Hearing Loss Sometimes Requires a Belt and Suspenders Approach

Yesterday was a belt and suspenders type of day with my hearing loss. I was headed to the critically acclaimed production of The Ferryman on Broadway. I love theater and often attend open captioned performances sponsored by TDF, but sometimes no such performances are available. Lucky for me other accessibility options are increasingly common on Broadway, including infrared headsets, the GalaPro closed captioning app, and sometimes even a hearing loop.

For those not familiar with the term, belt and suspenders is an adjective defined by Merriam-Webster as “involving or employing multiple methods or procedures to achieve a desired result especially out of caution or fear of failure.” In other words, it means having more than one method to make sure your pants stay up, or in my case, more than one method of hearing technology.

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Will You Be At The HLAA Convention This Year?

Hearing Loss Association of America’s (HLAA) 2019 Convention is only three weeks away. Will you be there? This year the convention is in Rochester, NY, home to Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) which boasts “an internationally recognized education for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.” Partially because of RIT, Rochester is a hub of activity for the deaf community and incredibly welcoming for people with hearing loss. It even has a local yoga studio that offers ASL-interpreted yoga classes every Saturday morning. And the airport is looped!

This will be my fifth convention. Each year I am thrilled to meet, mingle with and expand my hearing loss community. Usually I come away with at least one new hearing loss friend and a handful of tricks and tips I can use to make the world more accessible. All sessions are looped and have CART (communication access real-time translation), so you won’t miss a word. I’ve never attended a conference that is so accessible for people with hearing loss.

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Seven Ways You Can Make Life Easier for Someone With Hearing Loss

Do you have someone with hearing loss in your life? With 360 million people worldwide (nearly 50 million Americans) experiencing debilitating hearing loss, chances are that you do. You probably notice how they sometimes struggle to keep up with the conversation, or that they avoid social exchanges that might be challenging or exhausting. Perhaps you wonder what you can do to help. This post provides my suggestions. Please add yours in the comments.

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How To Find The Right Audiologist For You

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a “Good Housekeeping” Seal of approval for audiologists? In my latest post for Ida Institute, I describe what they hope will become the standard benchmark of quality for person-centered care in audiology. I share an excerpt from the piece below. To read the full article click here

When my audiologist retired a year ago, I was devastated. We had invested a lot of time together to find the right programming for my hearing aids and had built a strong working relationship. She was caring, knowledgeable, and always willing to help. She understood my hearing challenges and partnered with me on my communication priorities. How could I replicate this positive dynamic with someone new?

As time passed, I felt more confident. I was no longer an inexperienced hearing aid wearer and knew what I required from an audiologist and how to ask for it. This included many of the components of person-centered care I highlighted in my recent blog series on this topic. I was looking for an audiologist who:

  1. Listens to my particular hearing needs and focuses my care around those.
  2. Runs a hearing loss friendly office with a receptionist I can understand.
  3. Champions new technologies in both hearing aids and assistive listening devices.
  4. Believes best practice communication tools are just as important as technology.

Finding the right person was still difficult. I checked online listings for audiologists in my area, but the metrics presented did not include person-centered care. I reached out to my local hearing loss friends, but many were not satisfied with the care they received and suggested I look elsewhere.

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Hearing Loss & Allergy Season: A Nightmare in Pollen

It’s allergy season. That stuffy-nosed, watery-eyed, and always itchy part of the year. When the sniffles begin, I know my hearing is about to take a temporary dip. On my worst allergy days, I feel like I am walking in a fog. Sounds are muffled and my ears are popping more than usual as they work to clear the increased pressure.

Each time I move my head I can almost feel the fluid shifting position, bringing on dizziness or even vertigo. Sometimes it can even cause my tinnitus to spike. Allergies are miserable for everyone, but when you have a hearing loss, they can take a significant toll on your ability to communicate.

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