Deafness-The experience is never the same for those who face hearing loss. Individuals who are a part of the deaf community or culture share a unique story on how they embarked on their journey. Hearing loss can come from various reasons such as:
- Ear malformation.
- Medical (viruses/tumors ).
- Injury (trauma/accident).
- Sudden Hear Loss ( Some individuals lose at least 30 dB within 72 hours and according to American Hearing Research Foundation the reason is unknown.)
Deafness and hard of hearing is divided into four different categories and these categories are based on the severity of the disability.
- Mild Hearing Loss- (26-40 dB) These individuals miss about 25-48% of sounds, depending on noise level in their environment. They have a difficult time with soft speech and conversations.They can use a hearing aide from a local drug store.
- Moderate Hearing Loss-(41 - 55 dB)People who suffer from moderate hearing loss have difficulty keeping up with conversations when not using a hearing aid, especially in an area with disruptive noise. Higher volume levels are needed for hearing TV or radio.
- Severe Hearing Loss-(71 - 90 dB)Individuals who suffer from severe hearing have a harder time keeping up with conversations, at this stage they can read lips and/or use sign language to communicate. Using a powerful hearing aide is usually beneficial.
- Profound Hearing Loss-(91+ dB)People who suffer from profound hearing loss are very hard of hearing and rely mostly on lip-reading, and/or sign language. Comprehension often only possible through shouting or amplification.
Hearing problems in children
- Diagnose and treat kids with hearing loss at an early stage.
- Audiometric testing.
- Find a solution and treatment.
- Programs and support are developed to help and guide parent through their child's case of hearing loss.
National Association of The Deaf
NAD was established in 1880 by deaf leaders who believed in the right of the American deaf community to use sign language to congregate on issues important to them.
The NAD advocates on behalf of /to empower deaf and hard of hearing people.
National Association of The Deaf covers a wide range of issues
- Early intervention
- Emergency Preparedness
- Health Care
NAD provides attorneys to represent deaf individuals in disability discrimination civil rights cases.
The NAD Law/Advocacy Center strongly advocates for captioning of all audio and audiovisual information and material regardless of the distribution method.
The right to a free appropriate public education unfortunately remains unrealized by the many children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The NAD provides a variety of programs for both adults and children to become involved in the culture and community.
Assistive Technology Devices; Cochlear Implant & Video Phone
Cochlear Implant: A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear. Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants do the work of damaged parts of the inner ear (cochlea) to provide sound signals to the brain.
-Cochlear implant surgery can be performed at any age, though most choose to perform the surgery as young children as long as the services are available.
-Cochlear implant is never a sure thing, and should never be considered a cure for deafness.
-Though a cochlear implant is considered an assistive technology device for deafness, they are not a device that you would see mandated on an IEP because you cannot force a family to consider surgery.
Video Phone: A telephone with a video screen which is very useful for those who use sign language to communicate. Using video phones, two people who know sign language can communicate directly with each other, or a person who is deaf and knows sign language can call a non-signing person through the video relay service (VRS).
-An interpreter at VRS facilitates communication between the person who uses sign language and the person who does not use sign language. Many people are using video phone technology rather than a TTY.
- Visual language is extremely important for the deaf community therefore, a video phone is a better form of communication rather