Across China: Unlocking the world of sound for hearing-impaired kids

Source: Xinhua| 2020-06-17 20:58:37|Editor: huaxia

LANZHOU, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Loudspeakers blare out children's songs as 4-year-old Ding Haoyu and his peers gyrate to imitate the gestures of their teacher in a kindergarten in northwest China's Gansu Province.

Dancing, drawing and chasing one another in the playground... these kids seem no different to other preschoolers if not for the hearing devices plugged to their ears.

Born in a remote and impoverished village in Gansu, Ding was found with hearing disability at birth. Benefiting from local government's rehabilitation project for disabled children, he received a free cochlear implant and related training in Gansu Hearing-Speech Rehabilitation Center.

Since it was established in 1989, the center in Lanzhou, capital of Gansu, has trained more than 4,000 hearing-impaired children and nearly 60,000 parents.

With the appropriate hearing device as well as speech and auditory training, over 800 children went on to join regular primary and high schools and even colleges.

The kindergarten Ding stays in is run by the center. It reopened on June 1 after months of closure due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The classrooms, dormitories and canteen are disinfected three times a day, and all kids get their temperatures checked before joining the class.

Now all of Ding's classmates have hearing difficulties like him. When they grow up, they will be transferred to a class where most of their peers have normal hearing. It is part of the rehabilitation project to help children with special needs fit into society.

"The earlier children with hearing defects receive rehabilitation and therapy, the better the language and auditory skills they develop," said Zhang Lan, head tutor of the center.

China has more than 85 million disabled people, 20 million of which are hearing-impaired, according to the China Disabled Persons' Federation.

Starting this year, Gansu will provide at least 72,000 yuan (about 10,176 U.S. dollars) in financial aid for each child with hearing defect for artificial cochleas and implant surgery.

To take good care of Ding, the center has provided a caregiver's job to his mother Qu Honghong. She receives a monthly salary of more than 1,200 yuan and a free dormitory.

Watching her son dance through a window, Qu feels reassured. After two years in the center, her son is able to hear and speak.

"I hope he can live and study just like any kid," said Qu. Enditem