Are Hearing Loss & Deafness Sometimes Like Apples & Oranges?

Providing accessibility accommodations that work for both the Deaf and Hearing Loss communities can be a challenge. This is clear to anyone with a hearing loss who requested captioning but was provided with a sign language interpreter instead. For most people with hearing difficulties, including me, a sign language interpreter provides no assistance.

But as I learned at an interesting panel discussion hosted by the Museum, Arts and Culture Access Consortium (MAC), a group whose mission is to promote access and inclusion at cultural institutions in the NY metro area, the reverse is also true. According to a Deaf panelist, captioning is not helpful for many members of the Deaf community, especially school aged children under the age of 15.

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Masks Are the Latest Obstacle for People With Hearing Loss

I thought I had figured out how to live with hearing loss. I wear my hearing devices regularly and employ a handful of assistive listening devices as needed in various situations. I advocate for myself with friends, family and strangers, teaching them to use communication best practices. I utilize lipreading cues and am not shy to try to change the environment to meet my hearing needs whenever possible. I am confident and competent. But then came COVID-19, and a new hurdle entered the field — masks — the latest in a long line of obstacles for people with hearing loss.

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Does Hearing Loss Cause Us to Misread Emotions?

“Are you actually angry or are you kidding?” I asked my husband recently. His posture and facial expression read angry, but it was not the type of situation that called for this emotion. I was confused. It turned out he was joking, but I was missing the subtle cues in his voice. This has been known to happen with my children as well, and close friends, and when I thought about it, probably with other people too — maybe even perfect strangers. Was this somehow related to my hearing loss?

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How To Improve Your Lipreading Skills Online

Living with hearing loss, I have always wanted to take a lipreading course, but was never able to find one in New York City that worked with my schedule. So when I learned about a new online tutorial created by the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association – Newfoundland and Labrador (CHHA-NL), I was excited to give it a go. Read My Lips is a self-paced online course that uses videos, exercises, and quizzes to demonstrate and teach basic lipreading skills.

I consider myself a good lipreader, but most of my knowledge has come intuitively, driven by necessity. Taking the Read My Lips classes helped me gain a firmer understanding of the basic lip, tongue and jaw movements involved in many letter sounds. Knowing the mechanics of how the sounds are made can only improve my skills. I am glad I took the course.

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How To Talk To Your Grandchildren About Hearing Loss

You love your grandchildren — their smiles, the way they look like their parents did when they were young, and their exuberance — but sometimes, they are very hard to hear. Children have a way of swallowing their words, or slurring them together, and typically have softer and higher pitched voices. That is, when they are not shrieking with delight or terror. Their way of speaking makes it hard to understand them under any conditions, but with hearing loss it can be even tougher, especially with age related hearing loss, which tends to impact the higher frequencies most.

Hearing loss is no reason to miss out on the fun and important relationships you desire with your grandchildren. Teaching them the best way to speak with you will take patience and repetition, but it is worth it. Share these tips with them in an age appropriate way each time you see them. Soon it will become second nature.

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