What if a Hearing Aid
is Not the Answer
language classes are offered by the following providers. Please call the
numbers indicated for more information:
Virginia Community College
Reynolds Community College (Richmond) (804-786-5809)
to Cued Speech
Speech is a visual communication system designed to enable people who are
deaf or hard of hearing to "see" what hearing people hear. It is
a phonetic system, using sounds in the English Language. Hearing
people who provide the cuing service are called "Transliterators".
English, cued speech uses eight handshapes, placed in four different locations
near the face, to supplement what is seen on the mouth. It helps
the person with lipreading skills to understand spoken language more clearly
with visual cues alone. The benefit of cued speech is that every
word in the English language can be cued to the deaf or hard of hearing
person without changing the context of the word.
professionals and advocates for cued speech believe that people who use
cued speech seem to develop a higher level of reading skills than those
who use American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary means of communication.
speech can be taught in a period of about sixteen hours.
good book on the subject is Cued Speech Resource Book for Parents of
Deaf Children, by Orin Cornett, PhD and Mary Elsie Daily, MEd.
information may be obtained from:
Speech Center, Inc.,
Box 31345, Raleigh NC 27622.
828-1218 (Voice or TTY)
Cued Speech Association
Spring MD 20903
439-5766 (Voice or TTY)
Options for Hard of Hearing Children in the Classroom
to Cued Speech
information is provided from notes on a panel at the SHHH convention, moderated
by Mark Ross, Ph.D. Article is based on notes taken by Cheryl Heppner,
panel discussed cued speech and sound field systems.
Ross stated that every issue now faced in educating children who are deaf
and hard of hearing was addressed 150 years ago. We think we've invented
all these things, but we keep coming back to the same place. The
difference is that each time we come back, we are a level about where we
were before. We now have cued speech, sound field systems, and many
new assistive listening systems.
about 1836, Fabriana of Modena examined his deaf pupils and found that
about half of the so-called "deaf and dumb" were not entirely deaf.
He is cited in the "Volta Review" of 1938 for using earphones and speaking
tubes with these students to get results. The most emotional area for parents
is still making a choice of what strategies will be used. Although
we know more than ever, the emotions are still there.
Knight addressed the use of cued speech:
Ross visited the New Castle School for the Deaf in Australia some years
ago. The whole school uses cued speech. He was very impressed
with the students' level of education.
sorry. Your child is deaf." That makes the most dramatic change
in a parent's life. Some parents are relieved because they have suspected
the hearing loss or something worse. But most parents will grieve.
Some start running from professional to professional, hoping they will
say there is no hearing loss, or that it won't be permanent, or that it
can be fixed.
professionals add fuel to the fire by saying "your child will have speech
and language," but all children are different and you can't use one formula
for all children.
language is a very natural resonse but it isn't just one language.
American Sign Language is rich and complex. Sign language has to
be used in every situation. Parents want their children to be part
of their own culture, and study after study shows that those who use only
sign language rarely read past the 3-4 grade level.
the oral method is difficult because sounds are often identical on the
lips. The best lipreaders say they pick up 30 to 40 percent.
alternate is a method, not a language, called cued speech. There
are 8 handshapes with 4 placements around the face. It was created
by Dr. Cornett of Gallaudet, who was distraught by the poor English skills
of the deaf students he found there.
takes 10 to 20 hours to learn the handshapes and placements. Cued
speech has been adapted to more than 50 languages. Cued speech students
are in regular classrooms.
it work for everyone? No. But cued speech is a valuable option.
L. Gordon-Langbein, D.O. addressed the use of sound field systems:
Are sound field and personal FM systems compatible?
has two children. One, Jake, is 8 1/2 years old and was diagnosed
as hard of hearing at age 3. He wears amplification and is in a regular
classroom with sound field FM amplification. His loss is mild to
thinks that sound field systems are so good that they should be in every
classroom. She read about sound field systems, which are basically
a public address system amplifying a teacher's voice to 10-15 decibels
above background noise. They don't just help hard of hearing children;
they help all the kids in the classroom which is why she is such a big
fan. Kids with cochlear implants are using sound field systems successfully,
and they also have been shown to have positive effects on children with
ADD and central processing disorders.
research shows that children spend 45% of their time in the classroom in
active listening situations. Children in the younger grades are more
prone to colds, ear infections, etc. which can make them temporarily hard
of hearing with as much as 20 dB of hearing loss. One study shows
that 1/4 to 1/3 of children in a kindergarten class are hard of hearing
on any given day.
asked school administrators for a system and was fortunate that they were
receptive. Teachers also like the sound field system because it reduces
vocal strain. Mark has seen other situations where, once a classroom
has this system, it spreads because administrators see the results.
teacher once forgot to turn off the microphone and the children heard her
all the way down in the cafeteria. The experience in Jake's classroom
was so positive that all the other teachers wanted a sound field system.
The school now has 15 of its 21 classrooms outfitted with these systems.
sold the system to the parents was a study she did with the educational
audiologist. They gave a basic audiological test to first and second
grade students. The students showed a 47% improvement in understanding
when using the sound field system. Armed with these results,she went
to the PTA and they supported the purchase.
signal-to-noise ratio for a personal FM system is more favorable than a
sound field system because it goes directly from the teacher to the child's
Yes, you can use the same frequency.
Can a child using a sound field system hear his classmates?
The secret is with the microphones. The children can only hear if
the microphone is passed around, but this reduces spontaneity.
Will it work in rooms with poor acoustics?
Jake's school has both traditional and open classrooms. The open
ones are the worst possible environment. They tried sound field systems
in the open classrooms and found one system that helped, but it doesn't
bring results as good as those in a traditional classroom. The systems
also work best when there is carpeting on the floor, etc. Mark noted that
any kind of amplification system is not a substitute for good acoustics.
You want both in the room.
What about teacher training to use the equipment and point the microphones
to the students instead of passing it around?
The ideal situation would be having shotgun microphones in the classroom.
Is it difficult to find cued speech transliterators for college students?
While there are many sign language interpreter training programs, there
are few for cued speech transliterators. The good news is that after
the 10 to 20 hours of learning cued speech, you only need to work at becoming
more proficient, which takes a while.
What is the cost of a sound field system, and how can poor school districts
The cost ranges from $900 to $1,500. It is catching on, so educational
organizations, civic groups and big corporations are often receptive to
grants. You can make a good argument using the research showing the
reduced special education needs. North Carolina has installed several
systems and is funding the same benefits. Consider using funding
allocated for Section 504 purposes. It some school districts this
is not accessed as much.
Do you foresee cued speech becoming a part of the Deaf Studies curriculum?
Yes. Jane completed her Master's in Deaf Education and serves on
the board of the National Cued Speech Association. Cued speech was
not created to teach deaf people to speak. Jane personally feels
that children need both cued speech and sign language.
What negative feedback has there been to sound field systems?
Only the cost.
How did you solve the problem in the open classroom?
We used a portable sound field system. This has evolved to where
the teachers set up their own systems far from the other teachers.
Portable systems in Jake's school are also taken to classes in the gym,
What about use of sound field systems in middle schools and high schools?
Most studies have been on elementary school students.
1999 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Persons, 10363 Democracy Lane, Fairfax, VA 22030. Please share
this information, but be sure to credit NVRC. If you are a Virginia
resident, you can subscribe to the NVRC E-Mail News Service by sending
a message to
with your name and address.*
BEST FRIEND THE HEARING DOG
Hildebrand, Regional Representative for Paws for A Cause (PAWS) presented
at the RaSHHH general meeting in Fredericksburg, VA. Cheryl
Heppner, the Executive Director for the Northern Virginia Resource Center
contributed to the article with her expertise with having, Dana,
her wonderful hearing dog from Canine Companions for Independence (CCI).
Information is also included from Dogs For The Deaf, Inc.(DFD).
to My Best Friend The Hearing Dog
terminology for the use of dogs can become very confusing for the public
so here is clarification provided by Assistance Dogs International.
dog: It is overall terminology for any kind of dog (service dog, hearing
dog, guide dog, seizure alert dog).
dog: It is the overall terminology for any kind of dog
used for people with hearing loss (hearing dog, hearing ear dog, hearing
guide dog, signal dog)
dog: This term is used for dogs that assist people in wheelchairs or
with mobility problems of some kind. They do things such as
help people balance when walking, pull wheelchairs, turn light switches
on and off, retrieve things dropped and etc.
to My Best Friend The Hearing Dog
Sandy and Cheryl pointed out many interesting points about understanding
the use, training, and the benefits of hearing dogs to their owners.
The following points were brought out for those that might be interested
in purchasing a hearing dog.
are many hearing dog companies and organizations that work with assistance
dogs for all people with disabilities.
and CCI will place dogs with children. CCI will place dogs with children
but younger children are required to have a responsible adult be a partner
and attend the training, too.
will guarantee an individual, that, once a dog is placed in the home the
person will never be without a hearing dog as long as the person is able
to care for the dog.
dogs come from animal shelters (PAWS&DFD), and CCI has puppy raisers
dogs donated must be evaluated to make sure that the dog will make a good
dogs are used for those with hearing loss. (Example: Terrier)
and retrievers seem to make the best service dogs and are better for people
making use of a wheel chair as the smaller dogs might not be able to reach
a light switch.
start their training between a year and eighteen months.
of PAWS are for assistance dogs to work for a period of ten years. When
dogs are retired the individual keeps the dog and the new assistance dog
is placed in the home.
of the characteristics of a good hearing dog are: being sound aware, wanting
to learn, love for people, and desire to work.
cost for a service dog may vary depending on the program. The cost
for DFD and PAWS is $5,000. The cost for CCI, is $15,000.
CCI is more expensive because the program breeds dogs and has puppy raisers
instead of taking dogs from shelters, but the cost to the person is very
small because they fund it largely through donations. Throughout
the United States there are many fund raiser to help the individual in
the purchase of the assistance dog.
costs could include adoption cost, raising the puppy for the first year,
initial testing of the dog for alertness and aptitude, veterinarian costs
(including tests, shots, spaying or neutering), training, housing, and
feeding the dog.
and DFD will go to the home, workplace, or community to help train the
dog placed with the individual.
dog is allowed on planes, in churches, banks, grocery stores, movie theaters,
grocery stores, restaurants, and many other places no other dogs are allowed.
is the responsibility of the owner to the assistance dog?
to My Best Friend The Hearing Dog
the dog's health, license, and veterinarian costs.
the dog trained and cleaned
dog must look professional when working in the public with wearing a jacket
indicating it is an assistance dog.
is responsible to control the behavior of the dog at all times.
prepared to educate the public about the assistance dog.
that questions and confrontations will happen as the public does not understand
the use of the assistance dog or the American with Disabilities Act that
protect the use of the dog anywhere you go. Many times a simple
explanation will be enough. There have been times where people have
just left the public place or had to call the police to have their access
does the hearing dog help the deaf or hard of hearing person to become
to My Best Friend The Hearing Dog
a funny note, Sandy shared with RaSHHH members that a border collie would
drive them crazy with alerting them to sounds from crickets to birds singing
in the trees. It is hard to train them to not alert the people with
hearing loss to everything.
help to establish independence and security for the deaf or hard of hearing
help with the person's self confidence and relieves anxieties
dog is trained to fit your own personal needs.
dog will can alert you to your name being called, and with taking you to
the person who called you.
dog alerts the person to the phone, doorbell or knock at the door, smoke
alarm, oven timer, and baby cry at home or even in a hotel.
dog gives the person an awareness of his or her surroundings and of dangers.
Dogs have been known to pull a person out of the path of an oncoming car
and save a life.
dog can be trained to alert the person when car lights are left on and
keys are left in the car.
important of all is that the hearing dog becomes our ears, companion, co-worker,
family member, and our best friend. The owner needs to be ready for
them 24 hours a day without separation.
Sandy said that they have worked with all breeds and it depends on the
personality of the dog.
has to always remember that assistance dogs are working for their owners
and people must not pet the dogs. You can ask the owners all the
questions you want and the owner will be glad to talk about the assistance
good book to read about a service dog for person with hearing loss is called
The Story of A Signal Dog by Paul Ogden.
Information Center on Deafness has brochure and list training providers
and the Humane Society
book outlining state laws in relationship with assistance dogs.
information has been provided by the disAbility Resource Center (copyright
1998) to help in educating our consumers and keeping them informed.
This article was written by Arva Priola, Outreach Specialist for Deaf and
Hard of Hearing and member of Rappahannock for Self Help for Hard of Hearing
to My Best Friend The Hearing Dog
Companions for Independence
(516) 694-6938 V/TTY
Director: Lois Murray
Helpers for Handicapped, Inc.
(716) 433-4035 V/TTY
for the Deaf, Inc
Point, Oregon 97502
(541) 826-9220 V/TTY
Director: Robin Dickson
hearing dogs for 75-mile radius
Association of Assistance Dog Partners
Heights, MI 48311
Hearing Dogs Inc.
East 89th Avenue
(303) 287-3277 V/ TTY
Director: Martha A Foss
Education for Assistance Dog Services
Boylston, MA 20853
(508) 835-3304 V/ TTY
Hearing Dog Center
South Main Street
with a Cause
253 -7927 V/TTY
(804) 482-8329 V/TTY
Copyright disAbility Resource