Amazing sounds and sights

A few days ago theW%20-%20alistaircampbell_1721720_mid (2) on-line Telegraph published a video of a 3 month old baby hearing the voice of her mother for the first time. Idaho resident Annabelle Lawrence was born profoundly deaf, but doctors discovered that her auditory nerve is sufficiently intact for temporary hearing aids to be fitted. In six months time she will be fitted with cochlear implants but until then she can begin to learn using her hearing as well as the other senses she has available to her. The story of Annabelle is a reminder of a story I wrote almost a year ago of a New Zealand resident, Alistair Campbell and his daughter Charlotte (pictured). Charlotte has just had a bright pink Cochlear implant fitted and so Alistair decided as a mark of solidarity with his daughter to have his hair shaved and a tattoo of an implant above his left ear. Both of these stories are important in themselves, but one of the reasons I have for promoting these is that whenever I post my blog, I get far more hits for blogs that refer to party political stories than I do for stories on disability. Yet our society desperately needs to see matters of access and inclusion as being at least as important as anything that relates to Prime Ministers and Presidents. I am currently designing a sound and video installation for a major education institution that has inadvertently allowed its clearly stated commitment to deaf students, to become diminished by deferring its focus on Assistive Listening Systems to a department that deals with other access solutions. The problem with that approach is that when the sound and visual systems are being planned, the potential for including Hearing Loops with a minimum amount of disruption and lowest cost can be lost, leading to a later retro-fitting of infra-red systems which are less inclusive and unpopular with the community of people who rely on hearing aids and cochlear implants such as Charlotte and Annabelle. Although I have several relatives who rely on hearing aids, this is not a personal crusade. We need to change our attitude to hidden disabilities such as deafness or else we will continue to marginalise nearly 20% of our population. We all have a great deal to gain from ensuring that all of us can learn in the same location at the same rate, but that depends on all of us being able to hear and see what is taking place.


About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Deaf & Hard of Hearing, Education and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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