consequences of hearing deafness disabilities for late deafened adults
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CONSEQUENCES OF HEARING/DEAFNESS DISABILITIES FOR LATE DEAFENED ADULTS

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CONSEQUENCES OF HEARING/DEAFNESS DISABILITIES FOR LATE DEAFENED ADULTS. Margaret Robertson Chairperson, Deafness Forum of Australia. Focus of presentation .

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consequences of hearing deafness disabilities for late deafened adults

CONSEQUENCES OF HEARING/DEAFNESS DISABILITIES FOR LATE DEAFENED ADULTS

Margaret Robertson

Chairperson, Deafness Forum of Australia

focus of presentation
Focus of presentation

People who have acquired a hearing loss as adults and maintain their lives in the hearing community, relying on a combination of whatever residual hearing they have retained and visual communication, frequently assisted by technological devices including hearing aids and cochlear implants

the experience of acquired hearing loss
The Experience of Acquired Hearing Loss
  • Invariably a negative one involving loss
  • Losses need to be grieved and with progressive loss this will be a recurring process
  • Stage of life will determine specific loses to be accommodated
outcomes determined by access to resources
Outcomes determined by access to resources
  • Personal resources
  • Socially conferred resources
  • Technology
  • Counselling and advice
  • Supportive family and friendship network
  • Lack of discrimination in immediate environment
  • Lack of discrimination in community
slide5
‘An invisible condition without external evidence such as signing, places people who are hard of hearing in limbo. They do not belong to deaf communities and they are often estranged from the hearing community of which they had been a part.’

(Rocky Stone 1987)

slide6
Though endowed with a passionate and lively temperament and even fond of the distraction offered by society, I was soon obliged to seclude myself and live in solitude…if I appear in company I am overcome by a burning anxiety, a fear that I am running the risk of letting people know my condition…such experiences have almost made me despair, and I was on the point of putting an end to my life – the only thing that held me back was my art’.

Beethoven Heiligenstadt Document, 1802

consequences
Consequences

Self esteem and identity:

‘Unless I have to, I will not let the deaf cat out of the bag’ (Wright 1990)

‘Social incompetence is consistently felt to be a more tolerable negative identity than that of being viewed as a hearing impaired person’ (Hetu 1996)

consequences8
Consequences

Emotional Health:

‘Psychological disturbance was evident in a hearing impaired sample at a rate four times that of the general population’ (Thomas 1984)

‘HI elderly report significantly more depressive symptoms, lower self-efficacy, more feelings of loneliness…than normally hearing peers’ (Kramer et al 2000)

consequences9
Consequences
  • Physical Health:
  • Fatigue
  • Accidents – failure to hear warnings/alarms
  • Depression-related suicide
  • Elevation of stress hormones leading to disease
  • Depression and social isolation as causes of heart disease
consequences10
Consequences
  • Relationships and Family Life:

‘Deafness is essentially interactive. It is an experience which is necessarily shared with others. The closer the relationship, the stronger the impact of hearing difficulties’ (Hetu, Jones & Getty 1993)

‘I lost my hearing then I lost my wife. She doesn’t realize what it is like for me’(Harvey 2000)

consequences11
Consequences

Employment and Careers:

  • Workers constantly fear dismissal, stigmatization and loss of potential career advancement
  • Stress in job search and interview process
  • Necessary accommodations typically not made by employers
  • Staying in unsatisfying jobs, leaving jobs or retiring early are frequent results of hearing loss (Stika, 1997)
consequences12
Consequences

Employment and Careers (cont):

Deafened adults are disadvantaged with regard to education and access to paid employment, particularly those with more advanced hearing loss. Those who have jobs may not enjoy the same level of career progression as those who can hear. Educational and employment disadvantage results in adverse economic position for deafened adults. Access to medical and rehabilitation services greatly enhanced the likelihood of deafened people retaining employment (Hogan et al 1998)

implications for us
Implications For Us
  • Affordable access to technology
  • Technology is a necessary – but not a sufficient – rehabilitative intervention
  • Rehabilitation must address identity, emotional and health problems
  • Better information and education about assistive listening devices required
implications for us cont
Implications for Us (cont)
  • Awareness campaigns needed to reduce discrimination and stigmatization
  • Prominent hearing impaired people in the community must co-operate
  • MUCH more advocacy needed to improve accommodations for hearing loss in the Australian environment
  • Self-help organisations need to become more attractive and useful to hearing impaired people
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