A half a century of services to deaf and hard of hearing members of our community was marked by DeafHear.ie, the national association for deaf and hard of hearing people.
The association hosted a large group of local public representatives, members of the deaf community and longtime supporters of the association in the north east.
Cllr Eamonn O’Boyle, chairman of Dundalk Town Council and one of the original founding members of the Louth branch of the National Association for Deaf People was there for the celebrations.
“I have always maintained that this work is vital for a very special group of people,” said Cllr O’Boyle. “To think that the organisation is still providing these services after 50 years is a remarkable achievement.”
Sandra Ivory, manager of the regional office, listed the many services provided by DeafHear including family support, assistive technology, community services, hearing aid services and communication support programmes, information and advice and mental health services.
Reflecting on the developments of the past 50 years, Niall Keane, chief executive of DeafHear, said: “While today’s world may be far from perfect, it is much more accessible for deaf and hard of hearing people.
“We have seen the development of textphones, TV and cinema subtitling, the availability of sign language interpreters and better educational opportunities.
Today’s event was also marked by the announcement of two important new initiatives. Keep the Sound campaign, which is aimed at reducing the sound levels at which young people listen to music. Pilot studies by DeafHear indicate that over half of young people are listening to music at levels which will damage their hearing. The Check it Out campaign was also launched which is targeted at older members of the community to have their hearing checked.