Community Papers

Time to recognize hard-of-hearing people

The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association in the Comox Valley wants their people to be recognized, just like handicapped people, blind people, and even deaf people are.

Hearing disabilities are often considered invisible disabilities as most hard-of-hearing people are oralists getting by with hearing aids, speechreading and assistive technology to aid communication.

The Hard of Hearing Association wants to change that.

So many other groups are recognized: Handicap people have their sign, blind people have their white cane, and even deaf people are recognized with their sign language.  But hard-of-hearing people fall into a different category.

The hard-of-hearing symbol – a profile of an ear with a wide diagonal line running from the bottom left to the top right – is an international symbol that's been around for years.

But it's just not recognized in the way that other symbols are, because hard-of-hearing is a disability that people don't see, it's not visible.

The Hard of Hearing Association is pushing to get this symbol recognized. The non-profit organization is encouraging its members to wear their blue pins with the symbol, and to educate the community on what the symbol stands for.

This symbol can be a really good tool if we can get people recognize it.

If you see someone wearing the blue pin with the hard-of-hearing symbol:

• Face the person you are speaking to.

• Speak clearly, and not too fast.

• If you are not understood, rephrase, rather than repeat.

• If necessary, write your message.

— Comox Valley Branch, Canadian Hard of Hearing Association

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