People who are considered deaf usually have a severe to profound hearing impairment and use sign language as their primary mode of communication; some deaf individuals rely on oral communication; some deaf individuals may have residual hearing and may use a hearing aid to augment the communication process, monitor their voice or hear environmental sounds.

Types of Diagnosis

Severe loss

Students can only hear loud noises at close distances. They require hearing aids, may benefit from intensive auditory training and specialized instructional techniques in reading, language, and speech development. Loss is between 71 to 90 decibels.

Profound loss

These students rely on vision rather than hearing for processing information. The student is usually a candidate for signing systems or captioning, and specialized instructional techniques. They may require evaluation of their reading and language skills. A loss of 91 decibels or more is described as profound.

Qualifying Professional



In addition to the General Disability Documentation guidelines, documentation for students requesting accommodations on the basis of on the basis of being deaf needs to include:

  1. An audiological evaluation and/or audiogram.
  2. An interpretation of the functional implications of the diagnostic data and hearing aid evaluation.
  3. Suggestions as to how the functionally limiting manifestations of the disabling condition(s) may be accommodated.

The audiogram indicates the degree of hearing loss measured in decibel loss according to internationally agreed upon standards. Decibel losses do not always correlate with educational implications and therefore should not be a sole criterion for determination of support services.

Assessment to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the student in the area of language development and communication skills, as well as to determine the method of communication to be used in the educational setting may be required.


Accommodations will depend on the functional impact, age of onset, prognosis and diagnosis of the hearing loss.

  • ASL, Contact Sign & (Oral) Interpreting 
  • Real Time Captioning 
  • note taking 
  • electronic note taking 
  • adaptive technology 
  • captioned videos 
  • soft/hard copies of overheads 
  • access to shared drives re lecture notes 
  • TTYs 
  • visual warning signals 
  • alternate coursework & assignments/ exams 
  • preferred seating 
  • exam instructions/ announcements in writing 
  • tutoring 
  • extended program completion timeline 
  • extended time on exams