ERIC Identifier: ED414670
Publication Date: 1997-08-00
Author: Goldberg, Donald
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Disabilities and Gifted Education Reston VA.
Educating Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing:
Auditory-Verbal. ERIC Digest #E552.
The goal of auditory-verbal practice is for children who are deaf or hard of
hearing to grow up in "typical" learning and living environments that enable
them to become independent, participating, and contributing citizens in an
inclusive mainstream society. The auditory-verbal philosophy supports the basic
human right that children with all degrees of hearing loss deserve an
opportunity to develop the ability to listen and use verbal communication within
their own family and community constellations.
The auditory-verbal philosophy follows a logical and critical set of guiding
principles that outline the essential requirements needed to increase the
likelihood that young children who are deaf or hard of hearing can be educated
to use even minimal amounts of residual (remaining) hearing. Use of amplified
residual hearing permits these children to learn to listen, to process verbal
language, and to speak.
The principles of auditory-verbal practice are:
Working toward the earliest possible identification of hearing
loss in infants and young children, ideally in the newborn
nursery. Conducting an aggressive program of audiologic
Seeking the best available sources of medical treatment and
technological amplification of sound for the child who is deaf
or hard of hearing as early as possible.
Helping the child understand the meaning of any sounds
heard, including spoken language, and teaching the child's
parents how to make sound meaningful to the child all day
Helping the child learn to respond and to use sound in the
same way that children with normal hearing learn.
Using the child's parents as the most important models for
learning speech and spoken communication.
Working to help children develop an inner auditory system so
that they are aware of their own voice and will work to match
what he or she says with what they hear others say.
Knowing how children with normal hearing develop sound
awareness, listening, language, and intellect and using this
knowledge to help children with hearing impairments learn
Observing and evaluating the child's development in all
areas. Changing the child's training program when new
Helping children who are deaf or hard of hearing participate
educationally and socially with children who have normal
hearing by supporting them in regular education classes.
(The 1991 Auditory-Verbal International organization developed these
principles of Auditory-Verbal practice based on the work of Pollack, 1970,
Who can use this option?
The auditory-verbal option is an early intervention strategy. It is not a set
of principles for classroom teaching. The purpose is to teach auditory-verbal
principles to the parents of very young children who are deaf or hard of
hearing. Therefore, any family with a young child, regardless of the severity of
the hearing loss, can choose the auditory-verbal option. As with all early
intervention programs, the younger the child is identified as being deaf or hard
of hearing, the better. All children in auditory-verbal program will need
comprehensive and aggressive audiologic management. In the United States, the
auditory-verbal approach is usually conducted by private clinics, therapists,
and programs, although some publicly funded projects embrace auditory-verbal
What are the benefits of this option?
The majority of parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing have
hearing within normal limits. Parents in auditory-verbal programs therefore do
not need to learn sign language or cued speech. In auditory-verbal intervention
programs, parents are returned their natural parenting role. Auditory-verbal
therapy sessions typically address speech, language, and auditory goals with the
therapist working in partnership with the parents so that the parents can model
communication strategies with their child throughout the child's daily life.
Results of a study of graduates of auditory-verbal programs in the United
States and Canada (Goldberg & Flexer, 1993) showed that the majority of the
respondents were integrated into "regular" learning and living environments.
Graduates often had been mainstreamed in their local schools, attended
post-secondary institutions that are not specifically designed for persons who
are deaf or hard of hearing, and were involved in typical community activities.
In addition, reading skills of auditory-verbal children have been demonstrated
to equal or exceed those of their hearing peers (Robertson & Flexer, 1993).
What are the limitations of this option?
The auditory-verbal approach depends highly on parental involvement. It is
not a classroom approach but a style of interaction between parent and child. If
the parents are unable to commit to the intensity of involvement required, then
the child may not make as much progress as she or he could. Further, the
auditory-verbal centers and practitioners usually are found in areas of denser
population and may not be easily accessible to families in rural and remote
areas. Finally, many auditory-verbal centers are not supported by public funds,
so a fee for services may be requested, although scholarships may be available.
are some questions to ask before choosing this option?
As with any intervention option, the method selected must match the family's
needs versus one selected by well-meaning professionals. The most important
question for parents would then be, "Is the auditory-verbal approach right for
my child and our family?" The parent might ask such questions as:
How much time will be involved at the center and at home?
Where is the closest auditory-verbal center located, and will I be able to get
What is the relationship between the center or therapist and
the school my child will attend in the future?
Auditory-Verbal International (1991).
Auditory-verbal position statement.
Estabrooks, W. (1994). (ed.). Auditory-verbal therapy. Washington, DC:
Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf.
Goldberg, D. (1994) (ed.). Auditory-verbal philosophy: A tutorial. The Volta
Review, 95 (3), 181-262.
Goldberg, D., & Flexer, C. (1993). Outcome survey of auditory-verbal
graduates: A study of clinical efficacy. Journal of the American Academy of
Audiology, 4, 189-200.
Ling, D. (1989). Foundations of spoken language for hearing-impaired
children. Washington, DC: Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf.
Ling, D., & Ling, A. (1978). Aural habilitation: The foundations of
verbal learning in hearing-impaired children. Washington, DC: Alexander Graham
Bell Association for the Deaf.
Pollack, D. (1985). Educational audiology for the limited-hearing infant and
preschooler (2nd ed.). Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
Pollack, D. (1970). Educational audiology for the limited-hearing infant
Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
Robertson, L., & Flexer, C. (1993). Reading development: A parent survey
of children with hearing impairment who developed speech and language through
the auditory-verbal method. The Volta Review, 95 (3), 253-261.
Auditory-Verbal International, Inc. (AVI) is an international organization of
parent and professional members. AVI advocation for the choice of listening and
speaking for children who are deaf or hard of hearing through education, and
family support. The organization's quarterly newsletter is "The Auricle," and
separate parent and "Kids Only" publications are available to members.
Additional information about the auditory-verbal approach is available from:
Eisenhower Avenue, Suite 402
739-1049 (V); (703) 739-0874 (TDD)