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South Africans urged to learn sign language

South Africans urged to learn sign language

hand-signs

The KwaZulu-Natal Deaf and Blind Society is calling on all South Africans to make a greater effort to understand sign language.This they say it is key in bridging the gap between those who can hear and those who cannot. At least 600 000 South Africans are hearing impaired.

The society’s Belinda Naidu says this month has been set aside to create greater awareness about the challenges they face on a daily basis. Naidu says: “The only form that differentiates a person that is deaf from the rest of the main stream society is in that they communicate in a different way”.

“Intellectually and physically they are able to manage a full life and if people use sign language their be able to access and reach their potential but unfortunately it’s us, society that is unable to bridge that gap. In fact we are limited in communicating through sign language, she added.

Meanwhile, Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein launched a jam-packed programme last week through their speech therapy and audiology department.

Audiologists use special equipment in a sound treated room to test hearing.

Audiologists use special equipment in a sound treated room to test hearing.

An Audiologist at Pelonomi Hospital Susan Loots says: “Before we can diagnose a hearing loss, we must test anyone’s hearing and we will ask them to wear headphones and to raise their hands when they hear the sound and then we will do other tests to see how each part of the ear works”.

“Sometimes hearing loss can be treated with medicine or surgery, but if not the audiologists will help them the person to decide then on things like getting the hearing aid or learning sign language” says Loot.

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