March 1-7 marks Hearing Awareness Week, a time to raise community awareness of hearing loss and ways to protect your hearing.
The World Health Organization estimates that globally, over 430 million people experience disabling hearing loss, a number that could grow to nearly 700 million by 2050. In Australia, almost 4 million people have some form of hearing loss. This continues to grow as our population ages.
When unaddressed, hearing loss poses a significant challenge for all age groups, hindering language development, communication, cognition, and limiting access to education, employment and social interactions.
March 3 is also celebrated as World Hearing Day, which is accompanied this year by the launch of the World Health Organization’s first ever World Report on Hearing. This day and the report draws attention to the needs of all people living with or at risk of hearing loss and ear diseases.
Marked by the theme ‘Hearing care for ALL‘, World Hearing Day calls upon governments to integrate ear and hearing care into national health plans.
In the spirit of the World Health Organization’s global campaign, Telethon Speech & Hearing is highlighting a number of individuals in our organisation who bring excellence, inclusivity and a wealth of knowledge to their roles and make our centre such a delightful place for our families and children.
By raising awareness of these important educational and healthcare roles, we aim to take stock of the current status (or lack thereof) of hearing care support available in our community and be a source of inspiration towards improving lives of those impacted by or at risk of hearing loss and ear diseases.
Today’s highlighted staff member is our Teacher of the Deaf, Karina op den Dries:
- About my role at Telethon Speech & Hearing
Karina: I have been working with Telethon Speech & Hearing since 2014 but was a parent within its community before I became an employee. A good friend, Karole Marshall, suggested I apply for a position as a Teacher of the Deaf when one came up and I did just that! I began working towards my Masters in Special Education – Deaf/Hard of Hearing as soon as I started at Telethon Speech & Hearing and completed this in 2017.
I take my role as a Teacher of Deaf very seriously and enjoy every minute I am with the students. I support and coordinate individualised assistance for students and their families ensuring they receive all the opportunities they can for their child to reach their full potential in a mainstream school.
- Something I’m looking forward to in 2021…
K: I am looking forward to having an uninterrupted year of learning and teaching with my students. I’m also looking forward to working on a program with a school in the north-west of our state, sharing ideas with the classroom teachers that will assist them in supporting children with a hearing loss.
- The most common question I get asked is…
K: “Can you sign?” – People’s perception of this role is very different once I explain my job and what it entails. It is a real eye opener for many people.
- In my role, I am most passionate about…
K: I am passionate about making a difference, watching students progress and succeed. Watching them thrive in a mainstream school not only academically but also emotionally and socially. Being there for them through those tough times and supporting them. The feedback from the parents and children themselves, of their progress makes me proud of the role I do.
- About my favourite sound
K: I have many! Hearing the words of, ‘I love you mum’ is my number one and children’s laughter is number two.
- My thoughts on Hearing Awareness Week and it’s theme ‘Hearing Care for ALL‘
I’d like to remind parents and families that there are people that care and want to help you and your child. Never be afraid to ask for that help. As a parent of a child with a hearing loss, I can speak from experience. I have learnt that there are a lot of people who have their hearts in the right place and have a wealth of knowledge that are more than willing to share with you and guide you, ‘Hearing Care for All’.
Continue to visit our website from March 1-7 for more amazing stories and insights from our dedicated team at Telethon Speech & Hearing. Visit the World Health Organisation website for more information about how you can support the global call for action against hearing loss and promoting ear/hearing care across the world. #HearingAwarenessWeek #Hearathon2021 #WorldHearingDay #HearingCare #SafeListening