Dear AG Bell Community,
It has been a while since I have communicated with you. I have traveled quite a few miles with the purpose of continuing our mission to work globally to ensure that people who are deaf and hard of hearing can hear and talk. As you will read in my upcoming columns, our international and national work has never been more vital and necessary.
Today at AG Bell, along with people around the world, we celebrate the establishment of World Hearing Day by the World Health Organization (WHO). Coincidentally, we also celebrate the birthday of our founder, Dr. Alexander Graham Bell.
This connection is symbolic in a way. Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, as we all know, dedicated his life to those who are deaf and hard of hearing. Since 2007, WHO has used World Hearing Day to raise awareness about hearing health around the world. For this year's World Hearing Day campaign, WHO spotlights the importance of early hearing detection and intervention through its theme "Check Your Hearing!”
Events today focus on preventing a rise in hearing loss around the world and ensuring that those with hearing loss have access to rehabilitation services and communication tools. Continuing its previous themes in 2018 (Hear the Future) and 2017 (Childhood Hearing Loss), WHO illustrates a harrowing future if current trends continue unabated.
Early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) are crucial in infants born deaf or hard of hearing so that parents and caregivers can make an informed decision on the communication outcome for their child. State EHDI coordinators are a vital component in this process, many of whom will be attending the EHDI conference in Chicago starting today. We are grateful for their work that connects children with hearing loss to professionals who help them learn to hear and talk.
As we look forward to the future of Listening and Spoken Language in 2019 on this World Hearing Day, I am pleased to announce the first-ever Global Listening and Spoken Language Symposium, which will be held in Madrid, Spain from June 30 through July 2. I encourage you to visit our new symposium website for event information, including workshops and sessions, keynote speakers and registration information. I look forward to seeing old friends and colleagues, as well as meeting new professionals and friends from around the world.
We also like to keep our members and new website visitors updated on the latest information regarding listening and spoken language, hearing technology, accessibility and education. Professionals and parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing can greatly benefit from our website, publications and events.
I also encourage you to keep reaching out to us and our community at large through social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram) and by writing for our publications. We are honored by the many contributors who ensure we have the latest information related to hearing loss and share inspiring stories to brighten our days.
We will continue each day to ensure that people around the world who are deaf and hard of hearing can hear and talk.
Chief Executive Officer
Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing