Mission

ABOUT DHA

We are Deaf & Hear Alberta.

We want a world free of communication barriers for the Deaf and hard of hearing for we believe that communication is a basic human right.

We envision a society where the hearing population understands, accepts and embraces the Deaf and hard of hearing.

OUR MISSION

To bring together Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing Albertans with service and technology options to advance access and opportunity.

OUR VISION

A world where the Deaf, hard of hearing, and those at risk of hearing loss are recognized and respected so they can fully participate in society.

STRATEGIC PRIORITIES

Our Strategic Plan for 2018-2021
was presented at the
Annual General Meeting on
June 21, 2018.

Deaf

The “Deaf” self-identify as a cultural group rather than a disability group.

They share a common language, American Sign Language (ASL) in North America, culture, history and experience, as well as a vision for full inclusion in society.

The Canadian Association of the Deaf estimates that one percent of the population is Deaf or late deafened — this includes those who were born with no hearing, lost their hearing early in life due to illness or other causes, or completely lost their hearing in mid- or later life.  This translates to approximately 38,000 deaf Albertans.

Access to services in their own language (ASL) is of primary importance for the Deaf community.  Provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act require that public services be provided with equal access to communication; in most cases, this may mean with the assistance of a sign language interpreter.

Hearing Loss

About a quarter of the population has some degree of hearing loss, ranging from mild to profound.

For those aged 65 and over, the percentage rises to 50 percent.  Hearing loss is considered the fastest growing disability in the world, and its impact is primarily affecting children and youth.  Current research indicates that 20 percent of youth between the ages of 13 and 18 now have a hearing loss, and hearing loss among this group is progressing more rapidly than with any other population segment.

Currently, exposure to excessive noise is the number one cause of hearing loss, followed by the effects of aging.  Other causes include genetics, illness, infections, tumors, head injuries and medications.

How we hear is a complex process.  Sound enters the ear as sound waves and changes in form several times as it travels from the outer ear to the brain.  Problems anywhere along this complex pathway can cause hearing difficulties.

The first step in understanding hearing loss is usually the audiogram — a graphical representation of your hearing sensitivity.  Your audiologist or hearing aid practitioner can produce and interpret an audiogram for you.

There are many strategies that a hard of hearing person can put into practice to reduce the effects of hearing loss.  Those who are hard of  hearing must also train those around them about good practices so that communication barriers are minimized.

Be An Advocate

There are steps that a hearing person can take to support friends or family members with hearing loss. Sensitivity training helps others become aware of the needs of a person who is deaf or hard of hearing.

There’s more to being an advocate than simply learning about different types of technology and verbal cues that help a person who is deaf or hard of hearing adapt. It is about becoming a better communicator and providing services to those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

That means learning what their needs are, about body language, the factors that influence the understanding of what is being said, and maximizing a hard of hearing person’s ability to participate in a conversation.