World Hearing Day
World Hearing Day is commemorated annually on 3 March. The World Health Organisation (WHO) explains that the day is used to “raise awareness on how to prevent deafness and hearing loss and promote ear and hearing care across the world.”
WHO’s theme for this year is “Ear and Hearing Care For All! Let’s Make it a Reality!”
The Western Cape Department of Social Development has allocated over R59 million to 62 Social Service Organisations (SSO)that provide support to people and children with disabilities, and their families.
Among these SSOs are those that provide services to individuals with hearing impairments.
“My wish for parents of babies or young children who present with hearing or speech development challenges is that they know there are organisations in the province ready to assist them. Don’t wait until it is too late to get your child the support they need,” says Minister of Social Development Sharna Fernandez.
The Western Cape Education Department also funds schools across the province for children with special needs.
DSD-supported SSOs supporting the deaf or hearing impaired include: NG Kerk De La Bat, Deaf Community of Cape Town, Deaf Federation Western Cape, De La Bat School for the Deaf, DeafBlind SA - Western Cape, Hi Hopes, and the Carel du Toit Centre.
The Carel du Toit Centre, situated in the Cape Metro, is celebrating 50 years of changing lives this year! Here, children who are hearing impaired or deaf are taught to listen and speak.
“For a child to have the best opportunity to reach their full potential, we need to address hearing loss and speech delays as early as possible. The effect of unidentified and unaddressed hearing loss leads to developmental delays as well as behavioural and learning problems. We welcome the public contacting us with any questions or need for assistance on 021 983 5303,” says Sarah Lange, Head of Audiology at the Carel du Toit Centre.
Parents/guardians of children with hearing or speech challenges are advised to visit their local doctor or hospital for a referral to an audiologist who can check their child’s hearing.
Minister Fernandez: “The work done by organisations in the disability sector can never be lauded enough. Staff at these facilities and schools are providing an invaluable lifeline to families who may otherwise become overwhelmed in trying to see to the acute needs of their loved ones. Thank you for all you do, we appreciate you!”