What is deaf and hard of hearing?
"Deaf": is generally used to describe individuals with a severe to profound hearing loss, with little or no residual hearing. Some deaf people use a spoken language and speech reading, combined with their residual hearing and hearing aids, communication devices, and/or cochlear implants to communicate. Others use a signed language, such as American Sign Language (ASL) or la langue des signes québécoise (LSQ).
"Hard of hearing": is generally used to describe individuals whose hearing loss ranges from mild to severe, and occasionally profound. Hard of hearing people use speech and residual hearing to communicate, supplemented by communication strategies that may include speechreading, hearing aids, a signed language and communication devices. The term “person with hearing loss” is also used by this constituency.
There are three main models of deafness that affect an individual's perspectives, interactions, self-identification and, ultimately, their worldview: medical, social and cultural.
Medical model – Focuses on the medical/pathological condition of the individual – a functional loss, handicap or impairment that needs medical intervention and rehabilitation to increase one's quality of life. Common terms used in the past to describe the deaf or hard of hearing individual or their physical state using this model include “disabled,” “hearing impaired,” and “deafness.” Nowadays, such terms are considered antiquated and offensive in the Deaf community.
Social model – Focuses on humanistic/social condition – the abilities and unique functions that are needed to gain equal access to satisfy quality of life. Common terms used to describe the deaf or hard of hearing individual or their physical state using this model include deaf, deafened, hard of hearing, and people with hearing loss.
Cultural model – Focuses on a shared language and/or cultural condition – a desire to celebrate Deaf culture and life. Newer terms used to describe the deaf or hard of hearing individual or their physical state using this model include Deafhood and Deaf-gain (as opposed to “hearing loss”).”
Symptoms & common characteristics
- Speaking louder than necessary in conversation
- Constantly asking for words to be repeated
- Straining to hear
- Misunderstanding conversations, especially in noisy situations
- Favouring 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 one or both ears
- Appearing dull and disinterested, slow to respond, or just not quite “with it”
Centre for Accessibility support for deaf and hard of hearing disorders may include
- Alternate format materials (texts in PDF/E-Text)
- Note-taking services
- Separate setting/distraction reduced exam setting
- Time accommodation for exams
- Interpreters and tutors
- Use of FM systems