Vocational Rehabilitation of Persons With Hearing Impairment: A Step Towards Inclusive Development

Vocational Rehabilitation of Persons With Hearing Impairment: A Step Towards Inclusive Development

S. Z. H. Zaidi (Amity University – Lucknow, India) and Divya Baveja (Amity University – Lucknow, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4955-0.ch016
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This chapter focuses on the importance of vocational rehabilitation of persons with hearing impairment to attain the goal of inclusive development and rights of equal opportunities and participation. It deals with the definition of hearing impairment, in terms of ILO and prevailing legislations, the process of vocational rehabilitation, and importance of follow up. The chapter gives special emphasis to different approaches of evaluations of residual capacities, skill training models, and status of employment market along with the scope of entrepreneurial development. It also deals with various issues and challenges in the process of vocational rehabilitation of persons with hearing impairment.
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Ears are delicate and have complex mechanisms for many functions and not for just hearing per se. A well-functioning ear can make you hear very soft sounds over a wide range of frequency as well as withstand very loud sounds. It can also discriminate between sounds of varying pitch and intensity and locate the source of a sound. Various reasons of damage to ear like disease process, any physical trauma, exposure to excessive noise, drugs or simply the process of aging, may result in malfunction. This further may result in varying degrees of deafness which is also known as ‘Hearing Impairment’.

Hearing impairment may be understood as a partial or complete inability to hear from one or both ears at a desired or even enhanced frequency. It may be congenital or acquired, and temporary or permanent. Hearing impairment is one of the most frequently experienced sensory deficits in the human population, and it affects more than 250 million people worldwide. Its consequences could be reduced capacity to understand speech sounds, communicate, and delay in language development, educational and economic backwardness, social isolation and stigmatization (Singh, 2015). The various types of hearing impairment are described in Table 1(Nagaraja, 2002).

Table 1.
Description of hearing impairment
Degree in *dBTypes of LossOnsetCourse of Nature
Normal 0-25Conductive Hearing LossPre-lingual Congenital or before 4-4.5 yearsGradual
Mild 26-40Mixed Hearing LossDuring development of languageSudden
Moderate 41-55Sensorineural Hearing LossPost-lingual and after development of languageFluctuating
Moderately Severe 70-90Retro CochlearProgressive
Severe 71-90Central deafnessDuring Adulthood or old age
Profound 91 +


Key Terms in this Chapter

On-the-Job Training: Arranging skill training in real shop floor or actual working conditions.

Advocacy: The act of speaking up for others.

Anxiety: Fear reactions for unknown reasons.

Social Inclusion: Including all persons regardless of any dividing factors to the social fabric of life. There are various types of inclusion; full, partial and mainstreaming. It is a process that requires deliberate actions.

Assistive Listening Device: Equipment like hearing aids that help in listening by amplifying the pitch/tone.

Audiogram: A graphic status obtained from electronic equipment depicting hearing thresholds.

Special Vocational Instructor: A vocational instructor who is trained for imparting vocational training and transferring the skills to persons with disabilities.

Social Model of Disability: First introduced in 1976, the model seeks to place responsibility on society to enable inclusion and to actively engage in eradicating barriers that subscribe to exclusion of people with disabilities.

Disability: A status caused by physical or mental impairment and resultant functional limitations.

Hearing Impaired: A person who cannot hear the sound even those with amplified pitch/tone, and whose hearing threshold is higher than the normal hearing threshold.

Communication: The process of conveying one’s thoughts and feelings through gestures or words.

Acquired Disability: Getting some disability after birth.

Barrier-Free Environment: A physical environment where any person with any physical limitations such as those of locomotion, vision, or hearing can live and function independently.

Self-Advocacy: Speaking up for oneself.

Work Study: A method of analyzing different operations involved in performing a specific work sample.

Sign Language: A method of communication by using different symbolic signs by using fingers and facial expressions in place of words.

Counselling: It is a professional technique to help an individual in understanding and solving his problems of different natures.

Evaluation: A process of assessing assets and liabilities of an individual objectively to the extent possible.

Vocational Evaluation: Assessment of an individual to evaluate his physical and mental potentials/abilities to acquire specific skills related to different vocations.

Communication Disorders: A condition that is characterized by the inability to use a communication medium to successfully convey to others, one’s thoughts, feelings, beliefs, etc.

Audiometer: Electronic equipment measuring the threshold of hearing.

Open Employment: Placement of an individual in salaried employment without any special consideration, relaxation, and by open competitions.

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