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Hearing Loss - Info for Kids

Are you a hearing kid who has questions about deafness and hearing loss? About Deafness has the answers to some of your questions. You might have to ask a grownup to help you to read some of the material. Here are some of the more common questions you might have, with answers and links to answers.

Why are people deaf?

People become deaf for many reasons. Some are born that way. Others become deaf later. At About Deafness there is information about several causes of hearing loss.

What is a hearing aid?

A hearing aid makes sounds louder. There are different kinds of hearing aids.

What is a cochlear implant?

A cochlear implant also makes it possible to hear. A cochlear implant is put into the head by an operation.

How many people are deaf?

Hearing loss is the most common birth defect. More are being identified because most newborns are screened for hearing loss. About Deafness has an article on demographics.

Can deaf people talk?

Yes and no. Some deaf people talk (I do). Other deaf people don't.

How do deaf people learn to talk?

Deaf people learn through speech and language therapy. Someone teaches a deaf person how to talk.

Do all deaf people use sign language?

No. Many deaf people choose not to use sign language, or were raised without using sign language.

What is sign language?

Sign language is a language of the hands that is used by deaf and hard of hearing people to talk.

How can I talk to a deaf person who reads lips in addition to or instead of signing?

Make sure they can see your face and talk normally, maybe a bit slower if necessary.

Can deaf kids go to school like hearing kids?

Yes. Deaf kids may go to regular public schools (one might even be in your class). This is called mainstreaming. Or they may be in special deaf classes in your school. This is called a center program. Or they may go to a school just for deaf kids.

Can deaf people use the phone? How?

Yes. They can use the telephone with a special device called a TTY. Today more deaf people are using the internet to make calls with the help of relay services. If you are hearing, you can use a TTY or a relay service to to call a deaf person. (link to tty, relays)

Will a deaf kid become hearing when they grow up?

No. There is no cure for deafness, though hearing aids and cochlear implants may help.

Web resources on deafness for kids

Info to Go at Gallaudet University has three excellent online booklets:
  • The Ear and Hearing. Clearly written and illustrated. For third to fourth grade.
  • The Ear and Hearing. Same book as above, but for fifth grade and older.
  • Growing Up Without Hearing - This booklet describes the lives of four very different deaf children.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has NIDCD Resources for Educators, which includes games and videos on hearing loss.

PBS' Arthur cartoon website has parent/teacher guides that include deafness.

Books on Deafness for Kids

There are many books on deafness for kids. Some might even be in your local or school library. Here are a few:
  • A Button in Her Ear (classic) (compare prices)
  • Can You Hear a Rainbow? (newer) (compare prices)
  • Hearing Loss (newer) (compare prices)
  • I Have a Sister My Sister is Deaf (classic) (compare prices)
  • Imagine Being Deaf (newer)
  • Let's Talk About Deafness (newer) (compare prices)
  • Some People Are Deaf (newer)
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