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Deaf and hard of hearing

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Information about supports for children who are deaf or hard of hearing and what it means for your child’s education.
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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​To celebrate International Week of the Deaf (20–26 September) and International Day of Sign Languages (23 September), the department is launching the Every deaf and hard of hearing student succeeding framework 2021–2025 . Watch the videos​ below for more information.

​Children may be born deaf or hard of hearing or become deaf or hard of hearing when they are older.

A child’s hearing loss may be mild, moderate, severe, or profound. It can affect one ear or both ears, and leads to difficulty in hearing conversational speech or other sounds.

Each child who is deaf or hard of hearing is unique with their own strengths, interests and motivation for learning.

Hard of hearing refers to people with hearing loss ranging from mild to severe. A person who is hard of hearing does not hear as well as other people in one ear or both ears and may experience mild or moderate hearing loss. People who are hard of hearing usually communicate through spoken language and can benefit from hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other assistive devices, as well as captioning.

​Deaf people mostly have profound hearing loss, which implies very little or no hearing. Children who are deaf may hear muffled sounds, not hear sounds coming from some directions or have problems hearing some sounds. They often use Auslan (Australian Sign Language) for communication.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, the rates of middle ear disease (also known as otitis media) and hearing loss are one of the highest in the world. These children can experience middle ear disease earlier, more frequently, with greater severity and for longer periods of time.

Being deaf or hard of hearing can impact on a child’s speech development, their ability to communicate with others, their social development and their learning.

Sometimes a child may experience conditions or disabilities. Schools consider the supports required for all of the child’s needs. You can find out more about supports for other disabilities.​​

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Information about state school supports for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
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Information about supports for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
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Last updated 16 September 2021