DISABILITY ACCESS: Empowering Tribal Members with Disabilities & Their Families
Provided by Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc.
Hearing impairment is an impairment in hearing that affects a child's education.
Deafness is a hearing impairment so severe that it affects a person's ability to understand speech. In one sense, deafness is just a more severe form of hearing impairment. However, in another sense, there is a BIG difference between being able to understand speech and having difficulty hearing what people are saying when there is a lot of other noise in the background. Like visual impairment, hearing impairment affects only a small percentage of children. Hearing impairment occurs 25 times as often in people over age 65 as it does in school age children (age 3-17). Deafness and hearing impairment is more common in adults than children, but it affects people of all ages. The couple at left are both hearing impaired adults, one of whom is a college student and the other employed, are both very far below age 65. Because only one child in a thousand is deaf, the child who is may be easily missed until after he or she enters school. Screening is essential. Many hospitals will screen newborns for free, especially if they are in a high-risk group. About half of newborns with hearing loss are born very low birthweight (less than three pounds, five ounces), have had bacterial meningitis or have malformations of their ears. If your child fits in any of these categories be sure to have him or her tested. However, 50% of children with hearing impairment do not show any of these risk factors. The sooner a child is identified with a hearing impairment, the less delay in speech and language services. If you suspect a child in your life has a hearing impairment, please arrange for a screening as soon as possible. Go to the next page for resources on North Dakota reservations for hearing impairment screening.
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