Community Support for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Hard of Hearing and Deaf Individual Support
Hard of Hearing. People who have mild or severe hearing loss often miss out on many things. It is hard to communicate with friends and family members, and everyday activities are a challenge. At Memorial Hearing, we want our clients to have the same opportunities as everyone else. Along with providing hearing assistive devices, we want to be a source for accessibility in the community.
Fortunately, there is a variety of community support for the deaf and hearing-impaired, allowing them to continue participating in normal activities. There are many places that provide listening devices. There are also educational opportunities and social activities for those with hearing issues.
Movie Theaters and Additional Entertainment Opportunities
There are numerous theaters that want all of their guests to be able to partake in the movie-going experience. Some of the movie theaters that provide listening devices are:
● AMC Theaters – AMC Theaters offer wireless personal closed captioning devices, called CaptiView, that provide digital text displays and conveniently attach to the armrests. There are also wireless assistive listening devices for those who need additional volume.
● Landmark Theatre – Landmark also offers CaptiView and other closed captioning systems like Fidelio and CCR-100. It also provides descriptive video services for the hearing impaired. Guests who have hearing aids with T-Coils can take advantage of Hearing Loop, which links the sound system directly to the hearing aid, and no headset is needed.
● Edwards Greenway Palace – This theatre offers closed captioning and descriptive audio.
For those who enjoy going to plays, the Alley Theatre offers closed-captioned performances during the Sunday matinees. The text displays all the lines spoken in the play.
The Houston area has numerous churches that provide assistive services for the deaf and hearing impaired. Some of these include:
● Brookhollow Baptist Church: north, northwest, and southwest locations
● Chapelwood United Methodist Church
● Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
● Cypress Bible Church
● The Light Community Fellowship
● Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church
● Bernadette Catholic Church
Not all locations provide interpretation, so check with the individual churches to find out more information. Some, like the Woodhaven Baptist Deaf Church, provide interpretation for all services and activities.
Children who are deaf or hearing impaired should have access to good education, and fortunately, Houston has a number of schools that provide these services. The Melinda Webb School is for young ones between the ages of 18 months and six years. Teachers are certified in speech-language pathology, deaf education, and early childhood or elementary education. These instructors assist in the development of spoken language, so kids are prepared to enter elementary school.
The Houston Independent School District offers services for those with hearing impairments. Milby’s Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing applies auditory-oral and total-communication approaches to teaching methods. Other services include:
● Training the parents of infants who have hearing problems
● Placing deaf students in a centralized self-contained program
● Placing an instructor of the deaf for consultative services in special education and general education settings
The Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District has a deaf and hard of hearing program for eligible students from birth through the age of 21. It provides a parent-infant program, itinerant services, site-based services, and additional services such as a community sign language class, occupational therapy, and speech pathologists.
Social Activities for the Deaf
Many people who are deaf or severely hearing-impaired suffer from loneliness. Fortunately, Houston provides several social resources to help increase social interactions with others who are deaf. One such network is the Houston Deaf Network, and it provides plenty of opportunities for social interaction. Some examples include:
● American Sign Language Social
● Deaf Professional Happy Hour Houston
● Deaf Paws
● Deaf Chat Coffee
● Sport outings
● Sign language concerts
This network is also a resource for learning. For example, there is a Deaf Shop Series that gives advice for certain situations. These include deafness and police interaction, accommodations in hospital settings, and accommodations using technology.
There are also social opportunities that can be found in specific organizations, such as universities or parent groups. A quick online search can point someone in the direction to find a like-minded group to spend time with.
Other Services for the Hard of Hearing and Their Support Systems
There are many sign language classes in the area. These are especially helpful for parents, children, and friends of those who are deaf. For baby sign language, classes can be taken at the Motherhood Center and My Smart Hands.
There is a significant need for interpreters to help those with hearing impairments, and there is a need for more people with this skill. There are training programs as well as certificates and degrees available in interpreting. Some current interpreting services available include:
● Communication Axess Ability Group
● Nightingale Interpreting Services, Inc
● Sign Shares
● Visual Communication Services
● Accessible Signs
● Abshire Interpreting Services
● Deaf Now Interpreting, LLC
People who are deaf or hearing-impaired also benefit from getting involved with local organizations. These organizations help enhance a community sense among participants and members, and they provide a wealth of resources. Some area organizations include National Black Deaf Advocates, Deaf-Blind Multihandicapped Association of Texas, and the Houston Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America.
Contact Memorial Hearing
Houston contains a wealth of services and resources for those who are deaf or hearing impaired. There are also community resources and programs for family members and friends of those who are hard of hearing, and this support can make a big difference.
If your hearing has gotten worse, or you think you may have a hearing impairment that is holding you back from participating in normal activities, Memorial Hearing can help. We provide comprehensive hearing tests to determine the type and severity extent of the impairment.
If necessary, we have a variety of personalized solutions, including hearing aids, tinnitus therapy, and earplugs for musicians. Do not let a hearing problem negatively affect your life.
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