Writer: Tiffany Whisner, Coles Marketing
Have you ever had a conversation with a friend or family member and just can’t seem to communicate to them what you’re thinking? Communication problems can be the result of anything from hard-to-decipher nonverbal cues or too little information to the wrong communication method or not paying attention.
Many relationship problems — whether in your personal or professional life — stem from poor communication.
But how is that challenge compounded when you speak English, and the person you are communicating with — uses sign language?
Hearing tools for the future
Jordan Stemper was born and raised near Milwaukee, Wis. And at 11 years old, he received a cochlear implant.
“In high school, I was mainstreamed with no interpreter,” Stemper said. “It was a personal choice of mine.”
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), about two to three out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears. And one in eight people in the U.S. — more than 30 million people — aged 12 years or older have hearing loss in both ears.
Many people with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids, assistive technology devices and cochlear implants as well as from captioning and American Sign Language (ASL).
“One of the main impacts of hearing loss is on the individual’s ability to communicate with others,” notes the World Health Organization. “However, when opportunities are provided for people with hearing loss to communicate, they can participate on an equal basis with others. The communication may be through spoken/written language or through sign language.” Stemper’s eyes were opened to the magnitude of this particular communication barrier when he attended Rochester Institute of Technology for his undergraduate studies.
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