Hearing and Visual Impairments

Hearing and visual impairment has long been associated to the underachievement of those suffering from this deficiency. However, it is often argued and as evidenced by testimonials of successful persons who have never been hindered by this physical problems, hearing and visual impairments should never be a hindrance to success and achieving one’s goals. Studies nevertheless show that hearing and visual impairments can in fact be linked to many other problems like depressions. In this way, hearing and visual impairment can be seen not as the problem itself but the cause of more serious physical, mental and psychological problems.

According to the National Deafblind Census, NTAC , Texas Deafblind Census (n. d. ), deafblindedness can be defined as the condition wherein persons have: “auditory and visual impairments, the combination of which creates such severe communication and other developmental and learning needs that they cannot be appropriately educated without special education and related services beyond those that would be provided solely…, visual impairments, or severed disabilities to address their educational needs sue to these concurrent disabilities”.

According to the American Foundation for the Blind, around 10 million people in the United States are visually impaired, which the foundation defined as a condition or a “kind of vision loss, whether it’s someone who cannot see at all or someone who has partial vision loss” (Joseph, 2007). Blindness can mean total or partial or total loss of eyesight associated with either congenital or other causes like cataracts, glaucoma, amblyopia, diabetes, macular degeneration, and trachoma (Joseph, 2007). On the other hand, hearing impairment can also be congenital or caused by some major deterioration of the hearing organs.

Hearing impairment can be linked to speech problems and may be conductive loss or sensori-netural loss (University of Southern Queensland, 2006). Because people cannot hear properly, they also cannot produce the accurate and the correct sounds. In educational institutions, hearing problems can be addressed by various teaching techniques like allowing the impaired to occupy the front seats to allow them lip reading and other means by which they can receive information. Perhaps one of the most conscious problems implicated by hearing and visual impairment attaches to the ability of the person to communicate.

In this regard, educators should concentrate on how to communicate with these people because they may have no problem in understanding the concepts except for the difficulty to receive and to take notice of them. While in some case, hearing and visual impairment also comes with mental retardation, many can have normal mental functions allowing them to function and act normally if the visual and hearing impairment can be addresses. Recognizing the special needs of those suffering from hearing and visual impairments, special education has been offered and systematized in order to give them new hope and in overcoming this difficulty.

Unlike normal children in regular schools, hearing and visually impaired children need more and specialized attention, unique teaching techniques so that education can be made available for them despite their condition. According to Taina, Maija, Hannu, and Raimo (n. d. ), in their article entitled, Combined Hearing and Visual Impairment and Depression in a Population Aged 75 years and Older, “background depression is associated with both visual and hearing impairment”.

Although little has been known about the relationship of depression and hearing and visual impairment (Taina, Maija, Hannu, & Raimo, n. d. ), it can be said that like any other physical handicaps, hearing and visual impairment is likely to trigger depression. For example, the thought of being physically restrained can be draining and depressing for people, who may want to experience normal life and to achieve equally promising goals. In most cases, being hearing and visually impaired can discouraged and can be demoralize a person from achieving his goals and in pursuing the same.

Special education is one of the most promising developments in resolving issues of visual and hearing impairments in terms of education. The method allows those persons suffering from the impairments to be able to live a normal life at least in terms of being able to achieve education and be educated. In like manner, special education also allows the educator the opportunity to understand and relate closely with his special students giving them special care and attention, and employing special teaching techniques as may be adequate to their needs.

Visual and hearing impairments are not mental conditions that can be attached to mental retardation. In this regard, these persons should be treated as normal individuals with special needs to be able to mingle and be part of the community. It is important that we give them the proper treatment and support so that the visually impaired can see and the deaf can hear.


Joseph, E. (2007). Visual Impairment. Retrieved February 24, 2008, from http://www. kidshealth. org/teen/diseases_conditions/sight/visual_impairment. html Taina, L. , Maija, M. , Hannu, K., & Raimo, S. (n. d. ). Combined Hearing and Visual Impairment and Depression in a Population Aged 75 Years and Older. Retrieved February 24, 2008, from http://cat. inist. fr/? aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=13935810 Texas Deafblind Census (n. d. ). Definition of Deafblindedness. Retrieved February 24, 2008, from http://www. tsbvi. edu/Outreach/deafblind/census/definition. html University of Southern Queensland (2006). Hearing Impairment. Retrieved February 24, 2008, from http://www. usq. edu. au/studentservices/disabilityresources/academicstaff/hearinglearn. htm

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