Hearing Impaired Substance Abuse Treatment
Substance abuse treatment needs to accessible for all individuals, and this includes the hearing impaired. According to the NIDCD, “One in eight people in the United States (13 percent, or 30 million) aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing examinations.” Substance abuse treatment programs must be attentive to this and pose a solution to any barrier in treatment it might cause.
Why Must Substance Abuse Treatment Be Altered for the Hearing Impaired?
Because there are many individuals who live with some kind of hearing impairment, it is important to be sensitive to this issue and neutralize any barriers it puts in the way of substance abuse treatment. There is a definite possibility that an individual seeking treatment for substance abuse could be dealing with hearing loss. For example, according to the NCBI, “Substance abuse, particularly of alcohol and prescription drugs among adults 60 and older is one of the fastest growing health problems facing the country.” These individuals are more likely to suffer from both a substance abuse disorder and a hearing impairment.
Another important aspect of substance abuse treatment for the hearing impaired is that some substance abuse can cause hearing problems. According to the NIDA, “Serious long-term consequences [of inhalant abuse] include liver and kidney damage, hearing loss, bone marrow damage, and brain damage.” Though treatment must be conducted on an individual basis, patients will also need to interact with doctors, nurses, therapists, and other patients which should be made as effortless as possible.
The NIDA states, “Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse.” This means that treatment must befit all the needs of the patient, and hearing impaired treatment is one of the most significant needs a patient can have. If the individual is unable to get the full benefit of treatment because of an issue like hearing loss, their recovery could be compromised.
How is Substance Abuse Treatment Made Accessible to the Hearing Impaired?
There are certain facilities that are specifically designed for those with hearing loss or other hearing impairments. Some of these are listed by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). Otherwise, a patient should be able to attend a treatment facility that is not especially targeting their hearing impairment but that utilizes tools to make treatment more accessible.
Many resources about treatment can be obtained for individuals who use a TDD (or telecommunications device for the deaf). If a patient who is hard of hearing chooses a rehab facility that suits their other needs, it may also be important to make sure that someone in the facility knows sign language or that the facility has the kind of staff who is familiar with deaf or hearing impaired communication. When you attend treatment for substance abuse, this need is one that should especially be treated with care and importance, as many individuals do actually experience both issues at some point in their lifetime.