Hearing impairment is defined in special education law 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’.”
While the term “hearing impaired” is used in the law and by some medical professionals, the terms “Deaf and Hard of Hearing” (D/HoH) are generally preferred to refer to individuals with a range of hearing loss.
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Hearing loss may be temporary, fluctuating (changing over time), or permanent. Many hard-of-hearing children use amplification (like hearing aids) and/or assistive listening devices such as FM systems. Some may use sign language, cued speech, real-time captioning, and other technology. Even with these supports, hard-of-hearing students may not be able to hear and understand all auditory information and may have to work harder than other students to understand what is being said. This limited access may impede their progress in the curriculum and educational environment, requiring the use of accommodations, supplementary aids and services, specially designed instruction, and/or related services.
The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing helps to foster the understanding of childhood hearing loss and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. The organization focuses on support for the use of amplification and spoken language for communication. Here you will find news, advocacy programs, and information about the AG Bell Academy, where you can become certified as a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist.
ASDC is the oldest national organization founded by and governed by parents of deaf children.
Today, ASDC is a national, independent non-profit organization whose purpose is providing support, encouragement, and information to families raising children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. ASDC recognizes the crucial role families play in the success of children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, and affirms that families are capable and willing to guide their children’s lives. Parents have the right and responsibility to participate in decisions regarding their children’s educational and social development. ASDC supplies the information and support that families request to ensure that their decisions and actions are based on up-to-date and accurate knowledge. ASDC’s site contains links, articles, scholarship opportunities, an American Sign Language Dictionary, and online copies of The Endeavor, the society’s newsletter.
Hands & Voices is a national, parent-driven organization “dedicated to supporting families with children who are D/HoH without a bias around communication modes or methodology.” Hands & Voices provides families with resources, networks, and information to improve communication access and educational outcomes for their children.
The national Hands & Voices website contains a variety of resources. The MD/DC chapter specifically provides support and activities for families across the state.
The National Cued Speech Association supports effective communication, language development, and literacy through the use of Cued Speech. NCSA’s site contains videos on Cued Speech as well as articles and lists of upcoming events.
The mission of NIDCD is to improve the life of people with communication disorders. The NIDCD site provides information on a wide range of communication disorders and health information on topics such as ear infections, sign language, hearing loss, balance, and taste and smell disorders.
The Maryland School for the Deaf is a statewide public school providing education and services for children from birth to 21 on campuses in Columbia and Frederick. Parents may contact the school directly to learn more.
Info to Go, from the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, provides information on topics dealing with deafness and hearing loss in children and young people under 21. Info to Go responds to a wide range of questions from the general public, deaf and hard of hearing people, their families, and professionals who work with them. Resources include information on parenting, training, laws, products, and cochlear implants.