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Call made to address inequalities caused by hearing poverty

 

Deafscotland has launched its Inclusive Communication Report 2021

A call has been made for politicians to address inequalities created by hearing poverty.

Deafscotland has marked World Hearing Day (3 March), with the launch of its Inclusive Communication Report 2021.

The report aims to highlight what needs to change for Scotland’s 1 million people affected by hearing loss. Deafscotland has also repeated its call to build on developments and make Scotland the world’s first ‘inclusive communication nation’.

The WHO has selected this year’s theme of the annual day as Hearing Care for ALL: Screen, Rehabilitate, Communicate, and the event has been accompanied by publication of  the first World Hearing Report, which is rooted in evidence of people’s lives, practice and availability of services, including:

  • The number of people living with unaddressed hearing loss and ear diseases is unacceptable.
  • Timely action is needed to prevent and address hearing loss across the life course.
  • Investing in cost effective interventions will benefit people with hearing loss and bring financial gains to the society.
  • Governments must act to integrate person-centred ear and hearing care within national health plans for universal health coverage.
  • Good hearing and communication are important at all stages of life.

Janis McDonald, the charity's chief officer, said: "We have made big inroads in securing laws requiring inclusive communication to be at the heart of public sector decisions and actions but we still need to see practice change on the ground. By agreeing to establish Scotland as the world’s first Inclusive Communication Nation we expect to create a seismic change in culture and practice so government and organisations deliver inclusive communication across all publicly funded services to make Scotland fairer.

"People with sensory loss have been particularly let down during the Covid-19 response as they need hands-on communication to relate with others, to receive information and support. Social and physical distancing means they have been left much more isolated and vulnerable to mental and physical ill-health. With no contact with others and no accessible information, they do not know what has been happening daily during the crisis. 

"Inclusive communication needs to be mainstreamed rather than regarded as an exceptional response only required during a pandemic."

 

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