Deaf or Hard of Hearing

  • The deaf are not disabled—they just speak a different language.  
  • Hearing protection is often not used, because it is uncomfortable, appears unnecessary, looks silly, or dulls the sense of hearing. 

  • Once hearing is damaged, it can almost never be repaired. 

  • Depending on their jobs, service members may be exposed to the constant noise of machinery, engines, airplanes, or to sudden loud sounds such as artillery and mortar fire, or the explosion of a roadside bomb.  For some unknown reason, not every soldier exposed to the same level of noise will experience a problem.  Even those who do not deploy often are exposed to constant or concussive noises in their work or training that can cause hearing loss or tinnitus, a ringing in the ears.  As they grow older, their normal, age-related hearing loss will compound the problem.  Veterans can receive disability compensation for this.  (VA Army audiologists, "Many veterans cope with damage to ears," by Martha Quillin, McClatachy-Tribune, January 20, 2013) 
  • Only 11% of parents who have deaf children actually learn to sign—so their children have no one to talk to.

  • At least a fourth of soldiers who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan show some hearing loss. 
What You Can Do
  • Look directly at people who are deaf or hearing impaired.  They probably read lips well.  
  • Learn to finger spell.  
  • Take an ASL class from one of our local colleges (EWU or SFCC).  
  • Protect your ears.  Protect yourself and others from a preventable, permanent hearing loss. Young people who listen to music at high volumes damage their hearing.  An estimated 5.2 million U.S. children, age 6-19, have hearing loss in one or both ears because of noise. (2001 Pediatrics Journal)  
  • The most common cause of hearing loss in the U.S. is noise exposure, especially repeated, prolonged exposure.  Read more about noise and other issues related to your hearing at the resource websites listed.  

Local Organizations
Additional Resources

American Academy of Audiology

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association 

ASL (American Sign Language) Class
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (chapel)
14111 E. 16th Avenue
Veradale, WA   99037
(509) 263-7479 (text only) 
This FREE class is held each Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. (except holidays that occur on Thursday).
Tina Burns is a non-certified volunteer who teaches sign language, because it has been her language for 34 years.
Better Hearing Institute 

Listen to Your Buds campaign 

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Spokane Falls Community College
ASL Interpreting course (American Sign Language)
3410 W. Fort George Wright Dr.
Spokane, WA   99224-5288
(509) 533-3500
The Interpreter Training Program offers an associate degree or certificate option for ASL interpreting.  Courses are offered on campus and online.

University Hearing and Speech Clinic
310 N Riverpoint Blvd.
Spokane, WA
The University Hearing and Speech Clinic is dedicated to the evaluation and treatment of conditions that limit one's ability to communicate. The clinic is an educational training facility for students preparing for careers in speech-language pathology. Services provided include screenings, evaluations and rehabilitation for a broad range of communication problems.

Whitworth University

300 Hawthorne Rd
Spokane, WA  99251
(509) 777-1000
The Special Education Program offers 2 semesters of American Sign Language.