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Daily Life for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People

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Deafness is something that is experienced on a daily basis, from the minute you are born (if you are born deaf) until after retirement. Whether you have hearing aids, a cochlear implant, or use sign language, you are always deaf.
  1. Causes of Hearing Loss
  2. Identifying and Accepting Deafness
  3. Parenting Deaf or Hard of Hearing Children and Teens
  4. Educating Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children
  5. Colleges for Deaf Students
  1. Before You Are Hired for a Job
  2. After You are Hired for a Job
  3. Accommodations for Deaf People
  4. Retirement and End-of-Life Issues

Causes of Hearing Loss

There are many causes of hearing loss. In addition to the best known ones like meningitis and rubella, there are many more ranging from genetic syndromes to injuries. Genetic research continues to identify genes that can cause hearing loss. Even with the body of knowledge available, some people are still unable to identify the cause of their hearing loss.

Identifying and Accepting Deafness

Long ago, deafness was not identified on average until a baby was already a toddler or even older. Today, deaf babies can be identified before they have left the hospital after birth. Identifying the hearing loss is only the first stage; new parents of deaf children also have to learn to cope emotionally with the knowledge that their baby is deaf.

Parenting Deaf or Hard of Hearing Children and Teens

Cover of book Kid-Friendly Parenting with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children

Parenting deaf and hard of hearing children has unique challenges. What about daycare for the deaf or hard of hearing child? How do you get a baby to wear hearing aids? Where to get support from other parents in similar situations? What about learning sign language? What about my child's social skills?

Educating Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children

Of all challenges in raising deaf children, perhaps the biggest one is education. The options include bilingual bicultural education, cued speech, oral only, and total communication. How do you develop literacy skills in a child who has difficulty hearing or does not hear, the words? What about deaf students from other countries? Where do you send your child to school? Will the child be happier in an all-deaf environment or will the child do better being mainstreamed into hearing classes?

Colleges for Deaf Students

Before disability rights laws were passed, most deaf students in the United States had only two options for higher education: Gallaudet University and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, or a few well-established programs for deaf students at hearing colleges. Today, a deaf high school graduate can attend any college of their choice.

Before You Are Hired for a Job

When a deaf student grows up or graduates from college, he or she faces the challenges of working in the "hearing world." Sometimes, the biggest challenge is simply getting a job because even though we have laws against discrimination, employment discrimination against deaf people persists. Some deaf people also opt for self-employment, starting their own businesses. There is also advice available for the employer who wants to hire a deaf person.

After You are Hired for a Job

After a deaf or hard of hearing person gets a job, there are additional challenges. One challenge is that supervisors and co-workers may not be used to working with deaf people. Another challenge is that the deaf or hard of hearing employee may need certain accommodations and the employer does not know what or how to provide them.

Accommodations for Deaf People

In the classroom, and on the job, and just about anywhere else, deaf and hard of hearing people need accommodations to have equal access to information. Accommodations can include captioned materials, interpreters, or stenotypists. There are also legal rights that guarantee deaf and hard of hearing people the right to such accommodations.

Retirement and End-of-Life Issues

When deaf and hard of hearing people retire, there are organizations, and even retirement communities built for them

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