WELCOME IN THE WORLD OF THE DEAF AND THE HARD OF HEARING
Sit back and take a good look around you. Close your eyes. Open your ears. What all do you hear? What is other people's hearing?
Deaf people do not have an auditory disability, because they don't use oral communication. They are a cultural minority group in the Netherlands and have their own visual language: Dutch Sign Language.
Hard of hearing
Hard-of-hearing people experience a loss or distortion of sound. As a result, their hearing environment can be very diverse and lead to obstacles in communication. Hearing aids help, but are not a cure. Despite hearing aids or cochlear implants, people with late or sudden deafness remain hard-of-hearing in varying degrees.
Hard of hearing vs Deaf
Deafness and Hard of Hearing do not form a unified whole. The world of Deaf and hard of hearing people is diversely composed.
What actually is Deaf culture?
What barriers do deaf and hard-of-hearing patients encounter in healthcare?
Can a doctor also be deaf or hard of hearing?
DEAF CULTURE & SIGN LANGUAGE
deaf or Deaf?
Did you know that there is an important difference between 'deaf' as severe hearing loss, and 'Deaf' as identity?
People who are Deaf have developed their own identity and culture: Deaf culture. Knowledge of Deaf culture is important for everyone, but especially for a good doctor-patient relationship and effective care.
A HISTORY OF DEAF CULTURE
In 1790, rev. Henri Daniel Guyot opened the first Dutch School for the Deaf in Groningen.
From the early days of Deaf education, the children learn together in Sign Language. When they leave school they keep in touch, find jobs and marry.
Over time, several special Doven schools have been established in the Netherlands. In recent years, these have merged into Kentalis and Auris.
The Deaf from the various Deaf schools form their own community and develop their own culture.
HARDNESS OF HEARING
Away with our timidity!
Forms of hearing loss can occur due to illness, accident, prolonged exposure to loud noise and old age..
How do people experience hardness of hearing? And what solutions have they come up with to overcome obstacles in communication?
AWAY WITH OUR TIMIDITY!
Mourning the loss of hearing
Pain caused by persistent ringing or other noises in your head (tinnitus)
Loneliness and feelings of exclusion, because you don't get jokes, for example.
Shame for misunderstandings
Exhaustion due to having to pay extra attention to facial expressions and movement of lips
Frustration or embarrassment at having to continuously say "excuse me?"
The cochlear implant (CI) is a highly advanced technology aimed at people for whom ordinary hearing aids are not good enough.
Does that make it the panacea for all types of hearing impairment? Is it a threat to Deaf culture?
How do people actually experience the CI?
"Understanding speech in noisy environments remains difficult. A hearing aid is nice because it brings speech closer."
"It is still nice to have talk shows with subtitles."
"Music sounds pleasant to half of CI wearers....
to the other half it sounds out of tune."
"Social contact has improved thanks to the CI, but listening and hearing still remain tiring for many CI wearers."
"Interpreters are also important for CI wearers. This facility should be expanded."
"People sometimes forget that CI wearers are still deaf."
Currently, one implant is reimbursed by the Dutch healthcare insurance, while many people could benefit from a second CI. Given the high cost, only wealthy people can afford a second CI.
Health inequities already play a role with one CI, because buying a processor can easily cost €9000, which people with small budgets cannot easily afford.
Some Dutch political parties want that when people are 70+, they are no longer eligible to be reimbursed for a CI.
Fortunately, that is not the case now and you can always qualify.
About 1.5 million people in the Netherlands are deaf or hard of hearing.
How do they experience healthcare? And how can they best be approached when seeking medical attention?