What are the biggest difficulties deaf or HOH people face nowadays?

Posted by pedronpaiva @pedronpaiva, Nov 3, 2020

I'm very curious to know a bit more about what do you feel are the biggest difficulties still lived by the deaf community today that aren't solved by the relay services? (in the day to day life, work etc)

How and where do you believe that technology could be used to continue improving the lives of the American deaf citizen?

@joyces

There are still myths about CIs, most of them untrue. I've heard that the longer you haven't heard out of that ear, the less likely it is that a CI will work. Hah…a friend who had lost all hearing by flying through a windshield when he was less than 6 mos. old got a CI when he was in his early 60s…and found it useful almost as soon as it was turned on. There's also a myth that the older you are, the less likely it is to work. Hah, again! A friend in her late 80s hadn't heard well for years, then had a stroke, which further impaired her hearing–but, when the CI was first turned on, she could understand and hear things again. Her husband complained that he couldn't play poker at his house any more, because she now knew how much he was losing! She also had never allowed him to use swear words, but he'd used them liberally during the years she couldn't hear much, so that was another thing he had to change. Actually, he was really proud of her new ability to hear and quickly made the necessary changes.
It IS true, however, that you need to be willing to work to learn to get the most out of the CI, from what I've heard. Even the people who can hear some things almost immediately, need to work on learning to improve their hearing. It's pretty much the same as people who get bifocals in their middle years after never having needed glasses: they need to learn to use them, unlike those of us who've worn glasses most of our lives. When I got my first pair of multi-focal glasses, I was thrilled to learn that trees have leaves, buildings have doors and windows, those big green things on the freeway are actually signs…who would have guessed? I had no trouble adjusting whatsoever, because the gain was so great. Same is true with hearing: the more you gain with an aid or aids or a CI, the more you'll be willing to work to maximize the gain.

Jump to this post

My involvement in HLAA, starting in 1983, gave me a unique opportunity to watch the development of cochlear implants. I knew people, from all over the United States, who were test subjects in early trials. Most had profound hearing loss and struggled with hearing aids, although most also used assistive technology that kept them in the hearing mainstream fairly well. Watching their experience with CIs was amazing. Still, for several years, CIs were considered 'experimental' and no insurers covered them. They were featured in the mainstream media as being 'controversial'. The culturally Deaf population opposed them, and a lot of media attention was directed towards that opposition.

Those early cochlear implants had single 'channels'. They helped with sound and did little to improve clarity. Today's CIs are much more sophisticated. I am grateful that organizations like HLAA were there to push for advancement of a device that was considered by many to be 'an impossible dream'.

There are several people in the Wisconsin HLAA Chapter I participate in who are in their late 80s who have CIs. The number of CI recipients of all ages continues to increase. A lot of things are changing in the 'industry'. Most important, there is HOPE for hard of hearing people who choose to remain in the hearing mainstream.

It very important for those who are struggling with decisions related to progressive hearing loss to talk to others who understand what they are going through from personal experience. It starts with having one's feelings and frustrations validated, and then moves on to being open to learning, and finding unbiased information.

REPLY

I know I haven't replied to any of your replies but I've been carefully reading and learning so much! Thanks for all the honest answers, especially you, Julie!

One of the questions I still have is about the use of relay services… normally to what ends are they mostly used for? Can't they be used for example in the case of restaurant takeouts/drive-throughs? Do most of the Deaf community use them? And what are the most common complaints about them?

I'm sorry if these are basic questions or even if I'm being rude… it's just that I'm curious to understand a bit more about Deaf Culture.

Best,
Pedro

REPLY
@pedronpaiva

I know I haven't replied to any of your replies but I've been carefully reading and learning so much! Thanks for all the honest answers, especially you, Julie!

One of the questions I still have is about the use of relay services… normally to what ends are they mostly used for? Can't they be used for example in the case of restaurant takeouts/drive-throughs? Do most of the Deaf community use them? And what are the most common complaints about them?

I'm sorry if these are basic questions or even if I'm being rude… it's just that I'm curious to understand a bit more about Deaf Culture.

Best,
Pedro

Jump to this post

Pedro, You are not being rude. You are open to learning! Asking questions is a good way to learn. The original 'relay system' is somewhat antiquated due to all the new apps available on smartphones. Captioned landline phones have been extremely helpful for many people. Now, that technology is also available on cell phones. Some of the smartphone apps do use a middle source to relay messages.

Years ago we were using 'text telephones' or TDDs, which stood for Telephone Device for the Deaf. They could 'talk' to one another as long as the people on both ends of the call were using them. It was all done by typing. The Relay system was used when a middle person was needed to connect the conversations. A relay operator was listening and typing to the person who needed to read the message, and was also relaying it to the other person orally. Keep in mind that some deaf people are oral. Both means of communication were used…oral and written, so the 'relay' point depended on what was needed in each situation.

The speech to text apps available now are amazing.

One of the big concerns, always, is that people who cannot use standard telephone technology, have the option of calling 911 in the event of an emergency. There has always been concern about having 911 relay available. I hope that someone who uses 'relay' will chime in here. I have always been able to hear fairly well on the phone as long as I can use the telecoils in my hearing aid and cochlear processor, so have not needed to use relay. Years ago, I did use a TDD to communicate with friends who needed to use it.

REPLY

For me, it’s not seeing people’s faces when they talk to me – made worse when someone has his/her back turned to me while responding.

REPLY

So many people on TV, on the phone and socially talk rapidly without pauses which I find frustrating as I need time to get the message straight and then to my brain. Of course, they do not realize this problem of the hard of hearing.

REPLY

Of course – the plan is to have the most spoken word in the least amount of time in journalism school. Those who can speak the best in broadcast school and in TV and radio Land get the jobs because they get the WORD OUT!!! If you don't hear and understand – Too Bad…

REPLY

This is WHY we need to insist on CART/Captioning wherever and whenever we need to see and hear the spoken WORD. There aren't enough real life captioners to cover this but there is more then enough remote and electronic voice recognition software via apps to help us. Let's use them.

REPLY

FYI, we held our HLAA chapter's Holiday Social this evening. Used the auto captions on Zoom. It's not perfect, but it worked pretty well. Not as verbatim as real CART, but it sure filled the blanks.

REPLY

@123listen For those fast talkers… particular "customer service folks" who have their "script" memorized… I tell them right away… "I am hard of hearing, speak slowly or you will have to repeat your script over a few times…." That usually gets them.. Or you can remind them of the survey you are going to fill out at the end of their conversation… What kind of Marks do you want? Ken

REPLY

@ken82 I like your suggestions. I expect to use them!

REPLY

Before Covid, when we were traveling by air, hearing announcements in airports is very difficult for hearing impaired. There needs to be accommodation for hearing impaired the same as those available for other disabilities. Announcements for gate changes and cancellations are a big issue for the hearing impaired and we are usually the last to know.

REPLY
@nohearing

For me, it’s not seeing people’s faces when they talk to me – made worse when someone has his/her back turned to me while responding.

Jump to this post

@nohearing Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect, a place to give and get support.

COVID-19 has caused people with hearing loss to feel more isolated.

May I ask what types of responses you use to let someone know you have hearing loss and they need to change how they interact with you during communication?

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.