The South African Hearing Institute was established, in terms of the definition of the principle of Universal Design, regarding access, to promote the design of products, services, knowledge and environments to be accessible by all persons with hearing loss, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for personal adaptation or special provision.  Our vision is to fully support persons with hearing loss in terms of their respective and unique needs.
In the light of the abovementioned vision, it is also important to expand on the terms "impairment" and "disability".
The term "impairment" involves an anomaly, a defect, loss or a significant deviation in body structure or functioning.  The impairment may be permanent or temporary, progressive or regressive.  It can be physiological, intellectual, psychological or sensory (e.g.  hearing loss) in nature.  This does not imply illness or disorder.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2007) recognises disability as an evolving concept which results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers.  It recognises persons with disabilities as those persons who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments (e.g. hearing loss) impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full participation in society on an equal basis with others.

UN Convention: Download

Article 1
Article 2
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