Suffering in Silence: The unmet needs of d/Deaf prisoners

Kelly, Laura (2017) Suffering in Silence: The unmet needs of d/Deaf prisoners. Prison Service Journal, 234 . pp. 3-15. ISSN 0300-3558

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For many, deafness is seen as simply being an inability to hear; a misfortunate affliction making ‘normal’ life difficult.1 However, in reality defining d/Deafness is much more complex than this, with medical conceptions of deafness differing significantly from those which are cultural. Medical definitions look at deafness as an impairment, measuring the level of such impairment on a spectrum according to the quietest sound that an individual is able to hear.2 The extent to which a person is medically deaf varies significantly from those whose hearing is only slightly impaired, to individuals who are hard of hearing (HoH), and finally to those who are severely deaf. For the purposes of this article, HoH refers to individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss who may have difficulty following speech without the use of hearing aids, and severely deaf includes those who have little or no functional hearing, who usually need to rely on lip reading even with hearing aids.3

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