Informal Functional Hearing Evaluation (IFHE)
New Resource Released March, 2017

View or Download the new IFHE here…

  • What & Why: Infomraiton from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) website — 
    • A new resource has been developed at the Texas Deafblind Project of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) called the Informal Functional Hearing Evaluation (IFHE).
    • The IFHE is a tool created 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.
    • The assessment tool supports providers in recording information about the behavioral responses of students with deafblindness to a variety of sounds in multiple settings.
    • The information obtained from the IFHE can guide the development of accommodations and instructional strategies for the IEP team, as well as provide valuable information for educational audiologists as they perform subsequent diagnostic testing.
    • The most significant difference between the IFHE and similar functional hearing inventories is that unlike other functional hearing tools, the IFHE is specifically designed to account for the difficulties that students with deafblindness and multiple disabilities have in localizing and identifying sound sources due to their loss of vision.
    • More emphasis is placed on encouraging the teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing to observe and document the child’s specific bodily behavioral responses to sounds.
    • The IFHE places an increased emphasis on observing behaviors other than visual attention to help confirm that a student has heard, recognized, or understood a specific sound, even for students with some vision.
    • 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.

 

  • More information: 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.