Deafness does not just affect a person’s hearing. It is an invisible disability that totally isolates people from others. It can cause a huge blow to a person’s confidence and take away their independence.
Deafness can also be exhausting. People who suffer from hearing loss are unable to look down at their phones or newspaper and hear what somebody is saying like hearing people take for granted. They have to concentrate on lip patterns to hold conversations, they have to focus on a person’s facial expressions and grasp onto the little sound they can hear and then try to make sense of it all.
This, plus living in constant fear of missing a crucial sound like a fire alarm, can be mentally and physically draining for deaf people.
Not being able to hear sounds is only half the battle for deaf people. Here are just some of the impacts this deafness can cause.
When people come to us for help, one of the most significant problems they can face is isolation and loneliness. Hearing loss detaches people from interactions with others. It makes understanding those who mumble or turn away during conversations impossible. The human world is built around interaction and community support, and deafness can take all of this away.
Many deaf people often feel extremely vulnerable in a range of situations where sounds are relied on to provide essential information. This can vary from roadside traffic, public announcements in airports or stations to crucial dangers sounds like the fire alarm.
For a lot of deaf people, night-time can be terrifying. Because you need to take out all hearing aids before you sleep, many deaf people who would usually hear some sounds are transported to a totally silent world. Unable to hear footsteps, outside sounds or potential safety signals like fire alarms means falling asleep can be very difficult.
This is especially true for deaf children. Almost every child who we meet talks about how daunting night time can be. They are unable to hear their parents downstairs, they worry the house has been emptied and they’re left alone, and many feel too scared to sleep in their own beds.
Tinnitus is a sound that comes from within the ear, rather than an outside source. It is not clear why people develop tinnitus, but it often occurs with hearing loss.
People can experience tinnitus in different ways. People may hear buzzing, humming, grinding or whistling. These sounds can be constant or irregular.
Tinnitus can be extremely distressing for people as there are very few ways to reduce the noise that this condition produces. For many deaf people who suffer from tinnitus, these abnormal sounds are sometimes all they can hear.
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