I. Nature of the Exceptionally:
According to Gallaudet University, approximately 1 of every 1,000 infants is born deaf while 6 of every 1,000 are born with some degree of hearing loss. Permanent hearing loss at birth annually affects 24,000 infants in the USA.
In other words, 6 infants per 1,000 will have a hearing loss in a least one ear that will affect communication, cognition, and educational development. Twenty to thirty percent of hearing loss in children occurs during infancy and early childhood. Some will suffer hearing loss in one ear or possibly both. There are different types of hearing loss. A conductive hearing loss occurs in the middle ear. This is where three small bones involved in hearing are located.
A hearing loss that occurs in this part of the ear is usually temporary. A chronic or recurrent ear infections may cause a hearing loss in the middle ear. There are cases where there is a malformation in this area that can be improved or corrected through surgery. There are occasions when a problem in the middle ear can not be corrected. A sensori-neural hearing loss occurs in the middle ear and indicates that there is nerve damage. This type of loss is not reversible.
In summary, there are different natures of hearing loss some that can be corrected or others that are irreversible.
Parents sometimes ask “Why did this happen to my child?” In some cases, the cause of a childs hearing loss may be easy to trace. There may be a family history of deafness, a congenital condition, an illness, an accident, a prescribed medication, etc., that may obviously be cause of the hearing loss. In many cases, there may be no obvious reason for the hearing loss.
Parents must come to understand that they may likely never know the cause of this hearing loss. In my case, Meningitis was the cause of my hearing loss. When I was one year old, I was not responding to my parents calls. They took me to the hospital to get tested and found that I had Meningitis.
Many birthing facilities in our country have currently adopted the “Universal Testing” of all infants for hearing loss.
The two most frequently used measures for testing infants are the ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response) and Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs). Both measures can be made on an infant while he or she is sleeping and requires no response from the child. The ABR monitors brain activity. It looks specifically, however, the activity that happens in response to sound. OAEs are a quick, non-invasive probe measure that determines cochlear, or inner ear, function. The importance of early childhood development is critical for a child with a hearing loss.
Early diagnosis and intervention of hearing loss can mean the difference between toddlers entering school with severe language and concept delays versus children with age appropriate language and concept development. Early hearing screening paves the way for children to be able to begin life on an equal footing with their hearing peers. Recent research at Gallaudet University indicates that children whose hearing losses are identified in the first 6 months of life, and who receive intervention services, developed language within the normal range.
The law mandates that public schools are responsible for providing an “appropriate education” within the childs neighborhood school. School districts are required to educate students the least restrictive environment with the related services necessary to allow for their success.
Some counties/states will have what is called “cluster programs.” This is when classes for the deaf or hard of hearing are located in specific schools. Students can be in an environment with a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing and deaf and hard of hearing peers but also be in a regular school setting. Another options for family is a school for the deaf. Most schools for the deaf now offer different communication options from which a family can choose. Schools must take “language and communication needs, opportunities for direct communications with .