Saturday, August 16, 2008

Legally Deaf 2

My previous post about my "identity crisis" (not knowing how to label myself as HOH-hard or hearing or deaf) prompted me to explore more about when a person can say they are hard-of-hearing or deaf. (It can be a personal preference how they label themselves, too.) I caught it in Wikipedia's Deaf Culture page.

I googled a bit and found some information about a 90 decibel (dB) loss of hearing is considered deaf (profoundly deaf). Some sites even say that "legally deaf" isn't really a term at all.

I even emailed my local audiologist and she confirmed that 90 dB+ is considered technically deaf. She also said that people who have mild hearing loss might call themselves "deaf" and people who are deaf may call themselves "HOH." Again, personal preference.

I found a good website that explained how to read an audiogram. (I did notice some inconsistencies in different websites about the cut off between mild, moderate, severe, and profound losses. When I googled "how to read an audiogram," I got a lot of hits.) As you know, I am not an audiologist, I am just play one on TV. Okay, I'm just sharing information I found.

This is a blank audiogram:

Hearing loss levels:

Normal = >20

Moderate = 40-69 (or 41-70)

Severe = 70-94 (or 71-95)

Profound = 95+ (or 96+)

Some basics about the audiogram:

-It is a graph and measures loudness in dBs.

-The top of the audiogram is "quiet" and the bottom is "loud". -Frequency numbers are the pitch. A small number is a low sound and a big number is a high sound.

-Speech is comprised of many different sounds and can drawn on the lines between 10dB and 60dB (the "speech banana", where certain speech sounds can be heard in quiet (10 dB) or louder (60 dB) areas. Below is an example of a profoundly deaf person's audiogram. This is my audiogram dated January 29, 2008:

The CNT means could not test. I wasn't able to hear any speech at all in the left ear. (You can click the picture below to "bigify.")

The "VT" in the graph is the bone conduction or vibrotactile response. To me, it's more vibration than sound. I used to hear a kind of an echo from the sound tests when the audie would put the headphone behind my ear.)

The X is my left ear (the one the CI was implanted in) and the O is for the right ear. (As for the greater than and less than symbols for the VT responses, one symbol stands for the left and right ear.)

I guess I can say that because I am mostly in the 90 dB+ area, I'm deaf, even though I can hear some sounds.

The graph below shows the sounds that can be heard at certain decibels. Without my hearing aid in my right ear, I would not hear anything in the 0-90 range. I do "feel" the dog bark, but it's not a true sound. Same thing with the phone. I would have to be right next to the phone or the dog in order to "feel" it, though. With my hearing aid on in the right ear, I can hear the dog bark, phone ring, alarm clock, some birds, and music. I may not get everything in my "speech banana" to maintain a conversation without repeats.

Okay, class dismissed. ;)


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At Sat Aug 16, 10:21:00 PM , Blogger contemporary themes said...

You teach me so much, and I'm glad and grateful to learn! Thank you!

At Sun Aug 17, 09:30:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very cool, Shari -- I think I'm finally starting to understand audiograms now! All these years of getting them, they never really meant anything to me.

Thank you for the great explanation!

~ Wendi

At Sun Aug 17, 02:19:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I learned more today!

At Mon Aug 18, 06:58:00 AM , Blogger Beth said...

Class may be dismissed but this is one class I'm always interested in attending. (Unlike so many others back in my school days!)

At Mon Aug 18, 07:26:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shari,
I ilke it--"legally deaf"...
I think that Usher is so variable that we just plain cannot, must not assume that either our hearing or vision will stay the same thruout our lives. For some, the vision stays pretty constant, while hearing disappears. For others, the reverse is true. And for still others, both senses are fully lost. You just don't know which bag you're gonna get.

At Mon Aug 18, 04:58:00 PM , Blogger Shari said...

La La-No problem. Glad you are a willing student. :)

Wendi-I had a vague understanding of audiograms: The lower the line went, the worse the hearing is. LOL. I love search engines, even though not all information found can be correct.

Kila-It doesn't hurt to learn something new everyday. :)

Beth-You can say that again. Isn't it funny that it's more fun to lerarn on your own?

Anne-True. We Usher folk are unpredictable. The more people I meet with Usher, the more I see that we all have varying degrees of hearing and sight, even within the same family. My siblings' hearing and sight isn't the same as mine. We can only hope that the bag we get is one we can deal with.

At Mon Aug 25, 04:08:00 PM , Blogger Abbie said...

I just love reading technical post like this :)

I'm so sorry I haven't been commenting lately, I have been horrendously busy which I am hoping that the coming weeks will bring some down time :)

At Wed Feb 02, 08:48:00 PM , Anonymous Author Marlene Mesot said...

Yes, my new audiologist confirmed the definition of legal deafness also. I am HOH & wear hearing aids. I am also legally blind. Enjoyed your educational info. Visit my website I write Christian mystery romance featuring main characters with disabilities.


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