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The Informal Functional Hearing Evaluation (IFHE) is meant to guide the teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing (TDHH), the teacher of the visually impaired (TVI), and the teacher of students with DeafBlindness (TDB) in determining the impact of a potential hearing loss on educational functioning for students with visual impairments and multiple disabilities.

The IFHE can serve as a guide for determining what accommodations are needed in the classroom, home, and community environments to promote student access to information. Because of the difficulty that a loss in both distance senses presents, a child who is deafblind may demonstrate a delay in identifying, understanding, and interpreting sounds and their sources. This delay can be pronounced, even if formal testing indicates a minimal loss of vision and hearing.

This evaluation tool was developed by Adam Graves, DeafBlind Consultant and Chris Montgomery, DeafBlind Consultant, with the Texas DeafBlind Project at Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired Outreach Programs in collaboration with the National Center on Deaf-Blindness.

If an educator is concerned that a student with a visual impairment may also have a hearing loss:

  • IFHE can provide information about how the child is currently using his/her hearing in a variety of settings and then guide the IEP team in developing instructional strategies to address the child’s dual sensory needs.
  • IFHE can document concerns when a student is unable to participate in formal testing (a lack of formal language, health issues, or concerns regarding sedation to test for an auditory brainstem response (ABR)).
  • IFHE can help shape programming considerations for a student with deafblindness.
  • IFHE can serve as a guide for determining what accommodations are needed in the classroom, home, and community environments to promote student access to information.
  • IFHE can be used as a compliment before formal testing to provide valuable information to the audiologist or ENT. IFHE should not serve as sole documentation of hearing impairment; formal testing is needed.

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