Clarke Jacksonville Auditory/Oral Center. And that’s why Anna Maria – who was later joined at Clarke school by her younger sisters, Ashley Rose, who’s 5 and has moderate to severe hearing loss, and Allison Julia, born profoundly deaf 21/2 years ago – learned to talk and to listen.  Full Story


Training Vietnamese Educators to Teach HOH Children

March 2010

The Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss empowers teachers of deaf and hard of hearing children in Vietnam with the tools they need to help young children learn to communicate through spoken language. Paige Stringer, who was born profoundly hard of hearing, started The Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss to help children with hearing loss in developing countries access the education and resources they need for life success in a hearing society.  Full Story