In the world today, there are over 1.5 billion people with hearing impairment. This covers about 20% of the world’s population today. Hearing loss and deafness are found in every region and country in the world. Hearing loss are caused most times by neglected precautionary actions.

Hearing loss is a term used to describe anybody who cannot hear like a normal person. It can come in a different forms. It can be mild, severe, moderate, or extreme. Most times in many cases, people with mild or moderate cases are tagged as “Hard of hearing”. These individuals can hear better and can communicate with devices like hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other assistive listening devices (ALDs).

Deaf on the other hand is used to describe people with severe or extreme cases of hearing loss. They have little or no hearing at all. They communicate with sign language.

Types Of Hearing Impairment

There are four types of hearing impairments. These hearing impairments can sometimes lead to complete deafness if not treated properly and on time. They include;

  1. Sensorineural Hearing Loss: This is when a person is having issues in the cochlea or inner ear or in the acoustic nerve. This can occur when the ear is exposed to loud noises, illness, aging or genetics. This hearing loss is permanent and can be treated with ALDs like hearing aid and cochlear
  2. Conductive Hearing Loss: This occurs when sound is prevented from passing through the outer or middle ear and into the inner ear. This can occur when earwax or fluids builds up in the ear canal, thereby blocking the passage of sounds. It can occur when there is damage to the eardrum or the ossicles. This hearing loss can be treated with surgery, use of ALDs like hearing aids, cochlear implants or bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHA), and procedures to remove the blockage.
  3. Mixed Hearing Loss: This is the combination of Sensorineural hearing loss and Conductivehearing  The treatment of this is dependent and unique to the cases presented.
  4. Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder: This is when the hair cells cannot transmit sound information to the brain properly. In this case, the person may seem to have normal hearing sensitivity but cannot understand spoken words. ALDs can be used to reduce or manage the negative effects of ANSD but in extreme cases, sign language is used for

What Language Do Deaf People Think in?

According to many studies and research, the language a deaf person thinks in is dependent on when they lost their hearing and how they lost it. A person who was born deaf will think in a different language from a person who became deaf at five and that’s because the latter was exposed to a spoken language as a form of communication before the impairment.

Many deaf people think in sign language. It’s like a visual voice in their head, before communication. It’s like how those with good hearing hear voices but they see themselves giving the signs to these words before displaying them.

Some deaf people think in the vocal language they were exposed to before becoming hearing impaired and when they see a hearing person speak, they imagine that the person is using sign language to help them understand. For some words that don’t have a sign in the ASL (American Sign Language), deaf people use their fingers to spell the words. Some deaf people think in words, but words are without sounds. Their brain just helps them to think what the words might sound like.

When it comes to how deaf people think, it varies. One cannot pinpoint a common language that applies to every individual with severe hearing impairment. Every case is unique to why and how such persons think.

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