May is Speech and Hearing month, and Vernon is setting the stage for increasing public awareness of hearing health and hearing loss.
The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA), B.C. chapter, present The Way We Hear It! A Community Engagement Exhibition at the Okanagan Science Centre from May 1-31 everyday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Free hearing screening for the public will also be offered May 1-7, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for anyone over the age of five.
This will be CHHA-BC’s very first special exhibit made possible by collaboration of community partners in hearing health, particularly Vernon’s own pediatric audiologist Jessica Niemela.
As secretary for CHHA-BC, Niemela approached Okanagan Science Centre executive directer Dione Chambers with her public education idea.
“Hearing health is a concept that ought to begin early and continue across the lifespan. Providing an exhibit that is inclusive of young children will allow families to learn together and have an experience that is engaging and memorable,” Niemela said.
The exhibit was also supported with a City of Vernon council discretionary grant of $10,000.
“Now more than ever we are being called to spread awareness of hearing health and reduce the stigma. With the pandemic creating pronounced communication challenges for those with even a mild degree of hearing loss, and the launch of B.C.’s own Accessibility Act, our hearing health is truly becoming everyone’s affair,” Niemela said.
“This exhibit will provide an interactive, hands-on experience that will educate the general public of all ages about our auditory system, hearing health, hearing loss, diverse treatments and solutions, as well as promoting our community of people with hearing loss.”
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