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Jacob works as a home health aide, and three times a week, he goes to Mrs. Taylor’s home to help her with her health care needs. When he arrives, he rings the doorbell, but he doesn’t hear any sound because Mrs. Taylor’s doorbell is a light, not a bell. When a visitor rings her doorbell, a red light in her living room goes on and lets her know that someone is at the door. Mrs. Taylor has a hearing impairment, so she would not hear a doorbell if it rang.

People with sensory impairments, like hearing impairments or visual impairments, learn to use their other senses to help them in their daily lives. Mrs. Taylor has learned that using a light for a doorbell is practical. In addition to using the doorbell, she has taught Jacob other ways to accommodate her hearing impairment. Jacob always approaches her from the front, so he doesn’t startle her from behind. Mrs. Taylor indicated to him that she can hear a little out of her left ear, but she cannot hear out of her right ear, so she wears a hearing aid in her left ear. Jacob regularly asks her if the hearing aid is working, and, if it isn’t, he replaces the battery. While talking, he always stands in front of her near her left side so that she can watch his mouth and lips move. When Jacob speaks clearly and uses short sentences, Mrs. Taylor can usually understand what he is saying by lip-reading, and she can reply to him. Some people with hearing impairments are mute, meaning they cannot or don’t want to speak. Usually, these people have been deaf from birth; however, Mrs. Taylor’s hearing impairment developed over time.

Recently, Jacob suggested they both learn some basic American Sign Language (ASL). Both he and Mrs. Taylor have enjoyed learning how to communicate using visual gestures and signs. Many elderly clients have some type of hearing impairment, and after working closely with Mrs. Taylor, Jacob now feels more qualified to work with them.

Mrs. Taylor’s Hearing Impairment

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© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners