Technology makes big difference for people with hearing disabilities
Asia-Pacific, February 7 2014
NEW ZEALAND: Technology is a significant part of the answer for over 700,000 individuals with hearing disabilities in New Zealand who have some level of hearing loss. Access to hearing aids, cochlear impacts and captioning make a world of difference to their lives.
In celebration of Hearing Week 2014, The National Foundation for the Deaf is highlighting the importance of technology aids and their benefits on the lives of people with hearing disabilities.
The National Foundation for the Deaf CEO Louise Carroll is proud of the leaps and bounds made in the past half decade. “Technology advancements in the last five years have been life savers to so many individuals struggling to cope with hearing loss.”
But, New Zealand still has a long way to go with providing people who are hard of hearing access to hearing aids, assistive technology (captioning, for example) and cochlear implants, which is their right under article 9 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“This year we are celebrating hearing and the positive outcomes achieved by those who get access to the appropriate and necessary technology.” says Louise Carroll. Technology aids impact positively on all areas of life, from the classroom and the workplace to the dinner table and even crossing the street safely. Also, effective communication is essential for all healthy relationships, and the benefits of access to hearing technologies includes offering a solution to the loneliness and frustration that so often comes hand in hand with being hard of hearing.
As technology advances, many people who are hard of hearing are benefiting from hearing aids, remote FM microphones and cochlear implants. All of these aids have made a hugely positive difference in the way that those who are hearing impaired communicate, allowing greater access to and ease of participation in social exchanges.
Hearing Week began in 2010 under request from various sector organizations, seeking to raise awareness of the often overlooked danger of hearing loss from unprotected home-based activities and construction. Find out more about New Zealand’s first Hearing Week here. In the two years that followed, we took the opportunity to profile the faces of hearing impairment by allowing hearing-impaired kiwis to tell their stories to acknowledge the challenges that people who live with hearing loss face and overcome each and every day. You can read more here: Hearing Week 2012 and Hearing Week 2011.
This year, the Foundation asks you to join us in celebrating just how far hearing technologies have advanced in the past half decade, drastically improving the lives of one in six New Zealanders with some level of hearing disabilities.
As time goes by, these developments can only progress further – so take a moment this Hearing Week to salute and celebrate how much has been achieved.