Hearing Impairment
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History was made in the 94th Oscars in 2022 when the movie CODA won three Academy Awards, including one for the Best Supporting Actor to deaf actor, Troy Kotsur. CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) starred not one but two deaf actors, Troy along with Marlee Matlin, who also happens to be the youngest best actress winner at 21. 

Unlike the US, the portrayal of life of a deaf person on the big screen seems a distant dream in our country where most parents of deaf children end up excluding them from conversations, not knowing how to communicate with them. 

India is home to approximately 18 million deaf people. Around 63 million are estimated to have some significant hearing loss in the country. 

Normal hearing is considered to be within thresholds of 25 db or more. In the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 

  • The term ‘deaf’ is reserved for persons having 70 db hearing loss in speech frequencies in both ears 
  • And ‘hard of hearing' is defined as a person having 60 to 70 db hearing loss in speech frequencies in both ears 

The causes of hearing loss and deafness can be acquired or congenital

  • Many deaf people use what’s called ‘oralism’ to communicate. It’s listening and speaking with the help of hearing technology such as hearing aids, cochlear implants etc, coupled with training like Auditory training and speech therapy, etc.
  • Cochlear implants are a life-changing technology that allows deaf persons to fully experience the beauty of sounds and even music. 
  • There is also a vibrant deaf community who use Sign language, mostly Indian Sign Language, having its own unique culture and history. And yet, there are less than 300 certified Indian Sign Language interpreters in India! 

Deaf people communicate using sign language, lip reading and subtitles. 

Captioning and other assistive technologies can also make it easier for people with hearing impairment to enjoy their favorite movies, TV shows, and other forms of entertainment. 

Technology helps them a great deal as they can use smartphones and computers to write and communicate with their hearing counterparts. While hearing loss can be challenging, there are many tools and treatments available to help people with hearing impairment live full and happy lives.

Ability foundation has very kindly created a list of NGOS working in different areas and with different disabilities in India. Feel free to browse and add your own NGO too.


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