In ten days, I will be participating for my very first time in a Hearing Loss Association of America Walk4Hearing fundraiser on October 15 in Chicago. My local support group, the Chicago chapter of the Association for Late Deafened Adults, has put together a team to raise money for both HLAA and ALDA Chicago. The twin goals of the walk are to raise awareness and help eradicate the stigma associated with hearing loss.
As it says on the Walk4Hearing website, "Most of us give little thought to our ears until we have a problem hearing. The sounds go into our ears and up to the brain and we hear. Unlike our eyes, our ears never close. Hearing is effortless. Many people don't know where to find the information and support they need to overcome the communication obstacles that hearing loss creates."
HLAA sponsors these walks because hearing loss is a public health issue in the United States. Their website offers these statistics which may surprise you:
- 36 million people have some form of hearing loss
- 22 million have noise-induced hear loss that could be prevented
- More than 59,000 military members have disability status for hearing loss from current wars.
- 30 school-aged children per 1,000 have a hearing loss
So how does HLAA help people with hearing loss? Here are a few of the many ways they make a difference in people's lives:
- Information, referral, education and coping resources through www.hearingloss.org, the Hearing Loss Magazine, the annual HLAA Convention, and the HLAA electronic newsletter.
- A nationwide network of 200 chapters providing personal support.
- Support for parents of children with hearing loss at www.kidsandhearingloss.org
- Outreach to veterans returning with hearing loss.
- Social networking site for young adults with hearing loss at www.hearinglossnation.org
- Captioning and hearing assistive technology at chapter meetings to make them accessible
- Scholarships for students with hearing loss towards college tuition.
- Funding for hearing aids and devices for people who cannot afford them.
- Installation of hearing assistive technology in public places
- Seminars on coping with hearing loss for families
If you'd like to support me on this walk, please visit my walk page.