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Deafness is also known as hearing impairment or hearing loss. It ranges from mild or partial to a total inability to hear. It can occur in one or both ears, and can occur for a variety of reasons including genetics, infections, ageing, or damage from noise. People with hearing impairment may have hearing aids and can communicate using sign language. Let’s learn more about hearing impairment!
See the fact file below for more information on the Deaf Awareness or alternatively, you can download our 25-page Deaf Awareness worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
ANATOMY OF THE EAR
- In the human ear, there are three primary components, namely the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear.
- Hearing is the ability to perceive sound.
- Sound waves are focused into the ear canal by the pinnae.
- When sound reaches the eardrum (tympanum), the vibrations on the membrane send signals to the middle ear where small bones called ossicles send these signals to the inner ear.
- The inner ear is a structure that looks like a snail and is called the cochlea. It is filled with fluid and tiny hairs called stereocilia. These translate the vibrations into electrical signals that are sent to the brain via the auditory nerve.
UNDERSTANDING HEARING IMPAIRMENT
- Deafness occurs when the ear is damaged, deteriorates or it doesn’t form properly.
- Deafness can be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause.
- Genetics play a role in hearing impairment as the ear anatomy may not form properly.
- Disease or infections can cause damage or scarring of the ear structures, which affect the ability to hear.
- Exposure to sudden loud noises like explosions can burst the eardrum.
- Sustained exposure to loud noise such as headphones that are too loud, music concerts, or not wearing ear protection in noisy work environments can lead to hearing damage and hearing loss.
- Physical trauma can also cause hearing damage.
- Hearing impairment is diagnosed through an auditory test.
- A person is described as having mild hearing loss when they can’t hear between 25 decibels (about the same as rustling leaves or a whisper) to 40 dB (the sound of birds chirping or a library).
- Hearing impairment is considered moderate to severe between 56 to 70 dB (the equivalent of ambient neighborhood noise to the noise of a vacuum cleaner).
- Profound deafness is an inability to hear greater than 90 dB (an airplane flying overhead or a lawn mower).
- There are three main kinds of hearing loss:
- Conductive hearing loss – when there is a problem transporting hearing signals between the outer and middle ear anatomy.
- Sensorineural hearing loss – this accounts for 90% of hearing loss. It occurs in the inner ear where signals are converted into electrical impulses.
- Mixed hearing loss – this is a combination of both.
- Around 50% of hearing loss around the world is preventable. Immunization against diseases like measles and rubella, proper ear care and protection from loud noise can prevent hearing loss.
LIVING WITH HEARING IMPAIRMENT
- It’s important to identify hearing impairment in children as early as possible.
- Interventions for deafness can include cochlear implants, hearing aids, sign language, subtitles in visual media, and learning to lip read.
- Hearing loss affects more than a billion people around the world.
- Disabling hearing loss affects over 400 million people.
- Older people can feel lonely and isolated.
- People with hearing impairment may experience difficulty in using the telephone, hearing the TV or radio, perceiving the directionality of sound, understanding speech, pronunciation, hearing speech in noisy areas, or hearing women – who often have higher pitched and softer voices.
- Hearing loss can be uncomfortable in some cases. It can feel like a sharp, shooting pain, a sense of pressure in the ears or a blocked feeling. Hearing loss can sometimes be accompanied by tinnitus, which is an intense ringing, buzzing or hissing sound that won’t go away and isn’t caused by an external sound.
- Many deaf people do not see themselves as having a disability. They consider it a difference.
- Some members of deaf culture feel strongly that their differentness does not need to be cured and oppose cochlear implants or hearing aids.
HEARING AIDS AND SIGN LANGUAGE
- People with hearing impairment can use a combination of hearing aids and sign language to lead fulfilling lives.
- A hearing aid is a small amplifying device that fits on the ear. It works by amplifying sound to a volume the hearing impaired person can perceive.
- Where the inner ear is the root cause of deafness, a cochlear implant can correct hearing loss. It is an electronic device fitted through an operation that stimulates the auditory nerve to allow for hearing in severely deaf people.
- Hearing impaired people may learn how to lip read, which is watching the shape of mouth movements to understand words being said.
- Hearing impaired people may learn and choose to communicate through sign language. It is a visual-manual form of communication, meaning the hands and fingers are used to to form symbols and gestures that are combined to make meaning.
- Sign languages is non-verbal and is recognized as a natural language with its own grammar and vocabulary.
- Sign language also varies from country to country. Some sign languages use one hand, others two, and gestures can vary.
- Deaf Awareness month takes place in September each year, with Deaf Awareness Week taking place in the last week of September.
- The aim of the awareness campaign is to draw attention to deaf issues, understanding the difficulties and uniqueness of hearing impaired people, as well education on deaf culture and etiquette.
- To get the attention of someone who is hearing impaired, it is rude to shout. Rather, gently touch their shoulder, move into their line of sight, wave, or tap the tabletop to create a vibration.
- Position yourself in a well-lit area for improved visibility.
- Even if there is an interpreter, it’s polite to communicate directly with the hearing impaired person and keep eye contact.
- Do not turn away from the person you’re communicating with – even if they do not lip read, they use your facial expressions to understand what you’re communicating.
- Speak naturally, do not exaggerate or shout.
- Use short sentences, and acceptable to repeat, rephrase or spell words. Writing things down on a device screen offers a visual reference to what you’re saying.
- Hearing impaired people can be assisted by an interpreter, listening devices, captioning, and printed written material.
Deaf Awareness Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the deaf awareness across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Deaf Awareness worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the deafness which is also known as hearing impairment or hearing loss. It ranges from mild or partial to a total inability to hear. It can occur in one or both ears, and can occur for a variety of reasons including genetics, infections, ageing, or damage from noise. People with hearing impairment may have hearing aids and can communicate using sign language. Let’s learn more about hearing impairment!
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Deafness Facts
- Understanding Hearing
- Listen Up!
- Get Talking
- Decoding Sign Language
- Living with Differentness
- Deaf Awareness
- Helping Hands
- Hearing Health
- Hearing Aid Word Search
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Link will appear as Deaf Awareness Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 23, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.