The Dragonfly Story

Learning Difficulties from CHL / OM

Zumach and colleagues (2001)5 suggested that students with impaired hearing have impaired speech perception. This may lead to difficulty in listening when there is background noise, such is the case in the classroom. These children may then encounter difficulties in learning to read and write since literacy development depends on effective communication and cognition.

In 1995, Lowell6 suggested that the effects of hearing loss can’t be isolated from the complex interactions which exist between linguistic, cultural and environmental factors. The complex interactions between each of these factors will determine the extent of communication difficulties experienced by the hearing impaired child. It also cannot be assumed that the degree of difficulty a child is having in these areas is directly related to the amount of conductive hearing loss a child may have at the time.

Children with mild or fluctuating hearing loss may be less successful in the class room than those with more severe and / or inconsistent hearing loss. This difference is thought to be due to children with severe or consistent hearing loss developing effective coping strategies, being more easily recognised by the teacher, or being exposed to appropriate intervention strategies once the child is recognised as experiencing problems due to conductive hearing loss.


Zumach, A., Chenault, M., Anteunis, L., & Gerrits, E. (2011). Speech perception after early-life Otitis Media with fluctuating hearing loss. Audiology and Neurotology, 16, 304 – 314. 
6 Lowell, A. (1995). Communication and learning in an Aboriginal school: The influence of conductive hearing loss. Batchelor: Batchelor College.