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Life challenges for deaf and hard of hearing community

Vernon Public Art Gallery hosts panel discussion June 28
The Vernon Public Art Gallery is presenting a panel discussion abut understanding accessibility to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community on Tuesday, June 28, 6 p.m. (Contributed)

The connection of using visual art to create a public dialogue about issues related to hearing loss will be explored in a panel discussion hosted by the Vernon Public Art Gallery Tuesday, June 28.

This community conversation is another example of how the art gallery can generate discussion about relevant issues in the community, says Dauna Kennedy, executive director of the Vernon Public Art Gallery.

“We encourage people to come and interact with or panelists and learn more about hearing loss and accessibility,” Kennedy said.

Moderated by VPAG director Ed Woolley, the panelists will include Jessica Niemela, a Vernon audiologist; Hart Plummer, past president of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association Young Adults Network; Magdalena Szelezin, family navigator for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Provincial Family Services; Melanie Thomas, SD73 teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing; and Felicia D’Amato, mental health social worker for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf-Blind Well-Being Program.

The panel conversation will focus on the themes of hearing loss, accessibility and misperceptions through the lens of professionals who work in the hard of hearing field and have lived experience with hearing loss.

Stats Canada reported in 2019 that more than 50 per cent of Canadians over the age of 40 have a least a mild degree of hearing loss, although only six per cent of people actually identify themselves as having hearing loss.

Hearing loss is also not just a condition that happens as we age: one in 400 babies born in B.C. are identified with hearing loss each year, according to the Provincial Health Services Authority.

The June 28 panel discussion takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

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Barry Gerding

About the Author: Barry Gerding

Senior regional reporter for Black Press Media in the Okanagan. I have been a journalist in the B.C. community newspaper field for 37 years...
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