Dear friends and members, I am happy you joined us in this last EURO-CIU 2020 newsletter, our 45 newsletter. This year has been tough for everybody, especially for persons with hearing loss. EURO-CIU was supposedly celebrating its 25 anniversary in the European Parliament, but COVID has changed all our plans. We do not renounce being there, raising the voice of #CochlearImplantUsers in the @EUParliament, we have just postponed it until further notice.
But this year of being inside our homes has helped in a way to raise visibility and awareness about #CochlearImplants. More #CommunicationBarriers have been raised but society has heard our claims and we have been able to expose and sometimes even take down some of these barriers for good. Accessibility online has increased exponentially helping all of us in our daily life.
This year as well has been the “collaborative” year. The first time ever World “Consensus” about #CochlearImplantation in Adults is a motive to celebrate. We need now to fight to make it a reality in all countries. We had a productive time being part of the World Hearing Forum, European Parliament Commissions, collaborating with European Disability Forum, ANEC (European Association of Standardization), etc. as well as other new organizations like CIICA where we defend persons with #HearingLoss and #CochlearImplant rights.
We now deserve to breathe and enjoy our holidays to come back in 2021 to fight ever more to reach the goal of a complete accessible and inclusive society showing our love for #Hearing. Merry Christmas, Hanukkah and Ramadan!
Dear FriendsWe are facing a new era that has changed us all and will leave its mark not only on us butalso on the different environments in which we move.
Our group of deaf people, cochlear implant users and family members, are not left out of theconsequences that the COVID-19 pandemic has established.Some actions are here to stay, such as telepractice in rehabilitation, telework in manymodalities and even “on-line” conferences.
Others, hopefully are temporary, such as theincrease in waiting lists, delays in surgeries or schedules.There is some good news, as this new way of looking at the world has made communicationtechnology advance by leaps and bounds and improves the accessibility of information;other news are incidents to be noted, such as the mandatory masks for practically the entireworld population, isolating our group in an abysmal way, both hearing (loss of discrimination)and visual (not being able to rely on lip reading).
Another characteristic is that the medical pandemic has affected education, the elderly andhas hit the economy hard, which results in a reduction in resources that is already being feltin neighboring countries.In this issue of the newsletter we deal with all of this and the adjustments we have had tomake, such as postponing the celebration of the EURO-CIU 25th anniversary or proposingthat our AGA be virtual, on October 3rd.Looking at the positive side of the matter, perhaps it is this eventuality that allows most ofyou, our member entities, to participate, since you will not have to travel and be able toaccompany us from your points of residence.
The complexity of the AGA organization has the entire board involved so that we can allparticipate. Not only contemplating the program and the times, but also managing accessibility to communication and simultaneous translation. Check our website where wewill be informing you about any updates and do not hesitate to join us the 3rd of October
Message from the President and Editor
With Coronavirus Covid-19 affecting all parts of the world, it has been a difficult few months for us all. In a lot of countries, cochlear implant surgery has not taken place, and this impacts hugely on profoundly deaf children, young people and adults. It also impacts on the cochlear implant manufacturers and all those professionals working with deaf people. EURO-CIU has done an excellent job of pulling together a survey of the impact of Covid-19 across Europe, so it is no surprise that a number of articles in this edition are on this subject. Please see the EURO-CIU article entitled “CI situation survey in EUROPE during the Pandemic”
We are grateful to everyone who has taken time to let us have articles for this newsletter.
Covid-19 is not going to disappear as quickly as we would wish, so our celebrations for EURO-CIU’s 25th Anniversary will not be easy to arrange – but do check out our website to keep up to date. However, we’ll meet “remotely” at the on-line General Assembly on the 3rd October.
The next edition of the EURO-CIU Newsletter will be due in September, so please let me have your articles and jpg photos by Monday 7 September 2020. Just e-mail them to Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org
With every good wish, and keep safe.
The European Cochlear Implant Users’ Association, EURO-CIU Demands:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.