Special day, month raise awareness of deafness, hearing loss
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – The Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH) urges everyone to recognize and celebrate March 6 as National Youth Deaf Day and March 13 – April 15 as National Deaf History Month.
KCDHH uses this time to celebrate, raise awareness of hearing loss and urge everyone to protect his or her ears.
National Deaf Youth Day was developed to recognize and bring together deaf and hard of hearing youth from schools for the deaf, mainstream programs and universities.
“One in five teens experience some type of hearing loss,” said KCDHH Executive Director Virginia Moore, “and 80% of kids between the ages of 6 and 19 have hearing loss as a result of listening to loud music, particularly through earbuds at unsafe volumes.”
Moore also said the COVID-19 pandemic created an unexpected opportunity that helped KCDHH create awareness.
“As we all know, COVID-19 has created communication issues for everyone,” said Moore, “and even more for the deaf and hard of hearing, especially deaf and hard of hearing students trying to navigate their education through this pandemic. We have to help these students and make sure they are on track and where they are supposed to be with their education.”
National Deaf History Month is observed to highlight three key dates in deaf history. March 13 is the day that the Deaf President Now movement (1988) began and led to Gallaudet University having its first-ever deaf president.
On April 8, 1864, Abraham Lincoln signed the charter establishing Gallaudet as a college for the deaf, and on April 15, 1817, the United States saw the beginning of its first school for the deaf, American School for the Deaf (ASD).
March 6 was chosen to represent National Deaf Youth Day for its proximity to Deaf History Month.
The KCDHH serves the nearly 750,000 Kentuckians who have a hearing loss. KCDHH also acts as an advocate for deaf and hard of hearing persons on legislative issues, as well as a consultant to the governor, general assembly and various state and local governmental agencies concerning policies and programs that pertain to people with hearing loss.
The commission also provides information, referral and advocacy services and an interpreter referral service for state agencies.