How to Handle Hearing Loss in the Workplace

It was my first meeting with the new CEO of a large retail company and he was clearly under the weather. His eyes were watery, he was coughing and his voice was weaker than usual. “I’ll sit across the table from you,” he said, “so I don’t get you sick.” This was a thoughtful gesture, but as I sized up the large conference table now lying between us, I worried I wouldn’t be able to hear him. As he began to answer my first question, my fears were realized — I couldn’t understand a word he said.

I hadn’t yet begun to disclose my hearing loss to people, preferring to fake it when I couldn’t hear, rather than reveal what I still considered my shameful secret. How was I going to handle this critical meeting?

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

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Are Movie Theater Caption Readers Properly Maintained?

Since discovering caption readers at the movies a couple of years ago, I have firmly embraced heading to the movie theater to take in a film now and again. And with most movie theaters in my area now offering some type of captioning device, I can choose the movie based on where and when I want to see it, not where and when the accessibility options are offered. This is a treat, and one that I have come to expect.

But recently, things are feeling less secure. In each of the last four times I went to the movies, there has been an issue with the captioning. It makes me wonder if the devices are being properly maintained.

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Do You Need Your Hearing Aids to Drive?

This article I wrote for Hearing Tracker is about driving with hearing loss. What do you think? Do you need your hearing aids to drive? 

In several states, we will need to upgrade our driver’s licenses to a federal Real ID by October 2020. Since my license was up for renewal, I decided to get a jumpstart on this and made an appointment at my local DMV. I was dreading the visit — hours of boredom standing in lines, the worry that I would not hear my name when it was called, and of course the photo — but I did not expect any thought-provoking questions. Filling out the forms in advance, one of the questions got me thinking. It asked, “Do you need a hearing aid to drive a motor vehicle?”

There was also a question about corrective lenses/glasses, but that was easy. While I can make it to the bathroom and back in the middle of the night without putting on my glasses, I would never attempt to run an errand to the store, let alone get behind the wheel of a car without them. I certainly need my lenses/glasses to drive.

But what about the hearing aid question. Did I need my hearing aids to drive? They certainly are helpful to hear honks, sirens, and cars passing and I do always wear them when I drive, but I don’t think they are required. Most of the driving cues are visual — things like brake lights, turn signals, and traffic signs. With the radio blasting, I doubt people with typical hearing gather many clues from the sounds around them while driving either. My hearing aids are a nice to have, not a must have when behind the wheel. I confidently checked “No,” but promised myself to wear them anyway. They certainly couldn’t hurt.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

To read more about safe driving with hearing loss, click here to continue reading on Hearing Tracker.

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How To Love Someone With Hearing Loss

Do you love someone with hearing loss? With almost 50 million Americans and 360 million people worldwide with disabling hearing loss, chances are that you do. Supporting them can be confusing — you may not fully understand the challenges they face as someone with hearing loss, or they may not want to discuss it or ask for help. Even if they deny it, deep down they still want your love and support.

Loving someone with hearing loss requires work — there are conversation best practices to incorporate, hearing loss exhaustion to work around and loud venues to avoid. There are bouts of frustration and sadness to support people through, and ongoing education about new hearing aid and assistive listening device technologies to learn. It can require extra effort, but when you love somebody, it is worth it.

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Two Recent Movies Demonstrate the Power of Our Differences

I am a big fan of post-apocalyptic stories, things like The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and Seveneves. These wild adventures get both my adrenaline pumping and my imagination flowing. So when two new movies in this genre hit the scene recently, I was eager to watch them. Both were entertaining and scary, as I expected, but they also made me think about the importance and power of our individual differences, even our disabilities, to the future of us all.

If you are a fan of the genre, check them out and see if you agree.

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