Normally hearing children (aged 4–10) and hearing-impaired children (aged 6–14) were tested on word awareness skills, such as the distinction between words and their referents, and their ability to provide explicit definitions of word. Older children performed significantly better than younger children, and normally hearing children performed significantly better than hearing-impaired children. However, orally educated children with mild or moderate hearing losses did not perform better than children with severe or profound losses. Instead, hearingimpaired children exhibited marked metalinguistic deficits, regardless of their degree of hearing loss. Finally, bimodally educated children performed significantly worse than orally educated children on the metalinguistic tasks of the present study. The implications of these findings for educational instruction are discussed.