Introduction

Bekol is a self-help association founded and directed by people with hearing loss. Since its inception in 1997, Bekol has been the only organization in Israel with the goal to include adults with hearing loss into general society through addressing issues of legislation, accessibility, employment, technology, and rehabilitation. Bekol is managed by a professional and dedicated staff including certified hearing care providers and social workers, as well as over one hundred volunteers who are trained in their specific tasks. Bekol reaches out to communities across Israel to disseminate information about hearing loss management, hearing technology, accessibility, and the rights of people with hearing loss. Bekol works with local and national government and NGOs to promote accessibility and enhance equal opportunity for adults with hearing loss at work and in the public space.

The Need 

A recent study estimated that over 800,000 people in Israel have some hearing loss. We all have someone near to us who is struggling with the isolation and the stigma that accompanies hearing loss. These individual are often treated with impatience or as unintelligent.

The Law for Equal Rights for People with Disabilities passed in 1998.  However for people with hearing loss inclusion and equal opportunity are still not guaranteed. The great majority of people with hearing loss are older adults who find it difficult to access vital oral information and make use of modern technology. This can cause isolation in their workplace, at social activities, and with family members. Isolation is a major element preventing mature adults from getting the help and support that they need.

Who is Served?

Thanks to Bekol's efforts, positive changes are taking place in Israel. These changes serve not only people with hearing loss but also serve for the betterment of society as a whole. Bekol is successfully applying experience and expertise to help adults with hearing loss in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, Ashdod, and Beer Sheva through lectures on hearing loss and its management, hearing screening, private consultations, support for self help and pursuing career opportunities.  Bekol has set a goal to reach out to adults with hearing loss residing in the periphery. A special outreach effort is made to include minority communities by presenting a Hearing Day Program in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic and Russian.

Activities

Since its inception Bekol has successfully achieved the following milestones.

Lobbying and Advocacy:

  • Actively supported the successful legislation of the Law for Equal Rights for People with Disabilities in Israel.
  • Successfully lobbied the national government and broadcasting networks to introduce legislation for TV subtitles to be included gradually in all Hebrew broadcasts. 
  • Successfully secured national legislation providing health benefits for people with hearing loss, especially the inclusion of cochlear implants and hearing aids in the public health insurance coverage.
  • Continuation of the struggle for equal rights in all aspects of life, especially in employment and education.
  • Conducting on going efforts to ensure accessibility to all public places for people with hearing loss.
  • Increased public awareness to hearing loss issues through symposiums, public events, and hearing screenings across the country.

Raising Awareness:

Hotline for information and support service:

  • The hotline is staffed by trained volunteers providing information both technical and emotional to over 3,000 people a year.

Demonstration and Guidance Centers:

  • Bekol center in Tel Aviv house exhibits of assistive listening devices (ALD) and provide demonstrations of their use. Hundreds of people a year receive free instruction from Bekol members trained especially for this task.
  • Bekol organizes self-help groups guided by professionals which provide information and support as well as a social network for a nominal fee for Bekol members.

Bekol Mobile Hearing Unit Project:

  • The Bekol Mobile Hearing Unit travels across Israel with the mission to disseminate information about hearing loss, its management and hearing screening for residents of the periphery. The information is designed to help participants enhance their quality of life, as well as that of their families.
  • The three hour program includes a lecture about hearing loss, the ways it affects our lives, what help is available and how to access help. Students of Communication Disorders screen the participants for hearing loss and a certified hearing professional advises each person individually discussing options for getting help. 
  • Since 2011, the mobile unit has served country wide – at their local community or health center – over 10,000 thousand people in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic and Russian. Over 2000 people had their hearing screened and nearly 3000 were provided with private consultations regarding their hearing loss.
  • Nearly one hundred Communication Disorder Students participated in an internship program with the Mobile Hearing Unit working with people in their local settings across Israel, people that will be like their future clients with hearing loss whom they will be serving in health centers and clinics upon completion of their studies.

For more information please contact our offices at our new address:

Bekol

34 HaBarzel Street, 3rd Floor

Tel Aviv   6971051

Israel

Phone: 03-5257001

Fax:     03-5257004

SMS:   03-5257001

Website: www.bekol.org

Email: info@bekol.org

How to get to Bekol:

Bekol Offices are in the Ramat HaHayal neighborhood of Tel Aviv, just a 5 minute walk from Assuta Hospital

Buses from Tel Aviv – Dan Bus Company: 52, 12, 142, 189

Buses from Bat Yam – Dan Bus Company: 42, 141, 142

Buses from Holon – Dan Bus Company: 89, 189

Bus from Petah Tikva – Dan Bus Company: 366

Bus from Rishon L'Tzion – Egged Bus Company 75

Bus from Kfar Saba – Metropolitan 259

Bus from Herzeliya  – Egged Bus 524