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Understanding the Hearing Impaired58 Views
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Description: In order to effectively communicate with the hearing impaired, you need to know some basic details. Our video on the hearing impaired can be your guide towards conversing and interacting with people who have hearing impairments.
hearing, hard of hearing, deaf, hearing impaired, disabled, disabilities, hearing loss and communication, conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, mixed hearing loss, hearing aids, sudden hearing loss, progressive hearing loss
speak, read, lips, sign language, body language, eye contact, expression, auditory sense
conditions, elderly care, disablilty
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About 10 percent of the American population is deaf or significantly hard of hearing. For this reason, it’s vital to learn how to communicate with the hearing impaired. For the 28 million Americans who are hearing impaired, communication and comprehension can be a daily struggle. You can help ease that burden by being knowledgeable about hearing impairment. Sound is a very important sense…it is how we initially become aware of the world and is the method through which we learn to speak. Even unborn children respond to sound! People who are deaf or very hard of hearing cannot do many of the things that we take for granted. They can’t respond to a fire alarm or a doorbell, or answer someone who speaks to them from behind. There are three basic types of hearing loss and each has different results. Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not shuttled efficiently through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the ossicles, or tiny bones, of the middle ear. Conductive hearing loss, which may be caused by factors like infection or impacted earwax, results in a reduction in hearing. Most people with this type of hearing loss find that hearing aids can help magnify sounds. A more severe form of hearing loss, sensorineural loss, involves a reduction or complete loss of the auditory sense, and can also impact the ability to understand speech. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear, or cochlea, or to the inner ear’s nerves to the brain, the auditory nerves. It’s often present at birth, or occurs following disease. The third type of hearing impairment, mixed hearing loss, occurs when there is a conductive hearing loss in combination with a sensorineural hearing loss. Hearing loss is further measured by the severity of the loss, which ear is affected and if the loss is sudden or progressive. Whether the impairment is stable or fluctuating is also taken into account. When speaking to a person who is hearing impaired, make eye contact while talking and watch the person’s expressions. Body language is silent, but is still a meaningful component of communication! You’ll also want to be sure to speak slowly and clearly, by enunciating your words. It’s probably a good idea to raise your voice slightly, but don’t shout! If you’re conversing with a person who is hearing impaired, be sure that the conversation is just that—allow the other person to speak and gesture, as well. And keep in mind that YOU can talk with gestures, too. Even if you don’t know sign language, using your hands to demonstrate meaning can be effective. Finally, find a quiet place to converse, if at all possible. Because many people with hearing impairments use hearing aids, which tend to pick up background noise, a quiet area can make a world of difference. By being aware of hearing impairments and making an effort to converse and interact with people who have them, you’ll make a positive impression on BOTH your lives!