Guidelines for documenting deafness/hearing impairments

A qualified evaluator

Professionals conducting assessments for the diagnosis of a hearing disability and making recommendations for appropriate accommodations must be qualified to do so. Such professionals can include audiologists and licensed medical doctors with special training in assessing hearing loss. Documentation should include the following criteria:

  • Previous accommodations. 
  • Past school reports, including IEP or 504 plans.
  • Any other past medical evaluations.


Must be current: Reasonable accommodations are based on the current impact of a disability. Medical documentation must address an individual’s current level of functioning and present need for accommodations. An evaluation should be no more than three years old if hearing loss is progressive.

Must be comprehensive: Documentation must include the results of an audiogram with a narrative interpretation of it. This narrative should include:

  • A history of symptoms and relevant medical history.
  • Description of current impairment with status (i.e. static, improving, or degrading).
  • A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments/reports used to make the diagnosis.
  • Duration and severity of the disorder.
  • If available, documentation of assistive devices and technology used and the effectiveness of such accommodations.
  • A clear statement of the hearing impairment which does not use language such as “seems to indicate” or “suggests.”
  • A discussion of current functional limitations in an academic environment and degree of impact.
  • Suggestions of reasonable accommodations supported by the diagnosis.

May include supporting information: In addition to the report of the qualified evaluator, it is also helpful to have records of the following:

  • Previous accommodations.
  • High school 504 plans or IEPs.
  • Previous medical evaluations and other school reports to better understand and accommodate the student who is deaf or hard of hearing.