As the holiday season approaches, I thought it would be nice to share thoughtful gift ideas. What have you given or gotten for Christmas? Was it bought or handmade? What made it special? It can be something related to your hearing loss, or anything that’s important to you. One member in our Facebook group posted that she couldn’t find a necklace that was Deaf or ASL-related. So, a designer who does custom work made a necklace just for her that featured the handshape for “I Love You.” I thought that was a very thoughtful and unique gift idea.
What are your gift ideas for the holidays? Share your suggestions at this week’s Open Chat Night!
You can leave a comment here or discuss Thanksgiving in the forum.
Although Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate, those with hearing loss can often be left out because of their inability to hear and actively participate in conversation. Nobody likes to be looked at or treated differently in his own family. Hearing people, if you see that a family member with hearing loss is quiet and withdrawn at the holiday dinner conversations, include them even if by engaging them in one-on-one conversations. Believe me, I’ve been there. Let’s make this a good Thanksgiving for everyone we care about.
Come and share how you celebrate Thanksgiving with your family at this week’s Open Chat Night. And Happy Thanksgiving!
You can leave a comment here or discuss Thanksgiving in the forum.
Members in our Facebook group have been posting articles on how some restaurants are providing better assistance for deaf and hard of hearing customers. For example, some drive-through restaurants use touch screens instead of a speaker system. Also, several McDonalds have placed a notice at their drive-through entrance that tells customers to drive ahead to the window and place an order if they have a speech or hearing disability. I think both of these ideas are quite clever, and will be very beneficial to deaf and hard of hearing customers who cannot rely on sound systems. As technology improves, hopefully more drive-throughs will become more accessible. Maybe one day we’ll even use video screens that will enable deaf and hard of hearing customers to lipread the cashier while placing their order; maybe the videos will have captions too.
Have any of your local drive-throughs provided accommodations for their deaf and hard of hearing clients? Have you used these accommodations, and how did it work for you? Tell us at this week’s Open Chat Night. Do you have any other ideas for improving accessibility in drive-throughs?
You can leave a comment here or discuss Drive-Through Accessibility in the forum.
The deaf and hard of hearing people all over the world are joining our Facebook group. I noticed some of them are familiar with sign language from various nationalities all over the world such as British, French, Sweden, Australian sign language and many more. I know many members in our chat group are fluent in American Sign Language. I am interested to learn more how different is ASL to sign language in other countries. Are there some similarities in the signs? Are various languages are more difficult and challenging to learn than others?
If you are fluent in sign language from other countries other than ASL, please share your knowledge and skills at this week’s Open Chat Night.
You can leave a comment here or discuss Sign Language around the World in the forum.
In last week’s chat, we discussed the possibility of setting up looping systems at your local church, and I started thinking about my local church’s accommodations.
A while back, I joined a young adult church group to meet new people and attended some of the church services on Sunday mornings. I noticed that during the praise and worship session, the jumbo screen above the pulpit displays the lyrics for everyone. That helps, especially when you’re not familiar with the song and it’s your first time there. However, whenever a priest or guest speaker spoke at the podium, there were no captions. I could hear most of the words since they were using a microphone, but I’m sure it would have been difficult for some deaf and hard of hearing members. Alternatively, I found out that the church does provide captioning at one of their weekly Sunday services.
For anyone attending church services on a regular basis, tell us more about your experiences at this week’s Open Chat Night. Do they have a looping system installed or an interpreter or captionist at your church? Have you attended a church that specifically serves or accommodates the deaf and hard of hearing community?
You can leave a comment here or discuss Sunday church services in the forum.
Recently I learned about hospital communication kits for the deaf and hard of hearing. These kits include a variety of items that are designed to improve communication between hospital staff and deaf and hard of hearing patients, like a writing pad, flashcards with pictures on them, and hearing loss stickers that show the international symbol for hearing loss. I found this very interesting since I had never thought about what could happen if doctors and nurses couldn’t communicate with deaf and hard of hearing people. They likely wouldn’t be familiar with sign language, and interpreters aren’t always readily accessible, especially in emergency situations. Awareness of hearing loss and communicate options would help ensure effective communication between patients and hospital staff.
The HLAA-WA chapter provides communication kits for only $10; you can view the kit’s contents here: www.hearingloss-wa.org/hospital-kits-2.
Do you have similar hospital kits in your area? Have you ever used one of them? What were their advantages and disadvantages? If you had to go to the hospital but didn’t use these kits, what did you use instead? Tell us about your experiences at this week’s Open Chat Night.
You can leave a comment here or discuss Hospital Communication Kits in the forum.
Blog topic written by Tess Conklin, staff writer at DeafandHoH.com
Last Sunday I participated in the Chicago Walk4Hearing, a fundraiser for the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). It was a wonderful experience, full of friendly folks with varying degrees of hearing loss. I went with a group of my classmates from the Northwestern chapter of the Student Academy of Audiology, to represent the Northwestern University Audiology program. We went early to help set up, and we got to meet the director of the walk, Ronnie Adler. She is an amazingly positive person with such a magnetic personality; you can’t help but love her! She organizes the Walk4Hearing, and attends every Walk, which take place all over the country. Also in attendance were representatives from the three major cochlear implant manufacturers: Cochlear, Advanced Bionics, and MED-EL All three companies were there with demonstrations of new products (such as the BAHA from Cochlear) and to answer questions and provide information about their companies. The Walk was a great opportunity for an audiology student to learn more about cochlear implants and other implantable devices, as well as learn about job opportunities at those companies. There were over 600 walkers, which I think was an enormous turn out! There were teams from local deaf schools, hospitals, other audiology programs, and so many more. It was truly inspiring to see so many people out to support the cause. Everyone I spoke to was so positive and friendly; I couldn’t help but have a good time! There are still a few Walks coming up in November, so if there’s one near you, I highly suggest you attend! Or if you’d like to help out in other ways, donations will be accepted into December. Just go to www.walk4hearing.org and you’ll find all kinds of information about the Walk and the HLAA. Or, there’s always next year!
If you have participated in the Walk4Hearing in your city, tell us your experiences at this week’s Open Chat Night.
You can leave a comment here or discuss Walking for a Cause in the forum.
I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about a new hearing aid technology called the BAHA (bone anchored hearing aid), which was designed and developed by Cochlear. One of our members in the chat wanted to learn more about it, so she suggested it for a topic. The BAHA is a semi-implantable bone conduction hearing device that sends sound vibrations directly through the bone to the inner ear. Another bone-conduction hearing aid that I discovered at the Hearing Loss Convention is SoundBite. It’s the world’s first non-surgical and removable hearing solution that can be placed in your mouth. Sound waves can travel via the teeth, through the bones to the functioning cochlea, bypassing the middle and outer ear entirely. Isn’t technology amazing!
Does anyone in our group use bone-conduction hearing aids? Tell us about it at this week’s Open Chat Night!
You can leave a comment here or discuss New world of sound in the forum.
written by Jason Naughton, staff writer at DeafandHoH.com
In an effort to expand the weekly chats to those who cannot make the sessions, and to engage more of the community into the group discussions, we will be posting a brief recap of the topics discussed following the chat sessions.
For last week’s chat we had members join us from Texas, California, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia and more. We covered topics such as: International Deaf Awareness week (which was last week); retirement and vacations: Florida, golf, and the extensive Hawaiian Islands; Surprise birthday parties; TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, Downtown Abby, Modern family, Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.; the Lottery and how to spend it; and local HLAA meetings. Some members discussed learning and using Signing Exact English, PSE (Pigeon Signed English), and other types of manually coded English versus ASL. Following, there was another discussion on Cochlear Implants, Sophona aids, hearing aids, and Neck Loops. Members also discussed relationships: One member talked about her married relationship, and how she communicates with her hearing, non-signing husband, even though she herself is Deaf; another talked about how he and his wife are both learning ASL so that they may communicate as his hearing degenerates.
This week is our Open Mic Chat. We could discuss current events, new research or technology, even the latest movies. As always, we welcome suggestions for topics and feedback on how to improve our chat. Let your voice be heard!
We all know about the common ways to maintain healthy hearing, like protecting our ears from loud noises and infections. Believe it or not, however, I learned that your diet can also play a role in preventing hearing loss, especially as you age.
For example, the Vitamin D and omega-3 fats found in fish can strengthen the blood vessels in the ear’s sensory system, which can help prevent age-related hearing loss. Generally, I dislike seafood, especially when it’s prepared whole, with eyes and all; but now that I’ve learned about its benefits, I can certainly consider adding fish to my diet as I age. Other nutrients, like antioxidants, magnesium, and zinc, can also improve the ear’s health and prevent hearing loss.
What kinds of foods do you eat? How about supplements? Do you know of any other foods or ingredients that can prevent hearing loss and keep your ears healthy? Let’s discuss our diet at this week’s Open Chat Night!