Hearing Loss in Vermont
Anywhere from 4 to 16% of Americans are estimated to have some degree of hearing loss. In Vermont, census indicators point to 23,625 Vermonters living with hearing loss, including 1993 who are profoundly deaf.
Causes of hearing loss specific to Vermont are unavailable, but nationally studies have indicated that among adults, 34% of hearing loss stems from noise injury, while 28% comes from age and 17% comes from infection. Only 4% was present at birth. Among young people, the most common causes were heredity (13%), pregnancy and birth complications (9%), and meningitis (8%). Large spikes in hearing loss in children that previously occurred in the 1950's and 1960's due to rubella epidemics have been eliminated in the United States by the rubella vaccine.
Nationally, 96% of children who have hearing loss have hearing parents; only 4% have one or both parents with hearing loss.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education in Vermont
Nationally, we know:
- Approximately 1.1 per 1000 K-12 students currently receive special education for the primary reason of hearing loss.
- At least 40% of the deaf/hard of hearing student population also have secondary or co-existing conditions.
- About 12% of deaf and hard of hearing students attend separate residential schools and 22% receive special education services more than 60% of the time.
The demographics of deaf education are changing; the increasing prevalence of cochlear implant as a partial solution is greatly impacting the other types of services students with hearing loss require. In addition, ethnic diversity among students with hearing loss is increasing at a pace and along trends consistent with the larger school population.
Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is the state-chartered nonprofit provider of educational services for children and young adults with hearing loss in Vermont.The Austine School and William Center, both residential facilities at the Austine campus in Brattleboro, are the only residential schools for the deaf in Vermont and currently serve 65 students. The Vermont Center was created in 1998 as an umbrella organization to ensure a continuum of services to deaf and hard of hearing individuals from birth through adulthood. Programs are approved by the Vermont Department of Education and staffed by certified professionals, most of whom have masters-level credentials.
The Vermont Center asserts that ensuring deaf and hard of hearing individuals' capacity for success in our society means assessing each child or adult's particular needs " "What will help this individual thrive?" " and providing the corresponding education, tools, and resources vital to allow a healthy and productive life.
Additional educational programs range from the state-approved Parent Infant Program (which provides information and support to parents of children with hearing loss birth to age 3), to specialized services to Deaf and Hard of Hearing students through the Regional Consultant Services, as well as classes in American Sign Language.
The Vermont Center is committed to quality programs for all students regardless of degree of hearing loss or method of communication.
Vermont Family Network
DVAS (Deaf Vermonters Advocacy Services)
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
American Sign Language Teachers Association
National Association of the Deaf
Vermont Interpreter Referral Service
Vermont Center for Independent Living
VT Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
Vermont Department of Education
Vermont Video Relay Service