How can we support those with hearing impairments?
- Testing for a hearing impairment isn’t always straightforward. It’s not always easy to discover either. Be sensitive to the process and progress a person makes.
- Understand social isolation may occur due to communication struggles, and empathy is a skill anyone can give.
- Lip reading can be a skill, but not everyone can rely on it. Don’t assume they can simply read your lips. Also, struggle may be missed by those around someone who can lip read. It’s not an indicator that the problem has been solved.
- A person can mislead others by looking at context and clues when they are struggling to hear. Stigma may be a cause for this to continue rather than that person seeking help. Your openness and acceptance could make a difference.
- Hearing loss can be experienced differently for everyone. It can be either sounds aren’t loud or not clear enough according to Healthy Hearing.
- ALDS or Assisted Listening Devices can be helpful for the person. Hearing aids, if needed, should be encouraged rather than stigmatized.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act requires jobs to provide accommodations. If that person is afraid about his or her gaining employment, tell them this: Be an advocate for the ADA in general and become more educated on it.
- Awareness and education about the world may be stifled due to communication struggles and hearing impairment. Patience and persistence is what is needed to be a good ally.
- The basics of ASL are a good place to start, but learning it in general is beneficial for everyone.
Visual impairmentsAccording to Lumen Learning, visual impairments and blindness can be categorized as follows:
- Refraction- Blurred Vision
- Tunnel Vision- Loss of vision
- Sensitivity to Light
- Legal Blindness, visual acuity of 20/200 or less
- Low Vision- reads with magnifying lens
How can we support those with visual impairments?
- Watch for the signs. If someone is reading really closely, squinting, frequently blinking to make sense of what they see etc. can be signs of a visual impairment.
- Be aware, their symptoms may be rooted in another cause like a disease for example. Pay attention to all physical actions if out of the ordinary.
- Physical distance makes a difference. Placement of the individual matters in respect to what they are trying to read.
- Braille or other types of communication of information is necessary.
- Be aware of the ADA and accommodations.