Better Hearing and Speech Month May 2020

Across Canada, the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association is Raising Awareness about Hearing Loss and Hearing Health

(For Immediate Release) April 30, 2020, Ottawa, ONMay is Better Hearing and Speech Month; a month dedicated to raising public awareness about communication health. Many of us take the ability to communicate for granted, but the ability to speak, hear and be heard is much more vital to our everyday lives than most of us realize. For those who have difficulty communicating, everyday interactions can pose significant challenges. A communication disorder may prevent an individual from performing well at work, asking for help, hearing instructions at school or even saying, ‘I love you’. The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association is working diligently to educate Canadians on the importance of communication health for all those affected by hearing loss. Communication health is even more prevalent in these days of isolation due to the coronavirus. We need to ensure everyone recognizes communication health and how important it is during these unprecedented times.

The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA) has a long history – dating back to the early 1980s – of serving the needs of Canadians impacted by hearing loss through advocacy, communications, and public service. Hearing loss is one of the most isolating disabilities. It frequently goes undetected and untreated in most adults. This leads to social isolation, depression, and potential safety issues. Forty percent of adults aged 20-79 have some form of hearing loss and 78% of adults 60-79 experience hearing loss (Stats Canada, 2016). Hearing loss is becoming one of the largest disabilities in the world.

During Better Hearing and Speech Month the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association advocates for all those affected by hearing loss. For these people, the impact of social distancing and the common use of face masks has created additional challenges. We are asking that when communicating with a person with hearing loss you consider the following:

  • Speak at a moderate rate and repeat if asked. Exercise patience during communication
  • Use text interpretation of speech through cellphone apps and pen and paper
  • Utilize text messaging or video apps with the captioning feature enabled
  • Use assistive listening devices for communication where possible.

Marilyn Kingdon, President and Chair of the Board of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association says “As a person affected by hearing loss, I have personally experienced increased challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. I rely on the accuracy of captioning on news briefs, and for many hard of hearing persons, speech reading has become almost impossible due to the use of face masks. We all share in the social isolation that has come with COVID-19, but for those with hearing loss, it keeps us even more distant from loved ones that were once part of our support systems. We are all in this together, which provides us with an opportunity to look for new ways to be inclusive and communicate with each other.”

The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association will celebrate May as Better Hearing and Speech Month by continuing to advocate for those persons affected by hearing loss to ensure all communication is accessible to all Canadians. By working together we will be able to attain this important goal.

BACKGROUNDER

About the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association
The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA) was established in 1982 and is Canada’s leading consumer advocacy organization representing the needs of the nearly 4-million people living with hearing loss. With a network across Canada, CHHA works cooperatively with hearing loss professionals, service providers, government and provides life enhancing information, support, and advocacy to ensure people with hearing loss are able to overcome barriers in all aspects of their lives.

CHHA has a global reputation in developing and delivering a wide range of initiatives that have challenged the status quo when working with people with hearing loss. As a leader in the sector, CHHA is sought after to provide comments and feedback on various policy initiatives, identify best practices and develop and test technology, which in return has advanced the quality of life for people living with hearing loss.

To learn more about the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, visit www.chha.ca

For media inquiries, contact:
Janice McNamara
Tel: 613-526-1584 ext:103
E-mail: communications@chha.ca