DeafWire Edition – 18 May 2024

Weekly DEAFWIRE news recaps

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Gene therapy to restore hearing

Scientists in the United States believe that they have found a way to fix genetic deafness in a recent breakthrough. Though it is still early in the study, scientists believe that in the future, they could “cure” deafness by fixing one of the genes that make a person Deaf. A scientist from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School, Zheng-Yi Chen, worked with researchers in China to develop a treatment to restore hearing in people who carry a mutated OTOF gene. The OTOF gene is supposed to make a protein that sends signals from the ear to the brain, but when mutated, the gene instead causes genetic human deafness. In this study, the scientists worked on six children who were carriers of the inherited mutated gene, and inserted a special virus into their cochlea so that it would help cells in the ear send signals to the brain.


Development of Deaf sports

The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) is focused on developing Deaf sports in Africa so that Deaf athletes in Africa can participate on the world stage. The Vice President of ICSD, Yutuka Osugi, traveled to Nigeria to meet with Nigerian Senator and Minister of Sports Development, John Owan Enoh-Joe. They discussed how they can improve sporting opportunities for Deaf people there so that they have the chance to compete in various sports internationally. Also present at this meeting was the President of the Nigeria Deaf Sports Federation (NDSF), Alhaji Saka, and the President of Deaf Sports for West Africa (WADSU), Amuda Yusuf Ibrahim, who both operate Deaf sporting events in Africa. 

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* Senior Writer, Associate Producer (Canada)



Drop in teachers of Deaf

Parents of Deaf children in Wales are worried because there aren’t enough teachers trained to teach children who are Deaf. Ros, a mother from Monmouthshire, has two Deaf children. When they were little, the family got support from teachers trained in teaching Deaf children and supporting families, but now they say there aren’t enough of these teachers. Ros is concerned because she believes her children will have a harder time at school without the right support. Another mother, Rhiannon, from Vale of Glamorgan, says she knows how important these teachers are. She explained that her daughter Lucy was able to do well in school and even go to university because of this specialized support. Rhiannon herself wanted to become a teacher for Deaf children but later found out that it wasn’t easy to get trained for that in Wales.

The Old Fogeys

See this week’s cartoon.

THE OLD FOGEYS – View cartoon


Accessible elections

In Senegal, the Deaf community needs access to information through Sign Language. Normally, the country holds a presidential election every 4 years. However, many Deaf people do not have access to information about the election, voting process, or other key topics because they don’t understand
written language. They need information provided in Sign Language to truly understand. To address this issue, a partnership between the Deaf association and USAID has launched a new project. This project focuses on setting up Sign Language interpretation for the Deaf community during election times. They provide Sign Language interpreters on TV, explaining the voting process and other related information to make elections more accessible to the Deaf. 


Deaf people's experiences

Hello, my name is Silinde. I am from South Africa. South Africa has 42 Deaf schools around the provinces. Deaf education and the Department of Education have recently approved to ensure sign language is accessible in education. There have been other services to support including family problems and a Deaf mentor. My name is Ivy. I want to see South Africa improve by allowing Deaf people to take leadership and governmental roles. The South African government needs to give support that includes opportunities to go to university, give training like GBV, empowering women and more. 

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