As of 2009, the number of people living in the U.S. with deafness or some degree of hearing loss amounts to more than 31 million. With the current national population, 1 for every 10 people have a hearing loss and 65% of them are below retirement age. Living with deafness has become easier over the last several decades with the advent of captioning, interpreting services, and the American Disabilities Act. However, not all movies or Internet videos are captioned, and interpreting services are not always available. There is still plenty of room for improvement in supporting the deaf and hard of hearing to enable them to fulfill their potential.
One way to improve support and accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is through the use of fundraisers. Under the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), Walk 4 Hearing events occur in several cities around the nation. Since their formation in 2006, Walk 4 Hearing events are 5K (3.2 mile) walks where people participate by making donations and attending the walk, and they will be held in 20 U.S. cities this year. These walks will raise money that will be used to create awareness and education about deafness and hearing loss, and to make a difference for deaf and hard of hearing individuals who go to school, have jobs, are business owners, and have families to support.
Houston is one of the cities holding the Walk 4 Hearing – and the date is Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 9:00 am. As a new captain of my company’s team (Horizon Wind Energy), I am excited and looking forward to walking with my colleagues and friends on November 7 for a cause that we all believe in. Although the Houston Deaf Network does not yet have a team (as of October 1), it is not too late to create a team, join, make a donation, and mark your calendars for November 7! You may read the Walk 4 Hearing FAQs if you have questions.
It would be great to see the new Houston Deaf Network participating in the Houston Walk because we all share similar goals and believe in the same cause – and the better organized we are, the more visible and effective we will be. Let’s walk!