Republished from Forbes Woman Africa:
South Africa’s Freedom Charter was adopted in 1955. The Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted in 1990. The United Kingdom followed five years later with the Disability Discrimination Act. Yet where are all the great leaders championing access for people with hearing loss?
Nelson Mandela wore hearing aids but he is only known for overcoming apartheid in South Africa. Malala Yousafzai wears a cochlear implant, but she never mentions it when she speaks about educating girls. Academy Award Winner and actress Jodi Foster stood up at the Oscars to declare she was a lesbian but never mentioned that she wears a hearing aid despite its prominence in a Daily Mail photograph.
There are 360 million people worldwide with some form of hearing loss. How can an issue be so pervasive but with no recognizable role models or leaders? There are great advocates within the insular hearing loss community but no person who captivates the world.