The World Federation of the Deaf recognizes the Week of September 19-25 as International Week of Deaf People. This year’s theme is Building Inclusive Communities for All. Approximately 600,000 people in the U.S. are deaf or profoundly hearing impaired. Approximately 11 million people in the U.S. are hard of hearing.
Studies show that the deaf population tends to be publicly insured, less likely to be covered by private insurance, have less education, lower family incomes and more likely to be unemployed. There are two main types of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss which is due to a blockage in the ear that stops sound from reaching the inner ear; and sensorineural hearing loss caused by damage to the inner ear or cochlea. Sensorineural hearing loss cannot be cured. Improvement in cochlear implants however have improved hearing for many with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss.
A hearing loss that is not treated with a cochlear implants meets Medical Listing 2.10 if hearing tests meet or exceed the required hearing decibels. For hearing loss treated with a cochlear implant (Medical Listing 2.12) disability will be considered for one year after the initial implant and subsequent years if hearing loss word recognition falls at 60 percent or below. Cochlear implants do not restore hearing, but they do give a deaf person a useful representation of environmental sound.