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Includes Deafness, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing Loss.
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Quick link to the information of your choice on Hearing Impairment:
What is Hearing Impairment?
- Hearing Impairment and deafness are the temporary or permanent, partial or full, impairment or loss of hearing.
- Hearing Loss is a full or partial decrease in the ability to detect or understand sounds.
- Congenital Hearing Impairment is hearing loss present at birth, which may or may not be genetic.
- Acquired Hearing Impairment is hearing loss acquired after birth, which may or may not be genetic.
- Hard of Hearing can mean that one has varying amounts of hearing loss, but usually not enough to be considered deaf or it is also how a person who is deaf may refer to themself.
What are the causes of Hearing Impairment?
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- Sensorineural hearing loss
- Combination of both
- Loss occurring before the appreciation of sound and speech
- If hearing loss occurs before a child develops and recognizes sound and develops speech, developing language and social skills can be affected.
- Loss developing after the appreciation of sound and speech.
- Temporary loss.
- No serious long-term effects
What are the characteristics of Hearing Impairment?
- Loss of the ability to detect some loudness, frequencies, to detect low or high amplitude sounds or discriminate sounds that humans naturally detect.
- May have educational, physical and behavioral ramifications
What are the statistics regarding Hearing Impairment?
- For those who seek medical attention for hearing loss, 3 million of these have major hearing loss.
- "Age-related hearing loss affects 30 to 35 percent of the population between the ages of 65 and 75 years, and 40 percent of the population over the age of 75." Statistics from Medicine Net.com
Affects all ages, not just the elderly.
Hearing Impairment is -not- an indicator of ones intellectual abilities.
Early intervention is important, don't hesitate to get tested if you have suspicion.
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- People are more alike than they are different.
- Identify and develop an appreciation for each person's strengths and accomplishments.
- Become aware of the affect on daily activities.
- People First Language from disabilityisnatural.com by Kathie Snow offers insight into society's use of language when using the term disability. The term disability is a societal construct to identify characteristics related to a medical condition that may entitle an individual for services or legal protections. The use of this language encourages freedom, respect and inclusion for all, and recognizes forms of language that can isolate, create negative stereotypes and place attitudinal barriers for individuals. "Using People First Language, putting the person before the disability—and eliminating old, prejudicial, and hurtful descriptors, can move us in a new direction. People First Language is not political correctness; instead, it demonstrates good manners, respect, the Golden Rule, and more—it can change the way we see a person, and it can change the way a person sees themself!" For more articles by Kathie Snow to "help us begin to use more respectful and accurate language and create positive change," visit People First Language and More
TEN COMMANDMENTS of communicating with people who have a hearing loss
(for those who interact with the hearing impaired)
Remember this post for communicating with people who have a hearing loss and thought others would find it helpful. The credit goes to Fletcher Allen Healthcare for coming up with the list.
1. Thou shalt not speak from another room.
2. Thou shalt not speak with your back toward the person
with a hearing problem (or their back toward you).
3. You shalt not start speaking and walk away.
4. Thou shalt not start speaking and turn away from the person with a hearing problem.
5. Thou shalt not speak in competition with something else, i.e. turn off the water, turn down the radio.
6. Thou shalt get the attention of the person with the hearing problem. (Do not start speaking while they are reading
or concentrating on TV, etc.)
7. Thou shalt try to speak face to face at all times.
8. Thou shalt try to remove obstructions
while speaking. (Move your hand from your face, the cigarette from your mouth, etc.)
9. Thou shalt try to speak distinctly.
10. Thou shalt try to be patient.
(Fletcher Allen Health Care: Audiology Center at Fanny Allen)
Needs and Solutions
- Education, support, therapy may be needed as gradually increasing hearing loss leads to increased anger, frustration, insecurity, nervousness, irritability and depression.
- Hearing aids can amplify the incoming sound.
- Cochlear implants artificially stimulate the VIIIth Nerve by providing an electric impulse substituion for the firing of hair cells. Cochlear implants are expensive, and require sophisticated programming in conjunction with patient training for effectiveness.
Treatment and Rehabilitation
- Technical adaptations
- Learn lip reading
- Learn sign language
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Learn more about Hearing Impairment and Deafness
- Augustana College's virtual tour of the ear. General resource directory for the deaf and hearing-impaired, with links to sites dealing with everything from cochlear implants to schools for the deaf.
- Deaf -Info: Everything You Wanted to Know About Deafness is a great resource, however a listserv website, to find out some practical information about deafness including Medical, Education, Employment and much more with topics such as Controversial Issues, Discrimination and Humor.
- Hearing Health Foundation, a leading source of private funding for basic and clinical research in hearing science, offers information on various issues relating to deafness. More specifically, their website features information on cochlear implants, hearing aids, various ear conditions, and much more.
- Hearing Loss by Health line is an article that discusses statistics, symptoms of hearing loss, treatments, complications, prevention and a comprehensive list and description of each of 29 possible conditions leading to hearing loss.
- Hearing Loss by HearStore is an article on Hearing Education and Awareness
- National Association of the Deaf : Virtual Tour of the Ear
- Disability and Rehabilitation Handbook, by Robert Goldenson, McGraw-Hill, New York, New York, 1978: P. 200.
- Fletcher Allen Health Care: Audiology Center at Fanny Allen
- Medicine Net.com
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