The Gift Of Hearing: Joy, Hard Work and “Ba Ba Ba”

Thank you to Rayovac Hearing Aid Batteries for sponsoring my participation in this hearing mission. All opinions expressed in this piece are my own. To read my other post about this mission, click here

My advocacy work typically takes the form of writing or speaking. I focus on breaking down barriers for people with hearing loss, crushing stigma and promoting self-advocacy. I want people to live their best lives despite struggling with hearing loss and tinnitus. But I had never given the gift of hearing itself, until recently.

Rayovac Hearing Aid Batteries invited me to participate in a Starkey Hearing Foundation mission to Dominica. Rayovac supplies all the batteries for these missions. I was there as a hearing health advocate, volunteer, and writer, with the goal of capturing the mission experience in words. I thank Rayovac for this memorable opportunity.

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Why Should You Care About OTC Hearing Aids?

Hearing aids have been taking Washington DC by storm of late. First was the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report entitled “Aging America & Hearing Loss: Imperative of Improved Technologies” in 2015, followed by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report “Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability” last summer.

Both recommended a new category of hearing aids — one that could be sold over-the-counter (OTC) similar to how people buy aspirin or reading glasses. And just a few months ago, a bipartisan bill that authorizes a new category of OTC hearing aids for people with mild to moderate hearing was introduced in Congress.

The idea has been quite controversial, with proponents favoring the improved ease of access for these important devices and detractors worried that audiologists would be cut out of the process, increasing the risk that the aids would be used improperly or even dangerously.

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The Gift of Hearing: Is Fitting A Hearing Aid Art or Science?

Thank you to Rayovac Hearing Aid Batteries for sponsoring my participation in this hearing mission. All opinions expressed in this piece are my own. To read my other post about this mission click here.

As someone with hearing loss, I appreciate my hearing aids and the freedom they give me to interact with others and live my life as fully as I can. Without my hearing aids, I would miss my children calling to me at night and laughing with them at play. Social situations and business meetings would be more challenging. I would often feel isolated and alone. So when I had the opportunity to share the gift of hearing with others, I jumped at the chance.

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How To Travel When You Have Hearing Loss

I recently traveled to Cuba as part of a people-to-people cultural exchange program organized by Insight Cuba. It was a magnificent trip full of art, beauty, learning, eye-opening experiences and Cuban cigars. I highly recommend a visit if you have the opportunity and interest.

Before the trip I was concerned that my hearing loss would make things more challenging. Accents and unfamiliar words in a new language are always difficult for me to follow. I promised myself that I would advocate for myself to optimize my chances for good communication, but that I would also manage my frustration if I was not able to hear everything. Much of traveling can be enjoyed by simply taking a look around, and that was my plan, barring any catastrophes.

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Living With Hearing Loss Proudly Sponsors Open Captions on Broadway!

I love attending the theater, so there is no greater honor for Living With Hearing Loss than to sponsor the open captions at two recent Broadway shows presented by Theater Development Fund (TDF) — Hamilton and Miss Saigon. I hope there are many more open captioned performances coming for both shows. And others!

Through its TAP Accessibility Program, TDF supports numerous open captioned performances on and off-Broadway each year. You can find the list of current NYC offerings here. For other US cities click here. Tickets are available through its website for eligible members. You can join for free here. I try to attend as many shows as I can.

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