Who are we?
We are Rotarians, their spouses and Rotaractors who are passionate about helping children and adults with hearing loss in our communities and around the world.
Purpose of Rotarians for Hearing RAG (Rotarian Action Group)
Rotarians for Hearing RAG is a resource for Rotarians to provide information, expertise and encouragement to Rotary Clubs, Rotary Districts and Multi-Districts to help them participate in cooperative projects and large scale humanitarian projects to help children and adults with hearing loss.
Goals of Rotarians for Hearing RAG
To increase awareness of the extent of hearing loss around the world. There are 600 million children and adults with hearing loss worldwide. 400 million live in developing countries. 275 million could be given the gift of sound with hearing aids, but only 10 million hearing aids are manufactured every year costing approximately $1000 for an analog hearing aid and $2500 or more for a digital hearing aid and $1 a week for batteries (per ear) - unaffordable for a vast majority of hearing impaired especially in countries that do not have adequate government or insurance programs to cover them.
To provide affordable hearing aids by partnering with foundations who supply them, creating projects for affordable solar powered hearing aids and collecting used hearing aids to refurbish and donate to children and adults with hearing loss who cannot afford them.
To reduce the extent and impact of hearing loss through Rotary Future Vision goals of Disease Prevention and Treatment by supporting Primary Ear Care Programs, especially in developing countries. 50% of all hearing loss is preventable sometimes with as little as $1 a day for antibiotics to treat ear infections. Ear infections from poor water and sanitation are so rampant that hearing loss in some communities in the developing world is considered normal! To teach the importance of hearing health care to avoid future hearing loss.
To support Schools of Audiology and Primary Ear Care to increase the human resources to treat children and adults with hearing loss especially in developing countries where there is only 1 Audiologist for 3 million hearing impaired individuals.
To support Early Childhood Screening for hearing loss so prelingual children can learn to speak and/or sign and postlingual children can go to school. Many children with hearing loss in developing countries are denied access to school because they cannot hear the teacher and keep up with their schoolwork. Many children with hearing loss are believed to be deaf when they only have moderate or severe hearing and can be helped with hearing aids.
To support cochlear implant programs for children and adults with profound hearing loss who cannot afford them
To inform Rotarians about Assistive Listening Devices, Amplification Systems and Captioning Services that could help Rotarians with mild, moderate and severe hearing loss get more out of Rotary Club Meetings, Districts and Multi-District Conferences and the Rotary International Conferences and help with member retention and attract new members. A majority of Rotarians 60 years of age and older have some degree of hearing loss.
To financially support Hearing Regeneration Research aimed at restoring hearing loss through regenerating hair cells in the ear
What does it mean to be have a hearing loss?
Pre-lingual hearing children with a hearing loss cannot learn to speak their native language. We learn language by imitiating what we hear. Post-lingual children who do not have hearing aids or deaf education are denied access to schools and are relegated to a life of poverty. Adults who lose their hearing may not be able to work and support their families or become socially isolated and suffer from depression.