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Postlingually Deafened

JLO Glossary Term: Postlingually Deafened

Individual who becomes deaf after having acquired language.Post-lingual hearing impairments are far less common than prelingual deafness. Typically, hearing loss is gradual, and often detected by family and friends of the people so affected long before the patients themselves will acknowledge the disability. In some cases, the loss is extremely sudden and can be traced to specific diseases, such as meningitis, or to ototoxic medications, such as Gentamicin. In both cases, the final degree of loss varies. Some experience only partial loss, while others become profoundly deaf. Hearing aids and cochlear implants may be used to regain a sense of hearing, with different people experiencing differing degrees of success. It is possible that the affected person may need to rely on speech-reading and/or sign language for communication. In most cases the loss is a long term degradation in hearing loss. .Certain genetic conditions can also lead to post-lingual deafness.

In cases where the causes are environmental, the treatment is to eliminate or reduce these causes first of all, and then to fit patients with a hearing aid, especially if they are elderly. When the loss is due to heredity, total deafness is often the end result. On the one hand, persons who experience gradual deterioration of their hearing are fortunate in that they have learned to speak. On the other, they often experience social isolation, because they can no longer understand their friends, who cannot communicate effectively with them. Ultimately the affected person may bridge communication problems by becoming skilled in speech-reading, accepting elective surgery to use a prosthetic devices such as a cochlear implant, using a hearing aid, or acquiring skill in sign language for communication.