Hearing loss can have a profound impact on an individual’s emotional, physical and social well-being. Hearing loss can affect a child who cannot hear well enough to learn in the classroom. If hearing loss is undiagnosed in children, it can lead to delayed speech, language, academic, social development and behavioral problems. Hearing loss can affect an older person who cannot understand important conversations or hear a smoke detector while sleeping.
For the 36 million Americans with hearing loss, the world can be an isolating and dangerous place. Approximately 17 percent of adults report some degree of hearing loss, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Hearing loss affects 30 percent of people age 65-74 and 47 percent of those 75 or older. It is now being reported that 19 percent of young people 13-30 are showing signs of hearing loss. This age group is becoming one of the fastest growing populations for people with hearing loss. One reason may be exposure to loud music.
Assistive technology, such as personal frequency modulation (FM) systems, can help enhance children’s learning in the classroom and adults’ performance in employment or personal situations. Personal FM systems are like miniature radio stations that help make hearing clearer and easier. Other systems, like Loop, Large Area Listening FM and Infrared Systems, help people with hearing problems to overcome background noise and distance in churches, auditoriums and theatres. By having less strain on the ear, people can enjoy these activities more. Assistive technology can also allow people, especially older people, to feel safe in their environment, keep in touch with loved ones and, in many cases, maintain their independence.
More information on hearing services and devices can be found here:
Center for Hearing and Deaf Services: http://www.hdscenter.org
Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation: http://www.patf.us
Hearing Loss Association of America: http://www.hearingloss.org
Telecommunication Device Distribution Program (TDDP): http://www.disabilities.temple.edu/programs/assistive/tddp/
Pennsylvania Department of Health Vocational Rehabilitation Services: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/ vocational_rehabilitation/ 10356