Thursday, May 01, 2008

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Get Assistance

BC Helps the Hearing Impaired

The Province has provided $500,000 to the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for low-tech assistive hearing devices to help British Columbians with a hearing loss, announced Employment and Income Assistance Minister Claude Richmond.

“This grant will assist deaf and hard of hearing citizens with everyday activities that most of us take for granted, like hearing the telephone ring, waking up to an alarm clock, hearing a smoke alarm or answering the doorbell,” said Richmond. “Improving access to assistive technology supports the government’s Disability Strategy to make British Columbia a leader in Canada as a place where people with disabilities live the life they choose.”

Beginning June 1, 2008 the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing pilot project will supply assistive equipment and devices to hard of hearing British Columbians who have identified an individual goal that could be met through the use of an assistive device. For example, a hard of hearing senior may benefit from an amplified phone with large push buttons, a person with no hearing at all would be able to see a visual signalling device so they know when the phone is ringing, and another might benefit from the use of a TTY or telewriter telecommunications device.

“We are pleased that the B.C. government is supporting this very important community need,” said Susan Masters, executive director of the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. “This funding means that more deaf and hard of hearing individuals will have access to assistive equipment and devices that can enhance their quality of life and increase their participation in society.”

To enhance access to the many programs, supports and devices available to British Columbians with physical challenges, the Province recently launched the toll-free Personal Supports Information Line. Callers can talk to call agents and have their specific questions answered by calling 1-888-818-1211. For people who use TTYs, the number is 1-800-661-8773.


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