OVAE: Office of Vocational and Adult Education
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Adult Education and People with Disabilities: Hearing Impairments and Deafness

Research and Evaluation | Noteworthy Practices | Additional Links

Approximately one of ten individuals in your community has a significant hearing loss. Within this population, most individuals have some level of hearing impairment and only a small proportion of the group is deaf. Types of hearing loss include sensori-neural (nerve-related), conductive (affecting the outer or middle ear) or a mixed hearing loss (mixture of both types.) Most (95%) of adults with hearing loss are treated with hearing aids, and the remaining individuals (5%) may benefit from medical or surgical treatment.

Adult students with hearing impairments may require accommodations and assistive devices in the classroom setting to have best access to educational programming. Accommodations may be as simple as preferential seating or as complex as wireless assistive listening devices in the classroom. Each learner's needs must be evaluated, and accommodations should be provided to enhance the learning environment for that hearing impaired student. Agencies are responsible under the Adults with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide reasonable accommodations to enable these individuals with hearing impairments to become effective learners and to have access to the best educational services.

Research and Evaluation

Noteworthy Practices

  • ABLE for the Deaf Adult Learner. Resources for adult basic education or GED teachers who are teaching adult, deaf students. Includes classroom strategies; curriculum resources; and information on deafness, accommodations, technology and interpreters.

  • Gallaudet University. Premier institution of higher education for deaf and hard of hearing students in the U.S. and worldwide. Highly involved in research and educational outreach.

  • Vermont Facilitated Communication Network. Provides education, training, technical assistance, resources, information and guidance for the development and use of best practices in facilitated communication (helping people with limited or no speech to communicate).

Additional Links

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Last Modified: 10/23/2007