Do all deaf people benefit from hearing aids?

Do all deaf people benefit from hearing aids?

By Marta Belsky and Brenda Cartwright
Monday, August 1, 2022

Hearing aids may amplify sound for those with hearing loss, however, a hearing aid is not a miracle device. It is simply a tiny amplifier that makes sounds louder. That’s all it can do. In fact it amplifies everything: close sounds as well as far, speech as well as noise. It does not always zero in on the one voice or sound you want to hear more distinctly. It does not make people’s speech clearer, only louder. In some cases, amplifying sounds can be helpful, and in other cases it can be distracting.

There are many kinds of hearing aids on the market. Some are better and more costly than others. For example, digital hearing aids typically cost thousands of dollars, which may or may not be covered by insurance.

Unfortunately, hearing aids do not benefit every type of hearing loss. People with severe to profound nerve deafness may not find improved results by wearing hearing aids. Although for many deaf people, hearing aids may be a helpful option.

Many deaf people do wear hearing aids to pick up whatever sounds they can, even if at a minimal level. While they may not hear perfectly or even enough to understand speech, people wearing hearing aids may become more aware of sounds around them (horn honking, baby crying, etc.). If hearing aids are able to help a deaf person navigate their world, that may be a factor for personal consideration. Each person should navigate their own situation and set of circumstances.

How does a deaf person decide if they want a hearing aid or not? Young deaf children usually do not have a choice – they are fitted with hearing aids when they go to school. For deaf/Deaf adults, wearing hearing aids (or not) is a matter of personal preference. 

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About the Authors

Marta Belsky Marta Belsky is Deaf and a third generation ASL user. She has been teaching ASL for 30 years and enjoys sharing her native language with new users. Marta is on the Lansing Community College Interpreter Training Program Advisory Board and has also been a board member for the Michigan Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and the Michigan Chapter of American Sign Language Teachers Association.

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Brenda CartwrightBrenda Cartwright is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, well known presenter, and author of several best selling sign language and interpreting textbooks from the RID Press. For 35 years Brenda was the Chair of the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.

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