Deaf Education1

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Deaf Education1

Coping with and Understanding the Deaf Student

What is deafness?

There are many definitions to the word "deaf." According to Stephen P. Quigley and Peter V. Paul in their book Language and Deafness (1984), "a child is considered deaf if hearing impairment is so great, even with good amplification, that vision becomes the child's main link to the world and main channel of communication." This is a general and relatively vague definition.

Other definitions are based on the degree of hearing loss in terms of decibels (dB) ranging from mild to profound hearing loss. A loss of 35 to 70 dB is generally considered hard of hearing, while a loss of 90 dB or greater is considered profoundly deaf (Moores 1990). Each state classifies what is deaf and hard of hearing in different ranges.

What are the types of deafness?

A conductive hearing loss can be described as a temporary hearing loss due to an ear infection, wax buildup, ruptured ear drum, colds, atresia and otosclerosis (Moores 1990). Otosclerosis can become a permanent hearing loss if not treated. The area of concern with conductive hearing loss is the middle and outer ear. “A sensorineural hearing loss is a permanent hearing loss in about 99.9% of cases. The causes of a sensorineural hearing loss are numerous: nerve damage due to illness, meningitis, maternal rubella, RH blood incompatibility, scarlet fever, absence of semicoclear fluid, cytomeglovirus, chronic exposure to loud noises (industrial work), premature birth, head trauma, drug exposure, heredity/genetics and unknown causes” (Moores 1990).

The areas of concern with sensorineural hearing loss are in the inner ear.

Community and Culture

The deaf have both a community and a culture. While the idea that the deaf have a culture and community is news to many hearing people, it has existed for a long time. “The Deaf culture has characteristics identifiable to that of other subcultures or ethnic groups. It is born out of shared experiences (life in residential schools) and a shared language, American Sign Language” (Cline 1997). The Deaf community has its own regional, state, and national organizations. They have events ranging from athletic events and community picnics to Deaf Miss America and theatrical performances. There are deaf religious congregations and deaf intramarriage is common. All...

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