IM this article to a friend!

October 1, 2003

State ESC Offers Many Services For Hearing -Impaired Persons

From: Southern Pines Pilot, NC - Oct 1, 2003

By Harry Payne: N.C. Employment Commission

Suppose you suddenly lost the ability to hear your favorite song, listen to dialogue while watching a movie, or hear the laughter of a child?

More than 28 million Americans have a hearing loss. Eighty percent have irreversible and permanent damage. Yet the biggest handicap for most deaf persons is not the inability to hear, but the barrier it poses in communication.

The N.C. Employment Security Commission (ESC) is meeting the needs of its customers with hearing loss by offering qualified sign-language interpreters, or other forms of communication assistance, as requested.

When an individual requests an interpreter or other communication accommodation, or if a staff member feels one is needed, the ESC will contact the vendor of the needed service to make an appointment and the hard of hearing or deaf customer is then notified of the time. These services are free-of-charge to the customer.

The ESC realizes that people who are hearing-impaired are members of a distinct linguistic group that uses American Sign Language (ASL) as its first language and English as its second language.

ESC staff members are sensitive to the needs of the customer who is hard of hearing or deaf. For example, when using an interpreter, staff members speak directly to the customer. They also recognize the processing time that the interpreter may take to translate a message from its original language into another language or the typed word, knowing this will cause a delay in the customer’s receiving and relaying information.

It is important to the ESC that its services are readily available to all customers, regardless of any disability that may exist. The ESC is committed to working with its disabled customers to ensure they receive services in an environment that best suits their needs.

Harry E. Payne Jr. is chairman of the N.C. Employment Security Commission.

© 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 The Pilot LLC