Deafness in Palestine
Worldwide, one child out of a thousand is born totally or partially deaf. Partial or complete deafness is the most common sensory impairment, with a lifetime incidence of 1 in 10.
In Palestine, 3% of the population has hearing problems. Particularly, in some isolated villages, the percentage rises to 15% of the local residents, thus ranking among the highest in the world.
The spread of deafness in our area is almost entirely attributable to genetic inheritance and not to traumas or infections occurring during childhood.
In the Palestinian territories, about 40% of marriages are endogamic, that is arranged within the extended family or directly between first cousins, which increases the chance that the genetic deficiency will appear in the new generations.
Deafness can be accompanied by many consequences on the psychological and social level of the individual. A deaf child may experience learning difficulties if not followed during the educational process, and may have difficulties socialization with the others, be part of the society and find a job. In addition, there are the social, psychological and economic challenges that the Palestinian population is facing, especially since the second Intifada in September 2000.
In Palestine, hearing-impaired children often don’t receive the proper care and assistance services, not only because the inadequacy of public facilities or the difficulties in accessing them, but also, because the local culture still lacks information and sensitivity concerning that.