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Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights and Hearing Loss

The ongoing fight for equality and social justice in the 1960s, both in the US and worldwide, has been so widely documented and recognized that we devote an entire day to commemorating one of the true pioneers of this movement. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a pastor from Georgia who not only saw the major societal injustice being faced by African Americans, but also took it upon himself to take action. His efforts led to one of the greatest civil rights achievements of the 21st century as he and others persistently pushed for racial equality, and eventually got it.

Of course, the term ‘civil rights’ encompasses a wide variety of causes. Thus, the fight for civil rights is inevitably ongoing. In addition to racially driven civil rights issues, our modern society faces a plethora of civil rights issues relating to gender, class, and even medical disabilities.


Americans with Disabilities Act and Hearing Loss

Perhaps the most active champion for the disabled is the Americans with Disabilities Act and its associated parties.They have been particularly active in recent years in looking out for the rights of the hearing impaired. Often referred to as the ADA, this organization specifically recognizes the rights of all persons with disabilities, and particularly, that this group should be accommodated in a certain way so that they are treated no differently than any non-disabled societal counterpart.

The NAD, National Association for the Deaf, is very vocal about the rights of hearing impaired or Deaf individuals, thereby acting consistently to prevent any discrimination or disparity in treatment. Jump-off organizations, too, have emerged. Organizations like the Hearing Loss Association of America support fundraising events like walks to help raise awareness and to raise funds for further research.


Hearing Loss and Equality

Legal efforts aside, other parties have acted in order to ensure equality for the hearing impaired as well. In one example, movie theaters, opera houses, and other acoustically-centered environments have begun to  include hearing loops to accommodate for telecoils  often used in hearing aids (telecoils allow the user to hear the sound directly from the hearing loop, rather than the hearing aid microphones).  Others have taken their hearing impairment upon themselves, and have decidedly let others know about their hearing impairment. Some with hearing loss sport buttons, t-shirts, or signs indicating something along the lines of, I am hearing impaired, please face me when we speak, or, I am hard of hearing, speak up. This method allows the hearing impaired person to feel empowered, all while letting peers know of their issue; this de-stigmatizes the hearing impairment by skirting the awkward interaction of mishearing others.


It’s never too late to speak up for what matters to you. From famed civil rights achievers like Dr. King to your average Good Samaritan, it’s crucial to emphasize equality and fairness for all. Here at Audicus, we know the importance of these values and we exercise them each and every day.

In fact, we’ve recently partnered with Hearing Charities of America to collect used hearing aids, which will be refurbished for people in need. Have old hearing aids? Send them our way!

by Andrea Zielinski

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