World Deaf Day is celebrated every last Sunday of September, falling on the 25th of September this year. This is to celebrate and recognize the rights of deaf people. On this day, people are made aware of the challenges faced by deaf people and their communities. It also highlights the importance of sign language not only for deaf people but also for the whole community.
World Deaf Day
World Deaf Day was initiated in 1958 by the World Federation of the Deaf. The day calls the attention of governments, non-governmental organizations, philanthropists, and the general society, to support the community of deaf people. The day is also celebrated to appreciate the achievements gained by deaf people all over the world. It helps to understand the remarkable works of this community to the general public. In short, the day is celebrated to help the deaf communities and give them a safe place to live. Through various initiatives, people are encouraged to support those suffering from hearing loss. The day also creates awareness concerning some dangerous habits that can easily lead to hearing loss.
More than 460 million people suffer from hearing loss and this number accounts for about 5% of the world population. According to the World Health Organization, over a billion people are at risk of permanent hearing loss as continuous exposure to loud noise usually causes hearing loss and people are fond of it.
Deafness in India
As per WHO estimates in India, there are approximately 63 million people, who are suffering from Significant Auditory Impairment. As per the NSSO survey (2001), there were 291 persons per one lakh population who are suffering from severe to profound hearing loss. Of these, a large percentage are children between the ages of 0 to 14 years. Such a large number of hearing-impaired young Indians signifies a severe loss of productivity, both physical and economic. An even larger percentage of our population suffers from milder degrees of hearing loss and unilateral (one-sided) hearing loss.
What can we do?
- Increase awareness – Educate people about their (deaf community) challenges and the importance of learning sign language. Make others aware of accessibility issues and available help.
- Lower the noise or protect your ears – India is among the noisiest countries on Earth. Honking, club DJs can cause irreversible damage to hearing. To protect your ears from such unhealthy exposure to noise, you could wear earplugs or earmuffs.
- Hearing aids and better technology - Today, medical science’s best hearing solutions and treatments are available in India. Now it is possible to tune out whistling sounds on the phone and have automatic volume and feedback control in noisy environments.
- Lend a helping hand – Support organizations that work for the deaf community. Give charities that help create more opportunities. Respect their rights. Try to reach out to these people and help them in any way you can.