Hearing Loss Levels Impact Accommodations for D/deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals
Hearing loss levels vary. Because of this the impact to D/deaf and hard of hearing persons and their accommodation needs may not all be the same. Additionally, each person’s symptoms associated with hearing loss may vary. One example is tinnitus and it’s specific effects on hearing loss. This effects thousands of veterans.
Many people think that a hearing loss can “fixed” with assistive devices such as a hearing aid or a cochlear implant, but this is not the case. If you’d like to learn more, see our blog on cochlear implants. Some D/deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals are fairly comfortable with assistive devices, but some find them uncomfortable. They can cause interference to their daily lives.
It is often shocking to someone who can hear to think that someone who is D/deaf could be completely content with a hearing loss. But it is not uncommon to think this way for someone who is culturally D/deaf. (Culturally D/deaf individuals are commonly born with deafness and/or use sign language as their first language.) Imagine being D/deaf your entire life then finally be able to hear noises using an assistive device. A person who can hear their entire life is used to background noises, such as the neighbor’s dog barking. Sometimes when finally receiving an assistive device, such as a cochlear implant, these “extra” noises become more distracting than a benefit.
Hearing Loss Levels
Hearing loss is commonly described in levels of mild, moderate, severe, and profound. Check out this link to get a basic idea of what the first three may sound like: Levels of hearing loss
Those with tinnitus have a hearing loss and also may experience a ringing or loud whistle that occurs almost all the time. This could also become more severe during stressful times. The “ringing” can be nauseating and exhausting. Tinnitus is the common hearing loss that veterans experience after being exposed to explosions: What Tinnitus Sounds Like
Hearing loss levels influence a D/deaf or Hard of Hearing person’s ability to utilize and be successful with assistive devices. Because of this, it’s important to consider them when providing accommodations and determining which one best fits the D/deaf or Hard of Hearing consumer. MT&A always recommends consulting individual D/deaf consumers and a reputable sign language interpreting firm to find the most suitable service for the individual.