Academic Challenges of Students with Hearing Impairment (SHIs) in Ghana

Efua Esaaba Agyire-Tettey, Marigold Cobbina, Emma Seyram Hamenoo


Purpose: Several researches have showed that the average academic performances of students with hearing impairment (SHIs) are below that of hearing students. This research sought to elucidate challenges that prevent SHIs from high academic achievements, using the case of students in Tetteh Ocloo State School for the Deaf in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana.

Method: A qualitative research design was used for data collection through in-depth interviews, analysis and the interpretation of the responses of thirty participants (12 Students with hearing impairments, 11 parents and 7 special educators).

Results: Findings showed that challenges which hinder SHIs academic performance emanate from different systems and actors including SHIs themselves, their parents and other institutional barriers that exist in deaf education. The findings also indicated that parents influenced the academic performance of their children with hearing impairment (CHI) through their responsibilities, expectations and the learning assistance they gave to their wards at home. Results also established that institutional barriers such as effective instructional procedures adopted in deaf education, availability of facilities, teaching, reading learning materials, and curricular contents posed challenges to the academic performance of students with hearing impairment.

Conclusion: The identified challenges which prevent SHIs from higher academic performance are from different systems of SHIs’ environment and the interplay between them. The study recommends that interventions must be directed at the different systems within their environment.


Academic performance; education

Full Text:



Adane LO (2013). Factors affecting low academic achievement of pupils in Kemp Methodist Junior High School in Aburi, Eastern Region (Unpublished M.Phil thesis). University of Ghana, Legon.

Aidoo D (2011). An analysis of the management of state-maintained special schools for children with hearing impairment in Ghana. University of Bath. PMCid:PMC4821879

Allodi MW (2000). Self-concept in children receiving special support at school. European Journal of Special Education; 15(1): 69¬-78.

Baker D (1972). Reading achievement of the deaf: Another look. Volta Review; 76: 489-99.

Berk LE (2000). Child development. 5th Edition, Boston: Allyn & Bacon: 23-38.

Boateng R (2014). Research made easy. 1st Edition, Accra: Pearl Richards Foundation.

Bronfenbrenner U (2005). Making human beings human: Bioecological perspectives on human development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Bronfenbrenner U (1999). Environments in developmental perspective: theoretical and operational models. In S. L Friedman & T.D Wachs (Eds.), measuring environment across the life span: emerging methods and concepts. Washington: American Psychological Association Press. 3- 28

Bronfenbrenner U (1995). Developmental ecology through space and time: A future perspective. In P Moen & G. H. Elder Jr (Eds.), Examining lives in context: Perspectives on the ecology of human development. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 619-647

Cohen OP (1997). Giving all children a chance: Advantages of an anti-racist approach to education for deaf children. American Annals of the Deaf; 142(2): 80-82. PMid:9154682

Creswell JW (2009). Research design: qualitative, quantitative and mixed method approaches. 3rd Edition, USA. Sage Publication Incorporated.

Donald D, Lazarus S, Lolwana, P (2001). Educational psychology in social context. Oxford University Press, SA.

Dogoe-Torsu RK (2011). Community services and health industry training advisory body investigating communication barrier as a cause for low academic performance of students with hearing impairment at Mawuko Girls Senior High School, Ho (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University Of Education, Winneba.

Drever T, Collins M (1928). Performing tests of intelligence. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd.

Engin-Demir C (2009). Factors influencing the academic achievement of the Turkish urban poor. International Journal of Educational Development; 29(1): 17-29.

Gaustad MG, Kelly RR (2004). The relationship between reading achievement and morphological word analysis in deaf and hearing students matched for reading level. Journal of Deaf Studies and deaf education; 9(3): 269-285. PMid:15304431

Hayford SK (2007). Continuous assessment and lower attaining pupils in primary and junior secondary schools in Ghana. University of Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Ikonta NR, Maduekwe AN (2005). A study of hearing-impaired students (in English language) in a conventional secondary school in Lagos state, Nigeria. African Journal of Special Educational Needs; 4(1): 28-39.

Kyere K (2009). Educating the deaf in vocational skills: selected schools for the deaf in focus. [unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi.

Johnson RE (1989). Locking the curriculum: Principles for achieving access in deaf education. Washington DC: Gallaudet Research Inst.

Luckner, J, Muir S (2001). Successful students who are deaf in general education settings. (American Annals of the Deaf); 146(1): 435–446. PMid:11865574

Marschark M., Hauser PC (2012). How deaf children learn. New York: Oxford University Press. PMCid:PMC3608521

Marschark M, Lang G, Albertini A (2001). Educating deaf students: from research to practice. USA: Oxford University Press.

Melander H (2008). An evaluative case study of a mathematics program at a deaf school in Ghana and an ecological explanation for challenges preventing deaf student’s access to quality education. Brigham Young University.

Mazoue P (2011). The academic challenges facing deaf students at Durban University of Technology (unpublished doctoral thesis). University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.

Nortey DA (2009). Barriers to social participation for the deaf and hard of hearing in Ghana. University Of Bergen.

Obosu KG, Adu- Agyem J, Opoku- Asare NA (2013). The use of visual art forms in teaching and learning in schools for the deaf in Ghana: investigating the practice. International Journal of Innovative Research & Development; 2(5): 2278 – 0211

Oduro AD (2000). Basic education in Ghana in the post-reform period. Centre for Accra: Policy Analysis.

Powers S (2011). Learning from success: high achieving deaf students. Deafness & Education International; 13(3): 92-109.

Powers S (2003). Influences of student and family factors on academic outcomes of mainstream Secondary school deaf students. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education; 8(1): 57-78. Oxford University Press. PMid:15448047

Qi S, Mitchell R (2011). Large scale academic achievement testing of deaf and hard of hearing students: Past, present and future. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education; 17(1): 1-18. PMid:21712463

Paquette D, Ryan J (2001). Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory. Available from: [Accessed on 11 Feb 2016]

Reed S, Antia SD, Kreimeyer KH (2008). Academic status of deaf and hard-of-hearing students in public schools: student, home, and service facilitators and detractors. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education; 13(4): 485-502. PMid:18344539

Szymanski C, Lutz L, Shahan C, Gala N (2013). Critical needs of students who are deaf and hard of hearing: A public input summary. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University, Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center.

Trybus RJ, Karchmer MA (1977). School achievement scores of hearing-impaired children: National data on achievement status and growth patterns. American Annals of the Deaf; 122(1):62–69. PMid:868721

Vernon M (2005). Fifty years of research on the intelligence of deaf and hard-of-hearing children: A review of literature and discussion of implications. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education; 10(1): 225–231. PMid:15888725

World Health Organization, World Bank (2011). World report on disability. Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization.

World Health Organization (2012) Community-based rehabilitation: Promoting ear and hearing care through CBR. Geneva, Switzerland, WHO press: 15-22

Woolsey ML, Harrison TJ, Gardner R (2004). A preliminary examination of instructional arrangements, teaching behaviors, levels of academic responding of deaf middle school students in three different educational settings. Education and Treatment of Children; 27(3): 263-279.



Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Supported by:


© Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development