Hearing loss is an invisible and greatly misunderstood disability even though it affects one in ten Canadians at some point in their life.
- If you are deaf, you cannot speak
- If you wear a hearing aid or have a cochlear implant, you can hear perfectly
- If you are deaf, you are not very bright
- If you speak, you cannot be deaf
Children with hearing loss face these types of assumptions daily; the greatest handicap for them is ignorance and misunderstanding on the part of the general public.
According to Statistics Canada, 2.9 million Canadians experience some form of hearing loss: a number equivalent to one in ten. An estimated 3 of every 1,000 babies are born with hearing loss, with others developing a hearing loss through their school years. Every year in Ontario, up to 400 children are born with impaired hearing (source: Mount Sinai Hospital – April 2006).
Our survey of VOICE‘s Auditory-Verbal Therapy graduates 17 years and over is a testament to the success of our program:
- 100% of respondents indicated they had not only graduated from high school but also that more than 50% had post secondary education
- the other 50% were still attending university or college
This is a significant outcome in light of the Statistics Canada’s findings that only 24% of deaf Canadians held a high school diploma.
In addition, research conducted by the Central Institute for The Deaf in St. Louis, Missouri compared reading levels of 169 deaf students in auditory programs and 158 similarly disabled students in a total communications program, which incorporates sign language with speech.
It was found that the auditory students at age 16 were reading at a 13-14 year-old level, while the total communication students were reading at only an 8-9 year-old level. As reading levels are important indicators of one’s ability to understand and learn, these findings are significant.