Long-term Support and Planning for People Who Are Deaf
Managing deafness and hearing loss requires a long-term strategy. Ability Central addresses financial, technological, and mental health needs in this article.
By Ability Central
17 August, 2023
Deafness and hearing loss require a long-term plan. In this article, Ability Central will discuss the following:
- Does the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) cover deafness and hearing loss?
- What other government assistance is available in the US?
- What technologies are available to help Deaf and hard-of-hearing adults?
- When is a long-term care option needed for someone who is Deaf?
- Where can I find Deaf support groups?
- Where can I connect with a mental health specialist?
- Where can I get more information on deafness and hearing loss?
Does the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) cover deafness and hearing loss?
According to the US Equal Opportunities Commission (EEOC), people who are Deaf fall within the ADA's definition of disability because they are substantially limited in the major life activity of hearing. Individuals with a hearing impairment other than deafness will meet the ADA's definition of disability if they can show that they are substantially limited in hearing or another major life activity.
You can meet the ADA’s definition of a disabled person even if you use a “mitigating measure,” meaning any assistive device that helps you manage the disability. Devices in this case could include hearing aids and cochlear implants, among others.
What other government assistance is available in the US?
The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) lists resources available on the national and state level. These include:
- Financial assistance
- State agencies
- A downloadable guide with phone numbers, contact information, and requirements for financial assistance for people with deafness or hearing loss
What technologies are available to help Deaf and hard-of-hearing adults?
Hearing technology goes well beyond hearing aids and cochlear implants. Adults with hearing loss and deafness also have access to the following:
- Free or low-cost telephones through Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Programs (TEDPs)
- Telephone assistance through Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS)
- Assistive devices or assistive technology that help a person with hearing loss to hear and understand what is being said more clearly or to express thoughts more easily.
- Alerting devices for everything from a baby crying to a smoke alarm sounding.
When is a long-term care option needed for a Deaf adult?
Sometimes routine activities like driving, taking walks, and running errands can present many dangers for an adult who lives alone and is unable to hear their surroundings. If you’re looking into Deaf support options, Deaf senior care, or long-term management for a hearing-related disability, Ability Central has a database of nationwide services for people with disabilities looking for support options. Visit our Service Locator to start your search.
Where can I find support groups?
- HLAA has chapters across the US. Connect with a local branch to find support groups and services in your area.
- Deaf and Hard of Hearing has an online forum for discussion, advice, advocacy, and support.
- Say What Club operates several newsletters and Facebook groups.
Where can I connect with a mental health specialist?
Diagnoses of depression and anxiety are 25% higher among Deaf adults than in the general population. If you are seeking a mental health professional, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) says direct communication in your language and a mode of communication accessible to you is almost always preferred. They encourage people to ask for a referral from their insurance company or social service agency to a qualified mental health professional who has experience working with people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
Where can I get more information on deafness and hearing loss?
For more information on deafness, see Ability Central’s complete library of resources, including: