Hearing Loss & Auditory Processing Disorders

AccessibleNU, through its partnership with faculty, ensures that students who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or who have auditory processing disorders (APD) have equal access to all programs and policies under University control. In order to assist faculty in working with these students, some background on hearing loss may be helpful.

Brief Description of the Nature of Hearing Loss and Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

The causes and degree of hearing loss vary across the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. It may extend from a mild hearing loss in one ear to complete deafness. An individual may be unable to hear certain pitches, environmental sounds or everyday speech.

Given the close relationship between oral language, hearing, and reading, students with hearing loss might also have speech impairments or mild reading or spelling difficulties. Those born deaf or who become deaf as very young children might have more limited speech development.

APD is an umbrella term that describes a variety of problems with the brain or brainstem that can interfere with processing auditory information. Individuals with APD usually have normal hearing. In other words, their peripheral auditory system is fine. However, the central auditory processing system, or "set of specific skills that [an individual] needs to interpret what he or she hears" (Ferre, 1997), is compromised in some way.

Please see our information on implementing accommodations for students with hearing loss.