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Hearing Loss Awareness in the Amazon Rainforest

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Hearing Loss Awareness in the Amazon Rainforest

By Jo Piazza, Tonic

Imagine going through high school and never being able to hear someone whispering in your ear, or whispering about you for that matter. Or being a middle-schooler with a voice so high-pitched you sound like a cartoon character. Kids laugh at you and call you Minnie Mouse. There are worse things that can happen to a person, but these things and the grander discrimination against individuals with hearing loss sting and stick with a person.

That’s why the Hear the World organization is so intent on raising awareness about the disability of hearing loss, in all its shapes and forms and why a group of eight students between the ages of 17 and 22 all with varying levels of hearing ability (some of the students have never had hearing loss and some were born with severe hearing disabilities) boarded planes from points across the United States to meet in the Peruvian jungle and experience the sounds of the Amazon.

This expedition to Peru, in partnership with Global Explorers, is bringing these students of mixed hearing abilities together in an environment where sound, and preservation of sound, is a way of life, to learn from one another by learning to use adversity to their advantage, and in turn, becoming the next generation of Hear the World sound ambassadors. By making sound a central part of the trip, they hope to convey the important role that sound and hearing plays in our daily lives and the need to protect it — for those with and without hearing loss.

Leading the students is Bill Barkeley, one of 15,000 people in the US and 100,000 in the world with Usher’s Syndrome (Type 2), the leading cause of deaf-blindness in the world.  Bill summited Mount Kilimanjaro in 2007 shattering expectations and confirming his role as an advocate and inspiration for the hearing loss community.

One in every six people worldwide is affected by hearing loss. It’s about the same amount of people in the world who own a car. As the population ages — and noise pollution in the world increases – more and more people will be losing their hearing. It is estimated that the number of those affected by hearing loss will rise to around 1.1 billion by 2015.

Image Credit: Jo Piazza

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9:38PM PST on Dec 13, 2012

Today hearing loss has widely increased in our society not only in aged people but also in teens. Hearing loss can cause so many health diseases also like depression and low blood pressure. The condition of hard of hearing people is worst in the society. No one want to join them in their normal conversations. Our society need an awareness for these hard of hearing people.

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2:53AM PST on Feb 28, 2011

I like ur article and it really gives an outstanding idea that is very helpful for all the
people on the web
Hearing Aid

4:29AM PDT on Jul 28, 2010

I suddenly lost hearing in my left ear in the last 18mths, all tests cannot detect why, no illness caused it, nor has it been brought on by my previous occupation prior to having my two children etc.
I'm 35.
My hearing aid is brilliant, and it's funny how some in society react to you due to wearing an aid...I think it's laughable actually, as it's like someone having to wear glasses, you need it, it biggy! :)

6:25PM PDT on Jul 27, 2010

I suffer from moderate hearing loss and tinnitus. It has gone on for many years now. Even hearing aids only shift the audio range around, attempting to overcome tinnitus. It sure takes the fun out of the day.

10:02AM PDT on Jul 27, 2010

good article

5:03PM PDT on Jul 26, 2010

I am losing my hearing too. Thanks for the info.

3:28PM PDT on Jul 26, 2010


3:16PM PDT on Jul 26, 2010

Thank you....such a good cause.

2:05PM PDT on Jul 26, 2010

I have a young grandson who is in a band, deafening, and I mean literally, music. He does not even wear ear plugs. He will experience hearing loss, I am sure. The young just do not think sometimes. My father is still alive and worked on the railroad. Now there is ear protection. Then, there wasn't. Who knew? Now my dad can barely hear. We sometimes don't learn lessons put right in front of us. My grandson knows about his great-grandfather, but it does not seem to compute for him. Too bad. Thanks for the article.

10:25AM PDT on Jul 26, 2010

Hearing loss in our society is as easy as to get cancer is when you smoke.There is just too much loud noise by far We are in our mid 50s and find that the younger people have no idea what they inflict on others with their blaring stereo. We go do concerts on a regular basis and shows but there the music is always too loud. We use wax earplugs to prevent damage and they don't really affect our enjoyment, and it is certainly better than having deafness and a thumping headache afterward.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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