Dear Alexander Graham Bell Community,
I know that you've come to expect to hear from me on Tuesdays, but this week, I specifically wanted to reach out to you today, March 3, because today is World Hearing Day .
Established at the First International Conference on Prevention and Rehabilitation of Hearing Impairment in 2007, World Hearing Day is an annual advocacy event held on March 3 that aims to raise awareness and promote ear and hearing care around the world. This year's theme is "Childhood Hearing Loss - Act Now, Here's How!" Around the world, more than 360 million people - 32 million of them children - suffer from significant hearing loss. Up to 20% of them could benefit from hearing aids and cochlear implants, but for many, hearing loss solutions are inaccessible. World Hearing Day is a way to bring awareness to people who could help - governments, public health agencies, health care providers, even insurance companies - but it is also important for helping parents and pediatric health providers understand the importance of early action. Early hearing loss detection is a key measure to ensure that parents are aware of their child's potential hearing loss and to encourage them to follow up with audiologists and pediatricians, and AG Bell is proud to have been a leader in promoting Universal Newborn Hearing Screening in the U.S. But too often, families lack the knowledge and information they need to follow up on their child's hearing screening and follow the steps to provide technology and training in listening and spoken language.
The World Health Organization has renewed its focus on inspiring global action on hearing loss. There have been significant advances in technology and therapy supporting hearing health since the last time a resolution of this type was passed in 1995. As followers of AG Bell, you have received frequent communications from us to keep you in the know - and we are honored by the many contributors who ensure that we have the latest information about listening and spoken language, hearing technology, accessibility and education. I encourage you to keep reaching out to us and to our community at large through social media and by writing for our publications.
But most importantly, I want to encourage you to keep learning more about listening and spoken language. Professionals can benefit greatly from the AG Bell Listening and Spoken Language Symposium, offered this year in Washington from June 29 to July 1. In addition to outstanding speakers, the Symposium offers professionals a vehicle to earn continuing education credits toward certification with the AG Bell Academy. I'm also pleased to tell you about symposia that will take place this year in Argentina in April and in the United Kingdom in October. These events will be the subject of another column. Our message is worldwide, and we continue to advance listening and spoken language with our partners around the world. Everyone can benefit from AG Bell's publications and website, which is also available en español. And we all learn real-life experiences as we share our stories on Facebook and by posting videos on the AG Bell YouTube channel.
With Myriam de la Asunción at EHDI
Of course, learning face-to-face is incredibly helpful. Earlier this week I had the pleasure of catching up with many of our professionals and friends of AG Bell at the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Conference in Atlanta. It was great to see Karl White who heads NCHAM, the organizer of this conference, and to speak with manufacturers like MED-EL and Oticon who help AG Bell throughout the year through their sponsorship and by sharing our communications with their online communities. Of special interest was a presentation by Michael Douglas and Myriam de la Asunción of MED-EL titled, "Cultural Sensitivity: Counseling Hispanic/Latino Families." MED-EL has a new initiative to reach out to this underserved population which is sorely needed. I applaud their commitment to these families.
Spending time with EHDI coordinators was vital to helping them better understand how AG Bell informs parents of their choices and the steps to follow once their choice is made. We hope to continue advancing listening and spoken language by helping the general public understand that people who are deaf can learn to listen and speak, and I hope you'll join us in that work by posting your messages, stories and videos to our social media channels.
So on this World Hearing Day, I thank you for sharing your journey with us - and please keep communicating with me either by emailing me at info@agbell.org or by calling me at 202-337-5220.
Until next week,
Emilio EAM signature blue transparent 
Emilio Alonso-Mendoza

 

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.

Joel A. Barker