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Gift Ideas For The Hearing Impaired

Aug 3, 2009

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Gift ideas for hearing impaired individuals have come a long way since Gallaudet, Cogswell, and Clerc founded the American School for the Deaf in 1817.  Spurred on by massive technological advances, the number of available aural aids and replacement devices has multiplied exponentially, making independent living without sound far more convenient than it was prior to the twentieth century.  For example, a vibrator and/or a flashing light has been added to such everyday items as alarm clocks, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, pagers, baby monitors, telephones and doorbells, all of which make excellent gifts.  Wireless notification systems are available for home use as well.

Consider getting your hearing impaired friend or relative a TTY (tele-typewriter) device.

Consider getting your hearing impaired friend or relative a TTY (tele-typewriter) device so they may communicate with other TTY users over a phone line.  Alternatively, one may simulate a TTY with specialized PC/MAC software and a standard phone.

To prepare for medical emergencies, gift your hearing-impaired friend or relative with a portable flash drive and designer keychain so he or she can maintain all pertinent medical information and legal documents on their person to alert and inform emergency medical personnel.

You will find a variety of products with built-in sound amplifiers such as telephones, headphones and cell phones.

Gift ideas for the hearing impaired should consider individuals with some level of hearing as well.   You will find a variety of products with built-in sound amplifiers such as telephones, headphones and cell phones.  If built-in amplification does not suit your friend’s situation, there are plenty of personal pocket sized amplifiers from which to choose, as well as standalone amplifiers for televisions and other audio systems.  Many of these devices depend on specialized batteries that may be hard to find, so include a supply of these batteries with your gift as well.

Educational Gift Ideas 
Gifts for hearing impaired individuals often take an educational turn, particularly toward the learning and practice of American Sign Language (ASL) or lip reading.  Books and videos on these subjects are numerous and widely available.  Sometimes the best gift for the hearing-impaired individual is a gift of ASL lessons for their closest relative or caregiver, so both people may better communicate with each other.

A myriad of self-help books, CDs, and videos are available for both the hearing impaired and their hearing loved ones.

A myriad of self-help books, CDs, and videos are available for both the hearing impaired and their hearing loved ones.  Coping with a disability one’s self is one thing, but the recipient’s inner circle could also use some sage advice and encouragement from time to time.  Self-help tools are particularly helpful to hearing parents of a deaf or hearing-impaired child.

Gifts That Reflect ASL
As with any human condition or cause, there are printed t-shirts, tote bags, ball caps, mugs, and notepaper customized for the hearing impaired.  These items frequently come imprinted with an ASL gesture reflecting a sentiment like love or friendship.  Rubber stamps, pins, earrings, and money clips are also well suited to sporting ASL gestures.  This author’s favorite gift idea is a set of ASL cookie cutters.  Now that is a novel approach!

Gift ideas for the hearing impaired need not focus on that part of their lives.

Everyday Gift Items for the Hearing Impaired
Of course, gift ideas for the hearing impaired need not focus on that part of their lives.  You can feel free to give your hearing-impaired friend or relative a perfectly suitable non-audio gift, but your friends will still want to see the latest movies on DVD or Blue-Ray disc?  More and more newly released titles include multi-language subtitle options these days.  While your hearing-impaired friend will have to imagine the sound effects, the dialog will come through and he or she can enjoy the visual experience.

Gifts for Hearing Impaired Children
All children love toys and even hearing impaired children will love toys for which sound is not a critical element.  To help reinforce learning a new coping skill like ASL, you may gift a hearing-impaired child with games or toys based on ASL.  Even dice and sets of white board magnets present opportunities to illustrate and reinforce ASL gestures.

Remember to include ideas for your friend’s or relative’s service animal.

Gifts for Service Animals
When pondering gift ideas for the hearing impaired, remember to include ideas for your friend’s or relative’s service animal, if applicable.  Service animals work hard day in and day out and will benefit immensely from stress relief in the form of play, with either a tug toy or a good game of fetch – you buy the object.  A pound or two of gourmet doggie treats is a nice addition to your recipient’s gift.  Your friend will greatly appreciate gift certificates for top notch grooming and pampering at a pet spa.

Above all, gifts for hearing impaired friends or family members mean more to the recipient if you are sensitive to their feelings about hearing limitations.  Emphasize and celebrate their accomplishments and interests when choosing any gift and your thoughtfulness will be rewarded a thousand fold.

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