Loudoun County ALERT!

February 22, 2012 in Uncategorized
NVRC PROGRAMS FACING DRASTIC CUTS

By Cheryl Heppner, NVRC Executive Director

NVRC has been providing services to Loudoun County since 1997. Its requests for increased funding during the past few years have been repeatedly turned down. From July 2010 to June 2011 we served 604 individuals. We also made outreach visits to assist 56 people, held 21 support group meetings, and participated in 129 activities to share information. These services and many more were accomplished despite receiving less than half of the funding we had requested.

We were stunned to learn that the county’s budget for the year starting in July 2013 proposes to cut our current funding in half — from $20,000 to $10,000. Back in 2009 we were receiving $29,878.

Those funds are primarily used for activities by our Loudoun County outreach specialist, Joan Cassidy. They do not include the cost to NVRC for other programs that Loudoun County residents benefit from, such as our free email news service, the educational programs at our center, and free meeting room space to nonprofit community-based organizations and our many advocacy activities.

Deafness and hearing loss are not going away. They are growing. Research by Johns Hopkins has found that nearly 20% of Americans over the age of 12 have hearing loss so severe that it may make communication difficult. If 20% of Loudoun’s 319,983 residents have hearing loss, that would be 63,983 individuals, minus an unknown number of others without hearing loss under the age of 12.

The Hearing Loss Association of America seeks to make hearing loss a national concern, and NVRC strongly supports their efforts. If you are a Loudoun County resident, it is important to let your supervisor know that you support expanding our services, such as NVRC’s very popular 3-part “I Can’t Hear You!” series for individuals aging with hearing loss and our Hearing Loss Awareness programs.

Getting hearing help at any age is crucial. But research by Johns Hopkins and National Institute on Aging has found a possible link between dementia and untreated hearing loss.

Hearing damage was the number one disability in the war on terrorism in 2008, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This is the result of harmful noise levels, treatment with drugs that can damage hearing, and poor hearing protection programs. Some experts say it could take decades before the true toll becomes clear. In 2008, more than 58,000 of the 1.3 million troops serving in the two war zones were veterans on disability for hearing loss and nearly 70,000 more were collecting disability for tinnitus.

NVRC knows that the deaf and hard of hearing community is continually at a disadvantage in trying to advocate for its needs. Active participation in governance, community events, and the political process is difficult and sometimes impossible, because it is not common to have sign language interpreters at political events, or technology known as CART, which provides text of what is being said, or assistive listening systems. Public hearings, meetings and events are often noisy and a significant number of individuals with hearing loss cannot isolate the words of a speaker in the presence of noise.

If you care about the services NVRC provides to Loudoun County, tell the Supervisor who represents your district and ask them not to cut NVRC’s funding. Ask your family, friends, and neighbors to do the same. You can find your Supervisor’s phone, fax, and email information in the box beneath the photo on their individual county web page. Click here for the list of Supervisors to find their individual page: http://www.loudoun.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=990.

YOU CAN ALSO

Email comments on the budget to Loudounbudget@loudoun.gov

Leave a message on the Comment Line 703-777-0115

Write a letter to the Board of Supervisors

1 Harrison St SE, Leesburg VA 20175