Eligibility Requirements for Hearing Disabilities

Information from the Washington Association on Postsecondary Education and Disability Documentation Position Paper on Hearing Disabilities.

Students who are seeking support services from post-secondary institutions in the state of Washington on the basis of a hearing loss may be required to submit documentation to verify eligibility. Documentation of disability and related information will be kept in a separate file in the appropriate office as designated by each institution. The cost and responsibility for providing this documentation shall be borne by the student.

A hearing loss can range from mild to profound. Each student's hearing loss, background, course of study, and language preferences should be considered when determining appropriate classroom accommodations. Students' self perceptions and communication strengths are often at variance with external measures of hearing loss.

Any hearing loss evaluation would be considered to be in the medical domain and require the expertise of a credentialed audiologist (CCC - Certificate of Clinical Competence). Information describing the certification, licensure, and/or the professional training of individuals conducting the evaluation must be provided.

Documentation should show current impact of the disability. The age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the stability of the hearing loss. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that the evaluation and report are appropriate for documenting eligibility and identifying reasonable accommodations.

The documentation should include:

  1. a copy of the audiology report;
  2. a brief description of the severity of the hearing loss;
  3. a description of assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in use, including the possible effectiveness of these devices or services in an educational setting;
  4. a description of the expected progression or stability of the hearing loss over time.

Suggestions of reasonable accommodations with supporting evidence may be included. The final determination for providing appropriate and reasonable accommodations rests with the postsecondary institution.