Archive for the 'Recycled Blog Topics' Category

Dec 16 2015

Share your college stories

In the past, members of our chat group have shared interesting stories about their experiences in high school or college.  Since right about now students are graduating or starting their winter breaks, I thought it would be nice to bring up this topic again.

As I have mentioned before, I don’t have a lot to share, since in school I mostly focused on my studies instead of socializing with others.  However, I did have an interesting encounter with a dorm mate that didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped.

One year, I got to know the student who stayed in the room next to mine.  Although I thought he would be a good friend to hang out with, the relationship took a wrong turn when he became rather clingy and stalkerish.  For instance, every time he heard me come into the dorm suite, he would open his door immediately to greet me.  Sometimes it got to the point where I would quietly sneak into my room and lock the door so he wouldn’t bother me.  The next minute, however, he would come out and knock on my door for several minutes, even if I didn’t answer.  He pretty much crossed the line.  That experience discouraged me from any further attempts to make friends in college.  Looking back now though, I think it’s kind of funny, and yet discouraging, that I ended up with that type of person while I was struggling to find the right kind of friends.

This will be one of the stories I will be sharing in my future novel I plan to write about my life experiences.  That was one of the major setbacks in college regarding my social avenues I have encountered.

Have any interesting stories about your high school or college days?  Tell us at next Wednesday’s Open Chat Night.

No responses yet

Nov 17 2015

Is hearing loss a blessing in disguise?

Obviously many of our discussion topics have been related to the obstacles of hearing loss, but I wanted to take a more positive approach this week.  Even though hearing loss does have its downsides it can be a blessing in many ways.

For instance, I enjoy being able to sleep peacefully at night without hearing aids.  Those little sounds that might keep hearing people awake don’t bother me.  It’s also helpful in noisy places where verbal communication isn’t necessary, like outdoor festivals or factories with loud machinery—I can just turn down my hearing aids’ volume or switch it “off.”  No need for ear plugs for me!

Also, I recently got new hearing aids and they’re much more powerful than my last ones.  Thanks to the different settings and options, such as volume control and reducing background noise, I believe sometimes I can actually hear conversations more than people with normal hearing.  The technology is really amazing.  Also, my hearing aids have Bluetooth, so I can connect to my iPod instead of wearing headphones or ear pieces.  For example, it would be very beneficial listening to music on the plane that will eliminate the aircraft noise that’s usually loud.  I consider that another blessing.

Whether you’re deaf or hard of hearing, in what way do you consider your hearing loss a blessing?  Let’s discuss this at Wednesday’s Open Chat Night.

No responses yet

Nov 09 2015

What impact do nutrients have on hearing loss and vision?

As I’ve previously discussed, studies have identified a possible link between our diets and hearing loss.  Good eating habits have been shown to reduce the chances of hearing loss due to aging.  However, I’m interested in whether eating habits can prevent progressive hearing loss across all age groups.

My own hearing loss has been fairly constant since I was born.  In recent years, though, I have noticed a slight reduction in my hearing.  Fortunately, it’s a very minor change; but what will happen as I grow older?  I’m already forty-years-old, and I have to admit my eating habits still aren’t great.  I’ve always been skinny with high metabolism and I find myself consuming more unhealthy foods (like sweets or fast food) than healthier ones (like fruits and vegetables).  My father is always forcing me to eat healthier to prevent future health problems.  Perhaps eating better and taking vitamins could prevent my hearing loss from changing as I grow older.

I’ve also realized it’s important to eat healthy food for my vision as well.  Studies have shown eating carrots are generally good for your eyes and that’s one of the least types of food I usually eat.  I am starting to take multi-vitamins, so that’s a good start, but I need to begin to eat more nutritious food such as vegetables and fruits.  It might not affect me now but I might notice a difference when I grow older.

Discuss the healthy foods choices you make at Wednesday’s Open Chat Night.  Can you make any nutritional suggestions that are good for your health or could prevent hearing and/or vision loss?

No responses yet

Oct 20 2015

A push for closed captioning in the digital age

Many in the deaf and hard of hearing community continue to rely on subtitles and captioning to some degree.  Several weeks ago during our Open Chat Night we opened the topic of providing captioning at churches.

I personally find captioning quite helpful in situations where I can’t turn up the volume (e.g., it would disturb hearing people in the area).  Sometimes, however, I have difficulty keeping up with the captions.  I tend to focus more on what’s happening in the show, so the captions often disappear before I can catch certain words.  Does anyone else have a similar problem?  I’ve also noticed that sometimes the captions’ timing is a little off; they appear before or after the person speaks.  On some of these occasions, I’ve had to rewind or fast-forward to catch up, and that can become annoying.  I would think the television companies could easily make more improvements in this digital age to resolve these issues.

Additionally, I have noticed that YouTube videos don’t always providing captioning.  I also noticed certain sites such as CNN posting videos as well doesn’t always show captions.  Imagine with a population of 48 million people with some degree of hearing loss and many of them can’t benefit from watching these videos online!  They are neglecting the use of this technology that we can make it possible.  We obviously know it’s either the budget, time, or effort they’re neglecting to get this accomplished.

Tell us about your experience with using subtitles or captions at this Wednesday’s Open Chat Night.  It can be for anything from a TV screen to a movie theater to a church projector—anything.  What are the advantages and drawbacks?  Do you know of any other technology that might be useful?

No responses yet

Oct 12 2015

Rebuilding Social Ties

Back in October 2011, I took a huge step in overcoming my social anxiety and attended a bonfire hosted by a local church.  I had never gone to a bonfire before, and because it was almost entirely dark outside with rather crowded it was one of the more challenging social events I’ve ever gone to.

My two main problems were background noise and poor lighting.  The only source of light was the fire itself and the candles on the refreshment table; I couldn’t even see other people’s lips.  To make it worse, I have a mild case of ushers syndrome that makes it difficult for me to see in the dark.

Despite the anxiety I felt, I resolved not to back out.  If someone didn’t talk to me much, then I just moved on.  Later that night, I ended up chatting at length with a person who seemed genuinely interested in me, and I found myself explaining my hearing loss and my social difficulties.  Around that time I made some new friends who encouraged me to join their weekly get-together.

Unfortunately, I have lost connection with the friends I made during that year when I was part of the local church group.  Though I am hoping to take another step forward to meet new people again—possibly find a girlfriend.  I have joined Match.com and am trying to make some connections there.

However, my vision still makes it harder to see at night which creates obstacles to my experiencing a social life.  This is particularly true now, when winter is around the corner and daylight ends early.  I just need to find ways to get thought this and overcome my fears and obstacles.

Share any interesting stories at the next Wednesday Night’s Open Chat Night about your social situations.  What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

No responses yet

Sep 22 2015

Captioning in Churches

Several years ago I was a member of the young adult groups at River Park Community Church and Elmbrook Church.  During that time, I made some new friends and attended several church services.  Sometimes I sat in the front and had no problem hearing the live worship.  However, I sat next to a friend who helped me find the Bible verses so I didn’t get lost during the sermon.

I know many people in the hearing loss community, particularly those involved at HLAA, advocate for captioning and/or interpreting in movie theatres and airports; why not churches, temples, and other places of worship?  In fact, I remember reading a Facebook post about a Nashville church that started its own Deaf/HoH Ministry with a little grant money.  I thought this was a fabulous idea!  I know many local churches use sign language interpreters for mainstream hearing services.  Back when I attended the Elmbrook church several years ago, I found out an interpreter would attend one of the morning services to accommodate people having difficulty hearing.

Join us on Wednesday Night’s Open Chat Night and share with us your experiences regarding accessibility in places of worship.  For example, do you have difficulty hearing or understanding the service?  If so, have you ever done or considered doing anything to change that?

No responses yet

Sep 15 2015

Sleeping in complete silence

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I don’t wear my hearing aids while I sleep.  On one hand, it seems like a blessing because I will not be disturbed and my ears are free from the hearing aids, but on the other hand I could sleep through an emergency or life-threatening situation.  What if someone breaks in or if the fire alarm is triggered? What if a family member is in need and I cannot hear the phone?  The possibilities are endless and all outcomes seem tragic.

I know there are smoke alarms and weather alert systems that will vibrate your bed in instances of fires, tornado warnings, and so on.  I plan to get these beneficial products for my home soon. Recently, I purchased a better phone.  I can see caller ID and am able to put the ringer volume high enough to wake me up while sleeping, even if I’m not wearing hearing aids.

I would like to learn how others in the deaf and hard of hearing community make their homes accessible and safe while they are sleeping.

During Wednesday Night’s Open Chat Night, discuss how you protect your home while sleeping at night. What technologies do you recommend? Are you aware of other technologies that are available or being developed?

No responses yet

Aug 24 2015

Back to School

Chat members have previously asked about what accommodations deaf and hard of hearing students receive in college and how beneficial these are.  As summer comes to an end and some of our members are gearing up to return to their universities, I thought this would be a good topic to discuss.

When I attended University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the late 90’s, I was eligible to receive DVR (Division of Vocational Rehabilitation) funding.  This financial assistance helped cover the costs for not only my tuition, but also hearing aids and deaf/hard of hearing services provided at UW-Milwaukee.  I found UWM’s services very helpful, especially the notetakers—students that UWM hired to take notes during lectures for me.

The notetakers helped me keep up with my classes, since even with my hearing aids I sometimes struggled to take notes while listening to the professor.  I also knew of some deaf and hard of hearing students at UW-Milwaukee who used sign language interpreters.  That was over 10 years ago, and I’m sure even more services are being offered in schools today thanks to advances in technology and expertise.

Lately I’ve discovered that DVR provides services for deaf and hard of hearing people in the workplace as well.  So, I recently applied to find out whether I am eligible for some of their services.  Since I’m seeking new job opportunities at this time, it would be helpful to have their assistance during my job search.

In the next Wednesday Night’s Open Chat Night, talk about what accommodations you had in school.  What would you recommend for deaf and hard of hearing students starting college in the fall semester?  What process did you have to go through to get these services?

No responses yet

Aug 18 2015

Hearing Loss and Relationships

Whether you’re married or just dating someone, how does hearing loss affect your relationship?

A decade ago, I discovered that feeling of wanting to be in a relationship with someone.  However, I have never had a girlfriend or been in a relationship.  I’ve learned that some people prefer to meet someone who is already deaf or hard of hearing.  So, I find myself wondering how hearing loss really affects a relationship.

As for me, I don’t care whether the person is hearing, hard of hearing, or deaf.  I think it’s more important that people connect with, understand, and love each other in order to have a successful relationship.  The only way I see how hearing loss might deeply impact relationships is the potential communication barriers.

I also have a mild case of Usher Syndrome, which means I have difficulty seeing in low lighting.  Unfortunately, I have to deal with this condition on top of my hearing loss.  These could both be factors in a relationship, so I need to find someone who understands.

Going on dates and experiencing nightlife can be more challenging and difficult for me in certain ways.  For instance, if I meet someone at a bar, theater, or restaurant environment, I will have deal with low lighting.  Somehow, I will have to cope and find ways to overcome this barrier.

Join us on Wednesday Night’s Open Chat Night to share your experiences and how your hearing loss might or has affected your relationships.

No responses yet

Jul 28 2015

Dizziness, Vertigo & Imbalance

Did you know that hearing loss can cause vertigo?  For a while, it never even occurred to me that inner ear functions can actually affect balance, since this has never been a problem for my particular type of hearing loss.  However, during our Open Chat Nights I learned that various members of our community have to cope with dizziness and balance problems.

Recently, my father invited his past co-worker and wife over for dinner and I learned his co-worker’s wife has experiences vertigo.  Although she doesn’t have a hearing loss, she mentioned her vertigo is due to an inner ear problem.  She would experience a sudden feeling that the whole room was spinning and would need to lie down until that feeling drifted away.

So, join us on Wednesday Night’s Open Chat Night and share your experiences and advice on dizziness and balance problems.  For instance, does it happen on a regular basis?  What do you do to prevent it?

No responses yet

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