In Deaf Education and Hearing Science you will be trained in the special techniques needed to help children learn to listen and speak using the latest in hearing technology. Studying Deaf Education and Hearing Science prepares professionals who work with children with hearing loss in a setting that emphasizes listening, speech and language. The emphasis is on the development of listening skills without the use of sign language. This approach is known as “Auditory-Oral” or “Auditory-Verbal” education.
The objective of the MDEHS program is to prepare you to help children and their families make the best of current knowledge and technology to develop the child’s ability to hear sound, learn to understand it and then learn to speak through listening.
Deafness is rarely total; the great majority of newborns with hearing loss have some usable or residual hearing that can be trained. When sound is made loud enough through hearing aids or a cochlear implant, these infants can detect many sounds in the speech spectrum. Newborn hearing screenings, early detection, and early intervention services for hearing loss during the first 6 months of life is, therefore, essential in maximizing the development of residual hearing. With today’s cochlear implants, hearing aid technology, and early auditory intervention, children with hearing loss can have the same opportunities as hearing children to develop listening, language, speech and reading skills.
While the Auditory-Oral and Auditory-Verbal approaches are relatively unknown to the public, there is now a significant body of research supporting the use of residual hearing and spoken language with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. These methods allow children with hearing loss to participate in play and communicate with the vast majority of their typically-hearing peers. These approaches allow the child to communicate with his or her parents in the fashion 98% of all parents of children with hearing loss are accustomed to—orally. In other words, the child with a hearing loss has the opportunity to learn the language of his home and society at large.