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November 11, 2003

Deaf Awareness Week

From: Manila Bulletin, Philippines - Nov 11, 2003

"TALKING Hands, Grateful Hearts’’ is the theme of this year’s observance of Deaf Awareness Week, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 829 issued on November 8, 1991. The purpose of this proclamation is to bring to the public’s awareness the fact that hearing loss is a major problem in our society and needs to be addressed.

Twenty percent of children in our country today suffer from various degrees of hearing loss. More than half of our country’s population, particularly our senior citizens, have serious hearing loss problems.

Hearing loss or hearing impairment could be caused by German measles, chronic ear infection, prolonged medication, and noise pollution. The last one can be avoided, but the other factors can only be helped either by surgery, auditory rehabilitation, using correct hearing aids, auditory training, sign language, or a combination of these measures.

Hearing loss seriously affects a person’s life. Difficulties in communicating with others, especially in one’s workplace, lowers one’s efficiency and performance. Eventually, a hearing problem affects one’s self-esteem and self-confidence.

We observe Deaf Awareness Week yearly for the public to know that persons with hearing problems are normal beings and can be productive members of society. Let us help them to overcome their disability and make them aware that hearing loss is no obstacle to continued usefulness as a productive member of the family and of the community.

“Talking Hands, Grateful Hearts’’ conveys the joy experienced by one suffering from hearing loss when he realizes that others understand his feelings and his ideas.

The blind, the mute, the infirm, and the disabled, like the deaf, are our fellow human beings. They are all members of our society. We who are not afflicted by such disabilities should do our share in making them feel and know that they are also valuable members of our society.

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