Heading back to school each fall always brought mixed emotions. Sure, it’s exciting preparing for another year, getting excited to see your friends again and get into a routine, but it could also bring anxiety about the unknown. Will I like my teachers? Will I have friends in my class? Am I going to be able to understand all the formulas in math class?
I assume for parents, especially parents of children with hearing loss, the first few weeks of school can be just as stressful. How do you ensure you’re giving your child the support and tools they need to succeed in the classroom?
To get some advice, I turned to social media to ask parents to share their best back-to-school tips.
Continue reading “Back To School: Real Advice from Parents with Hard-of-Hearing Kids”
While I was writing “Never Mind, It’s Not Important“, I realised I have certain friends who do way more than just avoid brushing me off with a “never mind” when I am in a situation where I struggle to understand what is being said: they will repeat and summarise for me.
This happens especially in group situations where I haven’t managed to position myself optimally, or when the audio quality or acoustics aren’t good.
Having somebody “be my ears” and repeat to me what I need to know is really precious. We’re at the opposite of the “it’s not important” situation I wrote about recently: I am willingly giving up the power to decide what is important or not to somebody else. But the key word here is “willingly”. It is my choice. Continue reading “The Friends Who Listen For Me”
We’ve all seen those captioning bloopers that do the rounds on social media every now and then; and to be fair there are some really funny ones. And, as us deafies are not without a sense of humour, often we’ll see the funny side. But, joking apart, how does it make you feel when the captions are so badly wrong?
Here in the UK, I think we do pretty well for the availability of ‘subtitled television’. (In the UK, the term ‘subtitle’ is more commonly used than the term ‘caption’, despite there being a difference between the definitions.) The BBC is clearly committed to making shows accessible and the other main UK channels tend to also be quite good.
But where all channels come unstuck is with subtitling the news.
The worst I’ve found is Channel 4 news (which is unfortunate for me because it is my preferred news programme). The subtitles are so far behind and so often inaccurate that I do better by just lipreading and listening than by trying to make sense of the subtitles that are so far out of sync. Continue reading “Captions — Hit or Miss?”
When I came upon this quote by American author William Deresiewicz a few months ago, I thought it represented the intent of Phonak U well:
The true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers.
That statement resonates even more strongly with me after bearing witness to the nearly 100 minds — not careers — being built at the 11th annual Phonak University held earlier this month at our US headquarters.
So, what is Phonak U? It is an educational program that aspires to supplement the contemporary clinical training of today’s Audiology student through participation in didactic lectures, hands-on clinical workshops and case studies, giving the students the opportunity to learn directly from the best. And of course, we also hope that Phonak U allows students to network with fellow students and established professionals. Continue reading “Phonak U 2015: Shaping Minds”
Since my eighth birthday, I had been waiting for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I had become hopelessly addicted to the series after receiving Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as a birthday gift. Initially, my mother read them to my brother, Doug, and me as bedtime stories. As I got older and my reading skills improved, I took each new book for myself and read it in a matter of days.
Having gone through the series so quickly, I was gunning my engine to read the last book and see how it ends. In spite of the sticky July heat, I came to Borders dressed in my “Gryffindor Girl” outfit: a white blouse with a black and red kilt and a Gryffindor tie I stole from Doug’s closet.
Mom had originally reserved one copy for the entire family, and through our wait to pick it up, she was yelling at me about spoiling the book. While Mom and Doug take months to finish a single book, I can easily read one in a matter of days—weeks, if I am feeling slow. For the previous two sequels, I had accidentally spoiled the books for both of them by crying over important character deaths. Continue reading “Harry Potter and the Surprise Tympanoplasty”
You’ve read articles about this, right? How we the hearing less don’t appreciate being told “never mind” or “it’s not important” when we’re asking for something we didn’t understand to be repeated.
Since I started wearing hearing aids, I’ve had a few years to reflect on the impact growing up hearing less, first undiagnosed, then underestimated. When I see what a hard time adults sometimes have adjusting their communication habits to my ears, and that I still sometimes fake it despite my fancy cutting-edge hearing aids, I can only imagine what an impact this had on my relationships and ability to socialise as a child.
Some years ago I met up with a few girls I was in kindergarten with. It was really fun to meet them as adults, and we got on great, although we weren’t all exactly friends when we were in school together. I saw them as the “popular” girls and they didn’t seem to be very interested in me. As I was mentioning that, one of them remarked that it wasn’t they didn’t like me, but that I didn’t really speak to them or answer when they spoke to me. Continue reading “Never Mind, It’s Not Important”
Wearing hearing aids is as natural to me as wearing clothes. I was born hearing impaired and as far as I can remember I always had hearing aids; they were just an extension of my body. In my early kindergarten years it was a box I had to carry on my chest. Ear plugs were connected to it with long cables. In hot weather, this box became quite uncomfortable to wear. Surprisingly the amount of sweat pooling underneath it never caused it to short-circuit. Fortunately, as soon as I hit elementary school age, I was given behind-the-ear hearing aids. Those were a huge improvement and I have been wearing those types of hearing aids up until a few months ago.
My hearing loss has sadly been deteriorating over the years, up to a point where it was getting really hard to get the most out of a hearing aid. I had heard about cochlear implants earlier on, but back then I found them to be a rough technical solution. Like all technological inventions, however, cochlear implant technology is being continuously refined as time goes by.
As any technology has its limits, choosing to get a cochlear implant remained a hard decision. I have a good friend who got an implant a year ago and is showing remarkable performance, but that does not mean the same will occur with me or with anyone else.
The benefits of a cochlear implant vary greatly per person. It depends on your hearing history, your age, your language capabilities, your own personal investment, your social environment, and so forth. People who have lost hearing suddenly will profit more from a cochlear implant compared to those who were born with hearing difficulties. Deaf children with an implant will do better than deaf adults who just had a cochlear implant. If you are in an environment where sign language is the dominating communication tool, having a cochlear implant might provide some way to discern sounds, but will probably not improve oral communication. Continue reading “From A Hearing Aid To A Cochlear Implant”