Community and Housing Resources for Deaf Seniors

Addressing Hearing Impairment Needs in Baby Boomers

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The aging of the baby boomer generation has brought forth considerable growth in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. In fact, a report from the Better Hearing Institute suggests that as many as one in six baby boomers (or roughly 14.6 percent) has a hearing problem. Yet, despite the rising incidence, only around one in four people (23.5 percent) are currently using hearing aids.

While the numbers are large, they are not necessarily as bad as they seem.

According to a study from the University of Wisconsin, the incidence of hearing loss among baby boomers is actually 31 percent lower than the rates seen with their parents. Increased awareness about hearing protection largely accounts for these improvements.

This doesn't mean that baby boomers should be any less concerned about addressing their hearing needs as they prepare for retirement. While advances in digital hearing technologies have overcome many of the challenges of hearing loss, people with more profound or progressive loss may need to target those organizations, nursing homes, and retirement communities able to address their needs.

Senior Organizations

The Deaf Seniors of America is a non-profit organization which advocates for the needs of deaf senior citizens. This Florida-based charity organizes national conferences and oversees an online discussion board for its regional members.

It is a great way network with others who can offer referrals, advice, and support from all over the country.

Many states and cities also have organizations dedicated to deaf seniors. Among them:

Other federal, state, and regional senior resources for the deaf can be found through the non-profit National Association of the Deaf based in Silver Spring, Maryland.

If you are unable to find a deaf senior organization in your area, you can create your own on Meetup, the online community-building platform. It's a great way to connect with other deaf seniors near you while ensuring member privacy and comprehensive networking tools.

Senior Housing Communities

A growing number retirement communities for the deaf have been built in the past decade with more being planned to accommodate this ever-expanding population.

Some of the more notable assisted living communities and retirement homes for the deaf include:

  • Water Tower View (Milwaukie, Wisconsin)

Most of these facilities offer specialized services and amenities for the hearing impaired, including speech therapy, flashing doorbells/phones/alarms, TTY/TDD services, interpreters, and staff members fully fluent in ​American sign language.

For additional referrals to deaf-compliant senior facilities in your state, contact the National Association of the Deaf (TTY 301-587-1789). The organization can also offer you advice on fair housing laws as prescribed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Sources:

Better Hearing Institute. "Prevalence of Hearing Loss." Washington, D.C.

Zhan, W.; Cruickshank, J.; Klein, B. et al. "Generational Differences in the Prevalence of Hearing Impairment in Older Adults." Amer J Epidemiol, 2010; 171(2):260-6. DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwp370.