Increasing support for the hearing impaired in Trinidad and Tobago


The Trinidad and Tobago Association for the Hearing Impaired (TTAHI) has called on the country’s government to do more for deaf, hard-of-hearing, and differently-abled people.

Speaking at the Diagnostic Research Educational and Therapeutic Centre for the Hearing Impaired (Dretchi) located in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad’s capital city, Valdano Tobias called on the government to improve access to the work market and housing for people with hearing loss. Tobias is Chairman of TTAHI.

He highlighted these two main areas where improvements are needed urgently: housing and education. “The deaf cannot find jobs or acquire HDC houses,” Tobias said. HDC (the Housing Development Corporation) is an agency of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development that manages a large-scale construction program in Trinidad and Tobago. “There are problems within the education system when it comes to deaf and hard-of-hearing persons,” Tobias added. This has a direct impact on the ability of people with hearing impairment to access the work market. He said that when people in the deaf community do find work, they are not paid well and therefore cannot qualify for an HDC home. He added that there is a deficit in terms of equality for deaf and disabled people.

The President of TTAHI, Patricia Charles, said that one of the main goals of the association for 2017 will be to become an employment agency for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. “There are a lot of deaf and hard-of-hearing people working in different fields but, as things are currently constituted, they are generally confined to a certain kind of job,” she added.

Source: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday