If you had the choice of being either blind or deaf, which would be the lesser evil for you?
Years ago, an informal survey was conducted among area blind people, deaf people, and folks with normal vision and hearing on this topic. Their answers were eye-opening. Nearly everyone with hearing loss said they would rather be deaf.
Surprisingly, however, many of the folks with vision loss and the able-bodied citizens gave a contrary answer — that they would rather be blind.
When asked why they would prefer being blind and miss out on seeing all the wonderful things in the world, they had a similar response: “If we were blind, we would still be able to communicate. If we were deaf, we could not do that — we couldn't make voice phone calls, drive a car, know what was going on at public forums, or hear warning announcements of tornados, blizzards or even our smoke alarms going off. And most of all, we would be deprived of having just ordinary, spontaneous conversations.”
HearCare Connection, a local non-profit organization, is offering the public a chance to experience what it is like to have hearing loss during its Silent Challenge fundraiser Friday and Saturday.
The hearing-loss prevention awareness day ties in with May being Better Speech and Hearing Month.
“We are mass-distributing ear plugs all over the city to encourage people to wear the plugs for one hour or the whole day to understand what a mild hearing loss is like, so they can be, 1), more apt to protect their own hearing, and, 2), more understanding and supportive of those with hearing loss,” said Angelina Boungou, HearCare Connection executive director.
“This awareness will also be a way to get the word out about how hearing loss affects children and learning abilities, and how it can attribute to dementia and other conditions, including daily interactions in work or meetings,” Boungou said.
“And May 19 is our first annual 2-mile walk for hearing-loss awareness, which we are calling Lend Me Your Ears,” she said.”It will be at Lawton Park, with registration for walkers being $10, which includes a T-shirt and umbrella. Children walk free with a paying adult.
“We will have a family fair with food, games, activities and music. Local musicians — Augustus Berry, Pauline Benner, MacKenzie Riley and Adriana Arthur — will perform. We will be in the ball diamond field across from the skate park.
“This will be a fun way for teams to get out together, whether they have kids with hearing loss, or a family member or co-worker, or they might work for an organization to help people or simply enjoy the beauty of sound.
“Either way, it's an easy walk and promises to be a fun day,” Boungou said. “Our costumed Super Ear-O (pun intended) acrobat will be there in full glory.”