Hard of Hearing
Hard of hearing or deaf? In fact, in today’s world there may be little concrete difference between the two.
When you hear the phrase “hard of hearing,” advanced age may come to mind. In our culture, we often associate hearing loss with the process of aging. While it is true that hearing impairments may occur as we grow older, just because you’re a senior citizen doesn’t necessarily mean you will experience a hearing loss.
It’s important to recognize the fact that a hearing loss can occur at literally any age. Anyone from a newborn to an elderly person may experience a hearing impairment. Therefore, it is important that treatment be available for deaf people at various ends of the age spectrum, as well as everywhere in between.
Definition of Terms
The official medical definition states that, if your hearing loss is profound, you are considered to be deaf. However, if your hearing impairment is something less than profound, you are classified as hard of hearing. Yet, there is also a cultural definition of deafness. If you, in fact, identify yourself as a deaf person, you will be considered a deaf person.
You may find that your hearing loss can be significantly overcome through the use of hearing aids. With the help of such devices, you may be able to understand words and sounds to such an extent that you no longer consider yourself to be deaf.
Similarly, cochlear implants may help deaf individuals to master to hear but not understand the spoken words. Whether or not to obtain cochlear implants may be as much a social issue as a medical one. A number of deaf individuals are proud of deaf culture and do not want to abandon it, even if it means living with silence. As a result, it’s important for you to consult with not only your doctor but also with friends and family to determine if cochlear implants would be appropriate in your or the child’s particular case.
The Beauty of Sign Language
Whether you’ve been deaf all your life or became deaf over time, chances are you will benefit from learning American Sign Language. It is a language that will help you to communicate effectively with much of the deaf world and, because of its communication modality concept, you may find that it’s also the best means available for you to communicate with hearing persons as well.