Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

What is it like to not be able to hear and communicate with other kids?

Kids Quest: Hearing Loss

What should you know?

A hearing loss can happen when any part of the hearing system (the brain, the auditory nerve, or the ear) is not working in the usual way. Hearing loss can vary greatly among people and can be caused by many things. Let's learn more…

Photo of girl signing "I love you"

Follow the 8 steps below for your Web Quest.

Step 1: See what you think about kids who have a hearing loss. Take the Fact Checkup!

Step 2: Think about some questions to ask. Let's see…

Step 3: Check out some quick facts.

Step 4: Check out some great websites to help you learn more.

Step 5: Find out about people you can read about to help with your Quest.

Step 6: Learn about movies and books that can give you information.

Step 7: Check out your school and neighborhood.

Step 8: Now see if your attitudes have changed. Take the Fact Checkup again.

Let's see…

A hearing loss can happen when any part of the hearing system (the brain, the auditory nerve, or the ear) is not working in the usual way. Hearing loss can vary greatly among people and can be caused by many things. Hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop speech, language, and social skills. The earlier children with hearing loss start getting services, the more likely they are to reach their full potential.

Hearing Loss Hero

Some things to think about….

What are some things that will help me understand what hearing loss is all about?

If a child cannot hear, how does he or she talk with other kids?

What is sign language and is it easy to learn?

How can I learn to communicate with kids who are deaf?

What is a cochlear implant and how does it help some people who are deaf?

Can you think of more questions to help you in your Quest? 
Click here to write them down so you'll remember them as you move through this QUEST.

 Return to Steps

Quick Facts

Here are some facts that may help you answer some of your Web Quest questions. Remember, these facts will only give you basic information.

  • Hearing loss in children. What are we talking about? Try this experiment to see if you can understand hearing loss better.
  • American Sign Language was developed by people who were deaf as a way to communicate with each other. American Sign Language, like all other languages, has a cultural and historical background.
  • Most babies have a hearing screening soon after birth, usually before they leave the hospital. Each year in the United States (U.S.), more than 12,000 babies are born with a hearing loss. The cause of hearing loss for many babies is not known, and hearing loss can go unnoticed for years.

 Return to Steps

World-Wide Web Search

Sign Language - letter f

ASL University (

To give you a "taste" of American Sign Language, check out this website. Just remember that ASL is not just about signing visual concepts (vocabulary), it requires signing in a particular order and a particular manner. Learning signs from a computer is somewhat limited but will give you an idea of how to sign some words. Try the First 100 signs to learn some simple sign language.

Boys Town (National Research Hospital)

Cochlear Implants (Boys Town National Research Hospital)

Cochlear implants are devices that can provide sound for people who receive little or no benefit from hearing aids.

Kids Health

KidsHealth Organization: What is hearing Loss?

You know what hearing is, but what is hearing loss? Hearing loss happens when there is a problem with one or more parts of the ear or ears. Read more about hearing loss, going to an audiologist, and if loud music will hurt your ears.

Take a look at this CDC site to get more information about what a parent might do if he or she suspects that his child has a hearing loss.

 Return to Steps


Read about people, who are deaf or have a hearing loss. Learn how they have become successful adults and learned to communicate with people.

Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin has been deaf since she lost her hearing at eighteen months old. She became famous at the age of 21, when she starred in the movie, " Children of a Lesser God". She has starred in many movies since and has appeared on TV.

Lou Ferrigno

Lou Ferrigno is best known as the Incredible Hulk in the 1970's TV show. He also is a body builder and has won the Mr. Universe title twice. Lou is hard of hearing and has become an instant role model for deaf and hard of hearing youth. Ferrigno was motivated to become a bodybuilder as a teenager because he was teased by peers for being hard of hearing.

I. King Jordon

I. King Jordan made history in 1988 when he became the first deaf president of Gallaudet University, the world's only university with all programs and services designed specifically for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. Jordan became deaf at age 21 when, while driving a motorcycle, he suffered a skull fracture due to not wearing a helmet. 

Linda Bove

Linda Bove joined Sesame Street in 1971, becoming a full-time cast member in 1977. Linda Bove was born in Garfield, New Jersey to two deaf parents. In 1963, Bove became a founding member of the National Theatre of the Deaf, and in 1991. 

 Return to Steps

Movies and Books

Here are some movies and books about hearing loss and sign language.

How Your Ears Work

Presented by: Kids Health
How do you hear? Watch this ear video to step inside the ear.

Book Cover: Let's Talk About Deafness

Let's Talk About Deafness

Publisher: Powerkids Press (August 1999)
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Discusses deafness, its causes, and how deaf people cope with their condition and live full lives despite their inability to hear.

Can you hear the rainbow book cover

Can You Hear a Rainbow? The Story of a Deaf Boy Named Chris

Publisher: Peachtree Pub Ltd (May 2002)
A deaf child tells how he uses sign language, hearing aids, and his other senses to communicate, how his friends help him, and how he goes to public school with an interpreter.

 Return to Steps

My School and Neighborhood

What should you do if you were a parent of a baby or young child that you suspect has a hearing loss? Look at the list of choices below and see if you can figure out which ones would be good to do if you think your child has a hearing loss.

Choices Good Choice Bad Choice
– Get a hearing screening before the child is one month old  X   X 
– Ignore the hearing loss and hope he will outgrow it  X   X 
– Talk to other parents of children with a hearing loss  X   X 
– If a medical exam confirms a loss, seek help from professionals about intervention options  X   X 
– Take your child out of school  X   X 
– Assume that since he cannot communicate and talk, he will not succeed  X   X 
– Talk to people who have had hearing losses to ask questions  X   X 

 Return to Steps

Links outside this website

We provide links to other web pages if you want to learn more about a topic. Some of these pages are on the CDC web site and others are on outside websites. Links to organizations and companies outside of CDC are included for information only. CDC has no control over the information at these sites. The views and opinions of these organizations are not necessarily those of CDC, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), or the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS).