During the last week of September, it’s International Week of the Deaf. Another day celebrated this week is for sign language, and it’s also Monday the 23rd. It’s a time to recognize the people who go through the hard times of being deaf. There are four types of hearing loss, Conductive, sensorineural, mixed and auditory. You can either be born with deafness or develop it because of an illness or accident.
Deafness is more common for the elderly, but it can happen at any time. “After my dad was deployed in Iraq, he came back home and was diagnosed with tinnitus; a constant ringing in the ears. whether it’s at the dinner table, or even right next to my dad, I’ll have to speak louder than I would to my mom or my friends, just because the ringing in his ears usually drowns out my voice” said Tobin Moeller (12). Veterans go through this because of the constant noise and sounds they experienced during their deployment.
There are implants that you can get to help you hear. There are multiple types of those as well. You can get cochlear implants, bone conduction devices, a middle ear implant, and the auditory brainstem implant. “My grandpa has an auditory implant. He got them a few years ago because of old age, and he has dementia which causes hearing loss” said Emil Whitson (12). Surgery is involved in order for them to get the implants into the brainstem, so the patient is able to hear and lessen the chances they’ll be completely deaf.
It’s very rare for a child to become deaf. Two to three out of 1,000 babies are born with a lack of hearing. “My friend’s little sister was born deaf. They gave her implants when she was a few months old. She’s five years old now. Her learning curve is very different from ours and struggles a lot” Joelie Joot (10) said. Not being able to hear at a young age when your brain is developing can slow you down and make it harder, but if you don’t give up you’ll make the pace of others.
Spread the word about the International Week of the Deaf. There are even themes that go along with each day. Examples are, sign language rights for kids, senior citizens, and other communities around the world.