The current pandemic is already having a disproportionate impact on hearing-impaired persons with cochlear implants. They face:
Disruption of essential services and support.
Higher risk of serious illness or death due to the greater presence of other health conditions.
Exclusion from important health information and mainstream health provision.
Living in an inaccessible world where barriers to goods and services are everywhere.
Taking into account:
The United Nations Convention Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UNCRPD, was ratified by 163 countries. Among them, all European countries in the European Union.
UNCRPD Article 9 ensures accessibility to information and communication. Take measures to eliminate barriers to accessibility to information, communication and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.
UNCRPD Article 24 ensures access to inclusive, quality and free primary education and secondary education for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others in the communities in which they live.
The Accessibility Act was approved last year by the European Union and it set accessibility requirements for several products and services, including emergency services.
The European Cochlear Implant Users’ Association, EURO-CIU Demands:
1- Accessible Emergency number:
Most countries still do not have an accessible emergency number. They keep telling citizens to telephone if they need assistance. A global written alternative must be made available.
2- Accessible Official communication:
Most countries have issued new reports, regulations, laws, etc. but have not made them accessible to persons with hearing loss. Governmental and official communication must be accessible with live speech-to-text captioning.
3- Accessible Education:
Online education is being hastily adopted without considering the needs of hearing-impaired and cochlear implant students. Cochlear implant users cannot follow online classes without subtitles or if they cannot lip-read their teachers. Pupils are assigned a lot of written homework but without adequate explanation. Without classroom support, there is no-one to give context or ensure that the student understands what is required. Where students normally use note takers or other support, the service should continue to be provided while they are learning remotely. Education must be accessible for all students.
4- Accessible Labour:
Working from home typically requires online work meetings. Cochlear Implant users normally need transcription to follow online meetings. Speech-to-text facilities should be subsidized by the government to ensure accessibility in working life.
5- Inclusion of Essential services for cochlear implant users:
If CI users who use disposable batteries are quarantined, hospitalised or are not allowed out following #StayAtHome campaigns, they need to be able to have batteries delivered to them. This service must be considered essential. Without batteries, the communication chain for CI users breaks down.
6- Accessible Masks:
Face masks make communication between deaf people and, particularly, medical professionals unnecessarily challenging. This accessibility problem could be easily solved by the widespread use of masks with a clear window through which lips can be read.
7- Alternative Transcription Services:
Normal face-to-face interpretation services, such as speech-to-text, may suffer during the pandemic. At this time, we urge countries to rapidly adopt and support remote captioning services. In many cases the services or technology already exist but authorities do not fund them.
We must not forget Cochlear Implant Users and Hearing Loss persons during emergencies.
EURO-CIU urges everyone to stay at home and respect the rules issued by their governments but remember #StayingAtHome does not mean isolation. Now is the moment to be inclusive and accessible to get society through this together.
Spend To Save. 2nd Edition!
Available languages: Bosnian, Dutch, English, French, German, Iceland, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish.
Hearing Care, cognitive decline and dementia: A public health challenge,or an opportunity for healthy ageing?
Hearing loss does not limit us, it is the slogan of the World Health Organization, WHO, this year in the celebration of #WorldDayAudition on March 3.
Thanks to technical aids such as the cochlear implant or the hearing aid and breaking the communication barriers with accessibility, with magnetic loops, subtitling, live transcription, etc.
But to get the most out of it, adequate speech therapy rehabilitation is necessary and that these aids are subsidized both in the first instance of surgery, and subsequently its renovations; not only in cases of minors, but especially also in older people.
Several studies show that investing in hearing aids is very profitable socially and economically since it delays other pathologies that are very economically onerous such as senile dementia, Alzheimer's or cognitive impairment.
February 19, 2020 by Webmaster EURO-CIU
To celebrate International Cochlear Implant Day on 25th February 2020, the European CI users’ associations want to make their voices heard loud and clear: I want to hear. Can you hear me? Their message is communicated through two videos showing people who are fully integrated into school and work life, thanks to their cochlear implants.
The first video "The School" features a 10-year-old girl who, thanks to early diagnosis, simultaneous bilateral cochlear implantation at the age of 9 months, and subsequent rehabilitation, hears and speaks normally. She is doing very well at school and does not need support teachers.
The second video: "The businessman" features a 40-year-old man who suffered from progressive hearing loss. He underwent sequential bilateral cochlear implant surgery and was able to continue working as a successful businessman.
European Disability Forum and Oracle E-Accessibility Scholarship 2019-2020
January 23, 2020 by Webmaster EURO-CIU
The European Disability Forum (EDF) and Oracle have launched a scholarship for students with disabilities studying in the field of Computer Science, Computer Engineering, User Experience, or related fields enrolled at a EU university for the academic year 2019-2020.
The scholarship consists of 6,500€ to be awarded based on a project or research that will be conducted during the academic year. The Scholarship will be awarded primarily based on a project or thesis in which the needs of persons with disabilities in terms of accessibility to ICT (e-Accessibility) are taken into consideration and/or an innovative solution to enhance their access is proposed. The project must be an integral component of the educational programme undertaken by the student (e.g. final year assignment or part of their Masters or PhD). The project may either be a proposal or it can already be underway.
The application process will open on the 6th January 2020 and will close on the 6th March 2020.
Jury decision will be on March 2020 and successful applicant will be notified by 1st April 2020.
Historic international event on cochlear implant advocacy to improve access to cochlear implants for adults with severe to profound hearing loss.
December 20, 2019 by Webmaster EURO-CIU
On the 6th of December 2019 (after the World Hearing Forum organized by the WHO on 4-5 December), a group of hearing health professionals, consumer advocacy organizations together with the 4 CI-companies attended the meeting of the Consumer and Professional Advocacy Committee (CAPAC), to discuss and plan advocacy activities around the forthcoming publication of the Delphi Consensus on International Standards of Care for Adult Cochlear Implantation. As published in latest EURO-CIU Newsletter of September 2019, Leo De Raeve was representing EURO-CIU in the CAPAC.
30 years of The Ear Foundation
December 9, 2019 by Webmaster EURO-CIU
As we reach the end of our special birthday year, it feels like a good time to reflect on all The Ear Foundation has achieved in our fantastic 30 year history.
The goal of The Ear Foundation remains to support people to live well with hearing loss, to make the most of hearing technology in everyday life and to develop the skills to succeed and participate with confidence - to hear, communicate and connect.
Thank you to everyone who supports The Ear Foundation and has contributed their time, effort and money over the years
EURO-CIU became a member of HEAR-IT
October 29, 2019 by Webmaster EURO-CIU
On the 17th of October 2019, the Executive Board of HEAR-IT unanimously decided to recommend EURO-CIU as a member of their General Assembly.
Hear-it AISBL is an international non-profit and non-commercial organisation that has been established to increase public awareness of hearing loss. The objective of Hear-it AISBL is to collect, process and circulate up-to-date scientific (sociological, legal, medical, public, policy related) and other relevant information including personal stories pertaining to hearing impairments and their human and socio-economic consequences.
EURO-CIU becomes a member of the World Hearing Forum
September 27, 2019 by Webmaster EURO-CIU
The Board is really happy to announce EURO-CIU has become a member of the World Hearing Forum (WHF) hosted by the World Health Organization.
EURO-CIU and over 200 politicians and organizations call on the Council to equal rights on Rail Passengers.
September 18, 2019 by Webmaster EURO-CIU
“My mother, who was totally blind and partially deaf, was not taken off the train when it arrived at its final destination. The train then pulled into the sidings and it was two hours before she was discovered, despite shouting. She never travelled by train again.“ David Adams.
Belgium, Press release ministry of Health
September 03, 2019 by Webmaster EURO-CIU
BRUSSELS, 30/08/2019. - Minister of Health Maggie De Block makes cochlear implants accessible to more patients. Today, 329 Belgians receive such an implant from health care insurance each year. Thanks to the new repayment criteria, an estimated 362 will soon be added.