What is a hearing loss problem

Problems of hearing impaired people

Invisible and suppressed

Hearing impairment is an invisible disability; it is only recognized when problems of understanding arise in communication.

Because hearing loss still has a very negative image for many people, those affected often do not want to admit it and try with great effort to suppress and deny it. The unaffected person notices it, but perhaps remains silent out of politeness. This makes dealing with this disability even more difficult.


No quiet listening

In the rarest of cases, hearing loss has to do with lower hearing, rather it is a question of disturbances in the various frequency ranges. Shouting at the hard-of-hearing person or speaking loudly above average is therefore not a solution. On the contrary, it usually makes the situation worse.

Hear and understand

are not the same. People who are hard of hearing can also hear, but the disturbances in the inner ear and failures in certain frequency ranges (especially in the speech range) make it difficult to understand. It becomes particularly difficult in situations with high ambient noise, in a bar, at the train station or when several people are speaking at the same time.

Avoiding noise, speaking more slowly, good articulation and looking in the face are essential aids in understanding, because even hearing aids cannot completely solve this problem.


The following graphic shows how a hearing-impaired person hears:





Isolated

People who are hard of hearing very often find themselves isolated, and in many situations they have the feeling that they no longer belong. It is therefore a matter of breaking down barriers that hinder communication. This includes targeted methods of communication, special listening systems in public spaces, visual visualization of calls and announcements, the use of hearing aids, etc.

People who are hard of hearing must also contribute to this by pointing out their disability in good time, getting the "right" hearing aids and learning how to use them.


No wrong judgments

The effects of hearing loss are difficult to understand. If you cover your ears, you will at best cause a slight hearing loss, rather muffled hearing. The loss of frequency ranges in speech and music, the distortion of the tones and the often associated "sensitivity to noise" remain the fate of the person concerned. He shouldn't be ridiculed for that.


Numbers speak for themselves

According to the latest studies, 20% of the population over the age of 14 are affected by hearing loss, and one in three people over 65 is already affected. The hearing impaired are thus the largest group of disabled people in Austria.

But it is not just the hard of hearing who suffer from it, but also all those people who are in contact with you and who wish to communicate with you.


The deafblind Helen Keller writes:

"If you don't see, you lose things - if you don't hear, people"


Hans Neuhold
February 2005