Open Ears is following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Haiti with the Hear The World Foundation. Michael Lumunsad is a Strategic Marketer at Advanced Bionics LLC. He enjoys talking about the most random topics with his AB coworkers, Brendan, Jiselle, and Jessica.
Written on the sign was “12 JANVYE 2010 – AYITI PAP BLIYE” which means, “12 January 2010 – Haiti Will Not Forget”.
As we passed the 2010 earthquake memorial, we were reminded of why our Hear the World team and many other humanitarian teams were in Haiti. We came to help the people who were victims of the tremendous tragedy. Three million people were affected and more than 250,000 people died. The new memorial was built on the mass grave of these people and it’s supposed to remind the world of how many innocent lives were lost in this wonderful country.
Our two vans made the hour drive to a coastal school near Port-au-Prince. We were greeted by energetic and laughing children who wanted hugs from each and every one of us. These kids and their families were the survivors of the earthquake and they will be the future of the country. Continue reading “Hear Haiti: The Future of Haiti”
Have you ever been accused of having ‘selective hearing’ or ‘selective deafness’ – people saying that you can hear them when you want to, but not when you don’t? Well, there could be a scientific explanation for this, apparently and it’s called ‘inattentional deafness’.
According to a recent article published by Huffpostscience, “A new study has found that focusing really hard can cause momentary deafness.” The article went on to say, “A small study from University College London, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, found that focusing on a visual task can make you momentarily deaf to normal-level sounds around you.”
During the study, participants were asked to take part in a visual task involving deciphering ambiguous-looking letters whilst the researchers conducted brain scans on them.
“The scientists found that the brain’s response to sound was significantly reduced and the volunteers could not hear sounds that were clearly audible. […] The researchers believe this shows that humans’ sense of hearing and vision relies on the same neural resources, which are limited and may only be available to one type of task at a time.”
Open Ears is following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Haiti with the Hear The World Foundation. Haley B. Kurzawa is a Hearing Instrument Specialist at Connect Hearing USA. She is originally from Chicago and moved to Austin, Texas last year.
Hearing the rooster crow was such an unusual sound for a Chicago girl. I woke up to the beautiful sunshine, feeling surprisingly rested after a long day of travel. I was very eager to start the day with my awesome team.
“Breakfast is at 8 AM. Be ready to leave for Cite Soleil after eating,” said Cathy Jones.
I prepared for a day of many detours and potentially unplanned activities. I got excited for the busy day ahead. We planned to visit a school in Cite Soleil, the skilled artisans of the Metal Works community, and the non-profit Apparent Project.
We were all excited to get to see the Port-au-Prince that’s not shown on mainstream news. We piled into two vans and headed on our way.
“The roads in Haiti have potholes just as big as Chicago,” I excitedly exclaimed. I realized driving in Haiti wasn’t like driving in the USA. There are huge pot holes, lack of asphalt, no visible lanes, no traffic lights, and lots of pedestrians. People either walk, ride motorcycles, or take “tap-tap” which are colorful trucks. Think of vibrant Uber rides. Continue reading “Hear Haiti: a vibrant start”
I’ve previously talked about the importance of being mindful about your hearing. I’ve found that taking the time to pay attention to how your hearing changes in different environments and after different activities can make you more aware of your hearing health in general. Once you have a good grasp on how your ears are functioning, you could move on to activities to re-train your hearing. While I’m not a doctor or hearing professional – and do not encourage any of my blog posts to be taken as medical advice – here are some activities that I’ve found have “enhanced” my hearing experience.
Consider aural rehabilitation
Depending on your hearing loss and ability, you may benefit from hearing rehab, listening exercises and/or ear training.
On this late Saturday evening driving to LAX, I wonder to myself, “Am I ready for this trip?”
I visualize the things that I am supposed to pack for the Hear the World volunteering mission trip to Haiti. I look at my crumpled checklist while having this bad feeling that I’ve forgotten something. I hate being unprepared. Did I miss something from the emails sent to me by Hear Haiti leader, Cathy Jones? I hope not.
My mind wanders as the freeway lights pass overhead. I’ve read so many news articles about what’s gone wrong in the country. A 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Thousands dead and millions displaced. Political instability. Zika virus. Haiti in crisis.
We love it when people share their hearing loss stories with us on social media. Our community often provides comfort, encouragement, inspiration and support for others in similar situations.
Recently we connected with one of our Instagram friends who we think has a wonderful story to share. I had the opportunity to chat with Kellie, the mom of 7-month-old Gabby, about a video she shared with us. This is their story:
[vimeo 153836665 w=500 h=281]
Jill: Thanks for connecting with us on Instagram! Can you tell us a bit more about Gabby’s hearing loss?
Kellie: While we were in the hospital when Gabriella was born, she failed both hearing screenings. After that we took her to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital for another screening and two Baer tests, all of which came back showing that she was profoundly deaf in both ears.
In this Open Ears segment we’ll be following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Haiti with the Hear The World Foundation. Michael Lumunsad, a Strategic Marketer who works at Advanced Bionics, will be reporting from Haiti.
I, probably like many of you, still remember when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti more than six years ago. The January 12, 2010 catastrophe killed more than two hundred thousand people and displaced millions more. In those six years, a lot of foreign aid and relief efforts have been poured into the island to help rebuild the devastated Caribbean country, including the Hear the World Foundation, which started HEAR HAITI in 2013.
On Sunday, I’ll be joining 11 other Sonova Group employees on the fourth Hear the World volunteering trip to Leveque, Haiti. Our team will be providing patient care, hearing aid fitting, and caregiver education to many deaf children and adults living in Leveque, especially those children orphaned by the 2010 tragedy.
I will lead the documentation efforts during the trip, including sharing our experiences on social media. Others will have jobs covering administration and organization tasks, diagnostics, fitting, auditory verbal therapy, and communications.
Everyone on the team is excited to volunteer in Haiti and give back to the community in need.
How we talk about things influences how we perceive them, such as talking about hearing “loss.” In the same way, how we think about hearing loss can influence how it affects us. Being mindful about my hearing and how I talk about it has taught me many good things.
The focus on hearing loss has always been on the impairment, the “dis”-ability. Certainly from one perspective that’s exactly what we have. A loss. But you could read your audiogram another way and see the amount of hearing “ability” you may still have even after a loss.
With so many advances in the past several years, 2016 may be a good time to start focusing on our actual experience of “hearing” – what I will call our “ability” to hear – and not just on our loss as measured by an audiogram.
This thought hit home for me very recently when I started to perform music again after 34 years. I was encouraged by a musician colleague to read new research about the brain’s “neuro-plasticity” and what it might mean for me and my musical aspirations. I also started aural rehabilitation and I resumed vocal training that I had discontinued three decades before.
During the past two years, through much repetition and practice, I felt that I was experiencing changes in my hearing that were definitely improvements and enhancements – even though my audiogram didn’t budge.
Captioning on YouTube has been a hot topic in the deaf/Hard of Hearing world lately, especially among teenagers.
YouTuber Rikki Poynter – Pikachu lover and advocate for closed captioning, who’s also deaf – has sort of led the charge for getting all YouTube videos captioned. She explains in her video why captioning is important for Deaf/HOH people, as well as those who don’t speak the language that the video is filmed in. She also posts a whole load about deaf related topics.
Captions on YouTube has been such an important topic lately, mostly because they are so bad. In 2009, YouTube released their automatic captioning feature for videos using voice recognition algorithm, but the text is often inaccurate. While YouTube does let users upload their own captions, it can be time consuming, and most users don’t do it.
However, with encouragement from the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community, and people like Rikki, there are some YouTubers who are leading this change.
Although we personally don’t refer to deafness as a disability it can be seen as one and does come with its own challenges. Being a parent of a deaf child requires a little more time, patience and understanding of what your child may be going through.
First, coming to terms with your baby being diagnosed with hearing loss can be a highly emotional and stressful time. It can bring fears, questions and a sense of loss, especially if it comes out of no where, like it did for us and Harry. When we found out about Harry’s hearing loss, the first thing we did was turn to the internet. We headed straight for forums for parents of newly diagnosed deaf children to try and understand what this meant for us as a family. To say it helped would be an understatement. I immediately felt a huge sense of hope as I connected instantly to each person’s story. It was almost like we were part of an exclusive group.