This gap in service makes it apparent that the rehabilitation system for adventitious deafness needs the involvement of counselors and social workers to better ensure that the psychosocial needs of clients are addressed.
For the purposes of this article "adventitious deafness" (Benderly, 1980) is the term used for profound hearing loss acquired after having learned speech and language, rather than deafness from birth.
A recent survey (Boone & Scherich, 1995) of 348 members of the Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA) in the United States documented some of the causes of adventitious deafness. Forty percent of respondents reported medical causes (for example, illnesses such as meningitis or Meniere's syndrome, viruses, or reactions to medication), l3 percent reported surgical causes (for example, complete or partial removal of the auditory nerves to alleviate another condition, such as neurofibromatosis Type-2 or acoustic neuroma), 5 percent reported traumatic injury (such as automobile or workplace accidents or near fatal drowning) as the cause, and 42 percent reported progressive hearing loss that was mostly unexplained (idiopathic).
The limited literature on adventitious deafness has identified in a general sense the inadequacy of the rehabilitative system for this condition.
Although medical intervention is a natural first step in rehabilitative care, clearly forgotten in the pursuit to provide a "cure" is that adventitious deafness is not only a medical condition, but also a psychosocial phenomenon.
The findings of this study support the call that others have made for social workers to become involved in rehabilitation for adventitious deafness (Luey, 1980, 1994; Luey et al., 1995).
Although social workers could fill existing gaps in the treatment of adventitious deafness, medical professionals need to be better informed about the traumatic effects of adventitious deafness so that they can show better understanding of, and support for, deafened people (David & Trehub, 1989).