Late-Deafened Adults

January 6, 2012 at 11:21 am 6 comments

I think it is important for us to educate ourselves about late-deafened adults and be sensitive to their great losses:

For many late deafened adults, they grow up hearing and functioning well. Once, they lose their hearing, they feel that they are cut off from their normal communication as well as their own identities. They go through their grief processing in different levels, and learn how to cope and adapt to this loss on an individual basis.

They also need to learn to be “deaf”. They, normally at the very beginning, are not willing to associate with Culturally Deaf people. They would rather be connected to people who are experiencing what they are going through.

Fortunately, there is an organization called ‘Hearing Loss Association of America’ (HLAA). Their mission is to support the Empowerment of Deafened People. They are able to share experiences of growing up hearing and becoming deaf adults and they also have similar communication issues. At the same time, they learn to confront and accept their deafness. They have various degrees of hearing loss. Some wear hearing aids or cochlear implants.

The forms of communications are visual, oral, aural, speech reading, live captioning (CART), closed captioning, sign language or American Sign Language. There are unique challenges for this population. I once taught a late-deafened lady how to use American Sign Language, but I had to sign everything really slowly. She is not a Culturally Deaf person. I also listened to her experience adjusting and managing her hearing loss.

I am sensitive and patient with those with hearing loss because I have a family member who lost some of her hearing when she was a teen. She went through many phases at the beginning. She had to wear hearing aids but always had her hair cover them; she did not want anyone to know about it. She functions pretty well in the hearing society, but she leans on lip reading or sits close to a person talking. It was a big struggle for her and there was no school counselor providing some support. She felt her whole life collapsed and did not know where to turn. To this day, I still do not know how she coped.

I, personally, did not have to cope with my hearing loss because I was born deaf. My parents were deaf so everything was pretty easy for me. When you see late-deafened adults, please try to be patient with them. They sometimes do not speak clearly because they cannot hear their own speech. You need to ask them to repeat nicely and sit close to this person. They will feel you show a lot of respect and acceptance.

By Doreen Solar, ECNV Deaf Peer Counselor


Entry filed under: Deaf/HoH -- Vlog. Tags: , .

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Vickie Gloria  |  June 6, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    As a late deaf adult I related to everything this post was about. A very good friend of mine who is an interpreter told me I should search about this topic. I was a hearing person, “normal” in everyway that society deemed “normal”. In my mid-30’s I started gradually loosing my hearing for reasons unkown, (my mother also lost her’s the same way). Although I had already learned sign language at an early age, communication with the hearing society left me pretty frustrated and lonely. Ignorance of many of the hearing individuals in the area that I live in left me searching for careers where my hearing was not an issue, and I must say, even with two college degrees people are still very hesitant to hire me. If I could just get people to realize a few things about deaf, (either born or late adult), is that we are NOT deaf and dumb…many of us have college degrees. Yes, I speak fluently; I grew-up just as you did, I have only recently become deaf, and please, don’t mistake my lack of hearing as being rude or anti-social….I just didn’t hear you speak to me. If a deaf person tells you that in order to “hear” you they must face you to talk, please don’t get angry, face them, and then “yell” what you are saying. And last, don’t be afraid of us just because we can’t hear…we are very articulate, funny, and love to do the same things that you do.

    • 2. Katyana Du  |  June 20, 2013 at 8:53 am

      Hi all,

      I can relate to the posts here. I too am late deafened or HOH, not sure which is correct. I also read lips, or sit close to someone facing them. I live in a very isolated place here in Northern Ontario, and do not talk to anyone. (very small town, many hours and hours away from big cities). I get embarrassed easily, so I tend to stay by myself, with just my dogs for company.

      I have been looking for online schools, that can teach late deafness ASL, so that I may learn to sign properly. I have been struggling the last 9 months to try to learn it on my own, and sign to my dogs. They seem to understand what I am saying, so I must be doing something right. My educational background is more customer oriented, from security guard, to aromatologist.

      Since the onset of very noticeable hearing loss, Hearing aids I have, do not really help, as I have found out. Tinnitus that is almost always constant, just drowns out sound from the noise, and the hearing aids themselves give me ear aches, that I end up taking them out, especially when I find they do not help with jibberish speech that I hear for conversation. Constantly having to ask someone to repeat what they just said is frustrating for both parties.

      I have been searching for a way to learn online, class type so that I could talk with others who are in similar circumstances. Where I live, there are no facilities close to home that teach ASL, and am physically challenged and wheel chair/bedridden.

      It would be nice to find an ASL school online that can teach me to sign correctly in a class environment. I think it would be more enjoyable, and easier to converse in a group setting than individual learning.

      Our social services here, are not able to help, since there are no close facilities to attend. The nearest classes are over 6 hours away, or 12 hours round trip. That is not possible for me at all.

      Anyone know of a class environment school online, if so, I would greatly appreciate any help that you could give.

      Cheers all and have a great day!


      • 3. ecnvecnv  |  June 20, 2013 at 12:07 pm


        Unfortunately, Doreen Solar, the person who wrote this entry, does not currently work here at ECNV (the post is from January 2012). My name is Tony Trott and I am HOH and use a wheelchair as well. Please give me a few days to research your question and I’ll try to point you in the right direction.


      • 4. ecnvecnv  |  July 9, 2013 at 10:01 am


        I found and I was told by friends at the Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons ( that it seems to be pretty good. Good luck.


      • 5. aristokat1  |  July 9, 2013 at 10:46 am

        Thanks so much, the site looks great, just had a look at it. It would be nice to have someone to sign with, as I am alone here, in the great white north. I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question and look forward to your next email.
        Cheers! Katyana

  • 6. Gail Miller  |  June 10, 2014 at 5:06 am

    I found the entries here very interesting. I guess it gave me a much needed feeling of connection today to read entries from people with somewhat similar challenges. I lost my hearing in my left ear during a pregnancy from Meniere’s. Many years later (I am now 60) the Meniere’s became bilateral and now I have rapid progressive loss in my right ear, although there is a lot of fluctuation along the way. I also have tinnitus. Mine is severe and chronic yet it varies in intensity and type. I am on-line tonight because it is too loud to allow me to sleep. One sided deafness was inconvenient, yet I easily adapted and was still totally connected to the hearing world. Now I am feeling a loss of connection. I know I am blessed in many ways and have had many blessings in life to date. I am grateful for on-line communities. It is such a blessing to have the ability to read. Two women I met at local HLAA are deaf as well as severely visually impaired yet they are so inspiring. I am also grateful to not to be dealing with the physical challenges of being in a wheelchair as two of you are in addition to hearing loss. Nonetheless I am still struggling to cope better. I use Captel phone and sometimes notepad or Ipad to communicate. I tried to learn some ASL but I am very frustrated, find it difficult and since I have arthritis in my hands I can’t practice long or sign well. I want to use more captioning from others’ speech on my computer so I can read what my family and friends say. I bought tapes to practice speech reading but haven’t started. Do they help? What suggestions do people have for me? I want to stay positive, be pro-active and not allow self pity. However, I am struggling a bit with sadness and feel I am failing in attempts to stay social in “real life face to face” not just on-line. I would also like to find meaning in this by somehow becoming more useful to others with hearing loss by advocating or volunteering somewhere… Any ideas? Your suggestions on coping and contributing will be most appreciated. I wish all of you the best. Hang in there! Thanks!


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