Adolescents with hearing disabilities in higher education

    Publication date: 01 January 2016

    A study of how experiences and language skills affect the academic success of adolescents with hearing disabilities.


    Project description

    Both the technological developments and the introduction of legislation on inclusive education in the Netherlands in August 2014 led to the question of whether higher education is prepared sufficiently for adolescents with hearing disabilities. Looking at the school performance of hearing-disabled young people with current hearing aid technology (including cochlear implant), it is expected that an increasing number of adolescents with hearing disabilities will register for higher education. So far, several studies aimed mostly at the younger age groups (pre-school, primary education). This PhD research focuses on adolescents with hearing disabilities, explores their experiences and skills, and identifies what is needed to let adolescents with hearing disabilities participate in higher education.


    Mapping and analysis of the experiences, needs and (language) skills of adolescents with hearing disabilities, so that recommendations can be formulated for accessible higher education for this group.

    This is done by finding answers to the following questions:

    1. What are the (learning and education) experiences of adolescents with hearing disabilities, both within and outside of higher education?
    2. How does the acoustic environment of a variety of educational situations in higher education influence the access to education for adolescents with hearing disabilities?
    3. How do adolescents with hearing disabilities perform, both within and outside of higher education, in tests that measure proficiency in Dutch and English?
    4. How successful is the performance of young people with a hearing disability in higher education with regard to language skills, study duration and success?

    The study

    The study population will consist of adolescents between 16 and 27 years old who wear a hearing aid or cochlear implant, and have completed secondary school. Groups of students inside and outside higher education will be compared. Furthermore, hearing disabled students will be compared to a matched control group of normally hearing peers. Flemish students from Ghent University are involved in this study as well. Language tests and interviews will be administered in both groups. In addition, study progress and language skills will be compared between groups.