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.”
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.
I got inspiration for this blog post from Rikki Poynter’s video, ‘Dating While Deaf.’ For those who don’t know who Rikki is, she’s a deaf YouTuber, a massive Pikachu fan, an advocate for closed captioning, and just an ordinary teenager like me!
As a person with hearing loss, there’s two sides to dating… being with a normal hearing person or with a deaf partner.
Personally, I’ve been in a deaf-hearing relationship before, and it didn’t work out. I wouldn’t say it was my deafness that ended it, as I am very capable in life with communicating, but I’d just like to point out that he could have been more understanding with my needs. (Like he didn’t get my attention when talking to me, or couldn’t be bothered to repeat what he said… so the whole thing didn’t work anyway.)
After this experience, I had doubts about whether I was ever going to be in a relationship again. I felt like all the boys my age were very judgmental and immature. At the time I also had this misconception that all deaf boys were signers, which worried me because I’ve never really interacted with deaf people before, so I felt that I wasn’t going to be able to communicate with them.
Learning sign language with your deaf or normal hearing baby
We started learning sign language as soon as we found out about Harry’s hearing loss.
Even though Harry has a cochlear implant and can hear our voices, we wanted him to know the basics of sign language for the future. Not only to better communicate with him, but also to be a part of the deaf community. He is still a deaf person after all, and he may very well have deaf friends who only use sign language to communicate.
Not only is sign language useful for children with hearing loss, but its also great for hearing children to learn as well. Even when they are very young, a baby’s motor skills and ability to make hand gestures are far more developed than their ability to speak, which makes it really very easy for them to learn the basics of sign language. You will be so shocked at how fast a little baby can start to copy different hand gestures, eventually realizing they can use their hands to tell you what they need! Imagine if your baby could tell you what they want via signing instead of screaming and wailing!
With help from our Teacher of the Deaf, Harry he had a whole range of signs he was using to communicate with us by the time he was around 9 months old.
“Deaf,” “deaf,” “hard of hearing,” “hearing impaired”…
There are many words that describe someone with hearing loss. Some of them are used to describe how much you can hear, others elicit positive feelings, and other more negative. Other terms are viewed as politically correct, while unfortunately in some places it’s still common to use words like “deaf and dumb.”
Thankfully, we’ve come a long way from terms that belittle people with hearing loss, but there are still situations that we run into that make us think, wow, we still have a long way to go.
So, what do you think? How do you describe hearing loss to your friends, family or people you aren’t that close with? Does it matter?
“The idea behind “hearing impaired” is that we are lesser human beings and must be fixed to function.
Those who suffer (dare I use “suffer”?) from mild to moderate hearing loss do not necessarily identify with the term deaf—a word that is historically loaded and also carries a distinction between capitalized and lowercase “d”. Uppercase “Deaf” reflects a community and a culture of identity, and carries pride similar to that of ethnic and religious groups. Lowercase “deaf” can reflect only severe to profound hearing loss, or hearing loss on the whole, depending who you ask.” – Christina The Name I Call Myself
Lifeguarding requires patience, attentiveness, responsibility and (most importantly) the ability to jump into the water at any given moment. That’s why for me, as a hearing aid wearer and person with limited non-direction hearing, it’s been the perfect job.
Of course, not everyone has believed the role would be a good fit for me…
I’ve always loved swimming. I used to swim competitively, but I had to pull out when I got too busy with school. I have to say, this was probably one of the hardest things to let go of, because it was such a big part of my life.
I missed the pool so much. The adrenaline from swimming competitively, the kick from winning a race, the peacefulness of silently gliding underwater… I just wanted to be back on poolside again.
In April 2014, the opportunity arose for me to do the RLSS (Royal Lifesaving Society) Pool Lifeguard Qualification, however due to my hearing loss, I didn’t think it would be possible. I spoke to the training provider and asked them if it would be achievable, and luckily they agreed to make adjustments for me. Continue reading “Confessions of a teenage deaf lifeguard”
We were still getting used to the fact we had a mini human who was awake most of the night when we found out that Harry was deaf. He was just 7 weeks old when he failed the Newborn Hearing Screening.
After a series of tests and a very intensive ABR he was confirmed as profoundly deaf with no threshold of hearing. The emotions hit us like a steam train and immediately we felt worried and scared for what the future would hold for our perfect baby boy. I remember that day so clearly; when my partner Scott and I held each other close and cried ourselves to sleep. We almost had to mourn what our idea of a perfect child was, and come around to the fact that our experience as first time parents was going to be a little different than what we had expected.
We spent a good few days feeling extremely upset and worried for our little chap. Our baby was the only deaf person we had ever met. It was a completely new thing to learn about. I started to panic when I left him alone to sleep, as I thought he would wake up and be scared because he couldn’t hear us. It took me a while to realize that actually Harry had never known any different, and he shouldn’t be scared because to him the world had always been silent.
It was as quick as the day after Harry’s diagnosis when we had a phone call from our local Teacher of the Deaf. The amount of information being fed to us was quite overwhelming, but comforting knowing a support system was already in place. She came over soon after to introduce herself, and we immediately felt confident that our son wasn’t going to be forgotten about or left behind. She explained that she would help us with his development from Day 1 until he finished his education, which filled us with hope and a lot more confidence than we had initially had.
Hi there, let me introduce myself. My name is Ellen, but my friends call me Ellie. I live in Norfolk, UK. Some of you may know me as Deafie Blogger. I’m 18 years old, and I’ve been profoundly deaf since birth. I wear two digital Phonak hearing aids, which allow me to communicate through lip-reading and speech. I don’t use British Sign Language, although I’d love to learn one day. I’m a typical teenager, and I love being sociable, spending time with family and friends, travelling and swimming.
Of course, I’m proud to be deaf, because I wouldn’t have achieved what I have, if I was hearing. I would just be ordinary. I am passionate about deaf awareness, no doubt about it. Over the past year I’ve really gotten interested in blogging and deaf culture, and I’m hoping that I can enthuse and encourage other deaf teenagers to prove that they can achieve anything they dream of. I love writing about everyday situations in the life of a deaf person, with the aim of making others feel as if they’re not alone.
For the first 12 years of my life, I slept peacefully through the majority of thunderstorms. If I ever awoke, it was during a strike so violent everybody in the house was awake, and huddled in my mother’s bed.
With half an eardrum in one ear and no eardrum in the other, the idea of a thunderstorm being frightening seemed silly. Why would pretty flashing lights with next to no sound be scary? As long as there was no thunder, storms seemed like a ridiculous thing to fear.
Summer 2005, however, would change this idea for the rest of my life.
Almost one year after my left eardrum was repaired and half my hearing was restored, the horror of strange sounds hit me.