What This Hearing Aid Wearer Learned At An Audiology Conference

I am proud to share my hearing loss story and tips on Hearing Tracker

A Unique Opportunity

I was lucky to present recently at the American Academy of Audiology’s annual convention in Nashville held April 18-21, 2018. You can read about my presentation here. It was a fascinating experience to attend an audiology conference, not as an audiologist, but as a patient. It was interesting to attend the various educational sessions for the audiologists, listen in on the latest product launches from the hearing aid manufacturers, and walk the expansive exhibition hall to explore new and innovative products for people with hearing loss. I am so glad I attended.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

Positive take-homes from the AAA conference

1. Audiologists are genuinely concerned for our welfare. There were many sessions describing the details of patient-centered care in attempts to provide more personalized and effective hearing care for people with hearing loss. These talks were well attended and numerous questions were raised.

2. Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing devices are slowly being accepted. While there seemed to be push-back from some audiologists when the OTC hearing aid concept was first floated, most sessions at AAA 2018 seemed to regard OTC as a done deal. Attention was focused on how to best integrate OTC hearing aid wearers into an audiology practice, rather than rejecting the initiative entirely.

Click here to read more positives on Hearing Tracker. 

Negative take-homes from the AAA conference

1. Limited hearing assistance was offered. Few sessions were captioned or had listening assistive technology available. This was not surprising since the audience did not likely include many people with hearing issues, but making the options available would have shown respect for the people who did need them.

2. Poor communication habits were on display. At many of the sessions, questions were asked without using microphones and presenters did not repeat these questions before answering them. This is fairly typical at large meetings, but I had hoped for better from professionals whose job is focused on improving communication.

Click here to read more negatives on Hearing Tracker. 

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How Do You Imagine The Hearing Aid Of The Future?

Hearing aid technology advances every day, but of course, those of us who wear hearing aids wish it would advance even faster. Today’s hearing aids range from simple analog devices to souped-up digital models with T-coils, multiple situational programs, rechargeable batteries and connectivity to smart phones. But the hearing aids of the future will likely offer even more features.

Here is my wish list. Please add your thoughts in the comments.

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Will Broadway Be Hearing Loss Accessible At Every Show?

Every theater, every show, every seat will be accessible on demand for people with hearing loss. This is the goal of the latest accessibility initiative on Broadway. And it is a big one. The initiative, sponsored by The Shubert Organization, The Broadway League and Theater Development Fund, would allow people with hearing loss to utilize on demand captioning at every show (after the first four weeks) starting in 2018 via the GalaPro app on a mobile phone or a separate hand-held iCaption device. The idea is exciting — but the execution is still a work in progress.

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Do You Have a Hearing Buddy?

I didn’t do it on purpose — finding a hearing buddy to help me navigate my recent yoga retreat. It just happened, mostly because my hearing buddy enjoyed helping me and because I wasn’t shy about letting her know about my hearing loss. I used to regularly hide my hearing loss, but since I came out of my hearing loss closet, I make a point to announce my hearing issues at the start of any retreat / meeting / class where they might impact my interactions with others. This retreat was no exception.

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When Disability Is A Design Opportunity

The Cooper Hewitt museum in New York City is currently running a fascinating exhibition entitled Access+Ability. The exhibit features new and innovative products that help people with disabilities experience their world more effectively through design. Some of the products are in the marketplace today, while others are in the prototype stage. All are inspiring in their use of design to solve every day problems for people with a variety of accessibility issues, including more “traditional” disabilities like mobility challenges, blindness and deafness, but also other obstacles like dementia, blood clots, and tremors.

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