Some people are born hearing impaired, while others develop hearing loss over the course of their lives. Either way, these conditions present a variety of unique and complex challenges that have a big impact on daily life.
Many issues the deaf and hard of hearing face every day are things that those without impairments may never even consider. We may take them for granted, but the hearing impaired typically don’t go a day without experiencing these everyday struggles…
When someone walks up behind you, you can normally hear their footsteps or the shuffling of their clothes. But without these audible signals, a deaf or hard of hearing person can be easily startled by someone approaching them from out of sight.
They may also miss out on public messages played through loudspeakers in places like train stations, airports, etc. Whereas most people will know when their flight changes gates or gets delayed, someone with hearing loss may not find out until they get to their gate.
Additionally, the hearing impaired have to be much more cautious when navigating certain daily situations, such as driving, crossing the street, and engaging in other public settings.
Car horns, sirens, and verbal warnings from those around them may be difficult or impossible to hear, which can leave them vulnerable.
Navigating Dark Settings
The deaf and hard of hearing typically use American Sign Language and lip reading to communicate with others.
But in darker areas like movie theaters, restaurants and bars with low light, or areas without ambient light, it can be tough to see what the other person is signing and how their lips are moving.
One of the most common challenges of hearing loss is navigating everyday conversations.
A deaf or hard of hearing person may have close friends and family who know sign language and speak in a way that makes it easy to read their lips…
But this won’t be the case for most people outside their circle.
Most often, they’ll need to tell the other person that they’re hearing impaired and give them tips on how best to communicate with them, such as:
- Always face them when talking
- Talk clearly
- Speak louder or more slowly — depending on the level of hearing loss
Not to mention, just like spoken language, American Sign Language changes slightly based on what region of the country you’re in. These subtle differences can lead to complications for hearing impaired people when traveling.
Education & Job Opportunities
For the deaf and hard of hearing, communication issues have a direct impact on their education and eligibility for certain job roles.
Many jobs require employees to speak directly with customers, and unfortunately, many companies are unable or unwilling to create a supportive environment for the hearing impaired.
On the educational side, children who are deaf or hard of hearing may find it especially difficult to develop basic English skills. Learning and reading the language without being able to hear it poses a significant challenge.
Luckily, many schools and universities accommodate these students with specialized programs, visual aids, microphones, good classroom visibility, and proper lighting.
Withdrawal, Isolation, & Mental Health Issues
As you can imagine, the challenges of hearing loss can leave deaf and hard of hearing people feeling lonely and isolated.
They live in a “hearing” world, so they communicate and interact with it differently. As a result, some people may treat them differently or even discriminate against them.
Sadly, research shows that deaf children and adults have higher rates of depression and anxiety than their hearing peers — likely because of these negative interactions and experiences with the world around them.
Getting Help in an Emergency
Since deaf and hard of hearing people are unable to verbally communicate the details of an emergency, they usually rely on captioned telephones, teletype (TTY) machines, or text-to-911.
These options allow them to alert the authorities through text and receive information from dispatchers…
But they can also be dangerously slow, and text to 911 isn’t available everywhere. Slow, unreliable emergency service can waste precious time and make an already extremely stressful emergency much worse.
For those with hearing loss, the Rescu app is the fastest way to get help in an emergency.
Rescu connects the user directly with dispatch, with emergency help available in just two taps — no talking or texting required.
Unlike the 911 system, which can only locate someone within several hundred yards, Rescu’s GPS-based dispatch ensures they get help where they need it — even if they can’t give an exact location.
Just one tap for the service they need — fire, police, or ambulance — then one tap to send the alert, and help is on its way.
When they set up the app, they’ll have a chance to add critical information about themselves, including essential health details and medical information. That way, first responders will know they’re helping someone with hearing loss and be able to provide fast, accurate care.
The Rescu app was designed to provide a better, faster alternative for the deaf and hard of hearing community, and the peace of mind that comes with reliable 24/7 protection.