In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • The Importance of Visual Stimulus as a Component of Audition Stimulus in the Aural/Oral (Re)Habilitation of Children/Clients With Hearing Loss
  • Edward Marlatt, PhD

Marlatt, E. (2014). The importance of visual stimulus as a component of audition stimulus in the aural/oral (re)habilitation of children/clients with hearing loss [Letter to the editor]. American Annals of the Deaf, 159(4), 317–318.

Call it visual stimulus or call it speechreading, it merits equal promotion with audition stimuli (auditory training) in the habilitation of children with hearing loss and the rehabilitation of clients with hearing loss. This decades-old approach to receptive communication and decoding language is as effective today as it was years ago; however, it has grown way beyond lipreading to include components of facial expressing, manual gesturing, body moving, eye contacting, proximity distancing, spoken-language cueing, and, yes, signing manual or coded language. Since the beginning of education of students with hearing loss, it has been assumed and proved that these students are probably more visual learners than audition learners. Then how can we lose sight of visual learning/teaching in conjunction with audition learning/teaching differently, with our population? Neither must be primary or secondary; they are equivalently conjunctive.

The use of visual stimuli to aid language and communication commenced at the approximate time that the education of students who are D/HH was initiated in the 16th century by the early educators in our field. Originally, visual stimuli were joined to printed and manual language, then to include speechreading, later. We can learn from these forerunners in the education of deaf and hard of hearing students, who employed many learning/teaching approaches through all sensory modes. Though some of the approaches look dated, they can adjusted to the current learning/teaching environments and contemporary learning/teaching milieus.

We all approach learning differently; knowing your learning style will help you take advantage of your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses. To varying degrees, everyone has qualities of each learning style (visual, auditory, tactile, or kinesthetic). Knowing what method or combination of methods works for you will help you do well in school. By knowing how to learn material on your personal level, you will use visual and auditory skills to your advantage.

With the increase in substantial gains of hearing acuity through cochlear implants and digital hearing aids, audition stimuli have been moved to the forefront of audiologic (re)habilitation, downplaying and even eliminating visual stimuli in aural rehabilitation (AUREHAB). We all know that children who are deaf/hard of hearing (D/HH) are predominately visual learners, even with increased visual stimuli. This view can also be imparted.

It seems that the field of educational deafness today is being taken over (as referenced in a previous letter to the editor [Marlatt, 2014]) by clinical speech (SLP), educational audiology (EAUD), and generic special education. We educators/providers who labor with the child/adult with hearing loss, as well as those who value exceptional communication preparation, theory, and practice in working with these children and clients, therefore consider it imperative that CED, ASHLA, and CEC keep methods and therapeutic courses in their certification processing on the UG and G levels for SLP, AUD, and SPE students. I am amazed, when I send my undergraduate (UG) and graduate (G) students in ED, SLP, and AUD out to observe D/HH students in aural rehabilitation settings, to learn that my students see that visual strategies are often not used by the TDHH, SLP, or EAUD today.

In all the current technological and medical advances in dealing with hearing loss, have we lost sight of the fact deaf and hard of hearing students use their visual acuity strongly in conjunction with their audition perception? Let us not lose sight of this, so that our students may use maximum [End Page 317] sensorial processes in their learning, plus language and communication developments.

Edward Marlatt
Adjunct Professor of Speech Pathology and Audiology
Department of Communication Studies, Sciences, and Disorders
Adelphi University
Garden City, NY


Marlatt, E. (2014). The evolution of the education of deaf and hard of hearing children into speech-language pathology, educational audiology, and special education. [Letter to...