April 20, 2019. After a recent posting about the challenges faced by Island seniors in trying to access hearing aid subsidies, only to discover that a program available to adults under 65 is not applicable to them, a lot of interesting and heartwarming things happened. (See Should The Cost of Hearing Aids For Islanders Over 65 Be Supplemented The Same As For Those Under 65?)
In a letter to the party leaders running in the PEI election, the solution proposed was a simple adjustment to a currently existing program that will help Island seniors with hearing loss stay independent. Supplement the cost of hearing aids for seniors by extending the AccessAbility Supports Program to include all adults, not just those up to age 65, or devise a similar program.
We asked blog readers from the island, members of PEI’s hearing loss group, and various organizations if they would consider writing a letter of support for this proposed solution. A number did. In addition, letters of support have been received to date from:
- Seniors Active Living Centre
- PEI Women’s Institute
- PEI Council of People With Disabilities
Two of the four political parties responded in a positive manner, as did several of the candidates running in the election.
This encouraging support led to a complementary initiative that began a few days ago, a petition to be presented in the legislature later this year, during an upcoming sitting of the new PEI government, asking for the same solution: Supplement the cost of hearing aids for seniors by extending the AccessAbility Supports Program to include all adults, not just those up to age 65, or devise a similar program.
Our goal: a minimum of 2,500 signatures. When we received the blank petitions from the printer, we noticed an extra sheet. The employees at the printing shop had signed the petition! What a great start!
Annie Lee MacDonald and I took a petition into a nearby restaurant to look over the printing job. The staff and several customers asked what the petition was about, and everyone wanted to sign it. The cook even came out of the kitchen. We didn’t have enough room on the sheet and had to get more petitions from the car!
At a recent Women’s Institute branch meeting, all members present signed the petition.
This enthusiasm has been wonderful. At our hearing loss meeting this week, everyone signed and took copies to do their own campaigning in getting signatures.
At the local pharmacy, the staff and pharmacists signed. The same thing happened at the dentist’s office. My husband had to see a specialist for a surgical procedure and the young doctor not only signed the petition, but thanked us for the initiative as he “had many patients who had hearing loss but couldn’t afford hearing aids“.
The PEI Council of People With Disabilities met a few days ago and decided to have the petition available in all of their offices. You can drop into their offices in Charlottetown, Summerside, or Montague and ask to sign the petition. The Council issued a challenge to take the petition out to churches and public gatherings.
Several friends offered to circulate the petition – and none have hearing loss themselves. When my husband had the snow tires on our car exchanged for summer tires, he noticed the petition on the back seat and mentioned it to the mechanic. He ended up filling the sheet as more people heard the discussion and agreed it was a cause worth supporting.
All of us can identify a family member or friend whose life is restricted because of their hearing loss. So we ask you to support the petition and help us reach our goal of a minimum of 2,500 signatures. In addition to the offices of the PEI Council of People With Disabilities, a number of volunteers in the communities across the island are out there asking for your signature. We welcome not only your signature, but also your letters of support.
We all can do more to help build awareness of hearing issues, and to encourage hearing loss prevention programs. Your voices and your suggestions for improvements to hearing accessibility are needed for the provincial election and the upcoming federal election. If you think our outreach and educational activities have made a difference, please let us know. Your letters of support make a BIG difference when we try to encourage hearing accessibility. It tells others that we are not a lone voice in the wilderness. Please share your ideas and stories by commenting on this blog, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @HearPEI.
© Daria Valkenburg
Upcoming event in a venue equipped with a hearing loop gives you a chance to experience the clarity of sound heard through a hearing loop. CONCERT: Phase II & Friends Concert – Here Comes Summer at West River United Church in Cornwall, May 5, 2019 at 7 pm. Fundraiser for the church. Advance tickets may be obtained after church on April 21st and 28th, or by contacting the Church office at 902-566-4052. Tickets are $10.
Upcoming fundraising ceilidh offered by Bonshaw Hall on Sunday, May 26, 2019, from 2 to 4 pm. The organizers are generously sharing their proceeds with us, to help in our non-project related activities. We hope you come out and enjoy the show, while helping us at the same time. Can’t attend? You can donate directly to us or through our Canada Helps page at: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708.