Hearing Loss & The Irony Of The Entertainment Business

“Goodbye yellow brick road,” Elton John belted out the title song of his final concert tour. My family rarely attends concerts — given my hearing loss I worry about damaging it further — but we are big Elton John fans and could not bear to miss our last chance to see him perform live. The sold out show in Madison Square Garden was outstanding with the crowd singing along to its favorite oldies but goodies. My family and I were able to enjoy the performance because we came prepared with hearing protection and the knowledge of how to use it. You can read my tips for attending a concert in my article, “How To Enjoy a Concert Safely When You Have Hearing Loss.”

As we made our way to our seats, the irony dawned on me. We were not allowed to smoke, to bring in outside food or drink, or even use caps on our plastic water bottles (I guess they think people will throw them?!?), but we could blast our ears with 110 decibel sound for 3 hours without any rules stating otherwise. There was not even a posted sign suggesting we protect our hearing with earplugs or ear muffs. Something seemed wrong with that.

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Getting Your Family On Your Hearing Loss Team

It feels like we talk about it all the time. “Please face me so I can hear you,” or “Can you repeat that slower,” but I sometimes wonder if it is sinking in. Objectively, I think my family knows what they need to do to help me hear, but it often slips their mind, or seems unimportant since in many cases, I function quite well. It’s not obvious that I need help, so when I do, they are not always there for me. Until recently. We had a formal family meeting about my hearing loss. It seemed to make a difference. My fingers are crossed that this momentum will continue.

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Why Audiologists Should Partner With Their Patients

This is the second article in a series I am writing for Ida Institute on person-centered care. The first article was about what person-centered care means to me — the hearing loss patient. This second article discusses the first tenet of person-centered care: Partner With Your Patient. I look forward to sharing the remaining articles with you. 

Below find an excerpt from the second article. To read the full article, click here. 

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The No Man’s Land Of Hearing Loss

I love the theater, especially accessible theater, so when I read about a new show that would be performed simultaneously in English and American Sign Language (ASL), I was intrigued. There were two casts — the “main” cast speaking (and signing as it made sense in the plot) on the stage and a “shadow” cast on a balcony above the stage who signed the dialogue below. I was excited to see how it would work.

At the theater, the crowd was a mix of people — some using sign language and others speaking. It was a lively group. Reading through the program notes before the show, I was struck by the following quote: “As I Was Most Alive with You began to take shape, he [the playwright] vowed to tell this story in a way that would feel as accessible to Deaf audiences as hearing ones.”

That is a wonderful goal, and one that I think he achieved, but I couldn’t help but wonder, “What about the rest of us?”

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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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