In 2014, a Late-Deafened Working Group was established within EFHOH to advise the EFHOH board on the current situation of late-deafened people in Europe.
Who are the late-deafened people?
Late-deafened people differ from those that are born deaf or people who are hard of hearing. The late-deafened were born hearing, developed spoken language skills, and lost their hearing progressively or suddenly later in life.
Although the differences between late-deafened people and hard of hearing people have become less distinct due to hearing technology, late-deafened people often face specific challenges in their lives. The late-deafened all have different experiences as they have lived a number of years before they started losing their hearing. They often had a normal range of hearing during their childhood and became deafened during adulthood. As such, they rely predominantly on visual forms of communication. It can be difficult for them to adapt as they have had no previous experience with deafness and are often not sure where to turn to ask for help or how to continue living their life as before. Moreover, the level of support in their home country may vary or be limited.
EFHOH and the late-deafened
The first survey about the situation of late-deafened people was undertaken by EFHOH in 2018. The report can be found in the website library under resources or you can click the following link to view the report: Experiences of Late-Deafened People in Europe 2018.
The results of the survey demonstrate the need for society to recognize the specific challenges of late-deafened people and to enable the continuation of their education, employment, and full participation in society.