CHHA-York Region Branch in Ontario
The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA) is a consumer-based organization formed by and for hard of hearing Canadians. CHHA works cooperatively with professionals, service providers and government bodies, and provides information about hard of hearing issues and solutions. CHHA is Canada's only nation-wide non-profit consumer organization run by and for hard of hearing people.
Our goal is to increase public awareness of hearing loss and to help Canadians with hearing loss fully integrate into Canadian society.
As the York Region Branch for CHHA, we bring the CHHA mission to the local level. We advocate on behalf of all hard of hearing and deafened individuals who live and work in York Region. We hold workshops and social events at various locations. Meet and support local government accessibility groups. To encourage individuals to self disclose and advocate their needs to have access to communicate.
You are not alone!
1 in 10 Canadians experience some degree of hearing loss.
People from all ages and ethnicities share the desire to be included.
Explore this site and it's links to learn how hearing loss affects the people around you.
Ten Communication Tips
CHHA-York Region Branch has been building bridges between hearing and hard of hearing people. Here are some tips on how you can better communicate with people who have experienced hearing loss:
1. Make sure you get their attention before speaking.
2. Make clear what the subject’s context is (I’m talking about the birthday party next week…).
3. Make sure you are facing the person, and don’t look down when you speak.
4. Speak clearly and naturally, perhaps a little slower than usual. Don’t shout, it’s embarrassing and can cause discomfort to someone wearing a hearing aid.
5. Remember to keep your hands away from your face and nothing is in your mouth.
6. If you have to repeat something twice, rephrase what you’re saying and use tip #2 again.
7. Body language helps to project the meaning of what you’re saying, so don’t be “deadpan”. Try to be animated and use lots of facial expressions.
8. When planning something, ask them to repeat details back to you (Thursday night, at Al’s house, 7pm…).
9. Avoid noisy background and/or bright light behind your back.
10. Be patient and be prepared to write things down if you are not being understood.
Myths regarding people with hearing losses
There are many myths regarding people with hearing losses including, but not limited to:
1. Everyone who is deaf or hard of hearing uses sign language.
There are a variety of different sign systems used by hearing-impaired individuals.
Individuals who experience hearing loss later in life usually do not know sign language.
People who are educated in the method of oralism or mainstream do not always know sign language.
2. People who cannot hear are not allowed to drive.
Deaf people may use special devices to alert them to sirens or other noises, or panoramic mirrors to enable improved visibility.
Many countries allow deaf people to drive, although at least 26 countries do not allow deaf citizens to hold a driver's license.
3. All forms of hearing loss can be solved by hearing aids or Cochlear Implants.
While many hearing-impaired individuals do use hearing aids, others may not benefit from the use of a hearing aid.
For some hearing-impaired individuals who experience distortion of incoming sounds, a Cochlear Implant may actually worsen the distortion.
4. A lack of hearing correlates to a lack of intelligence.
A person's intelligence level is unrelated to whether or not the person can hear.
5. All deaf/hard of hearing people are experts in Deaf Culture.
Deaf people may have a variety of different beliefs, experiences, and methods of communication.
This may be influenced by the age at which hearing was lost and the individual's personal background.
6. All deaf people want to be hearing.
While some individuals with hearing loss want to become hearing, this is not the case for everyone. Some take pride in their deafness or view themselves as a minority rather than a disability group.
7. People who can't hear can't use a phone.
Teletypewriters, Video phones and cell phone text messages are used by deaf people to communicate.
8. Everyone who cannot hear can lip read.
Only about 30% of spoken English is visible on the lips.
Lip reading requires not only good lighting, but also a good understanding of the spoken language in question and may also depend on contextual knowledge about what is being said.