Deafness and Hard of Hearing:  An Overview


ACT's Hard of Hearing Center caters to those that are deaf and/or hard of hearing. The term “Deaf” generally refers to people who were born without the ability to hear. Students who are deaf may have little or no speech depending on the severity of the hearing loss and the age of onset. They will often communicate through a sign language or an interpreter.

Living Comfortably with Deafness

People that are deaf use American Sign Language (ASL). It has its own grammar and word order. Other students may use manual English (or signed English), which is sign language in English word order. A certified interpreter is used for translation into either language. Students who are deaf may also benefit from real-time captioning, where spoken text is typed and projected onto a screen.

Hard of Hearing

“Hard of hearing” refers to the slow progression of hearing loss. Some students who are hard of hearing may hear only specific frequencies or sounds within a certain volume range. They may have speech impairments because of their inability to hear their own voices clearly. These students may rely heavily upon hearing aids and lip reading. Some students who are hard of hearing may never learn sign language.

People who have hearing impairments may find it difficult to simultaneously watch demonstrations and follow verbal descriptions, especially if they are watching a sign language interpreter, a captioning screen, or a speaker's lips. Small group discussions may also be difficult to follow or participate in, particularly if the discussion is fast-paced and unmoderated since there is often lag time between a speaker's comments and interpretation.

Living Comfortably with Being HoH

Students who are hard of hearing may use hearing aids. If hearing aids are used, the students will likely benefit from amplification in other forms such as assistive listening devices (ALDs) like hearing aid compatible telephones, personal neck loops, and audio induction loop assistive listening systems. Some students use FM amplification systems which require the presenter to wear a small microphone to transmit amplified sound to the student.

Hard of Hearing Center
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ACT Hard of Hearing Center Services

Being deaf or hard of hearing can affect students in several ways. They may have difficulty following lectures, particularly if the acoustics causes echoes or if the speaker talks softly, quickly, or unclearly.

However, with the help from our staff at the Hard of Hearing Center, the quality of life of those that are Hearing Impaired will increase. A list of aid our Hard of Hearing Center offers:

  • Interpreters
  • Sound amplification systems
  • Note takers
  • Real-time captioning
  • Email for faculty-student meetings and class discussions
  • Visual warning systems for lab emergencies
  • Changing computer auditory signals to flash changes
  • Captioned video presentations
  • Sign Language
  • Lip Reading

Communicating with a Hearing Impaired Loved One 

It is very important that parents, other relatives, or friends of those that are hearing impaired learn different means of communication such as sign language so that they will have little to no problems communicating with their loved ones. This is especially critical for the loved one, as it improves their quality of life. The more one is willing to learn, the more “at home” and “normal” the person with a hearing impairment will feel.

There are several ways you can direct your speaking style and adjust the "pace" of instruction to make information more accessible to a student with a hearing impairment.

  • When speaking, make sure the student can see your face and avoid unnecessary pacing and moving.
  • When speaking, avoid obscuring your lips or face with hands, books, or other materials.
  • Repeat discussion questions and statements made by other students.
  • Write discussion questions/answers on a whiteboard or overhead projector.
  • Speak clearly and at a normal rate.
  • Use visual aids with few words and large images and fonts.
  • Provide written outlines, assignments, instructions, and demonstration summaries and distribute them before the class or other presentation when possible.

Enroll Now in Classes at Our Hard of Hearing Center

Achievement Center of Texas has  many students that have hearing impairments such as deafness or hard of hearing, and we have plenty of space to accommodate all of your individual needs and goals. Click the button below to begin the enrollment process.

Donate to Our Hard of Hearing Center

If you're not ready to enroll your child or yourself into our Hard of Hearing Center, please donate so that we can continue offering the best services to each individual student. We want to cater to everyone's unique goals and aspirations. This is only made possible through donations from people like you who care. Please click the button below to begin the donation process.