Do You Have Hearing Loss Friends?

A few weeks ago I attended HLAA’s annual convention. It is always a treat. Several days of hearing accessible workshops, learning about new products available for people with hearing loss in the exhibition hall, and just plain fun, hanging out with my hearing loss friends. It is a great mix of people — some with more severe hearing issues, some with less, but each has something to teach me in terms of coping skills and tricks of the trade. And simply friendship. I can’t wait for next year.

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The Gift Of Hearing: Joy, Hard Work and “Ba Ba Ba”

Thank you to Rayovac Hearing Aid Batteries for sponsoring my participation in this hearing mission. All opinions expressed in this piece are my own. To read my other post about this mission, click here

My advocacy work typically takes the form of writing or speaking. I focus on breaking down barriers for people with hearing loss, crushing stigma and promoting self-advocacy. I want people to live their best lives despite struggling with hearing loss and tinnitus. But I had never given the gift of hearing itself, until recently.

Rayovac Hearing Aid Batteries invited me to participate in a Starkey Hearing Foundation mission to Dominica. Rayovac supplies all the batteries for these missions. I was there as a hearing health advocate, volunteer, and writer, with the goal of capturing the mission experience in words. I thank Rayovac for this memorable opportunity.

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My Tinnitus And The Power of Suggestion

Since we got our new hearing loss friendly TV, my husband and I have been watching a lot more television. I am not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but watching TV is definitely more fun now that I can better follow the dialogue. We have gotten ourselves particularly addicted to one show on Netflix…

Last night, we were watching an episode where a character was experiencing periodic ringing in his ears as a result of a head injury. A high-pitched sound would play and the character would wince in pain, losing his ability to concentrate or converse. Tinnitus was never mentioned by name, but the signs were unmistakable. The sound played repeatedly through the episode and by the end of the hour, my ears were ringing too.

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Why Should You Care About OTC Hearing Aids?

Hearing aids have been taking Washington DC by storm of late. First was the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report entitled “Aging America & Hearing Loss: Imperative of Improved Technologies” in 2015, followed by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report “Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability” last summer.

Both recommended a new category of hearing aids — one that could be sold over-the-counter (OTC) similar to how people buy aspirin or reading glasses. And just a few months ago, a bipartisan bill that authorizes a new category of OTC hearing aids for people with mild to moderate hearing was introduced in Congress.

The idea has been quite controversial, with proponents favoring the improved ease of access for these important devices and detractors worried that audiologists would be cut out of the process, increasing the risk that the aids would be used improperly or even dangerously.

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The Gift of Hearing: Is Fitting A Hearing Aid Art or Science?

Thank you to Rayovac Hearing Aid Batteries for sponsoring my participation in this hearing mission. All opinions expressed in this piece are my own. To read my other post about this mission click here.

As someone with hearing loss, I appreciate my hearing aids and the freedom they give me to interact with others and live my life as fully as I can. Without my hearing aids, I would miss my children calling to me at night and laughing with them at play. Social situations and business meetings would be more challenging. I would often feel isolated and alone. So when I had the opportunity to share the gift of hearing with others, I jumped at the chance.

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