Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 21

Search results for: deafness

21 Blindness and Deafness, the Outcomes of Varicella Zoster Virus Encephalitis in HIV Positive Patient

Authors: Hadiseh Hosamirudsari, Farhad Afsarikordehmahin, Pooria Sekhavatfar


Concomitant cortical blindness and deafness that follow varicella zoster virus (VZV) infection is rare. We describe a case of ophthalmic zoster that caused cortical blindness and deafness after central nervous system (CNS) involvement. A 42-year old, HIV infected woman has developed progressive blurry vision and deafness, 4 weeks after ophthalmic zoster. A physical examination and positive VZV polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) suggested VZV encephalitis. Complication of VZV encephalitis is considered as the cause of blindness and deafness. In neurological deficit patient especially with a history of herpes zoster, VZV infection should be regarded as the responsible agent in inflammatory disorders of nervous system. The immunocompromised state of patient (including HIV) is as important an agent as VZV infection in developing the disease.

Keywords: blindness, deafness, hiv, VZV encephalitis

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20 An Application of E-Learning Technology for Students with Deafness and Hearing Impairment

Authors: Eyup Bayram Guzel


There have been growing awareness that technology offers unique and promising advantages by offering up-to-data educational materials in promoting teaching and learning materials, new strategies for building enhanced communication environment for people with disabilities and specifically for this study concentrated on the students with deafness and hearing impairments. Creating e-learning environment where teachers and students work in collaboration to develop better educational outcomes is the foremost reason of conducting this research. This study examined the perspectives of special education teachers’ regarding an application of e-learning software called Multimedia Builder on the students with deafness and hearing impairments. Initial and follow up interviews were conducted with 15 special education teachers around the scope of qualitative case study. Grounded approach has been used to analyse and interpret the data. The research results revealed that application of Multimedia Builder software were influential on reading, sign language, vocabulary improvements, computer and ICT usage developments and on audio-visual learning achievements for the advantages of students with deafness and hearing impairments. The implications of the study encouraged the ways of using e-learning tools and strategies to promote unique and comprehensive learning experiences for the targeted students and their teachers.

Keywords: e-learning, special education, deafness and hearing impairment, computer-ICT usage.

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19 Family Functionality in Mexican Children with Congenital and Non-Congenital Deafness

Authors: D. Estrella, A. Silva, R. Zapata, H. Rubio


A total of 100 primary caregivers (mothers, fathers, grandparents) with at least one child or grandchild with a diagnosis of congenital bilateral profound deafness were assessed in order to evaluate the functionality of families with a deaf member, who was evaluated by specialists in audiology, molecular biology, genetics and psychology. After confirmation of the clinical diagnosis, DNA from the patients and parents were analyzed in search of the 35delG deletion of the GJB2 gene to determine who possessed the mutation. All primary caregivers were provided psychological support, regardless of whether or not they had the mutation, and prior and subsequent, the family APGAR test was applied. All parents, grandparents were informed of the results of the genetic analysis during the psychological intervention. The family APGAR, after psychological and genetic counseling, showed that 14% perceived their families as functional, 62% moderately functional and 24% dysfunctional. This shows the importance of psychological support in family functionality that has a direct impact on the quality of life of these families.

Keywords: deafness, psychological support, family, adaptation to disability

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18 A Critical Discourse Analysis of Jamaican and Trinidadian News Articles about D/Deafness

Authors: Melissa Angus Baboun


Utilizing a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) methodology and a theoretical framework based on disability studies, how Jamaican and Trinidadian newspapers discussed issues relating to the Deaf community were examined. The term deaf was inputted into the search engine tool of the online website for the Jamaica Observer and the Trinidad & Tobago Guardian. All 27 articles that contained the term deaf in its content and were written between August 1, 2017 and November 15, 2017 were chosen for the study. The data analysis was divided into three steps: (1) listing and analysis instances of metaphorical deafness (e.g. fall on deaf ears), (2) categorization of the content of the articles into the models of disability discourse (the medical, socio-cultural, and superscrip models of disability narratives), and (3) the analysis of any additional data found. A total of 42% of the articles pulled for this study did not deal with the Deaf community in any capacity, but rather instances of the use of idiomatic expressions that use deafness as a metaphor for a non-physical, undesirable trait. The most common idiomatic expression found was fall on deaf ears. Regarding the models of disability discourse, eight articles were found to follow the socio-cultural model, two were found to follow the medical model, and two were found to follow the superscrip model. The additional data found in these articles include two instances of the term deaf and mute, an overwhelming use of lower case d for the term deaf, and the misuse of the term translator (to mean interpreter).

Keywords: deafness, disability, news coverage, Caribbean newspapers

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17 Mutations in the GJB2 Gene Are the Cause of an Important Number of Non-Syndromic Deafness Cases

Authors: Habib Onsori, Somayeh Akrami, Mohammad Rahmati


Deafness is the most common sensory disorder with the frequency of 1/1000 in many populations. Mutations in the GJB2 (CX26) gene at the DFNB1 locus on chromosome 13q12 are associated with congenital hearing loss. Approximately 80% of congenital hearing loss cases are recessively inherited and 15% dominantly inherited. Mutations of the GJB2 gene, encoding gap junction protein Connexin 26 (Cx26), are the most common cause of hereditary congenital hearing loss in many countries. This report presents two cases of different mutations from Iranian patients with bilateral hearing loss. DNA studies were performed for the GJB2 gene by PCR and sequencing methods. In one of them, direct sequencing of the gene showed a heterozygous T→C transition at nucleotide 604 resulting in a cysteine to arginine amino acid substitution at codon 202 (C202R) in the fourth extracellular domain (TM4) of the protein. The analyses indicate that the C202R mutation appeared de novo in the proband with a possible dominant effect (GenBank: KF 638275). In the other one, DNA sequencing revealed a compound heterozygous mutation (35delG, 363delC) in the Cx26 gene that is strongly associated with congenital non-syndromic hearing loss (NSHL). So screening the mutations for hearing loss individuals referring to genetics counseling centers before marriage and or pregnancy is recommended.

Keywords: CX26, deafness, GJB2, mutation

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16 English as a Foreign Language for Deaf Students in the K-12 Schools in Turkey: A Policy Analysis

Authors: Cigdem Fidan


Deaf students in Turkey generally do not have access to foreign language classes. However, the knowledge of foreign languages, especially English, is important for them to access knowledge and other opportunities in the globalizing world. In addition, learning any language including foreign languages is a basic linguistic human right. This study applies critical discourse analysis to examine language ideologies, perceptions of deafness and current language and education policies used for deaf education in Turkey. The findings show that representation of deafness as a disability in policy documents, ignorance the role of sign languages in education and lack of policies that support foreign language education for the deaf may result in inaccessibility of foreign language education for deaf students in Turkey. The paper concludes with recommendations for policymakers, practitioners, and advocates for the deaf.

Keywords: deaf learners, English as a foreign language, language policy, linguistic human rights

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15 Influence of Genetic Counseling in Family Dynamics in Patients with Deafness in Merida, Yucatán, Mexico

Authors: Damaris Estrella Castillo, Zacil ha Vilchis Zapata, Leydi Peraza Gómez


Hearing loss is an etiologically heterogeneous condition, where almost 60% is genetic in origin, 20% is due to environmental factors, and 20% have unknown causes. However, it is now known that the gene, GJB2, which encodes the connexin 26 protein, accounts for a large percentage of non-syndromic genetic hearing loss, and variants in this gene have been identified to be a common cause of hereditary hearing loss in many populations. The literature reports that the etiology in deafness helps improve family functioning but low-income countries this is difficult. Therefore, it is difficult to contribute the right of families to know about the genetic risk in future pregnancies as well as determining the certainty of being a carrier or affected. In order to assess the impact of genetic counseling and the functionality, 100 families with at least one child with profound hearing loss, were evaluated by specialists in audiology, clinical genetics and psychology. Targeted mutation analysis for one of the two known large deletions of upstream of GJB2/GJB6 gene (35delG; and including GJB2 regulatory sequences and GJB6) were performed in patients with diagnosis of non-syndromic hearing loss. Genetic counseling was given to all parents and primary caregivers, and APGAR family test was applied before and after the counseling. We analyzed a total of 300 members (children, parents) to determine the presence of the GJB2 gene mutation. Twelve patients (carriers and affected) were positive for the mutation, from 5 different families. The subsequent family APGAR testing and genetic counseling, showed that 14% perceived their families as functional, 62 % and 24 % moderately functional dysfunctional. This shows the importance of genetic counseling in the perception of family function that can directly impact the quality of life of these families.

Keywords: family dynamics, deafness, APGAR, counseling

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14 Development of Personal and Social Identity in Immigrant Deaf Adolescents

Authors: Marialuisa Gennari, Giancarlo Tamanza, Ilaria Montanari


Identity development in adolescence is characterized by many risks and challenges, and becomes even more complex by the situation of migration and deafness. In particular, the condition of the second generation of migrant adolescents involves the comparison between the family context in which everybody speaks a language and deals with a specific culture (usually parents’ and relatives’ original culture), the social context (school, peer groups, sports groups), where a foreign language is spoken and a new culture is faced, and finally in the context of the “deaf” world. It is a dialectic involving unsolved differences that have to be treated in a discontinuous process, which will give complex outcomes and chances depending on the process of elaboration of the themes of growth and development, culture and deafness. This paper aims to underline the problems and opportunities for each issue which immigrant deaf adolescents must deal with. In particular, it will highlight the importance of a multifactorial approach for the analysis of personal resources (both intra-psychic and relational); the level of integration of the family of origin in the migration context; the elaboration of the migration event, and finally, the tractability of the condition of deafness. Some psycho-educational support objectives will be also highlighted for the identity development of deaf immigrant adolescents, with particular emphasis on the construction of the adolescents’ useful abilities to decode complex emotions, to develop self-esteem and to get critical thoughts about the inevitable attempts to build their identity. Remarkably, and of importance, the construction of flexible settings which support adolescents in a supple, “decentralized” way in order to avoid the regressive defenses that do not allow for the development of an authentic self.

Keywords: immigrant deaf adolescents, identity development, personal and social challenges, psycho-educational support

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13 Educating Children Who Are Deaf and Hearing Impaired in Southern Africa: Challenges and Triumphs

Authors: Emma Louise McKinney


There is a global move to integrate children who are Deaf and Hearing Impaired into regular classrooms with their hearing peers with an inclusive education framework. This paper examines the current education situation for children who are Deaf and Hearing Impaired in South Africa, Madagascar, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. Qualitative data for this paper was obtained from the author’s experiences working as the Southern African Education Advisor for an international organization funding disability projects. It examines some of the challenges facing these children and their teachers relating to education. Challenges include cultural stigma relating to disability and deafness, a lack of hearing screening and early identification of deafness, schools in rural areas, special schools, specialist teacher training, equipment, understanding of how to implement policy, support, appropriate teaching methodologies, and sign language training and proficiency. On the other hand, in spite of the challenges some teachers are able to provide quality education to children who are Deaf and Hearing Impaired. This paper examines both the challenges as well as what teachers are doing to overcome these.

Keywords: education of children who are deaf and hearing impaired, Southern African experiences, challenges, triumphs

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12 Self-Stigmatization of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students

Authors: Nadezhda F. Mikahailova, Margarita E. Fattakhova, Mirgarita A. Mironova, Ekaterina V. Vyacheslavova, Vladimir A. Mikahailov


Stigma is a significant obstacle to the successful adaptation of deaf students to the conditions of an educational institution, especially for those who study in inclusion. The aim of the study was to identify the spheres of life which are the most significant for developing of the stigma of deaf students; to assess the influence of factors associated with deafness on the degree of their self-stigmatization (time and degree of hearing loss, type of education - inclusion / differentiation) and to find out who is more prone to stigma - which characteristics of personality, identity, mental health and coping are specific for those deaf who demonstrates stigmatizing attitudes. The study involved 154 deaf and hard-of-hearing students (85 male and 69 female) aged from 18 to 45 years - 28 students of the Herzen State Pedagogical University (St. Petersburg), who study in inclusion, 108 students of the National Research Technological University and 18 students of the Aviation Technical College (Kazan) - students in groups with a sign language interpreter. We used the following methods: modified questionnaire 'Self-assessment and coping strategies' (Jambor & Elliot, 2005), Scale of self-esteem (Rosenberg et al, 1995), 'Big-Five' (Costa&McCrae, 1997), TRF (Becker, 1989), WCQ (Lazarus & Folkman, 1988), self-stigma scale (Mikhailov, 2008). The severity of self-stigmatization of deaf and hard of hearing students was determined by the degree of deafness and the time they live with hearing loss, learning conditions, the type of self-identification (acculturation), personality traits, and the specifics of coping behavior. Persons with congenital hearing loss more often noted a benevolent and sympathetic attitude towards them on the part of the hearers and less often, due to deafness, limited themselves to visiting public places than late deaf people, which indicates 'get rid of' the experience of their defect and normalization of the state. Students studying in conditions of inclusion more often noted the dismissive attitude of society towards deaf people. Individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss were more likely to fear marriage and childbearing because of their deafness than students with profound hearing loss. Those who considered themselves disabled (49% of all respondents) were more inclined to cope with seeking social support and less used 'distancing' coping. Those who believed that their quality of life and social opportunities were most influenced by the attitude of society towards the deaf (39%) were distinguished by a less pronounced sense of self-worth, a desire for autonomy, and frequent usage of 'avoidance' coping strategies. 36.4% of the respondents noted that there have been situations in their lives when people learned that they are deaf, began to treat them worse. These respondents had predominantly deaf acculturation, but more often, they used 'bicultural skills,' specific coping for the deaf, and had a lower level of extraversion and emotional stability. 31.2% of the respondents tried to hide from others that they have hearing problems. They considered themselves to be in a culture of hearing, used coping strategies 'bicultural skills,' and had lower levels of extraversion, cooperation, and emotional stability. Acknowledgment: Supported by the RFBR № 19-013-0040

Keywords: acculturation, coping, deafness, stigmatization

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11 The ‘Othered’ Body: Deafness and Disability in Nina Raine’s Tribes

Authors: Nurten Çelik


Under the new developments in science, medicine, sociology, psychology and literary theories, body studies has gained huge importance and the body has become a debatable issue. There has emerged, among sociologists and literary theorists, an overwhelming consensus that body is socially, politically and culturally perceived and constructed and thus, the position of an individual in the society is determined in accordance with his/her body image. In this regard, the most complicated point is the theoretical views propounded upon disability studies, where the disabled body is considered to be a site upon which social and political restrictions as well as repressions are inscribed. There has been the widely-accepted view that no matter what kind of disability it is, those with physical, mental or learning impairments face varied social, political and environmental obstacles that prevent them from being an active citizen, worker, lover and even a family member. In parallel with these approaches, the matter of the sufferings of disabled individuals attains its place in cinema and literature as well as in theatre studies under the category of disability theatre. One of the prominent plays that deal with physical disability came from the contemporary British playwright Nina Raine. In her awarded play Tribes, which premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 2010, Raine develops the social strata where her deaf protagonist, Billy, caught up between two tribes – namely his family and his lover Slyvia, a member of the deaf community– experiences personal and social hardships due to his hearing impairment. In the play, intransigent and self-opinionated family members foster no sense of empathy towards Billy, there are noisy talking and shouting, but no communication, love, compassion or mutual understanding, and language becomes just a tool for the expression of rage and oppression. In the disordered atmosphere of the family life, Billy experiences isolation and loneliness. Billy’s hopes for success and love are destroyed when Slyvia, troubled between hearing and deafness, rejects him because she does not utterly grasp what Billy is experiencing. Drawing upon the hardships, Billy undergoes in his relationships with his family and his girlfriend, Tribes problematizes the concept of deafness and explores to what extent a deaf person can find a place in the hearing world. Setting ‘the disabled’ bodies against ‘the abled’ bodies in a family, a microcosm of the society where bodies are socially shaped and constructed, Tribes dramatizes how the disabled bodies are disenfranchised, stigmatised, marginalized and othered on the grounds that they are socially misfit. Tribes, with a specific focus on the dysfunctional family, shows that the lack of communication and empathy numbs the characters to the feelings of each other and thereby, they become more disabled than Billy. In conclusion, this paper, with the reference to the embodiment of disability and social theories, aims to explore how disabled bodies are socially marked and segregated from family and society.

Keywords: body, deafness, disability, disability theatre, Nina Raine, tribes

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10 Identity and Mental Adaptation of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students

Authors: N. F. Mikhailova, M. E. Fattakhova, M. A. Mironova, E. V. Vyacheslavova


For the mental and social adaptation of the deaf and hard-of-hearing people, cultural and social aspects - the formation of identity (acculturation) and educational conditions – are highly significant. We studied 137 deaf and hard-of-hearing students in different educational situations. We used these methods: Big Five (Costa & McCrae, 1997), TRF (Becker, 1989), WCQ (Lazarus & Folkman, 1988), self-esteem, and coping strategies (Jambor & Elliott, 2005), self-stigma scale (Mikhailov, 2008). Type of self-identification of students depended on the degree of deafness, type of education, method of communication in the family: large hearing loss, education in schools for deaf, and gesture communication increased the likelihood of a 'deaf' acculturation. Less hearing loss, inclusive education in public school or school for the hearing-impaired, mixed communication in the family contributed to the formation of 'hearing' acculturation. The choice of specific coping depended on the degree of deafness: a large hearing loss increased coping 'withdrawal into the deaf world' and decreased 'bicultural skills' coping. People with mild hearing loss tended to cover-up it. In the context of ongoing discussion, we researched personality characteristics in deaf and hard on-hearing students, coping and other deafness associated factors depending on their acculturation type. Students who identified themselves with the 'hearing world' had a high self-esteem, a higher level of extraversion, self-awareness, personal resources, willingness to cooperate, better psychological health, emotional stability, higher ability to empathy, a greater satiety of life with feelings and sense and high sense of self-worth. They also actively used strategies, problem-solving, acceptance of responsibility, positive revaluation. Student who limited themselves within the culture of deaf people had more severe hearing loss and accordingly had more communication barriers. Lack of use or seldom use of coping strategies by these students point at decreased level of stress in their life. Their self-esteem have not been challenged in the specific social environment of the students with the same severity of defect, and thus this environment provided sense of comfort (we can assume that from the high scores on psychological health, personality resources, and emotional stability). Students with bicultural acculturation had higher level of psychological resources - they used Positive Reappraisal coping more often and had a higher level of psychological health. Lack of belonging to certain culture (marginality) leads to personality disintegration, social and psychological disadaptation: deaf and hard-of-hearing students with marginal identification had a lower self-estimation level, worse psychological health and personal resources, lower level of extroversion, self-confidence and life satisfaction. They, in fact, become 'risk group' (many of them dropped out of universities, divorced, and one even ended up in the ranks of ISIS). All these data argue the importance of cultural 'anchor' for people with hearing deprivation. Supported by the RFBR No 19-013-00406.

Keywords: acculturation, coping, deafness, marginality

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9 Developmental Difficulties Prevalence and Management Capacities among Children Including Genetic Disease in a North Coastal District of Andhra Pradesh, India: A Cross-sectional Study

Authors: Koteswara Rao Pagolu, Raghava Rao Tamanam


The present study was aimed to find out the prevalence of DD's in Visakhapatnam, one of the north coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh, India during a span of five years. A cross-sectional investigation was held at District early intervention center (DEIC), Visakhapatnam from 2016 to 2020. To identify the pattern and trend of different DD's including seasonal variations, a retrospective analysis of the health center's inpatient database for the past 5 years was done. Male and female children aged 2 months-18 years are included in the study with the prior permission of the concerned medical officer. The screening tool developed by the Ministry of health and family welfare, India, was used for the study. Among 26,423 cases, children with birth defects are 962, 2229 with deficiencies, 7516 with diseases, and 15716 with disabilities were admitted during the study period. From birth defects, congenital deafness occurred in large numbers with 22.66%, and neural tube defect observed in a small number of cases with 0.83% during the period. From the side of deficiencies, severe acute malnutrition has mostly occurred (66.80 %) and a small number of children were affected with goiter (1.70%). Among the diseases, dental carriers (67.97%) are mostly found and these cases were at peak during the years 2016 and 2019. From disabilities, children with vision impairment (20.55%) have mostly approached the center. Over the past 5 years, the admission rate of down's syndrome and congenital deafness cases showed a rising trend up to 2019 and then declined. Hearing impairment, motor delay, and learning disorder showed a steep rise and gradual decline trend, whereas severe anemia, vitamin-D deficiency, otitis media, reactive airway disease, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder showed a declining trend. However, congenital heart diseases, dental caries, and vision impairment admission rates showed a zigzag pattern over the past 5 years. This center had inadequate diagnostic facilities related to genetic disease management. For advanced confirmation, the cases are referred to a district government hospital or private diagnostic laboratories in the city for genetic tests. Information regarding the overall burden and pattern of admissions in the health center is obtained by the review of DEIC records. Through this study, it is observed that the incidence of birth defects, as well as genetic disease burden, is high in the Visakhapatnam district. Hence there is a need for strengthening of management services for these diseases in this region.

Keywords: child health screening, developmental delays, district early intervention center, genetic disease management, infrastructural facility, Visakhapatnam district

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8 Reading Comprehension in Profound Deaf Readers

Authors: S. Raghibdoust, E. Kamari


Research show that reduced functional hearing has a detrimental influence on the ability of an individual to establish proper phonological representations of words, since the phonological representations are claimed to mediate the conceptual processing of written words. Word processing efficiency is expected to decrease with a decrease in functional hearing. In other words, it is predicted that hearing individuals would be more capable of word processing than individuals with hearing loss, as their functional hearing works normally. Studies also demonstrate that the quality of the functional hearing affects reading comprehension via its effect on their word processing skills. In other words, better hearing facilitates the development of phonological knowledge, and can promote enhanced strategies for the recognition of written words, which in turn positively affect higher-order processes underlying reading comprehension. The aims of this study were to investigate and compare the effect of deafness on the participants’ abilities to process written words at the lexical and sentence levels through using two online and one offline reading comprehension tests. The performance of a group of 8 deaf male students (ages 8-12) was compared with that of a control group of normal hearing male students. All the participants had normal IQ and visual status, and came from an average socioeconomic background. None were diagnosed with a particular learning or motor disability. The language spoken in the homes of all participants was Persian. Two tests of word processing were developed and presented to the participants using OpenSesame software, in order to measure the speed and accuracy of their performance at the two perceptual and conceptual levels. In the third offline test of reading comprehension which comprised of semantically plausible and semantically implausible subject relative clauses, the participants had to select the correct answer out of two choices. The data derived from the statistical analysis using SPSS software indicated that hearing and deaf participants had a similar word processing performance both in terms of speed and accuracy of their responses. The results also showed that there was no significant difference between the performance of the deaf and hearing participants in comprehending semantically plausible sentences (p > 0/05). However, a significant difference between the performances of the two groups was observed with respect to their comprehension of semantically implausible sentences (p < 0/05). In sum, the findings revealed that the seriously impoverished sentence reading ability characterizing the profound deaf subjects of the present research, exhibited their reliance on reading strategies that are based on insufficient or deviant structural knowledge, in particular in processing semantically implausible sentences, rather than a failure to efficiently process written words at the lexical level. This conclusion, of course, does not mean to say that deaf individuals may never experience deficits at the word processing level, deficits that impede their understanding of written texts. However, as stated in previous researches, it sounds reasonable to assume that the more deaf individuals get familiar with written words, the better they can recognize them, despite having a profound phonological weakness.

Keywords: deafness, reading comprehension, reading strategy, word processing, subject and object relative sentences

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7 In silico Analysis of a Causative Mutation in Cadherin-23 Gene Identified in an Omani Family with Hearing Loss

Authors: Mohammed N. Al Kindi, Mazin Al Khabouri, Khalsa Al Lamki, Tommasso Pappuci, Giovani Romeo, Nadia Al Wardy


Hereditary hearing loss is a heterogeneous group of complex disorders with an overall incidence of one in every five hundred newborns presented as syndromic and non-syndromic forms. Cadherin-related 23 (CDH23) is one of the listed deafness causative genes. CDH23 is found to be expressed in the stereocilia of hair cells and the retina photoreceptor cells. Defective CDH23 has been associated mostly with prelingual severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in either syndromic (USH1D) or non-syndromic SNHL (DFNB12). An Omani family diagnosed clinically with severe-profound sensorineural hearing loss was genetically analysed by whole exome sequencing technique. A novel homozygous missense variant, c.A7451C (p.D2484A), in exon 53 of CDH23 was detected. One hundred and thirty control samples were analysed where all were negative for the detected variant. The variant was analysed in silico for pathogenicity verification using several mutation prediction software. The variant proved to be a pathogenic mutation and is reported for the first time in Oman and worldwide. It is concluded that in silico mutation prediction analysis might be used as a useful molecular diagnostics tool benefiting both genetic counseling and mutation verification. The aspartic acid 2484 alanine missense substitution might be the main disease-causing mutation that damages CDH23 function and could be used as a genetic hearing loss marker for this particular Omani family.

Keywords: Cdh23, d2484a, in silico, Oman

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6 An Inclusion Project for Deaf Children into a Northern Italy Contest

Authors: G. Tamanza, A. Bossoni


84 deaf students (from primary school to college) and their families participated in this inclusion project in cooperation with numerous institutions in northern Italy (Brescia-Lombardy). Participants were either congenitally deaf or their deafness was related to other pathologies. This research promoted the integration of deaf students as they pass from primary school to high school to college. Learning methods and processes were studied that focused on encour­aging individual autonomy and socialization. The research team and its collaborators included school teachers, speech ther­apists, psychologists and home tutors, as well as teaching assistants, child neuropsychiatrists and other external authorities involved with deaf persons social inclusion programs. Deaf children and their families were supported, in terms of inclusion, and were made aware of the research team that focused on the Bisogni Educativi Speciali (BES or Special Educational Needs) (L.170/2010 - DM 5669/2011). This project included a diagnostic and evaluative phase as well as an operational one. Results demonstrated that deaf children were highly satisfied and confident; academic performance improved and collaboration in school increased. Deaf children felt that they had access to high school and college. Empowerment for the families of deaf children in terms of networking among local services that deal with the deaf also improved while family satisfaction also improved. We found that teachers and those who gave support to deaf children increased their professional skills. Achieving autonomy, instrumental, communicative and relational abilities were also found to be crucial. Project success was determined by temporal continuity, clear theoretical methodology, strong alliance for the project direction and a resilient team response.

Keywords: autonomy, inclusion, skills, well-being

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5 The Impact of Air Pollution on Health and the Environment: The Case of Cement Beni-Saf, Western Algeria

Authors: N. Hachemi, I. Benmehdi, O. Hasnaoui


The air like water is an essential element for living beings. Each day, a man breathes about 20m3 of air. It originally consists of a set of gas whose presence and concentrations correspond to the needs of life. This study focuses on air pollution by smoke and dust emitted from the chimney of the cement works of Beni Saf, pathological and their impact on the environment. Dust of the cement plant are harmless to permissible levels for living organisms, but the two combined phenomena namely the release of dust and aridity of the climate, which severely marked area of Beni Saf; have contributed adverse effects in on human health and the degradation of vegetation cover and species especially weakened by environmental stress. The most visible impact is certainly the deposition of dust on the surrounding areas of the cement factory, and seriously affecting the aesthetics of the landscape. Health problems are more important inside and outside the factory. Among the diseases notable caused by the cement works are: deafness, heart disease, asthma and mental. The dust of the cement works is mainly composed of fine particles of limestone, clay, free lime, silicates and also loaded of the gases such as carbon dioxide gas CO2. The accumulation of this gas in the atmosphere is directly involved in the phenomenon of increasing of greenhouse effect. Some gases, for example, are directly toxic. They can change the climate, changing precipitation types and become a greater source of stress by drought, etc. The environment also suffers from air pollution indirectly; it is more precisely the acid rain. They are produced by the combustion of non-metals in air. Acid rain has consequences for contaminating the soil, weakening the flora, fauna and acidifies lakes. Finally, the pollution problems are multiple and specific dust. It can worsen and change, it has reached epidemic proportions quantitatively and qualitatively disturbing and unpredictable.

Keywords: atmospheric pollution, cement, dust, environment

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4 Duration of Isolated Vowels in Infants with Cochlear Implants

Authors: Paris Binos


The present work investigates developmental aspects of the duration of isolated vowels in infants with normal hearing compared to those who received cochlear implants (CIs) before two years of age. Infants with normal hearing produced shorter vowel duration since this find related with more mature production abilities. First isolated vowels are transparent during the protophonic stage as evidence of an increased motor and linguistic control. Vowel duration is a crucial factor for the transition of prelexical speech to normal adult speech. Despite current knowledge of data for infants with normal hearing more research is needed to unravel productions skills in early implanted children. Thus, isolated vowel productions by two congenitally hearing-impaired Greek infants (implantation ages 1:4-1:11; post-implant ages 0:6-1:3) were recorded and sampled for six months after implantation with a Nucleus-24. The results compared with the productions of three normal hearing infants (chronological ages 0:8-1:1). Vegetative data and vocalizations masked by external noise or sounds were excluded. Participants had no other disabilities and had unknown deafness etiology. Prior to implantation the infants had an average unaided hearing loss of 95-110 dB HL while the post-implantation PTA decreased to 10-38 dB HL. The current research offers a methodology for the processing of the prelinguistic productions based on a combination of acoustical and auditory analyses. Based on the current methodological framework, duration measured through spectrograms based on wideband analysis, from the voicing onset to the end of the vowel. The end marked by two co-occurring events: 1) The onset of aperiodicity with a rapid change in amplitude in the waveform and 2) a loss in formant’s energy. Cut-off levels of significance were set at 0.05 for all tests. Bonferroni post hoc tests indicated that difference was significant between the mean duration of vowels of infants wearing CIs and their normal hearing peers. Thus, the mean vowel duration of CIs measured longer compared to the normal hearing peers (0.000). The current longitudinal findings contribute to the existing data for the performance of children wearing CIs at a very young age and enrich also the data of the Greek language. The above described weakness for CI’s performance is a challenge for future work in speech processing and CI’s processing strategies.

Keywords: cochlear implant, duration, spectrogram, vowel

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3 Auditory Profile Function in Hypothyroidism

Authors: Mrunal Phatak, Suvarna Raut


Introduction: Thyroid hormone is important for the normal function of the auditory system. Hearing impairment can occur insidiously in subclinical hypothyroidism. The present study was undertaken with the aims of evaluating audiological tests like tuning fork tests, pure tone audiometry, brainstem evoked auditory potentials (BAEPs), and auditory reaction time (ART) in hypothyroid women and in age and sex matched controls so as to evaluate the effect of thyroid hormone on hearing. The objective of the study was to investigate hearing status by the audiological profile in hypothyroidism (group 1) and healthy controls ( group 2) to compare the audiological profile between these groups and find the correlation of levels of TSH, T3, and T4 with the above parameters. Material and methods: A total sample size of 124 women in the age group of 30 to 50 years was recruited and divided into the Cases group comprising of 62 newly diagnosed hypothyroid women and the Control group having 62 women with normal thyroid profile. Otoscopic examination, tuning fork tests, Pure tone audiometry tests (PTA). Brain Stem Auditory Evoked Potential (BAEP) and Auditory Reaction Time (ART) were done in both ears, i.e. total 248 ears of all subjects. Results: By BAEPs, hearing impairment was detected in total 64 ears (51.61%). A significant increase was seen in Wave V latency, IPL I-V, and IPL III-V, and the decrease was seen in the amplitude of Wave I and V in both the ears in cases. Positive correlation of Wave V latency of Right and Left ears is seen with TSH levels (p < 0.001) and a negative correlation with T3 (>0.05) and with T4 (p < 0.01). Negative correlation of wave V amplitude of Right and Left ears is seen with TSH levels (p < 0.001), and a significant positive correlation is seen with T3 and T4. Pure tone audiometry parameters showed hearing impairment of conductive (31.29%), sensorineural (36.29%), as well as the mixed type (15.32%). Hearing loss was mild in 65.32% of ears and moderate in 17.74% of ears. Pure tone averages (PTA) were significantly increased in cases than in controls in both the ears. Significant positive correlation of PTA of Right and Left ears is seen with TSH levels (p<0.05). Negative correlation with T3 and T4 is seen. A significant increase in HF ART and LF ART is seen in cases as compared to controls. Positive correlation of ART of high frequency and low frequency is seen with TSH levels and a negative correlation with T3 and T4 (p > 0.05). Conclusion: The abnormal BAEPs in hypothyroid women suggest an impaired central auditory pathway. BAEP abnormalities are indicative of a nonspecific injury in the bulbo-ponto-mesencephalic centres. The results of auditory investigations suggest a causal relationship between hypothyroidism and hearing loss. The site of lesion in the auditory pathway is probably at several levels, namely, in the middle ear and at cochlear and retrocochlear sites. Prolonged ART also suggests the impairment in central processing mechanisms. The results of the present study conclude that the probable reason for hearing impairment in hypothyroidism may be delayed impulse conduction in acoustic nerve up to the level of the midbrain (IPL I-V, III-V), particularly inferior colliculus (wave V). There is also impairment in central processing mechanisms, as shown by prolonged ART.

Keywords: deafness, pure tone audiometry, brain stem auditory evoked potential, hyopothyroidism

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2 Hear Me: The Learning Experience on “Zoom” of Students With Deafness or Hard of Hearing Impairments

Authors: H. Weigelt-Marom


Over the years and up to the arousal of the COVID-19 pandemic, deaf or hard of hearing students studying in higher education institutions, participated lectures on campus using hearing aids and strategies adapted for frontal learning in a classroom. Usually, these aids were well known to them from their earlier study experience in school. However, the transition to online lessons, due to the latest pandemic, led deaf or hard of hearing students to study outside of their physical, well known learning environment. The change of learning environment and structure rose new challenges for these students. The present study examined the learning experience, limitations, challenges and benefits regarding learning online with lecture and classmates via the “Zoom” video conference program, among deaf or hard of hearing students in academia setting. In addition, emotional and social aspects related to learning in general versus the “Zoom” were examined. The study included 18 students diagnosed as deaf or hard of hearing, studying in various higher education institutions in Israel. All students had experienced lessons on the “Zoom”. Following allocation of the group study by the deaf and hard of hearing non-profit organization “Ma’agalei Shema”, and receiving the participants inform of consent, students were requested to answer a google form questioner and participate in an interview. The questioner included background information (e.g., age, year of studying, faculty etc.), level of computer literacy, and level of hearing and forms of communication (e.g., lip reading, sign language etc.). The interviews included a one on one, semi-structured, in-depth interview, conducted by the main researcher of the study (interview duration: up to 60 minutes). The interviews were held on “ZOOM” using specific adaptations for each interviewee: clear face screen of the interviewer for lip and face reading, and/ or professional sign language or live text transcript of the conversation. Additionally, interviewees used their audio devices if needed. Questions regarded: learning experience, difficulties and advantages studying using “Zoom”, learning in a classroom versus on “Zoom”, and questions concerning emotional and social aspects related to learning. Thematic analysis of the interviews revealed severe difficulties regarding the ability of deaf or hard of hearing students to comprehend during ”Zoom“ lessons without adoptive aids. For example, interviewees indicated difficulties understanding “Zoom” lessons due to their inability to use hearing devices commonly used by them in the classroom (e.g., FM systems). 80% indicated that they could not comprehend “Zoom” lessons since they could not see the lectures face, either because lectures did not agree to open their cameras or, either because they did not keep a straight forward clear face appearance while teaching. However, not all descriptions regarded learning via the “zoom” were negative. For example, 20% reported the recording of “Zoom” lessons as a main advantage. Enabling then to repeatedly watch the lessons at their own pace, mostly assisted by friends and family to translate the audio output into an accessible input. These finding and others regarding the learning experience of the group study on the “Zoom”, as well as their recommendation to enable deaf or hard of hearing students to study inclusively online, will be presented at the conference.

Keywords: deaf or hard of hearing, learning experience, Zoom, qualitative research

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1 Case Study Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Authors: Magdy I. A. Alshourbagi


Background: The National Institute for Deafness and Communication Disorders defines idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss as the idiopathic loss of hearing of at least 30 dB across 3 contiguous frequencies occurring within 3 days.The most common clinical presentation involves an individual experiencing a sudden unilateral hearing loss, tinnitus, a sensation of aural fullness and vertigo. The etiologies and pathologies of ISSNHL remain unclear. Several pathophysiological mechanisms have been described including: vascular occlusion, viral infections, labyrinthine membrane breaks, immune associated disease, abnormal cochlear stress response, trauma, abnormal tissue growth, toxins, ototoxic drugs and cochlear membrane damage. The rationale for the use of hyperbaric oxygen to treat ISSHL is supported by an understanding of the high metabolism and paucity of vascularity to the cochlea. The cochlea and the structures within it require a high oxygen supply. The direct vascular supply, particularly to the organ of Corti, is minimal. Tissue oxygenation to the structures within the cochlea occurs via oxygen diffusion from cochlear capillary networks into the perilymph and the cortilymph. . The perilymph is the primary oxygen source for these intracochlear structures. Unfortunately, perilymph oxygen tension is decreased significantly in patients with ISSHL. To achieve a consistent rise of perilymph oxygen content, the arterial-perilymphatic oxygen concentration difference must be extremely high. This can be restored with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Subject and Methods: A 37 year old man was presented at the clinic with a five days history of muffled hearing and tinnitus of the right ear. Symptoms were sudden onset, with no associated pain, dizziness or otorrhea and no past history of hearing problems or medical illness. Family history was negative. Physical examination was normal. Otologic examination revealed normal tympanic membranes bilaterally, with no evidence of cerumen or middle ear effusion. Tuning fork examination showed positive Rinne test bilaterally but with lateralization of Weber test to the left side, indicating right ear sensorineural hearing loss. Audiometric analysis confirmed sensorineural hearing loss across all frequencies of about 70- dB in the right ear. Routine lab work were all within normal limits. Clinical diagnosis of idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss of the right ear was made and the patient began a medical treatment (corticosteroid, vasodilator and HBO therapy). The recommended treatment profile consists of 100% O2 at 2.5 atmospheres absolute for 60 minutes daily (six days per week) for 40 treatments .The optimal number of HBOT treatments will vary, depending on the severity and duration of symptomatology and the response to treatment. Results: As HBOT is not yet a standard for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss, it was introduced to this patient as an adjuvant therapy. The HBOT program was scheduled for 40 sessions, we used a 12-seat multi place chamber for the HBOT, which was started at day seven after the hearing loss onset. After the tenth session of HBOT, improvement of both hearing (by audiogram) and tinnitus was obtained in the affected ear (right). Conclusions: In conclusion, HBOT may be used for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss as an adjuvant therapy. It may promote oxygenation to the inner ear apparatus and revive hearing ability. Patients who fail to respond to oral and intratympanic steroids may benefit from this treatment. Further investigation is warranted, including animal studies to understand the molecular and histopathological aspects of HBOT and randomized control clinical studies.

Keywords: idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (issnhl), hyperbaric oxygen therapy (hbot), the decibel (db), oxygen (o2)

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