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About the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education Services Chapter

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education Services (DHHES) is committed to promoting challenging educational experiences for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. DHHES currently serves over 2,800 students from elementary to high school levels throughout the five boroughs. The students are evaluated and placed in appropriate instructional settings and receive support services provided through DHHES.

DHHES consists of two program components: Related Services and Self-Contained Classes.

Related services program

Students who are hard of hearing or deaf, and attend either general or special education classes, receive related services on a weekly basis. Frequency of service is based upon the individual student's needs as per the recommendation of the Committee for Special Education and their IEPs.

Licensed teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) provide assistance in auditory learning, speech-reading, receptive and expressive language development, and academic support using specialized techniques. DHH staff and/or audiologists also provide instruction in the use and care of hearing aids and FM assistive technology. Close contact with general education teachers as well as parents is maintained to support instruction in the schools.

Self-contained classes

The self-contained class program serves deaf and hard of hearing students in special classes. These classes maintain a pupil-to-teacher ratio of 12:1:1 in elementary and middle school, and 15:1 in high school, and are located in various schools throughout the five boroughs. Licensed teachers of the DHH provide academic and specialized instruction. Children may be mainstreamed for various subjects as appropriate, and may receive other related services as mandated by their IEPs. For many students, the self-contained class program can lead to placement in a less-restrictive environment.

Self-Contained class programs include a Sign Support program and an Auditory/Oral program. This latter program is committed to maximizing auditory skills for learning spoken language and intelligible speech. Children with hearing aids and/or cochlear implants develop their potential as oral communicators using the auditory/oral approach.

The Sign Support program is committed to providing a range of communication options, including spoken English, American Sign Language, and components of Signed English, depending upon the needs of the individual child. Children develop their potential as signing and oral communicators. This program is available for students from kindergarten through high school.

The Auditory/Oral program is committed to maximizing communication through audition. The communication mode is oral only. Children develop their potential as oral communicators through the auditory/oral approach. Currently, this program is available for students at the elementary and intermediate levels.


The audiology department provides audiological services for deaf and hard of hearing students in the DHHES programs. The educational audiologists of DHHES are responsible for the provision of appropriate FM assistive technology. They also provide professional development for staff members on audiological issues and hearing loss. Audiologists act as consultants to special and general education teachers regarding strategies to enhance the auditory process in the classroom.

Other DHHES services

DHHES provides guidance, social work, counseling, transition services and work-study programs for deaf and hard of hearing youth. Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education Services is also available as a resource to the public in hearing education and related issues. We sponsor a yearly Transition Fair for all students who wish to further their education after high school.