"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Statistics and 2 Important Videos Regarding the "Hidden" Among Us Deafness and Hearing Loss

I chose these two videos today because they explain the different communication needs for people with deafness and hearing loss. The statistics that were shared at the recent "Working Together" event in Harrisburg, PA are very eye opening. We still have a lot of work advocating and educating others of the various needs we have for access to language.

* "But remember it is important not to generalize or assume everyone fits in the same category of hearing loss and ability."

* "Deafness and hearing loss are often called the 'hidden disability'."

* "By average only 1/3 of what is said can be understood by lipreading."

* These quotes were found in this video created for training police officers on Deaf Sensitivity, "Police Training Video: How to communicate with a deaf or hard of hearing person"


Far too often, people assume we who are deaf know and use ASL. Another misconception is that all deaf and hard of hearing can read lips.

This is why captions are so important in our society. Hearing loss is the "invisible" disability. I once asked a church to provide a deaf ministry and captions. The response I got in an email simply stated, "We don't see the need". That is the difficulty when we ask for these accommodations. It is an invisible accessibility necessity

If someone has asked for this accommodation, there is a need, and if one person has asked, you can pretty much bet many others have the same need, but don't know how to ask, or are afraid to ask.

I recently learned these interesting statistics at the "Working Together" conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania sponsored by HLA-PA.

... Pennsylvania has 1,201,718 Hard of Hearing people (that we know of)

... 2,096 of children K-12 in PA are estimated to be deaf

... 10,478 have some degree of hearing loss

... 75% of these deaf and hard of hearing children use speech only ( * "By average only 1/3 of what is said can be understood by lipreading.")

... 15% use sign and speech

...  9%  use Sign Language only.

These statics point to the increasing need for captions in our classrooms, for all videos in the education system to be captioned as well as important meeting places, museums, churches, synagogues, libraries, movie theaters and other places where language needs to be accessible.

I've not even touched on the statistics of hearing loss among the Baby Boomer generation that is increasing each year through the aging process.

60% of our returning service members have hearing loss from artillery blasts while serving our country.

Hearing loss will affect all of us at some point in our lives. Either someone we love, a friend or quite possibly, ourselves will have, or acquire hearing loss or deafness. Let us be in inclusive in our society and make access to language possible for all of us.

"Lip reading is not a dependable form of communication for those who are deaf or hard of hearing," as stated in this excellent  video posted below, "First Responder Communication with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing":


For more information about captions, visit: Collaborative for Communication Access via Captions

Need Captions? Just ask: CaptionMatch


  1. Both are very good videos. However- I suspect not all police officer's would have handled this situation as smoothly as in this video.

    1. I think your suspicions are correct, Neil. That's why it's important to get training videos like these out there.