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Hearing and Visual Impairments

Understanding the struggles that hearing and visual impaired people go through has to be a tough challenge for them. Using their senses and other abilities to comprehend and communicate is truly extraordinary. They live their lives to the fullest and do not want anyone’s sympathy. Learning about how visual impairments take place must not be noted until we find out how a person can see. There are three functions for seeing: optical system, muscular system, and the nervous system, all play a role in how a person uses their vision.

According to the IDEA, (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), any human being whose vision is 20/200 or less is considered legally blind (Heward, 2013). The educational definition when referring to learning states, an impairment in vision that disrupts a child’s ability to succeed in educational performance.

Damage to the optical, muscular or nervous system can cause a visual impairment. Types of visual impairments include cataracts, color blindness and glaucoma. When it comes to academic achievement students will not be left behind when it comes to visual impairments.

For students who are blind the use of braille is the way of reading and writing in which letters numbers and words are in arrangements of raised dots on the book or paper. Computers have special keyboards for students with visual aids so that the use of technology is not taking away from the student. Students with low vision have the options of optical aids where magnification plays a huge role in helping the student see.

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Hearing Impairments

A person has the ability from gathering sounds from the environment and transforms that energy into a form that can be interpreted by the brain (Heward, Hearing and Visual Impairments 3 2013). Hearing impairments may be the hardest of the five senses to understand. There are factors involved that are not completely understood by scientist and doctors. The IDEA defines hearing impairments as, a hearing loss that is so traumatic, that the child is impaired by understanding sounds and what they stand for, rather with sound or not, and affects a child’s work in school. A person who is deaf cannot hear what a person is saying to them without the use of hearing aids, reading lips, or sign language.

People that are considered hard of hearing can comprehend things with the use of devices such as hearing aids. There are different types of hearing impairments that cause hearing damage. Conductive hearing loss has to do with damage to the outer or middle ear. Sensory hearing loss has to do with a disturbance to the cochlea that affects hearing. Neural hearing impairment is damage to the auditory nerve pathway (Heward, 2013). Hearing impairments can be caused by several factors: ear wax buildup, noise exposure, genetic factors, and meningitis. Things that can help students who suffer from hearing impairments in school are being improved every day. Technology such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, television and movie captioning. The thing that I feel is most important to hearing impaired students is the use of sign language.

The fact that the use of sign language interpreters in the classroom has increased over the years is a sign that people see the positives in using the interpreters for success. In conclusion, technology has had a big hand in helping the hearing and visual impaired reach astronomical success in the classroom and outside the classroom. Although they still have their struggles in society it has improved a great deal from the early centuries. Hearing and visual impaired do not believe they have a disability and with good reason they should not. They can do anything they set their mind to and with good reason due to the advancements we have made as a society.


  1. Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special Education, Tenth Edition, by William L. Heward. Pearson, 2013.

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Hearing and Visual Impairments. (2016, Mar 27). Retrieved from

Hearing and Visual Impairments
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