Understanding Hearing Impairment

  • How is Hearing Impairment defined?

    Hearing impaired (HI) refers to a hearing condition, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes those children who are hard-of-hearing or deaf.

    To meet the eligibility criteria in Oregon for special education services under HI, a student must meet one of the following minimum criteria:

    • The student has a pure tone average loss of 25 dbHL or greater in the better ear for frequencies of 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, and 2000 Hz, or a pure tone average loss of 35 dbHL or greater in the better ear for frequencies of 3000 Hz, 4000 Hz, and 6000 Hz; OR
    • The student has a unilateral hearing impairment with a pure tone average loss of 50 dbHL or greater in the affected ear for the frequencies 500 Hz to 4000 Hz; AND
    • The loss is either sensorineural or conductive if the conductive loss has been determined to be currently untreatable by a physician.

    The team must also determine that the student's disability has an adverse impact on the their educational performance, and the student needs special education services as a result of the disability.

    How is a Hearing Impairment identified?

    The required components for an evaluation include:

    • Audiological assessment
    • Medical statement that confirms the presence of either a sensory-neural hearing loss or a conductive loss that has been determined to be untreatable by a physician
    • Additional assessments are conducted to determine the impact of the disability (educational performance for school-aged students. and developmental progress for pre-school aged children)