Thursday, 18 February 2021

Are young deaf ready?

The READY research project is following the lives of deaf young people aged 16 – 19 over 5 years. We are still looking for recruits, particularly deaf young people from lower-income backgrounds. We have currently recruited 246 from England, Scotland and Wales, although only 158 have continued past the information and consent forms to complete the online questionnaire.

The green dots are people fully in the study, and the red dots are young people who have not completed the consent process. If you have encouraged pupils to join the READY study, it would be really helpful if you could check to see if they have made it past this consent stage, as across the UK there are 88 young people in this red dot category. A little encouragement could help us reach a much wider and probably more representative group.

Here are the early findings from the first year of the study. In terms of wellbeing, the 73 deaf young people who answered this question have worse mental health than hearing age equivalents, though it was only significantly worse for women. The young people in this study assessed their overall health as much lower than hearing age equivalents. 

This first cohort felt confident about their employment opportunities, though these responses were collected before the first lockdown in March 2020. In terms of friendships, the group have both deaf and hearing friends but interact more with hearing friends. Larger friendship networks were related to higher socioeconomic status, as other studies have shown. Interestingly, young people with an additional impairment also have larger social networks.




Quit scaring deafies with Alzheimer's.

Deaf people are being bombarded online with claims they are all going to suffer Alzheimer's because of it, they ignore the fact 1 in 14 (Mainly over 65's), and hearing can get it as well.  Alzheimer's is a clinical issue [below] not down to hearing loss at all. 

Alzheimer's disease is thought to be caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells. One of the proteins involved is called amyloid, deposits of which form plaques around brain cells. The other protein is called tau, deposits of which form tangles within brain cells.

Take the Test:

I'm not sure all these claims we are all going to suffer Alzheimer's because of hearing loss are valid, it only appears a greater risk, because we/deaf are a 'captive' but small area to survey, with a higher number of adults with learning difficulties, who relied on others to access the world outside their own,  (40% of deaf children have learning issues also), then 'facts' get blurred, but if we extrapolate to hearing people there is little or no difference in the statistics, because there is no area of compatibility.  1 in 16 if hearing, 1 in 14 if deaf,  1 in 3 regarding cancer.

None of the current claims we are more vulnerable, because of hearing loss have provided an accurate survey or statistic.  Like any other area surveying the Deaf and hearing loss areas, they cannot get enough participation to make a statement, ergo you ask a 1,000 people a percentage suggest a higher number, but unless you ask at least 40% of the whole it is a survey for survey sake.  If we take e.g. election polling surveys they can go completely wrong.  It's barely a step up from guesswork.

The UK government owned up to 130 surveys a year, that was dwarfed by over 3000+ undertaken by charities and other areas, and more on social media, but none met the criteria for presumed accuracy.  The national Survey has no system to ensure questions are answered honestly, or if asked properly, it's all a 'guide' of some sort.

Deaf people are annoyed at these claims because the survey was using the 'hearing experiences and questioning', to determine how aware the deaf were and frankly unable to ask the right questions in the right context or even the right format to understand them. 

It is true deaf and others with hearing loss may not be aware of some things hearing take for granted, (I saw on the TV teenagers who did not know milk came from cows, another quiz show on the TV where a hearing adult had no idea when the last world war started or could name a single battle that took place), we doubt either would be considered as suffering Alzheimer's because they are hearing?   Questioning has to take into account what trends are...  asking an 8 year old questions on things that happened 300 years ago are pretty pointless.

The clue here is deafness, you won't recall what you never heard or read etc. E.G I have no idea who the current pop stars are or what their music is about, I can't hear it.  I CAN read their lyrics, but it only suggests most have quite limited English writing ability and are repetitive mostly almost child-like.  I can just about recall the difference between Elvis and Caruso but other deaf can't, they 'listen' to vibrations not voices.....

The 'Deaf' lifestyle is also one lived apart from mainstream, so social and cultural input is also different and access is different too, but not always available. I doubt anyone off the top of their head here can name (Without racing to google!), all the cabinet members or what they do etc... or reciting the 93 times table backwards etc.. Spelling will also be an issue with many.  That has to do with awareness, interest and education etc.  I don't see hearing loss mentioned at all. Assessment of those with hearing loss fails to actually take it into account so unreliable.  It's just a relentless assault on hearing loss and the people with it, so far hearing less has meant we are umpteen times more susceptible to every issue known to mankind.

Even 100 times more if we step into the road without looking first!  Get a grip people.