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.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog Continue reading

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.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

Continue reading

Hearing Loss: Thank You For Using The Microphone

My latest article for Hearing Tracker discusses the reasons to use a microphone in all meetings. Do you agree? 

We gathered in a medium-sized classroom for the wrap-up session of my two-day board meeting at my alma mater. Most sessions were in larger spaces, with presenters using a lectern at the front of a well-miked room. The event organizers always saved me a seat at the front with good sight-lines to the speakers so I could lipread as needed. I really appreciated their assistance and was able to hear almost everything. Given the high level of concentration needed, my hearing loss exhaustion usually kicked in by the end of the day, but it was worth it.

The wrap-up session was different — more casual, smaller, and in a different type of space — a classroom rather than a typical lecture hall. The leaders used a microphone, but a second mic was not provided for questions or comments from the audience. This made it much harder to follow the discussion.

Even strong leaders overlook top-notch communication in certain settings. That is why it is critical to educate people about the importance of using a microphone for all meetings, even when the gathering seems too small or too casual for the formality and fuss of a mic. Inclusion should never be sacrificed for the sake of ease.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

For a captioned video and more reasons to use a microphone, continue reading on Hearing Tracker.

Continue reading

What If Your Reading Glasses Also Provided Captions?

Sitting in the dimly lit restaurant, I struggled to read the menu. Lucky for me, I keep readers in my purse, which I quickly pulled out and the problem was solved. But when the waiter came to tell us about the specials, I had trouble hearing him, even though I was wearing my hearing aids and lipreading furiously.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could solve this problem just as easily — reaching into my purse for my captioning glasses — ones that would turn speech into text in real-time and with exceptional accuracy? Interestingly, a graduate student team at Cornell Tech is working on something just like this.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

Continue reading

Do You Cover Your Ears When Things Get Loud?

Sometimes I feel like I walk around with my fingers in my ears all the time. If it’s not the rat-tat-tat of jackhammers, the blaring sirens on a police car, or the beep-beep-beep of a truck that is backing up, it is the air brakes on the crosstown bus. Given my relatively strong high-pitched hearing, the sound of air brakes is the worst. Very painful.

Most of the time I don’t care about the stares that I get. Sometimes, although rarely, a passerby will plug his ears in solidarity. We usually exchange a smile and an eye roll as we wonder how things have gotten so loud!

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

Continue reading