[White text on black background reads: Late Deafened. Under the text is the Minnesota Department of Human Services Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division logo. Xavier Arana, a Deaf Latino, is on the right side of the screen, wearing glasses and a black button-down shirt.]
Someone who is late-deafened typically grew up hearing then lost all or most of his or her hearing as an adult.
Adult-onset deafness has many causes including infectious diseases, a side effect of certain medications or radiation treatment for brain tumors, Meniere’s Syndrome, accidents and sudden exposure to extremely loud noise.
Your hearing should be evaluated by a hearing professional as soon as possible if you experience any degree of hearing loss. An audiologist or E N T can determine if you may benefit from hearing aids, cochlear implants and other hearing technology.
Late-onset hearing loss can be very stressful and present unexpected challenges to someone who is accustomed to relying on their hearing to communicate with other people and gather information from their environment.
Many people with adult onset hearing loss may find it helpful to work with a qualified mental health professional who is knowledgeable in hearing loss. Family members are also impacted and may benefit from professional support. The DHHSD Mental Health & Referrals team can help you find qualified mental health resources. Other resources that may be helpful is the Working with People with Hearing Loss Mental Health Practitioner training. You will find this free online training in the Resources section of this website.
While some late-deafened adults learn sign language, most continue to communicate using the spoken language that they used prior to losing their hearing. Printed text is also an important communication tool. Some options include pen and paper, speech-to-text programs, closed captioning for television programming and DVDs, captioned phones apps, and C A R T or Communication Access Real-time Translation.
Home modifications, smart home technology and simple assistive devices can also help you live safely and independently.
Check out the Home Modifications checklist and other resources in the Assistive Technology section of this website for tips and suggestions for staying safe at home and in the community.
Adults who lose their hearing aren’t used to asking for help. Self-advocacy is a critical skill. For example, you may need to request accommodations at work for the first time. You may also find yourself having to repeatedly explain your hearing loss to friends and relatives. Family members, friends, coworkers and other important people in your life can help you by learning how you are impacted by your hearing loss. They can also help you come up with communication strategies.
You can learn more about self-advocacy and communication access in the Communication Access section of this website. You also may want to check out the Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA). ALDA is a national support group for people who have experienced hearing loss as adults. You will find a link to the ALDA website in this section of the DHHSD website.
SSHL is a form of adult onset hearing loss that occurs suddenly. To learn more about SSHL, go to the Sudden-Onset Hearing Loss section of this website.
We’re here to help you. This section of the DHHSD website contains information and resources about late onset hearing loss.
Select the Contact Us button on the website to connect with a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Specialist for personal assistance and recommendations.