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July 15, 1993|ANNE LOUISE BANNON

If you're a hearing person, you might think the American Sign Language Festival would have limited appeal.

Think again.

"There are many degrees of hard of hearing or deafness," said Rick Reiss, publicist for the festival, which will be held Saturday at the Glendale Armory. "It's like eyesight. Everybody knows somebody who has some sort of hearing impairment."

The statistics bear him out. According to Gallaudet University research scientist Judith Holt, 18.7 million people over 25 in the United States have some kind of hearing loss. That's about 12% of the nation's adults.

The festival will feature a "lot of devices to help anyone with a hearing problem, no matter how small," said Reiss, who wears a hearing aid and uses a portable amplifier to hear on public phones.

If hearing problems are not an issue for you, there will be a host of other activities, talks and displays on

the deaf.

The festival will also feature technology that helps hearing and non-hearing people communicate, such as the Telephone Device for the Deaf and the California Relay Service. "That's one way hearing people and deaf people can unite by phone," Reiss said.

In fact, you can even try this technology to get more information on the festival. First call the relay service at (800) 735-2922, then ask the operator to call (818) 760-3292. The operator will record what you say into a TDD. The person with the other TDD will type responses, which the operator relays to you.

Hours at the armory, 220 E. Colorado St., are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $5 before the event, $7 at the door.

Also, there will be a "Deaf Disco" party that evening at the Red Lion Hotel, R.J. Grins Nightclub, 100 W. Glenoaks Blvd. from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Admission is free, with a buffet for $5.

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