Archive for the 'Recycled Blog Topics' Category

Jul 21 2015

Social Life and Hearing Loss

Since creating the community in 2008, I have had the opportunity to connect with people all over the country. Through conversations I’ve had with these individuals I’ve learned that some of us in the deaf and hard of hearing community experience social isolation because of our hearing loss.

I myself am fortunate to have a wonderful group of people in our chat room who offer support to one another to help each other deal with social anxiety.

In the past, my physical trainer at the gym helped me gain more confidence and gave me advice on starting up conversations with strangers.  He suggested that I experience the nightlife by attending social bars in downtown Milwaukee.  Although I know that this would be a great way to make some new friends or maybe meet someone, I have a fear of putting myself in that kind of social setting.

I’m worried the loud noise in bars will make it even more difficult for me to hear what people are saying.  Also, I have a mild case of Usher Syndrome, which makes it hard to see in low lighting, which is common in bars.  So, a combination of both might be too overwhelming for me.

I have been procrastinating going to a bar for over several years now.

As I find more ways to overcome the fears and challenges in this social setting, I’m hoping to experience the nightlife sooner or later.  I shouldn’t let anything stop me, even if I have to overcome a few roadblocks to get me there.

For anyone who has experienced nightlife or other social activities, join us on Wednesday Night’s Open Chat Night to share your story.

One response so far

Jul 14 2015

New hearing aids on the market

Hearing aid technology is rapidly advancing every year.  I am thinking about getting new hearing aids soon and so I’ll have to research what new aids are out there now.

Back in 2011, I wore the Oticon Agil hearing aids just for a trial period.  I really liked the new style, since they were less visible to the people around me.   Unfortunately, though, I had a difficult time hearing conversations especially when there were background noises.  That particular aid just didn’t work out well for my type of hearing loss.

I’ve now found a better hearing aid that I’ve been wearing for over three years.  I am using the Phonak Ambra hearing aids, which go in the ear canal.  One of the best features of the Phonak Ambra is that I get to control the volume.  It really helps when I approach people who are speaking in a low and soft voice.  I really appreciate that feature, since listening to people speaking quietly was one of the biggest problems I’ve had with my hearing loss.

Also, the sound with these hearing aids is very crisp and clear compared to other hearing aids I worn over the years.  These aids’ elimination of background noise also works well in different environments and social settings.

During this Wednesday Night’s Open Chat Night, share your own experience with new hearing aids or any other technology that you have recently discovered.

No responses yet

Jul 07 2015

Discovering new social avenues

In the past, a hearing loss individual told me he doesn’t have many friends and it’s unsettling for him to see a group of friends.  All of my life, I have felt the exact same emotions.  His experiences have inspired me to share my own story with all of you today.  Whether in school, at work, or in social settings, I have always felt like an outsider when I see a group of friends having fun.  I feel like I don’t belong.  Many of you already know I have expressed myself in this blog about social avenues.

Even today, sometimes I feel like an outsider or kind of jealous when I see friends post on Facebook about their social lives or romantic relationships.  Therefore, it’s more difficult to cope with that feeling like an outsider when I’m home by myself.  It’s something new we have to deal with using today’s technology in our generation.  Sometimes I try to overcome that frustration by avoiding looking too much in the news feeds on Facebook on what’s happening with the lives of others.

Over the recent years, I have heard others in our chat group express their feelings for not having many friends.  That’s the main reason why I started this hearing loss community and chat room in 2008.

If you are not a part of our group, stop in at our Wednesday’s Open Chat Night.  We are here to help and you are never alone.

No responses yet

Jun 23 2015

Learning American Sign Language

Back in 2011, I had dinner with a few friends in the HLAA chapter group.  One of our conversations was about when we learned sign language.  My own hearing is close to normal when I wear hearing aids, so I didn’t find the need to learn sign language to communicate with others.  When I was three, my hearing loss teachers tried to teach me signs, but I refused to learn.  More than likely I would have been forced to learn ASL if I had been surrounded by others with hearing loss.  As I have mentioned in the past, I was the only kid in the entire school who wore hearing aids.

In the recent years, I have attended several events at the national conventions and discovered that I had difficulty communicating with people who are deaf.  These experiences made me realize I should take classes to learn basic signs so I can easily interact with others who can’t hear.

During one semester, I did sign up for a class but ended up dropping out half way through.  I got overwhelmed and during my tight schedule with a full-time job, it was merely difficult to spend more time learning sign language.  Also, I didn’t have much luck connecting with students in the class to find an ASL buddy.  That in particular is very helpful to learn sign language and it takes a great deal of patience and countless hours of practice.

Share your experiences and at what age you started learning sign language at this week’s Open Chat Night.

No responses yet

Jun 17 2015

Describe a turning point in your life

People with hearing loss go through various experiences in their lives.  During the past several years, I have discovered more about how modern technology, such as Cochlear Implants, change people’s lives.  Some of those in our chat room describe receiving Cochlear Implants as a life-altering experience that takes him/her out of his/her comfort zone.

Other people in the forum have discussed that closed captioning on television and open captions at the movies minimize barriers to enjoying these forms of entertainment.  That in itself is a life-changing experience.

As a web designer, I created a website and established a social network for people with hearing loss. Using the internet and my design skills, I have been able to make new friends and connect with others with hearing loss.

Additionally, I have met new people in the hearing loss community at the HLAA conventions over the past couple of years and have connected with ASL students at UW-Milwaukee during Deaf Day events.

Meeting more individuals with hearing loss has helped me to socialize more.  These experiences make me realize I’m not alone in this world and that we often have similar traits and values.

Today, creating this website continues to be the turning point in my life after I was isolated in the hearing world for so many years while growing up.  Now, I always feel good about myself while helping others within the hearing loss community.

Let’s all describe a turning point and how it has changed our lives at this week’s Open Chat Night.

No responses yet

Jun 09 2015

How to take care of your hearing aids

Today, hearing aids can be very expensive.  The digital hearing aids I have been wearing for the past 10 years (BTE and ITC) cost thousands of dollars.  When paying so much for hearing aids, taking good care of them is a must.

Two years ago, I was at the HLAA convention’s exhibit hall in Portland and stopped by a booth for Dry & Store.  I became interested in this product after a leader of the HLAA chapter group recommended it.  I learned that lots of moisture and germs can enter the aids while wearing them, which can cause damage to the aids and potentially create ear infections and itching in the ears.  Dry & Store Conditioning System is an electrical appliance that helps to reduce the risks.  You simply place your hearing aids in an enclosed box for 8 hours to sanitize them.  I have purchased one for myself.

The next year I attended the HLAA convention in Austin.  I ran into the booth in the exhibit hall again and learned they also sell travel kits for Dry & Store.  I decided to buy one because it would be easy to carry around whenever I’m traveling in humid places.  You can also easily fit the travel kit in a suitcase or hand luggage while traveling out of town.  It’s a shape of a small rounded container and no electrical cords are needed.  It might not be as powerful as the bigger one, but it’s good enough to remove any moisture in the hearing aids while traveling and help extend the life of the hearing aids.

Share products you use to ensure that your hearing aids will last longer.  For all of you wearing hearing aids, how long did they last before you have to buy new ones?

No responses yet

May 26 2015

Finding your Identity

In the past, I went to a HLAA chapter meeting, and one of the topics discussed was identity.  Since then, I’ve wanted to continue learning about deaf culture and identity.  For instance, some deaf people refuse to get cochlear implants even though the implants would help them hear.  However, because of their own set ideals or strong beliefs, they opt to not receive the cochlear implants.  I always like to hear other people’s views on this subject.

While growing up, I wasn’t surrounded by people with hearing loss to help me understand the deaf culture.  I pretty much considered myself to be a part of the hearing world.  It was only because I had mild to moderate hearing loss.  The hearing aids helped me hear almost normal but I faced many challenges and obstacles down the road.

Ever since I started the hearing loss website back in 2008, I have been connecting more with the deaf and hard of hearing people online, through the local chapter, and attending the national hearing loss conventions.  So, I am slowly learning more about the deaf culture and how people would identify themselves.  Everyone seems to have different beliefs based on their own personal experiences.  I respect everyone’s option and it’s interesting to know how each individual describe their identity.

Describe how you develop your identity and where you consider yourself in this world.

One response so far

May 19 2015

Adapting to new technologies

The participants in our Wednesday chat nights often describe their experiences of getting new hearing aids, so I thought it would be good to discuss our own experiences with the advancing technology in hearing aids.

As always when we try something new in our lives, it takes some time to adjust.  Back in 2005, I got my first in-the-canal digital hearing aids.  I was overwhelmed by the new sounds during the first month and I remember being surprised at the clarity and depth of sounds.  I had to make several trips to the audiologist to have my hearing aids’ settings adjusted to more comfortable levels.

Three years ago, I got newer hearing aids that are even smaller than my prevoius in-the-canal digital ones.  It seems the smaller hearings aids you can find, the more powerful and improved the technology.  It took a while to adjust to the new sounds, as it would for anyone using new hearing aids.  The nice thing, though, with this new technology is that I was able to control more of the settings on my hearing aids (such as the volume), which meant I didn’t have to visit the audiologists as often as I needed to when I switched to my previous hearing aids.

Roughly every five to seven years I get new hearing aids, and it feels I can hear better than before with each change.  The new technology continues to amaze me.

Share your own experience with new hearing aid or Cochlear Implant technology, or any other technology that has had an impact on your life.

No responses yet

May 13 2015

Early memories with hearing loss

I’m sure many of us have memories from the days following discovery of our hearing loss.  Moments in time that will forever be carried with us.

For me, one of those moments was when I attended special classes for deaf and hard of hearing students in elementary school.  Every morning I would arrive early to school, put on a box with a transmitter and receiver, and play with the school-supplied building blocks.  I can still see the sun rising as I stacked the blocks as high as I could before they came tumbling down.  It was such a special moment in my life as my journey started in the hearing loss world.  I think that story is the perfect metaphor for how hard I’ve been working to stand tall and never give up, even when it seems everything is tumbling down around me.

It’s been 35 years since I attended the school.  Even though my old teachers have retired by now, I still want to go back to that school again in the near future.  It would be interesting to visit that particular classroom today and see how much has changed.  I’m sure it will be an emotional experience, bringing back many memories.

Join us on Wednesday at this week’s Open Chat Night to share your unforgettable moments!

No responses yet

Apr 29 2015

How can we educate our co-workers?

In the past, we have had interesting conversations during Open Chat Night about dealing with co-workers.  Chat members asked about the best ways to educate and inform our co-workers about hearing loss.  This will be a good topic to discuss again because all of us have separate, unique experiences with this topic in our own professional fields.

As for me, I don’t have much of a problem communicating with co-workers since my hearing loss is mild, but there have been times when people have come up to me and spoken very softly.  That was a problem in a cubical environment in my previous job because other people were in the same room, and many would not want to be distracted.  Even though it could get very frustrating for my co-workers, I had to ask them to repeat themselves, sometimes multiple times.  They usually know I have hearing loss when they see my hearing aids, so I don’t have to explain that I have trouble hearing.

At my current job, the work environment and atmosphere is different than the other places I have worked at.  Everyone has their own office, which makes it easier to communicate with others because they don’t have to speak as softly as in a cubical environment.  They can speak in their normal voices since others won’t be distracted at the other side of the wall.  That minimizes the situation when co-workers come up to me speaking very softly, and that makes it much easier to communicate.

Share your experiences in the workplace and how you get along with your co-workers.  What are the positive and negative impacts of your hearing loss in the workplace?  What suggestions can you give for helping your co-workers understand how to interact with people with hearing loss?

No responses yet

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