Communication. In many ways, I think a lot of us take it for granted. It’s not just about staying in touch with our friends and family, although that’s a big part of it. It’s also about staying connected with what’s going on around us – the cry of a baby through a monitor, the knock at the door, the blare of the smoke detector.
Life’s about communication, about connecting with the world.
But for the 1 in 4 Canadians who report having some degree of hearing loss, from ringing in their ears to being deaf since birth, there are innumerable barriers to clear and effective communication. Take for example something that we consider commonplace, smoke detectors. Someone who is hearing can go to their local hardware store, pick one up for around $20, and install it in their home with a couple of screws and a new battery. Yes, it drives you crazy when burning toast sets it off but at least you know it’s doing its job and you can hear it when it does.
Smoke detectors for someone who can’t hear an auditory alarm are an entirely different proposition. They are equipped with an incredibly strong strobe light that can’t be powered by a battery. Instead, the device must be hard-wired into a home’s electrical system. Instead of $20 and the cost of a new battery, a person needing a visual smoke detector is shelling out a minimum of 10 times that amount. And for many, the cost is prohibitive and they go without, left with no choice but to give up a sense of security in their own homes.
And what about the senior who has a hearing loss that is easily augmented with a hearing aid? You wouldn’t believe the kind of technology that’s available in the realm of hearing aids – but that life-changing technology comes at a price. A price that a lot of seniors on a fixed income, even with the government subsidies available to off-set the cost, is beyond their reach. That hearing aid can be the difference between a life of isolation and depression and one that is meaningful and rewarding.
CHS recognizes those and other challenges faced by the more than 350,000 men, women, and children who walk through the doors of our 26 offices every year. For our consumers who are unable to access much need communication devices because of financial restrictions, a number of our offices offer a Client Assistance Fund, which will provide a subsidy or the full purchase price of a communication device for a consumer in need.
Just recently, CHS Belleville, recognized the generosity of the John M. and Bernice Parrott Foundation for its $50,000 gift to establish a Client Assistance Fund for the area. This gift has already supported recipients with everything from hearing aids to alerting devices. And coming on October 2, CHS Ottawa is hosting a Dart Showdown to raise much needed funds for their own Client Assistance Fund. You can learn more about this bull’s-eye on a good cause by clicking here .
With so many of our consumers either under or unemployed, these Funds are essential. So if you’re interested in helping out, contact your local CHS office and find out if they have a Client Assistance Fund and how you can donate.
If you’re interested in making your home or business accessible, check out the full range of devices we have available on our CHS e-store and talk to one of our knowledgeable and friendly consultants to help you choose the communication device that best suits your needs.
Together, we can get us closer to that society we envision…one where all people have full access to communication.