Hearing loss affects many people, some who just can not hear very well to people who can not hear at all. There are three types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural, and mixed. When you have conductive hearing loss the parts of your ear in the outer or middle areas do not function correctly. Usually this type of hearing loss can be fixed with surgery or other medical treatment. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when areas of your inner ear do not perform their jobs correctly. Even though not always true, it is usually permanent. Mixed hearing loss is both sensorineural and conductive.
Your hearing is usually tested using a pair of headphones and a beep. If the test reveals hearing loss then they will take an instrument that vibrates that will determine your type of hearing loss. If it is conductive you will be able to hear the vibrator just not as well as the head phones. In sensorineural you will hear the vibrator just as well as the headset. To test to see what degree of hearing loss you have they will measure the threshold of your ear. They will see how loud they have to make a noise, measuring in decibels, until you can barely hear it. That is what degree of hearing loss you have. Doctors such as otologists can decide whether or not medical treatments or surgery can help you. They then refer you to a doctor who specializes in hearing loss treatment. An audiologist can only test your hearing and determine how bad it is. If you find out you are hearing impaired you may be able to get a cochlear implant which could restore your hearing.
The question of how to raise profoundly deaf children either within the small, specialized world of American Sign Language or by teaching them to mimic speech they cannot hear. There has always been a controversy over this in the deaf community. But now the cochlear implant, a medical breakthrough approved for use in children only seven years ago, has the possibility to change the debate. The least this implant can do is allow a deaf child to sense his or her surroundings, such as a honking horn, a growling dog or a roll of thunder. But the implant at it's greatest potential can bring a deaf child into a mainstream oral world.
But because of its emphasis on the oral, the implant has drawn fire from a small but industrious movement known as Deaf Culture, which says the emerging technology is a threat to a deaf childs "birthright of silence." Deafness is a condition to be celebrated, the movements leaders say. If science eradicates it, a whole way of life will die.
As a result, Deaf Culture has declared war on the implant, possibly making the device the first medical innovation to be rejected by some leaders of the community it was meant to serve. The war between the movement and the supporters of the implant is one of disputed research, passionate certainties and a dearth of communication. And children are at the heart of it.
Unlike a hearing aid, which amplifies sound, a cochlear implant feeds electrical impulses directly to the brain, doing the work of damaged hair cells in the inner ear. Since its release, 14,000 devices have been surgically inserted into deaf people in this country, most of them into children.
That represents a mere 4 percent of all profoundly deaf Americans. But it is the recent growth rate in implanting very young children who either are born deaf (congenital) or have become deaf before learning to speak (prelingual) that infuriates Deaf Culture proponents. Today, one deaf child in 10 has a cochlear implant. In the next decade, projections suggest, the ratio will grow to one in three. Deaf Culture activists maintain that those children are sure to be failures deprived of the dignity of their deafness and yet never accepted as full members of the hearing world. They say that choosing to implant children is irresponsible, done for the convenience of hearing parents. At the very least, they argue, deaf children should be allowed to wait to make the choice themselves. They recommend that deaf children be raised by the deaf community, using American Sign Language, in one of 85 residential schools scattered across the country. Trying to "fix" a deaf child, they say, is like trying to fix someone because he or she speaks Japanese.
On the other hand, the doctors and therapists who work with implant cases point to thousands of those children who board school buses every day, speak English in mainstream schools and aspire to jobs that will require them to hear and speak. An implant, they say, could open the door to a better future.
The statistics the deaf have gathered about themselves are grim. The average deaf person today reads at a fourth-grade level. One in three drops out of high school. Only one in five who starts college gets a degree. Deaf adults make 30 percent less than the general population. Their unemployment rate is high, and when they are employed, it is usually in manual jobs such as kitchen workers, janitors, machine operators, tailors and carpenters, for which a strong command of English is not required. Children with implants, the doctors assert, if prepared well and encouraged to speak, have a whole world of opportunities to choose from.
Activation alone, however, is no guarantee. Some children become frustrated by the work that must follow implementation. And some, particularly adolescents, abandon the implant in favor of a life among deaf peers.
Much of the confusion about the implant stems from its newness: Not only is the technology constantly being improved but the follow-up research also is rarely more than five years old. Case studies taken at random can be misleading.
Two years ago, the National Institutes of Health held a Consensus Development Conference on Cochlear Implants to study the issue. Its conclusion: The cochlear implants "benefits have been observed in children, and there is evidence that those benefits improve with continued use." When asked about this, the National Association of the Deaf produced a news release it has been using since April 1993: "There is no evidence of material benefit from the device in this population, and no evaluation of long-term risks."
Some signs of hearing loss include the person having to turn his/her ear toward you, turning the volume on an audio device too loud just to even hear it, and shows signs of confusion in everyday speech. These problems need not be ignored and the person should be sent to an audiologist right away.
Causes of hearing loss are tumors, health problems at birth, listening to a very loud noise, birth defects, heredity, certain drugs, head injuries and many more thing can cause hearing loss or profound deafness.
If you suspect someone you know has a hearing loss and does not know about it, or just hasn't told anyone, check out our links and try to get help for them.
It is very common in our majority hearing culture to view the Deaf of Hearing Impaired as a minority disabled group, who in some way may need our help. It's been my experience that the Deaf are a very close nit group, almost a universal family. They have their own language and set of beliefs.
Think about how you feel about someone who is deaf, do you think of him or her as "different", or will you think of the cultural bond they share?
There are several schools that specialize in education for the hearing impaired such as Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. Schools such as Gallaudet University offer a great education, plus students who are deaf get to go to school with other students who are deaf.