Deafness, poor or no hearing

Deafness means poor or no hearing. People who are deaf often have damaged cilia, causing them to hear little or nothing at all. Deaf people can communicate well with a special language, sign language.


Deaf people are often deaf at birth, but deafness can also suddenly occur in the wrong situations, such as an accident or working in a lot of noise. In deaf people, the cilia are damaged, meaning that the brain cannot receive signals to convert them into sound. This makes it difficult for a deaf person to hear anything.
Children who are deaf often go to a special school. Here the children usually receive a hearing aid or a special hearing aid, a CI (Cochlear Implant), so that they can still follow the lessons properly. In addition, children are taught sign language to communicate with each other.

Hearing aids

Not everyone can get a special hearing aid (CI). If the cochlea on the inside of the ear is damaged or inaccessible, it is almost impossible to qualify for a CI. The remaining solution is to purchase a regular hearing aid. This allows deaf people to hear less well than with a CI. A Cochlear Implant may be better than a normal hearing aid, but a deaf person will never hear as well as a non-deaf person.

How a Cochlear Implant (CI) works

A CI works differently than a regular hearing aid. Electrodes are inserted into the cochlea. These electrodes replace the cilia and take over their work. The sounds are transmitted to the auditory nerve and the brain. People who are centrally deaf have no use for a CI because the brain does not recognize signals, so it cannot convert them into sounds. Even with a CI, it is not possible for a deaf person to hear everything properly. Some sounds cannot be picked up. The sounds and voices that a deaf person hears sound different.

Sign language

Special schools often teach bilingually: in Dutch and sign language. In the past, it was not self-evident that deaf people learned sign language. It was seen as a second-class tool and was even banned because it was not a real language. Around 1960, scientific research showed that sign language is a real language. After all, everything can be said and expressed with it. In addition to normal talking, it can also be used to make jokes and scold someone. Children learn
sign language at school . In addition, it is useful if parents also learn the language so that they can communicate with their son/daughter. Children also learn Dutch because they cannot hear radio and television. Reading is therefore very important, after all, the newspaper is the only way for them to learn something about the world. Finally, few Dutch people know sign language, so it is very useful if a deaf person can speak in Dutch.

Other lessons

Children who are deaf and attend a special school also receive other lessons in addition to Dutch and sign language (see sign language). One of those lessons is music. Although the children can hardly hear the music, or rather hardly hear it, they do know when the music starts and stops. This is possible due to small signals they receive. On or off is fairly easy to distinguish for deaf children (but also for adults), but switching from one number to another is too difficult for them.
In addition to music lessons, the children also learn new words every time. A deaf child has a much smaller vocabulary than a child who is not deaf. A separate method is used when learning new words: first the teacher (or speech therapist) shows the word with a picture, for example the word house. The child then knows what it is about. The teacher then makes a gesture and then writes the word down. The child now sees which gesture and which word matches the picture. It is now necessary to repeat these words often so that the children remember them. To pronounce the words, the letters are first announced one by one with a gesture. These gestures include a sound that the child also stores over time, allowing the child to pronounce the word at a given moment.

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