Listen. What do you hear? The ding of a microwave. A siren in the distance. A cell phone ringing. Water running. Birds chirping. The patter of rain on a window. A baby crying. Laughter. The wind in the trees.

Deaf Awareness Week is September 19-25, and there are some great activities going on, from the Kickoff at the Walden Galleria Mall on Saturday, September 19 from 10:00am – 2:00pm, to the Open House at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf (2253 Main Street, Buffalo) on Monday, September 21 at 6:00-8:00pm, where WYRK’s Dale Mussen will speak and there will be free tours of this historic building and the SMSD Museum.  Click here for full line-up of events.

To truly become aware of deafness, however, we must appreciate the ability to hear. How it informs, protects, engages, enlightens, entertains…Imagine what it would be like to be without this critical auditory input to understand the challenges faced by those in our community who cannot hear. My mother was deaf, and I now wear a hearing aid. I am not deaf, but I have gained a sincere empathy for those who are.

International Week of the Deaf was first launched in 1958 in Rome. So take a moment this week to listen to the sounds that light up your life, even the ones you don’t particularly like, and imagine what it would be like to be unable to hear them. You will making Deaf Awareness Week a success!