Mexico City /
When I found out about the MVS Radio Foundation, in particular about its Ponte Oreja program, I realized that this topic is not discussed. We know it exists but what are we doing as a society to help people who have a hearing impairment?
The figures in Mexico are worrying, most people do not have the resources to have adequate treatment, much less a dignified life. Personally, it’s something that opened up my outlook on the society we live in, and about how empathetic we should be about these issues. I understood a little better how we can get more involved, and how we can help people who have this condition.
Exclusively for M de Milenio, we talked with Jorge Vázquez, director of the foundation, about the importance of creating awareness regarding this issue that affects so many Mexicans, and about how we can help this cause.
What does the MVS Radio Foundation do and what is its mission?
To raise the quality of life of thousands of Mexicans in a vulnerable situation and with hearing disabilities. It’s that simple, and that important. We do it by fulfilling our mission of serving them with specialists, promoting inclusion through our different programs, spreading social causes on our radio stations, and providing support in natural disasters.
What are your activities fundamental?
We have three social programs: at Ponte Oreja we donate the specialized attention of audiometrists, the audiometry study, hearing aids, a Ponte Oreja Kit that includes the necessary accessories for a year, and personalized telephone follow-up. AudioBecas is a program for children and young people to continue their studies in schools 100% adapted to their specific needs. And the last one, Inclusion, in which we promote the natural inclusion of the hearing impaired population in social, educational and mainly labor fields, providing workshops and advice to companies that seek to be inclusive.
With thousands of beneficiaries, how has this impacted people’s lives?
In many ways, each program has its benefactors, from having a new device, having specialized help, changing the quality of life, being able to listen, developing better at work and at home, and so on.
How is the panorama of hearing impairment in Mexico? A lot is missing?
The majority of the population in Mexico is not aware of hearing impairment. It is not visible to the naked eye, but it is the third most important disability nationally. It is essential that more people are aware of this. A great challenge for Mexico is that there are real tax incentives, as in other countries, so that companies are motivated to donate.
What is the greatest disadvantage that people with hearing disabilities experience to develop fully?
The difficulty of accessing a hearing aid that allows them to make a profit since it is extremely expensive in Mexico. The costs range from 20,000 pesos for a very basic hearing aid, to a cochlear implant of more than one million pesos.
That is why it is so important that people get to know the MVS Radio Foundation and allow us to continue our work of donating hearing aids to low-income people.
To what extent are hearing disabilities a limitation of opportunities for those who suffer from them? What does the foundation do in this regard?
The vast majority of institutions, companies, and recreational centers are not prepared to receive people with hearing disabilities, so someone who wants to access a service and has this disability does not always benefit. The role of the foundation is key to this cultural change; Through the inclusion program we promote that institutions of all kinds manage to be prepared for it.
Have we made progress in the inclusion of people with hearing disabilities?
There are still many prejudices and biases about disability in general. It is necessary to generate different tools that meet the hearing needs of the population. In other words, not everyone has the same hearing loss, so different strategies should be considered, such as subtitles, interpreters in Mexican Sign Language, graphic support, and good audio for those who are hearing.
What can we, individually, do to support this cause?
Donate and invite others to do so, and get to know each other; For every 4,500 pesos that we collect from today until June 10 –National Day of the Mexican Sign Language–, we will provide comprehensive hearing care to a Mexican man or woman with the Ponte Oreja program._
Most people do not have the resources to carry out adequate treatment.
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