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Acquired Brain Injury Blind & Low Vision Hard of Hearing & Deaf Orthopedic Impairments

Hard of Hearing / Deaf

More individuals in the United States have a hearing impairment than any other type of physical disability. A hearing impairment is any type of degree of auditory impairment while deafness is an inability to use hearing as a means of communication. Hearing loss may be sensorineural, involving an impairment of the auditory nerve; conductive, a defect in the auditory system, which interferes with sound reaching the cochlea; or a mixed impairment, involving both sensorineural and conductive. Hearing loss is measured in decibels and may be mild, moderate, or profound. A person who is born with a hearing loss may have language deficiencies and exhibit poor vocabulary and syntax. Some people with hearing loss may use hearing aids and rely on lip reading. Others may require or desire an interpreter.

Some Very Important Facts About Hearing Loss

  • 90% of the children born deaf or hard of hearing are born to hearing parents and need special help to communicate, learn and develop their fullest potential
  • There are 28 million Americans who have a hearing loss with over 335,000 here in the Bay Area.
  • Only 20% who have a hearing loss use a hearing aid and 80% who have hearing loss are not using one because of lack of awareness and negative social stigma.
  • 30 out of 1,000 school age children have a hearing loss.
  • Nearly 10% of all Americans suffer from some form of hearing impairment.
  • 75% of people who could benefit from hearing aids do not use them.
    - Hearing Society for the Bay Area

Some signs of hearing loss include:

  • Speaking louder than necessary in conversation
  • Constantly asking that words be repeated
  • Straining to hear
  • Misunderstanding conversationsFavoring one ear
  • Thinking that people always mumble
  • Turning the television or radio up louder than usual
  • Having difficulty hearing on the telephone
  • Withdrawing from social contact
  • Ringing or buzzing in the ear (s)
  • Appearing dull and disinterested, slow to respond, or
    just not quite "with it"

Other Points of Interest:

  • If you are having a conversation with a person who has a hearing impairment, they may seem to be making little or no eye contact. Instinctively, he or she will watch his/her interpreter.
  • It is important for the Deaf person to be able to see your mouth and read your body language as needed.
  • When speaking to a group, remember to face the room and try to pace the lecture to facilitate interpreting. Give the interpreter an advanced vocabulary list. This allows time to review new words and the corresponding signs with the Deaf person.
  • Don't be deadpan. Body language helps project the meaning of what is being said.
  • Keep a sense of humor.

The DRC staff will arrange interpreters or real-time captioning for students who are hard or hearing or deaf. Please call the DRC office at (408) 848-4865 or TTY number at (408) 846-4924 if you have any questions.

Acquired Brain Injury Blind & Low Vision Hard of Hearing & Deaf Orthopedic Impairments
All college information or academic materials are available in alternate media upon request at (408) 848-4865.
For more DRC information, call 408-848-4865 or TTY at 408-846-4924.
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Last modified: January 24, 2015
Gavilan College Red Diamond 5055 Santa Teresa Boulevard Red Diamond Gilroy, CA 95020 Red Diamond (408) 848-4800