Born deaf vs acquired hearing loss

Those of us who deal with the ears and hearing impairment often make distinctions based on the onset of a patient’s hearing loss. There are many patients who gradually lose their hearing, due to heredity, noise exposure, aging or other factors. Some lose function more rapidly, as through disease, head trauma or sudden noise trauma. These people have one thing in common: hearing was a primary mode of communication prior to the loss. It is understandable that hearing loss will disrupt social interaction. Listening to speech, music and environmental sounds can no longer be taken for granted. Depression, decreased cognitive function and social isolation frequently result.

There are also many people who were born deaf or lost hearing very early in life. They may not have been able to learn language by listening to their parents. For many deaf children sign language becomes a primary communication tool. Captioning and printed words are also used. Cochlear implants and high-powered hearing aids have made it more possible for a deaf-born child to adapt to the hearing world. The Deaf culture, however, has embraced many modes of communication that do not require hearing.

Many deaf people do not feel they have “lost” their sense of hearing. On the other hand, hearing people who have lost hearing during their lives have definitely lost an important connection to their world. This is why it is so crucial to identify and treat acquired hearing loss as early as possible. Studies have found the average person waits seven years to take action on a suspected hearing loss. Do not separate yourself from the people and sounds you want to hear any longer than necessary. Help is available. As always, we want to keep you on a clear path to good hearing and ear health.

Clear Choice Hearing and Balance wishes you a happy and healthy 2016.