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Deaf Awareness Month

Hearing loss affects nearly 48 million people in the United States and 460 billion people worldwide. Hearing loss can develop at birth or at any age in life. September is Deaf Awareness Month. Here are some things you should know about hearing loss.

Not everyone who experiences hearing loss considers themselves to be a part of the deaf community. According to the National Deaf Center, the deaf community consists of those who identify as hard of hearing, late-deafened, deaf blind, deaf disabled and more.

Deaf vs deaf

If a person identifies themselves as Deaf with a capital “D,” it means that they are fully immersed in the deaf community. For example, they typically do not speak or hear and communicate using sign language, come from a family who are generationally deaf, and have attended school for the deaf.

If a person identifies as deaf with a lower case “d,” it usually means that they are hard of hearing, use some form of hearing aids, have the ability to communicate orally, and have attended schools among hearing individuals. These individuals do not always consider themselves to be a part of the deaf community and if they do, it is often later on in life.

Types of Hearing Loss

There are three different types of hearing loss: Conductive, Sensorineural, and mixed. Conductive hearing loss occurs when sounds cannot get through the outer and middle parts of the ear. This type of hearing loss can be caused by fluid due to cold and allergies, ear wax, and ear infection to name a few. It may be difficult to hear soft sounds, and louder sounds can be muffled. Medication and surgery can fix conductive hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs due to damage to the inner ear. This type of hearing loss can be hereditary, due to aging, illness as well as a host of other factors. It is the most common type of hearing loss. Medicine and surgery are not always able to remedy this type of hearing loss but hearing aids may be helpful. Mixed hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the outer, middle and inner parts of the ear.

It is important to note any change in your hearing and contact your physician to have your ears checked regularly.

Were you aware of any of these facts about the deaf community?


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