DeafHear provides comprehensive and balanced information on deafness and hearing loss for parents of children with hearing loss, adults with hearing loss, and the wider public.
FAQ’s General -
What is Deafness?
- Deafness means that a person has a limited ability to hear sounds. It is a communication difficulty rather than merely a loss of sound perception.
- Congenital deafness affects all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, emotional, social and educational.
- Hearing Loss affects volume (loudness) and frequency (pitch).
- Adults who become deaf (deafened) do not rely on hearing alone to communicate. Vision is also important.
- The terms mild, moderate, severe and profound describe the extent of deafness.
Hearing Protection -
Do I have a hearing loss?
You may if you like to listen to loud music. Noise can cause high frequency hearing loss. For this reason, audiologists are especially concerned about the current popularity of personal stereos. When the volume on these stereos is turned up too high, it may cause permanent hearing damage.
What are the warning signs of hearing damage?
There are three early warning signs of hearing damage due to loud sounds. These signs are:
- Ringing in the ears.
- Sounds that seem muffled.
- Difficulty in following conversations after the music is turned off.
If you use a personal stereo, think about where you set the volume. You should be able to hear friendly conversation. If you can’t, the volume is too high. By controlling the volume, you will not only be protecting your hearing, but also using common sense. You need to be able to hear what is going on around you in order to avoid danger. Whenever you know you are going to be around a lot of noise, wear earplugs.
Hearing Aids -
What is the T switch on my hearing aid?
This activates a tiny device in the hearing aid that works with an induction loop and allows you to hear sounds more clearly, without interference from room acoustics or background noise.
It works by picking up an electromagnetic signal from the induction loop. To use an induction loop or telephone with an inductive coupler, you need to switch to the "T" setting on your hearing aid.
Newly Diagnosed Children -
My child has recently been diagnosed with a hearing loss, what next?
When your child is diagnosed with a hearing loss, it is sometimes difficult to take in everything the specialist is saying to you. After the diagnosis you should be given an appointment for the fitting of hearing aids. The second appointment is a good time to ask any questions you may have as you would have had time to think about the situation. It may be helpful to write down questions as you think of them, and take them with you to this appointment. You can also make contact with your local DeafHear Resource Centre. We can offer help and support, answer any queries you may have, notify you of welfare benefits, provide peer support, confidential counselling, social events for the family, and information sessions.
Additionally, your child should now be seen by the ENT (ears, nose and throat) Department on a regular basis to maintain your child’s hearing aids and for regular hearing tests.
Furthermore, when your child is identified with a hearing loss, the audiologist should make a referral to your local Education Department. The Education Department will arrange for a Visiting Teacher for the Deaf to visit you in your home. Their role is to support you, your child and the rest of the family. Visiting Teachers work with pre-school children to provide guidance and support for parents of deaf or hard of hearing children. They inform parents of the implications of deafness for the acquisition of spoken language and Irish Sign language (ISL), inform parents of communication methods and liaise with audiology services. Visiting Teachers also monitor the child’s language development and communication skills and give information and advice to parents on pre-school and school placements. At primary level the visiting teacher works with the principal and other staff to plan and put in place suitable supports for the child. They can provide tuition with special emphasis on language development and monitor the educational progress of the child.
Q. When my child was diagnosed with a hearing loss, I felt a variety of emotions. Is this usual?
Yes, this is a common reaction. Remember that it is not your child who has changed, but as a parent you may face a whole host of challenges that you were not expecting. All parents react differently, and experience a range of emotions when they discover their child is deaf: anger, frustration, sadness, grief, guilt, isolation, shock, fear of being unable to cope or relief at finally confirming the deafness.
There is nothing wrong with any of these feelings. What is important is to acknowledge and share them. DeafHear has a network of regional and local representatives and local groups. DeafHear organises family events and conferences to help families understand and share experiences of childhood deafness, and access local support.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the name for the condition whereby people experience sounds which do not have an external origin. The noises may be heard as ringing, buzzing, whistling, roaring, rumbling, whining, clicking or other variations. One or both ears may be affected.
What causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus can result from a number of events and conditions. Exposure to loud noise is a common one; it can also be associated with ageing, head or ear surgery or certain drugs. In some people, tinnitus develops after a cold or flu, an ear infection or a period of severe stress.
Temporary tinnitus following a night at a loud party or disco is common, but repeated exposure to loud noise and music can result in long-term ear damage, including permanent tinnitus. Tinnitus is not a psychological illness, but it can cause psychological distress.
How does Tinnitus affect people?
It is estimated that about 10% of people report persistent tinnitus, and about 1 in 10 of these are significantly troubled by the noises. The condition can have a serious affect on a person’s quality of life.
Little understanding by others of a condition that is not visible can increase a person’s isolation. Coping with the noises can be debilitating, leading to anxiety and depression, loss of interest in work, leisure activities and relationships. Sleep may be disturbed and concentration affected.
However, with time, the great majority of people do learn to live with tinnitus, and have a good quality of life in spite of it.
Is there a cure?
The most honest answer is "not yet". However, international research is on going, with the more optimistic suggesting a possible cure emerging within 7-10 years. In the absence of a cure, treatments and therapies aim at management of tinnitus.
Tinnitus is a condition that can be managed to the extent that it no longer has a serious affect on everyday life.
Where can I get advice on Tinnitus?
If you have been medically checked out for your tinnitus, and want further information and support, contact your local DeafHear Tinnitus Support Group or the Irish Tinnitus Association.
Irish Tinnitus Association (ITA),
35 North Fredrick Street, Dublin 1
Tel: 01 8175700
Tinnitus Helpline: Thursday 10am - 12pm.
Mental Health Service -
If you have a query regarding our Mental Health Service, please contact:
Mental Health & Deafness Service
DeafHear.ie - Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People
14 Jocelyn Street, Dundalk, Co. Louth
Phone: +353 042 9332010 xtn 33
Fax: +353 042 9353631
Volunteer Work with DeafHear -
How much time would I have to give?
This depends on you and what you do for us. You may be able only to give us couple of hours a week, or only volunteer at set times of the year, like school holidays. Whatever time you are able give us will be much appreciated.
Some of the volunteer roles may have a minimum time commitment and these are detailed in the role descriptions. For more details view the volunteering vacancies.
Do I have to make a regular commitment?
Some of the roles require a regular weekly commitment, while others are more flexible. Wherever possible we will try and tailor the time commitment around your availability.
If your availability changes then we will either change your role or find you something else to do that meets your requirements. For more details view the volunteering vacancies.
Will I be paid expenses?
You will not be out of pocket if you do volunteer work for us.
As a general rule we will pay for reasonable travel expenses and provide meals and refreshments, depending on the amount of time you are with us each day.
What support will I be given?
Whatever you do for us we will make sure that you have everything you need.
You will have someone within DeafHear to help you in your role. You will be given a clear role description, and regular support and training. You will also have an opportunity each year to review your role with someone.
Can I leave if I don’t like it?
Of course you can. If you are unhappy about your role, or your availability or ability to volunteer has changed, then you can stop volunteering.
Don’t worry. Talk to your volunteer coordinator as soon as you can and explain what the problems or reasons are. They may be able to find you something else to do if that is what you want, or make arrangements for you to "retire" from your role with us. Whatever happens we are very grateful for the help you give us.