It is estimated that around 466 million people around the globe are living with some degree of hearing impairment. That’s around 5% of the world’s population, and these statistics suggest that you are close to somebody living with the condition – whether it’s a friend, a family member or a work colleague.
Even if hearing loss has not yet touched your life, it’s a safe assumption that it will do so sooner or later; it’s estimated that this statistic will increase over the next fifteen to twenty years. Thankfully, help is at hand. A number of charitable bodies on both sides of the Atlantic and are doing fantastic work to assist those living with deafness to enjoy a quality of life unencumbered by disability.
34 million children throughout the world are believed to be living with hearing impairment. Half of these children will have been born deaf, with the other half losing their hearing from an accident or an illness such as Rubella.
Naturally, this can impact directly on children’s ability to learn; speaking and listening are at the cornerstone of early education. If you are concerned about the hearing of a child, there are a number of sources that can provide guidance and support.
Naturally it’s not just the young that struggle with hearing impairment – deafness is often associated with the elderly population as our senses begin to fade as we grow older.
The UK and USA both have a number of charitable bodies and organizations dedicated to assisting the elderly with hearing loss. With almost half of all adults over the age of 50 experiencing some degree of hearing loss, these resources deserve our support.
While the use of subtitles and closed captions are becoming increasingly prevalent to assist anybody living with a hearing impairment and viewing a screen, sign language remains a hugely popular method of communication among the deaf community.
Sign language was acknowledged as an official language in the UK as of 2013, and American Sign Language is accepted as a foreign language credit by many major American educational establishments. There are a number of resources online for anybody looking to learn more about this critical form of interaction.
The rights if any employee to be treated fairly and without discrimination by protected by the Equality Act of 2010 in the UK and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the USA, ensuring that hearing impairment should not prevent anybody struggling with full or partial deafness to find and retain a job.
In addition to this legal legislature, there are also a number of resources that offer support to employees that struggle with their hearing.
It’s no secret that those living with visual impairment can enjoy the company and assistance of a guide dog, but are you aware that the deaf can also seek the help of a hearing dog?
Canines have a sense of hearing up to twice as strong as an adult, making hearing dogs hugely beneficial to anybody struggling with deafness or any other form of hearing impairment.
Whilst it is still possible to enjoy a high quality of life while living with hearing impairment, there will still be an adjustment required if deafness is caused suddenly by an illness, or if the individual lives alone.
In addition to the many and varied services listed above, both the UK and USA have a number of charities that specialize in assisting the deaf and hearing impaired. These include:
A number of different locations and websites have been sourced throughout this article. Please see below for a list that provides ease of reference.
Action on Hearing Loss – actiononhearingloss.org.uk
Age UK – ageuk.org.uk
American Academy of Otolaryngology – www.entnet.org
American Society of Deaf Children – www.deafchildren.org
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association – www.asha.org
British Deaf Association – bda.org.uk
British Sign – british-sign.co.uk
Canines for Disabled Kids – www.caninesforkids.org
Center for Disease Control – www.cdc.gov
Clarion UK – clarion-uk.com
Cochlear – cochlear.com
CODA – codaukireland.co.uk
Community Support Services for the Deaf, Inc. – www.cssdinc.org
Deaf Employment and Business Services – www.debsllc.org
Deafblind UK – deafblind.org.uk
Deafsign – deafsign.com
Deaf, Inc. – www.deafinconline.org
Deaf Unity – deafunity.org
Even Break – evenbreak.co.uk
Hear-It – hear-it.org
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People – hearingdogs.org.uk
Helping Hands – helpinghandshomecare.co.uk
Hearing Loss Association of America – www.hearingloss.org
Institute of British Sign Language – ibsl.org.uk
National Association of the Deaf – www.nad.org
National Deaf Children’s Society – ndcs.org.uk
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders – www.nidcd.nih.gov
NHS – nhs.uk
Scope – scope.org.uk
Signature – signature.org.uk
Signhealth – signhealth.org.uk
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