03 August 2009

Sound discrimination ability more important than degree of hearing loss

Ability to follow a conversation more important for school performance than degree of hearing loss.

Common sense tells most people that a mild hearing loss must be less disabling than a severe hearing loss. But in the experience of many hearing impaired students this is not always true. They find that a good ability to discriminate sound can make up for some of their hearing loss.

This was the finding by researcher Niels-Henrik M. Hansen after studying the school performance of young Danes with hearing loss.

Teacher focus on degree of hearing loss
The better young people are able to discriminate sounds, the better they can follow conversations and teacher instructions, making learning easier. This reduces the importance of the severity of hearing loss in school performance.

Yet, teachers typically focus on the degree of hearing loss, paying more attention to students diagnosed with greater hearing loss. As a result, other young students are not provided the help they need, and this is a problem, according to Hansen.

Young people with impaired sound discrimination may need technical aids, but this may be overlooked as the teachers focus on the degree of hearing loss.

The remedy, according to Hansen, is better training and awareness of the teachers.

Source: ”Hvad så? Høretab, emotioner, trivsel og integration blandt unge hørehæmmede i et sociologisk perspektiv”, Center for Ungdomsforskning, Copenhagen


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