How Counseling Can Help The Late-Deafened

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Losing your ability to hear isn’t easy. You may feel like it’s harder to communicate and connect with other people. Sometimes, you may feel alone in your experience, especially if none of your family and friends have hearing loss. 

At times, you may feel isolated, sad, or even angry. There may be instances where you’re overwhelmed by the loss of your hearing. You may find it challenging to go through your day-to-day like how you usually did. But whatever you’re feeling and whatever your concerns may be, your counselor can help you process and understand it all.

Processing Your Experience And Emotions

Losing your hearing is a traumatic event. Whether you lost it instantly or over time, it’s bound to impact your mental and emotional well-being. Moving forward healthily from a trauma like this, you must process and accept it first.

Before anything else, you need to understand your situation and how you feel about it. Tell your counselor about how you lost your hearing ability. Was it because of an accident or an illness? By talking to them about it, they can guide you in addressing it. This step is even more important if it was an accident, like a car crash. The incident itself might have traumatized you.

They may also ask you about your emotions regarding your experience. They may suggest that you express how you feel about your hearing loss, the incident, and how you’re adjusting. These are all steps to make sure you address the things you need to discuss.

Often, hearing loss comes with some secondary effects. It may cause self-esteem and image issues, depression and anxiety, or isolation. If you already had these conditions before, then your hearing loss might make them more pronounced. Counseling can help you talk about these in the healthiest way possible.

At some point, you may feel uncomfortable with your counselor’s line of questioning. You may be overwhelmed from reliving parts of your trauma. If this happens, let them know. You may ask them to stop, but it may be beneficial for you to hear the reasoning behind your counselor’s questions. After all, their goal is to help you develop healthier mental and emotional health.

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Adjusting And Moving Forward

You may or may not find it hard to adjust to your new normal. Whichever it is, your counselor will be there with you every step of the way. But first, know that your journey moving forward will not be an easy one. That, in particular, is because of how different you are from the Deaf and hard of hearing.

The Deaf have been living deaf their whole lives. People who are hard of hearing still retain some auditory ability. Being late-deafened or someone who lost hearing is vastly different from the two. You may share some experiences, but the effects of your situation will vary depending on each person.

There will be new additions to your daily routine, and you may also encounter some lifestyle changes. These are to accommodate your hearing loss and to ensure your safety. Know that your counselor will be all-ears if you want to talk to them about these changes.

It’s possible for you to feel an even greater sense of loss when discussing these aspects. However, keep in mind that your counselor will be there to help you through it, especially when things become difficult. It will be a challenging journey, but they will be there with you every step of the way.

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Knowing About Available Resources

One of the goals of counseling is to help you towards a healthy headspace. And to do this, your counselor will ask you about the changes you want to see in your life. They will be there to help you discuss the resources available for you, depending on which path you want to take.

Talk to your counselor about your concerns. If you’re worried about schooling and career options, they will be there to help you figure it out. If you’re thinking about studying sign language, then your counselor will be able to refer you to learning centers nearby. You may have some worries entering a new stage of your life, but they will be there if you choose to discuss those things with them. 

In addition, it’s an unfortunate truth how late-deafened people face bias and prejudice in their lives. It would benefit you to talk to your counselor about this. They will help you process these experiences and refer you to support groups if you need them. But more importantly, your counselor will be able to guide you in learning about Deaf and self-advocacy.

By discussing these with your counselor, you may be able to feel in control of life. Learning about those advocacies can help you understand people who share the same experience as well. Even better, you can know more about expressing yourself, your wants, and how to convey them to others.

Your counselor may also refer you to an audiology center if you decide to get a cochlear implant. Remember, there’s no right and wrong decision for people in your situation. It all depends on what will make you happy. Talking to your counselor can help you make informed decisions about options available for you.

To Wrap Up

Being late-deafened is not easy, especially if it’s a traumatic event for you. You may find it hard to talk to your counselor about your experiences and emotions. Remember that is okay. But also keep in mind that it’s the first step in taking care of your mental well-being. You won’t need to rush things, and it’s alright for you to tell your counselor when you’re overwhelmed.

Counseling will also help you process the adjustments and changes happening in your life. You can discuss with your counselor what you want to see and the things you want to achieve. They’ll also be there to help you find resources available for your needs. After all, this is all so you could move forward with a healthy mind and heart.

Losing your hearing may feel overwhelming and isolating, but remember, your counselor will be there with you the entire way. And when times get tough, always keep in mind that you’re doing this for yourself.

Why Counseling Is Essential For The Deaf

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As a member of the Deaf community, you may constantly struggle in our hearing-centric world. It might feel like there’s always a challenge. Maybe it’s something supposedly as simple as communication, or perhaps a more damaging issue like prejudice. 

You may find yourself asking what you can do to understand Deafhood and your feelings about it. Whether you’re Deaf, late-deafened, or hard of hearing, counseling will be able to aid you in handling these concerns. Whatever path you choose to take, know that your counselor will be there with you every step of the way.

Living In A “Hearing World”

For Deaf people like you, it may be hard to live in a world that prioritizes hearing. This isn’t to say that being Deaf automatically limits you. After all, deafness itself isn’t disabling. Instead, it’s audism that might be severely restricting you.

It isn’t easy to come to terms with, but your counselor will be able to help you express your feelings about it. They may also guide you in understanding the uniqueness and intricacies of being Deaf. For one, people should treat Deafhood as a linguistic and cultural minority rather than an impairment. Talking to your counselor may help you discuss your feelings about this identity.

Your counselor will also listen to your thoughts and feelings about living amongst hearing peers and family members. You should tell them how you feel about your relationships, everyday living situations, and the challenges you face. Whatever you have to say, know that your counselor will be there to listen to you.

There may also come a time when you feel isolated and set aside because of the hearing-centric systems surrounding you. But remember, your counselor will be there to help you process those things. They will guide you through exploring the world around you.

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Understanding What Deafhood Is To You

Aside from grasping the kind of world you live in, your counselor will also help you work out what Deafhood means to you. They may ask you about your past experiences, emotions regarding those, and your plans for the future. It is all so you could begin to understand what being deaf is for you.

Of course, this comes differently for each person. Being hard of hearing, late-deafened, or Deaf will be significant in figuring out what Deafhood is for you. Your counselor’s goal is to teach you how to process your experiences and emotions and where you want to go from there. It may also help you identify the challenges that come your way and how to address them. By doing this, you can figure out how to take better care of your mental health.

Bear in mind that your counselor will not be there to dictate what you should do. Instead, they’ll be there by your side, helping you every step of the way. Their priority is to help you be the best version of yourself. That means how you feel and what you want matters.

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Learning About Available Resources

As a member of the Deaf community, you may find you’re always short of available resources. It may range from educational materials to career and schooling opportunities, modes of communication, and many others. You may talk to your counselor about this lack. If you’re not sure about it, they may even help you identify it.

Your counselor may refer you to different sources depending on what you need. Another factor is also whether you’re Deaf, late-deafened, or hard of hearing. In addition, your counselor may ask you some questions to identify which aspects to address. While your counselor’s advice will be helpful, keep in mind that their priority is your comfort and well-being. You may choose not to answer questions that make you feel uncomfortable.

Again, your counselor is not there to dictate what you should do. Instead, they’re there to assist you in your journey towards better mental well-being. With that said, it would benefit you to be completely honest with them. Let them know if you hate it when people push you to get a cochlear implant. Tell them if you don’t like how some look at Deafhood as an impairment instead of a culture.

Your counselor will be able to cater to your needs if you let them know these things. Still, remember that it’s up to you what you want to share with them. Your counselor will be there with you to explore options and resources that can help comfort, liberate, and empower you.

Exploring Your Advocacy

Deaf advocacy is another concern your counselor may discuss with you. The goal of counseling, first and foremost, is to help you achieve emotional and mental well-being. And a big part of it is not teaching you to cope with the biased systems around you. Instead, your counselor will help you explore self-advocacy. They’ll guide you in learning how to articulate your needs as well as how to act on them.

Don’t hesitate to talk to them about the changes you want to see around you. After all, the unfairness in systems and regulations affects your everyday life. Addressing this will help you move forward healthily. It may even help lead to positive changes for the Deaf community.

Counseling will be there to help you understand that the disadvantages you experience aren’t because of Deafhood. They will guide you in recognizing audism as the cause of your disabling experiences. Don’t be afraid to discuss Deaf advocacy with your counselor. After all, they would want to help you play an active part in breaking the bias against Deaf people.

To Wrap Up

A lot of things are challenging for members of the Deaf community. But this is because of the restrictions brought about by audism and not deafness itself. Your counselor may be able to help you understand these intricacies and process the world around you. In addition, counseling can also aid you in learning about the resources available to you. It would be even better if you also discuss your Deaf advocacy with them.

It would benefit you to be truthful and open with your counselor when discussing these things. After all, they want to help you understand things and feel better. Remember, this is all for your well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions About Making The Most Of Telemental Health Counseling

According to my parents, I suffered from meningitis when I was only one year old. We did not have a lot of money back then, so they could not get me the medical help I needed at once. They thought that I would not survive the illness due to its severity and the delayed treatment, but I was apparently a resilient baby. After two weeks in the hospital, they eventually managed to take me home, but not before the doctors told them that I might deal with hearing loss as a side effect of meningitis.

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True enough, my parents noticed symptoms of it in me a few months later. It started with me not looking up immediately whenever they said my name. Mom told me that they had to be face to face with me before I could pay attention to them. My loss of hearing worsened slowly over the years until I could only perceive unintelligible sounds without a hearing aid at 13 years old. 

Going To Counseling For The First Time

My parents were a bit too sensitive about my hearing loss, partly due to their conversations with parents of other kids with disabilities. Before my condition aggravated, they worried that I might become rebellious because of it or, worse, too depressed to function. Thus, as soon as I got a hearing aid, I found out that they signed me up for counseling. 

Let me emphasize that I was not showing depressive or rebellious symptoms at the time. My hearing loss did not happen overnight – I had years to prepare for it – so I did not have a hard time accepting the inevitable. Despite that, Mom and Dad wanted to ensure that my mental health would not suffer due to my physical disability, so they insisted on taking me to a counselor twice a month.

At first, I agreed to counsel to appease my parents. I had nothing against mental help; I was even fascinated by it. But as the sessions went on, I felt grateful about Mom and Dad’s decision to sign me up for counseling because my counselor inspired me to pursue the same profession and offer mental assistance to people with new hearing disabilities.

Working As A Counselor In 2020

I earned my counseling certifications in the first quarter of 2020 and was preparing to open my clinic when the COVID-19 pandemic happened. I had to postpone the opening because it was inadvisable to meet clients in person. It devastated me since I knew that I needed to offer counseling at the time more than ever. Luckily, I discovered that I could do it online.

What is Telemental health counseling? 

 Telemental health counseling is a new form of counseling that licensed counselors provide using technology. 

How do I start telehealth therapy? 

 If you want to start offering telehealth therapy, you need to get some legal advice first. The most important thing to figure out is if your state license can be used in other states, too. If it is, then you are free to accept clients all over the US. Otherwise, an attorney who specializes in mental health licensing can guide you on your next steps.

You should also review the HIPAA regulars before starting your telehealth practice. The reason is that many individuals refuse to do online therapy in fear of their sensitive information getting leaked and reaching the hands of unlawful people. Thus, make sure to use encrypted software or sign up for a trustworthy platform before practicing virtually and educate your clients about it.

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Furthermore, since you are providing therapy online, you must find a way to increase your client’s comfort. It seems challenging to do in the beginning, considering you cannot even shake a person’s hand through the internet, but you can make it happen by fixing your posture, clothing, smile, and surrounding. You may even play some soft music if you prefer that. More importantly, your internet should be incredibly fast and stable to avoid losing rapport with your clients.

Is Telemental health covered by insurance? 

 Telemental health is covered by a handful of insurance companies, including Aetna, Blue Cross, Cignal, Humana, and United Healthcare. Despite that, you still cannot expect full mental health coverage up to this day.

How do you become a Board Certified-TeleMental Health Provider? 

 The first step to becoming a Board Certified-TeleMental Health (BC-TMH) provider is to apply for the certification via the Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE) website. Then, you will need to attend online classes and pass all the nine modules they will provide, as well as the final examination. You only have two years to finish everything; otherwise, you must send your application again.

What is the best computer for telehealth? 

 Apple MacBook Air (13 inches) is the best laptop for telehealth. It has a 1.2 GHz quad-core Core i7, long battery life, new keyboard design, 6K display, and improved webcam. 

What is the best telehealth platform? 

 According to TechRadar, the best telehealth platform is Doxy.me.

How does Telemental health work? 

 Patients typically call the telemental health company’s hotline or use their account to request a visit. This visitation occurs online whenever a physician is available to diagnose, treat, or prescribe medication to the individuals.

What is a warm handoff? 

 A warm handoff is a common practice in a healthcare team in which one member practically transfers the patient to another member. It typically happens in front of the patient or their guardian.

Why would you want to be a counselor? 

  • You have wanted to become a counselor for years now. 
  • People have told you that you are an excellent listener. 
  • You don’t mind becoming someone’s confidante and giving advice to everyone.

Will insurance companies pay for telehealth? 

 Local governments are currently working hard to enable insurance companies to pay for telehealth. However, at the time of writing, more or less half of all the states have parity laws.

Does insurance pay for online counseling? 

 The truth is that not all insurance companies cover online counseling. Therefore, the answer to this question depends on your insurance provider.

How much does it cost to use telemedicine? 

 Telemedicine costs approximately half of the regular clinic visit.

What is BC-TMH?

BC-TMH is the abbreviation for Board Certified-TeleMental Health.

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Final Thoughts

Although I could have joined an online counseling platform initially, I thought against it because I wanted to cater to a specific demographic – people with hearing loss like me. In the end, I contacted the local support groups I was a part of, and they directed various clients to me for a consultation through Skype or Zoom. I realized that it was not too different from traditional counseling, considering we could still use sign language to communicate. 

Though I would eventually open my clinic and meet clients face-to-face when the pandemic ends, I would continue offering telemental health counseling.

The Challenges Of Mixed Deaf-Hearing Families

 

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Every family faces various challenges. Your teenage son has problems in school, your baby girl is on her difficult years, your spouse is too busy to pay attention to you, or your relatives are judgmental. The truth is, each home has a burden to bear. However, there are rather distinct challenges for a family with mixed deaf-hearing members.

Families that have deaf members typically face some communication difficulties, and these can cause trouble in social interactions, which consequently lead to hopelessness, withdrawal, stress, and anxiety.

People that are deaf are expected to adjust to their surroundings, so would it not only be reasonable to expect the same kind of understanding from those who are supposedly closest to you – your family? Explaining yourself or upholding your language always is quite tiring. When you are with your family, you should be relaxed and comfortable. Sadly, not all of these deaf and hard of hearing family members have loved ones that find the time and effort to communicate with them appropriately.

Family Life Experiences

Families with deaf members or families that are mostly deaf with hearing members have reported experiencing difficulty identifying which communication strategies they should learn and practice, as sometimes the challenges they face are also worsened by certain cultural identities – hearing or deaf.

An individual who was interviewed recalled how her family would tell her that she could hear them well when she wants to, but actually, she just got pretty used to lip reading. She became an expert lip reader that people would think she could hear perfectly. Her brother would be annoyed at her when she asks him to repeat what he said and would tell her why she would pretend not to hear. “I can’t help being deaf,” she said. She stated that she often felt pressured and anxious when she was with her family, and she thinks that they should also try their best to meet halfway for communication to be easier.

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Here are some experiences of other deaf and hard of hearing individuals with their own families.

Positive

  • “My loved ones tried learning sign language so they could better understand me.”
  • “My parents are very patient. They know that I have trouble understanding them, so they speak clearly and loudly.”
  • “My family and friends really love me. They make me feel comfortable and relaxed when we are together.”
  • “My family and I work hand in hand in seeking solutions to be able to live harmoniously. I feel so lucky.”

Negative

  • “My siblings don’t take time to talk to me, and they are often annoyed when I’m around.”
  • “My children are so impatient with me.”
  • My relatives tease me and backbite me even when I’m around. I know because they look at me, and then they laugh.”
  • “I always remind my spouse and kids that I am deaf.”
  • “I don’t get invited for family reunions and parties often. I guess they get tired of making an effort so I can understand.”

The Effect Of Being Deaf In A Hearing Family

Undoubtedly, it isn’t easy to be part of a mixed deaf-hearing family unit. Studies made on the subject revealed that deafness does have a substantial effect on these four areas:

  • Parenting – parents who are involved in the lives of their children.
  • Family interactions – the capacity of the family members to have clear and successful conversations, fix issues together, and build strong relationships.
  • Resources – the family’s access to materials and services for the deaf family member/s.
  • Emotional status – deaf and hearing family members are well-connected, support each other, and care for each other.

Of course, these areas are also affected by the family’s race and culture, economic status, and the deaf member’s level of hearing disability. However, the initial approach is to recognize the effects and knowing the factors that impact family dynamics.

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Strategies For Deaf And Hearing Families

  • Family members should think about the needs of their hearing and hard of hearing loved ones when they talk about how they should communicate with each other.
  • Commit to making time for family discussions regarding issues and topics that come up during the day or week and then find ways to help each other.
  • Discuss and create communication techniques together.
  • Don’t laugh at your deaf siblings or parents. It’s total not cool.
  • If you are a deaf member, ask your loved ones to repeat what they said if it isn’t clear to you. This is a great way of self-checking as well.
  • It is disrespectful and unfair not to face your deaf loved one when you are speaking to them. Don’t make it harder for them to communicate.
  • Keep an open mind and be supportive of your deaf loved one’s disability.
  • Although your hearing family members have learned to do the sign language, it’s not going to be that easy. Be patient with them, and don’t expect too much. Meet them halfway.

Conclusion

You will grow closer and have a better relationship with your family if you learn to create strategies for connecting and communicating effectively with your loved ones. You should be proud of what you have surpassed as a family and acknowledge that you are tougher when you are together – hearing or not.

 

 

How To Ensure Mental Health Stability When You’re Newly Deaf

I never had a hearing problem during my childhood years. I could always hear my friends running down from the end of the block, asking me to play with them. Before they turned up in our doorsteps, I was already waiting for them on the sidewalk. Then, when I entered high school, the choir teacher realized that I had a perfect pitch, which would not be possible if I could not hear very well. I even got into a college scholarship program because of my newfound singing abilities.

However, everything changed when a drunk driver hit me while I was crossing the street after work. It was a red light, but the guy must have missed it due to intoxication. I blacked out as soon as I collided with his car, though, so I did not know that the side of my head hit the pavement hard.

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When I woke up, everything hurt, especially the left side of my body. As it turned out, that’s what touched the road first. The doctors and police officers said that I was lucky that none of my internal organs or bones ruptured and that the driver didn’t run me over. I didn’t notice it quickly, but I knew what they were saying because I could read their lips. Then, I started freaking out when I realized that I could not hear a thing anymore. I kept on thrashing until the nurses had to sedate me to calm me down.

When I opened my eyes the next day, it was already nighttime, and the visiting hours were over, so I was alone in my room. I tried watching TV, in denial of my hearing loss. However, even with the volume reaching 100, I could not figure out what the TV characters were saying. I began to shed tears silently, unsure of what tomorrow would bring.

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The Instability

A doctor visited me later and explained to my parents and me that I was suffering from a hearing loss. He said, “We know it’s temporary, but we don’t know when it will come back. Only time can tell.”

Okay, so the diagnosis was both a good and bad news. I might or might not use my ears again, depending on how my body would heal. Instead of making me feel better, it challenged my mental health stability.

My mom moved my stuff back to her house when I got discharged from the hospital. She often asked me ever since the diagnosis of how I was holding up, but I always told her that I was fine. Of course, that’s far from the truth, but Mama didn’t need to know that. She already had a lot on her plate, considering I would have to be under her care for a while. I had to quit my job, too, since call center agents needed aural skills, which I no longer had.

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Gaining Stability

Mama eventually urged me to talk about my worries. I thought I was hiding my insomnia to her, but I wasn’t. She said she would come out of her room to pee sometimes and see me in the garden until the wee hours. It was true, so I ended up confessing that I hadn’t been okay ever since I found out about my hearing loss. And for the first time, I bawled in my mother’s arms.

Thought I did not want Mama to see me this way, she told me that it would upset her if I hid my mental health issues further. She made me promise that I would mention everything that bothered me so that she could help me go through with it.

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We started with being roomies. My mother asked me to sleep in her room, saying that she missed hugging me to sleep. While I knew that she was doing it to check on me, I did it without a peep. At that point, I was willing to do anything to stop making my mother sad.

After that, Mama made sure that we ate every meal together. We also tried jogging on weekdays and hiking on weekends, considering the doctor said that being in nature and getting back in shape might help with my healing process. Furthermore, a friend hooked me up with a writing job, which was a dream of mine.

In no time, I stopped feeling sorry for my hearing loss.

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Bottom Line

Losing my sense of hearing was a massive blow in my life. I did not know how to deal with it; I even considered buying a noose to end my ordeal. I only thought of dark things for at least a couple of months.

Fortunately, I had Mama to thank for helping me feel like myself again. It was a crazy journey, but I got there anyway, even without hearing anything. While I am still hopeful about reversing my hearing loss, it would not bother me if it stays that way.

Deaf Community Desperate For COVID-19 Information

Since the spread of the Coronavirus, all governments all over the world managed to give daily brief information on how fast the spread of the virus has occurred. That includes how best to cope with the situation. However, some individuals across different countries felt a little left out. These are the ones who battle with the communication chain. So without proper knowledge of what is going on around, the lack of information for these individuals can cost them their lives.

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The Sentiments Of The Deaf

The deaf community is 5% of the world’s population. Therefore, there are more than millions of them. But not all of them receive clear information about the COVID-19 pandemic because some appeared to be alienated when it comes to the live updates about the deadly Coronavirus. Sadly, these deaf people’s needs are on the line. That is why some are blaming their governments for not doing anything for them. It may be a bit harsh since this situation is no one’s fault, but no one can blame them for feeling left out.

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The World Of The Silent

Honestly, the lack of information is the most unfortunate thing for safety and exposure from the virus of the people in the deaf community. There are worries and fears that buildup due to uncertainties. The deaf community relies on interpretation, so they feel pressured in knowing things the hard way. For them, they view the hearing people as privileged because they do not struggle with the same challenges that deaf people need to go through. The deaf people can only complain because they either missed information or received it wrong. Without an interpreter, they are not able to understand things that are going around the world. Thus, it becomes quite impossible for them to protect themselves, especially from a deadly disease.

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It is no secret that most governments around the world are reporting a fast growth of the Coronavirus. That is why most officials in the country are trying their best to inform their people on how to best cope with the situation. However, it becomes unfair for deaf people because they seem to get secondary information, which may be distorted. That is the reason why they deem for extra attention. But understandably, not all people look at these deaf individuals as unfortunate. Some are taking their time judging and accusing the deaf community as entitled individuals. That is because they think the deaf community is only asking for special consideration. That they believe these people can find ways to know information without taking too much of people’s concerns. Honestly yes. The deaf community can use social media platforms to know and get a little information. However, there is a chance of coming across fake news. Admittedly, it is a daily struggle of knowing what the right thing to believe in and what is not.

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The Barrier

For most countries in the world, they believe that passing information is vital in keeping their nation safe. But for the deaf community who doesn’t have access to specific information and no interpreter to rely on, it becomes life challenging. So when people think about it, it is not their fault that they somehow unintentionally disobey protocols. It is not that the deaf community wants to deal with risking their lives on getting infected. But it is more about questioning the situation since they get only a little understanding of the things they need to do. If we look at things right now, the deaf community is trying their best to keep up with the rest of the population across the different countries in knowing information the best they can.

Feel free to chat with BetterHelp experts if the global health crisis affects your mental health.

Deaf People In A Pandemic

With the entire crisis that the world is going through, people are aware of the situation. They know and understand the necessary measures needed to fight the virus. That is why everyone values social distancing and disinfection. But apparently, not all individuals are capable of understanding what they need to do. Clearly, the world health organization, along with each country’s government, should recognize the needs of persons with disabilities.

Source: media.defense.gov

 

The Struggle Of The Deaf

Among deaf communities, the accurate distribution of vital information is challenging. That is because the universal signing language of COVID-19 doesn’t exist. Well, no one is to blame for this situation, and somehow the unpreparedness gets excused since the pandemic involves the rattle of a global crisis. However, with the virus’s rampant cases, the deaf community needs to have urgent access to information to increase full awareness.

In some countries, affected people of the deaf community want the world health organization to come up with an international sign language that will represent the coronavirus. That is, of course, to allow them to connect with others without the hassle of trying to deliver only bits of information. Yes, some may argue that the deaf community is now given written information from time to time. However, what people did not see is the unreliability of the COVID-19 sequence written on a piece of paper.

Source: media.defense.gov

 

Apparently, other countries already considered taking their own measures to assist the deaf community on their request. There are already fifteen signs that they use to represent the coronavirus. Some of these signs come from unscientific variants, though. Meaning, it could still create confusion, especially when people are not yet familiar with what others currently call COVID-19.

People may not openly talk about it, but they consider deaf people as burdens of society. Well, I am not in the right position to talk about what is appropriate and what is not. But some people do not entirely care to consider other people’s needs. Indeed, there are imbalances and societal differences. However, the deaf community seeks understanding as to why they need extra attention when it comes to gathering information.

Source: media.defense.gov

 

Understanding The Needs Of Deaf People

Among other communities of individuals with a disability, the requested international sign language will be an excellent help for deaf people. Because if you try to imagine the deaf people’s difficulty in communicating, you will see that it is the only thing they got that could potentially save them from this pandemic. Yes, you may say that some of these persons with disabilities can read lips. Clearly, that is an advantage. But their mouths are covered with masks most of the time. Therefore, it will be difficult for them to communicate with others without sign language. These deaf people will probably have to make more noise so that others could recognize them.

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Authorities also need to come up with a plan to understand the needs of deaf people. Each country’s government should not treat them as second-class people just because they have a disability. Being deaf will not make them any less of a citizen out there. They are also vulnerable to the virus, so there is no point in setting aside their needs. Please do not disregard them as less priority and allow the system to come up with a better solution to make amends.

The coronavirus affected individuals all around the world. Therefore, there must be no exemptions as to who are the ones who need access priority for health and social care services. We need to address others’ needs as well, so we can save more lives.

The Relevance Of Knowing About The Deaf Culture

 

The Deaf community in the United States utilizes a language that’s different from the rest of the Deaf communities in the world – the American Sign Language (ASL). It is what connects its members and also functions as a membership card into the linguistics of the American society that not everyone benefits from.

Losing The Stigma

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Helping break the stigma doesn’t have to be verbal. One can do his part by distinguishing the Deaf culture through capitalizing the word ‘Deaf’ and backing that up by trying to change mainstream America’s outlook about it. The Deaf community and culture don’t want to use ‘disabled’ when describing themselves because it would only give the impression that they are ‘less than’ those who aren’t deaf. This could be true, but then this is also true for those hearing individuals who don’t do anything worthy for themselves and their community as well. Getting rid of the label gets rid of the stigma that is attached to it.

“If you’re a hearing person, you no doubt see deafness as a disability that needs to be corrected,” writes David Ludden Ph.D.

Additionally, advocates often speak about the term ‘Deaf gain.” This is described as a communication advantage provided to those who need other means to communicate besides verbal language. The concept is that deaf persons connect more meaningfully and with more heart because they are hearing-impaired.

“We have thus coined the term “Deaf Gain” in opposition to “hearing loss” in order to encompass the myraid ways in which both deaf people and society at large have benefited from the existence of deaf people and sign language throughout recorded human history,” writes Dirksen Bauman, Ph.D. and Joseph J. Murray, Ph.D.

Debate On Cochlear Implant Surgery

There are several members of the Deaf community that do not agree with the idea of cochlear implants, particularly for newborns who have hearing loss. They believe that each individual has the right to choose for himself whether he wants to stay deaf, thereby giving the parents the obligation (as it is indeed) to teach their child ASL as their first language. Activists also think that learning ASL and other cognitive skills is a right that must be protected and that opting for cochlear implant surgery drives families away from that right and losing heart to embrace the deaf culture fully.

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Controversies

There are nine out of ten Deaf babies that are born to hearing parents, and most of these parents opt for their baby to undergo cochlear implant surgery just as they are medically able to. This helps them learn how to speak.

However, the Deaf culture thinks that the hearing population is just so focused on the spoken word when the fact is that ASL is a comprehensive language even though they are not able to produce words with their voices.

“Recent research has shown the many advantages of allowing Deaf children to know and use both a sign language and an oral language. It is the optimal combination that will allow these children to meet their many needs, that is, communicate early with their parents (first in sign and then, with time, also in the oral language), develop their cognitive abilities, acquire knowledge of the world, communicate fully with the surrounding world, and acculturate into their two worlds,” writes Francois Grosjean Ph.D.

Ways To Communicate

Fortunately, ASL is not the only method where we can communicate with a Deaf person. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when trying to communicate with the Deaf.

  • Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts at communication are going to be difficult and uncomfortable. This will get easier as you progress.
  • You can write if the barrier is still too strong. The Deaf person would be happy for your efforts. You can combine your communication methods, hand gestures, and writing to make the process easier and more effective.
  • Take your time and be sincere in your efforts to communicate with the Deaf person. Slow down when the Deaf person is confused and feeling insecure about the whole process, especially if he’s not taking the lesson in right away. Let him feel that it’s fine and that you can always repeat the process.
  • Do not talk to the Deaf person when you’re not looking at him. Eye contact is a vital tool for effective communication with the Deaf, as they listen and understand with their eyes. Show them that you respect them by looking into their eyes.
  • Use the start and end of your conversation as a chance to visually and physically connect with the Deaf person, particularly if he has had an interpreter throughout the conversation. Smile at him, firmly shake his hand, and make eye contact.
Source: af.mil