Currently viewing Vol. 6 • Issue 1 • 2019

Accessibility is for Everyone

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It is our pleasure to welcome you to this very special “all accessibility” issue of the Canadian Audiologist. As guest co-editors, we would like to introduce ourselves. We are Christopher T. Sutton, national executive director of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association and Janine Verge, audiologist and board member of the Canadian Academy of Audiology.

Accessibility is about creating communities, workplaces, educational institutions, and services that enable everyone to participate fully in society without barriers. This is a basic human right we should all strive to promote. While assistive and adaptive technology such as hearing aids and cochlear implants are excellent devices, they are often not enough. People need additional resources and supports to fully participate.  In this issue, you will learn about the need for hearing loops, captioned telephone services, better hearing care services for First Nations communities, post-secondary educational supports, and communicatively accessible hearing screenings for people with aphasia.    
With the introduction and, hopefully, implementation of Bill C-81: An Accessible Canada Act, it is an important time for all of us to consider our own role in how we can break down these barriers and how to best encourage and support others to do the same.

We would like to sincerely thank Marshall Chasin, Steve Aiken, Scott Bryant, Jean Holden, the CAA board and executive, the CHHA board, and the authors of the articles in this issue for their hard work and support for making Canada more accessible for people living with hearing loss.

We hope that you enjoy this issue of the Canadian Audiologist and that it critically helps to start and continue a shared dialogue about the importance of accessibility in our community. By working together, we can break down barriers and assist in building a Barrier Free Canada for people of all abilities

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About the authors

Christopher T. Sutton, MBA

Christopher T. Sutton, is the National Executive Director of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association. Mr. Sutton’s career has spanned across the non-profit, private and public sectors in both the United States and Canada, where he has worked in various leadership capacities for some of the largest organizations serving people with disabilities. The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA) was established in 1982 and is the leading consumer advocacy organization representing the needs of the nearly 4-million Canadians living with hearing loss. With a network from coast-to-coast-to coast, CHHA works cooperatively with professionals, service providers, government and provides life enhancing information, support and advocacy to ensure people with hearing loss can overcome barriers in all aspects of their lives. CHHA has a global reputation in developing and delivering a wide range of initiatives that have challenged the status quo when working with people with hearing loss. As a leader in the sector we are often sought after to provide comments and feedback on various policy initiatives, identify best practices, develop and test technology, which in return has advanced the quality of life for people living with hearing loss. Mr. Sutton holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Gallaudet University, a Masters in Business Administration from the  Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario, in addition to a number of professional certifications.

Janine Verge, AuD, Aud(C), Clinical Audiologist

Janine has worked clinically as an Audiologist for over 20 years. She obtained her MSc in Audiology from Dalhousie University and her AuD from AT Still University. She is an adjunct professor at the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She has served as president of the Speech and Hearing Association of Nova Scotia and is currently serving her second term as a board member of the Canadian Academy of Audiology. As someone with single sided deafness, accessibility issues have always been of great interest to her. She is a co-founder and continuing committee member of the Dalhousie Hearing Aid Assistance Program, which provides donated hearing aids to low income seniors. She is also president and co-owner of ‘Accessible Hearing Solutions’ a consulting business specializing in hearing loop and DM system installations.