Why My Family Walks For Hearing

The weather turns cools, the leaves begin to change and school begins. It is Fall in New York City and that means it is time for another Walk4Hearing. This will be my fourth year walking and volunteering. Each year it is a wonderful day of community, camaraderie and support for hearing health. It is also an important fundraiser for Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA).

To find or support a walk near you, click here.

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What is Person-Centered Care From the Patient’s Perspective?

I am proud to be writing a series of articles for Ida Institute on person-centered care. This first article is about what person-centered care means to me — the hearing loss patient. The next four articles will discuss each of the main tenets of patient-centered care in more detail. I look forward to sharing these articles with you over the next several months. 

I share an excerpt from the first article below. To read the full article click here

To hear a captioned recording of me talking about patient-centered care, click here

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My Audiologist Experiences

For most people with hearing loss, an audiologist is the first hearing care provider they see. The influence an audiologist has on their new patient’s hearing loss journey cannot be overstated. It certainly was very important for me.

I arrived at my first audiologist appointment scared, uninformed and bogged down with the baggage of stigma. But despite a real concern that I was missing things in class, I was sent home without any new skills or devices that could help. The audiologist did not even suggest that perhaps a different seat in the classroom could be helpful. Thinking back on it now, this standard of care is very disappointing.

I have seen several audiologists in the years since that first visit. Only one asked me which hearing situations were most important to me. Only one (a different one) tested how well I heard when wearing my hearing aids. None recommended hearing loss support groups or shared communication best practices with me.

My care focused on which hearing aid to purchase rather than solving my communication problems. Only through my advocacy work and by meeting other people with hearing loss have I discovered the tips and tricks that I use today to lead a productive and happy life despite hearing loss.

Person-Centered Care in Four Easy Steps

Person-centered care could have alleviated many of the problems I faced in the early years of my hearing loss. In this series of articles I look forward to describing what person-centered care means to me as a patient. The four main parts include:

1. Partner With Your Patient

2. Make Your Office Hearing Loss Friendly

3. Embrace Creativity

4. Think Beyond The Technology

Click here to read the full article on Ida Institute.

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Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids — What Does the Potential Consumer Think?

I recently participated in an article for The Hearing Journal — the conclusion of its three part series on Over-The-Counter (OTC) hearing devices. Part 1 included perspectives from hearing health professionals. Part 2 shared views from hearing industry leaders. The third part was from the consumer perspective — people with mild to moderate hearing loss. I am happy to share the article below.

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Experience Deafness: An Invitation To Silence

Have you ever wondered what it was like to be truly deaf? Or wanted a way for your family to understand the experience of deafness, if only for a short time. I had the chance to confront these questions recently at an interesting exhibit entitled “Invitation to Silence” running at The Israeli Children’s Museum.

More than an exhibit, it was an interactive experience led by a deaf guide that served to help visitors get a better understanding of what it would be like to communicate as a deaf person. While some sign language was introduced, communication was primarily achieved through facial expressions and body language rather than formal signing. It was a fun experience and provided much food for thought about living with deafness. 

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Using Earplugs Can Be Cool!

I am pleased to share an excerpt from my most recent article for Healthy Hearing

I remember the battles with my teenage son. He was heading to a loud dance party but was worried about wearing earplugs. He knows better than most of his peers how difficult hearing loss can be and how important it is to protect the hearing that he has, because I have hearing loss. Even so, he resisted wearing them. “My friends won’t be wearing them,” he complained, “They won’t get it. It’s just not cool to wear earplugs.” Despite his complaining, he chose to wear the earplugs and off he went to the loud party.

Like he imagined, he got lots of questions about his earplugs from his friends who were not used to seeing things in his ears. He showed them how loud the music was playing using a decibel reader app on his phone and explained that he wanted to protect his hearing.

What he didn’t expect was that his friends would want to wear them too! The music was so loud it was painful. Luckily he had brought some extra pairs so he could share them with his friends. Wearing earplugs had turned out to be cool after all!

While this story has a happy ending, the perception that wearing earplugs is not cool is a big problem, especially in today’s noisy world.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

How can we make wearing earplugs cool?

1. Encourage influential role models to speak out.

More musicians are wearing earplugs and touting the benefits of wearing them publicly. This includes alternative rock musicians like Chris Martin of Coldplay and classic rock icons like Eric Clapton. At a recent Adele concert, she went out of her way to compliment the children in the audience who were wearing earmuffs for hearing protection. This type of positive feedback from people with influence will help lower stigma and build awareness.

Click here to continue reading on Healthy Hearing.

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