It’s Deaf Awareness Week
18th May, 2017
This week is Deaf Awareness Week and seeing as the Audiologists who work with us are such an integral part of our company, we thought it would be great to bring some recognition to the amazing work they do and the people they work with!
Misconceptions of Hearing Loss
There are many misconceptions around people who have hearing loss, such as deaf people can’t drive, deafness only affects the elderly and that everyone who is deaf understands and participates in deaf culture.
Hearing loss affects everybody differently and those people will all handle their hearing in different ways. Overall, most of those who are hard of hearing do participate in regular activities (not necessarily just with others who are deaf) and absolutely can drive! It isn’t something that only effects the elderly; in fact, there are roughly 3.7 million people of working age in the UK who are affected by loss of hearing.
People who struggle with their hearing are very much capable of doing anything that those with perfect hearing can do!
Who Gets Hearing Loss and Why?
Hearing loss can affect anybody and for many different reasons. It can at times be hereditary, but can also be a result of age, repeated exposure to loud noises, when the sensitive hair cells inside the cochlea are damaged or by severe ear infections and blockages.
- Approximately 10 million people in the UK (that’s 1 in 6) are affected by hearing loss
- 6.5 million of these are aged 60 and over
- Only 2 million of these people use hearing aids
- Around 800,000 are severely or profoundly deaf
- It’s common for people who suffer with hearing loss to also have tinnitus. They can also struggle with balance.
- About one third of people over 70 have hearing loss
Famous People with Hearing Impairments and Deafness
To show that people who are hard of hearing can go on to live normal and successful lives, take a look at this list of famous people who have (or did have) hearing problems:
- Helen Keller- Following an illness as an infant, Keller became deaf and blind. She went on to become an author, activist and lecturer, as well as the first deaf/blind person to graduate from college!
- Ludwig Van Beethoven- The famous composer started to lose his hearing by the age of 26 and towards the end of his life he was profoundly deaf, but this didn’t stop him from making music his whole life!
- Thomas Edison- The inventor of the light bulb was almost completely deaf after he had scarlet fever as a child. He believed his loss of hearing helped him to focus more as a scientist.
- Halle Berry- Famous actress, Halle Berry, has an 80% hearing loss in her left ear after she was hit in the head by an abusive ex-boyfriend. She went on to be a popular actress and strives to raise awareness for domestic violence.
- Pete Townsend- The lead guitarist from The Who is completely deaf in one ear and suffers from tinnitus, following years of exposure to loud music with no protection. He still performs and makes records to this day.
How Hearing Loss Can be Treated
Sometimes treating hearing loss can be as simple as removing a build-up of earwax; other times, the use of a hearing aid is necessary.
There are multiple types of hearing aid depending on the individual’s needs:
- Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids
- Receiver in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aids
- In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids
- In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids
- Completely in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids
- Body-worn (BW) hearing aids
- Bone conduction hearing aids
- Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA)
- Middle ear implants
- Disposable hearing aids
- Cochlear implants
- Auditory brainstem implants
(Find an in-depth description of these on the NHS website)
We’d like to say a huge thank you to our Audiologists for the hard work they do to give those who are hard of hearing a better quality of life!
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