“Right Hear, Right Now”: Hearing Loss Awareness as Works of Art

The statistics are well-known. More than 1.1 billion people around the world are affected by hearing loss, but only one in five people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually uses one. Ask anyone and they will probably either know someone with hearing loss, or have someone they know who could probably benefit from a hearing aid. But why is it that while people often recognize symptoms of hearing loss they rarely do anything about it? Continue reading ““Right Hear, Right Now”: Hearing Loss Awareness as Works of Art”

The On-And-Off Relationship

As a relatively new user of hearing aids (three years), and since I’m only mildly hard of hearing (without them, the spoken word is a bit blurry; with them it’s crisp), I don’t feel the need to wear my hearing aids all the time.

Oh, of course at the beginning my audiologist told me to get used to them by putting them on in the morning, not minding them all day long (pretending they’re not there and acting naturally), and taking them off in the evening. Beginners do as they’re told, don’t they? But my days are quite long (6:30 to midnight, I don’t sleep much) and my batteries ran out after 5 to 6 days.

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Son of My Deaf Parents

When Stephanie contacted me, I had actually never heard of Mother Father Deaf Day, which is this Sunday. It’s probably not well known in France, and that’s a pity. On the other hand, everybody these days is talking about “La famille Bélier“, a movie which features children of deaf parents. It is funny and moving, and allows everybody to discover the world of silence. People are astonished and ask me if it’s realistic. And I have to say it is! Continue reading “Son of My Deaf Parents”

Hearing Dogs Do Sound Work

I’m sure everyone has an idea of what they think a Hearing Dog does in terms of helping a recipient – but when I spent two days at the Beatrice Wright Centre for my assessment for a hearing dog, I learnt they did even more than I thought.

I knew they alerted you to fire alarms, door bell and telephone (if you use one) and, while at the fun dog show Pup Aid in London in 2014, I’d seen a Hearing Dogs demonstration, starring Sue Perkins from the Great British Bake Off in the role of a deaf person. The crowd oohed and ahhed as the demo dog ‘woke’ Sue from her bed when an alarm clock sounded and when they displayed amazing recall and obedience skills.

On top of this, I’d met a couple of hearing dog recipients who told me having a hearing dog was the best thing that had ever happened to them — and they shared with me the boost in confidence and independence their dogs give them on a daily basis. Both encouraged me to pursue an application and so I did.

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Innovative “Modern Family” Episode Gets Sound Help From Phonak

Modern Family is one of my favorite shows, so moving abroad and not having access to US television stations was a bummer, until I got Apple TV and I was able to stream my favorite shows again.

A couple months ago, the sitcom made headlines for doing something brand-new for television: filming an entire episode using Apple iPhones, iPads and MacBooks.

So when I recently heard that Phonak also played a role in the making of the episode, it was exciting.

It may not be what you expect — Jay hasn’t developed hearing loss and needs Phonak hearing aids, or Luke and Manny haven’t taken part in a wild stunt that left their hearing damaged -– rather, all of the actors used a special a Phonak product called invisity during filming.

Watch Stephen Tibbo, the Sound Mixer on Modern Family, explain in the video below, or read the Phonak press release.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1KzljwWRAg]

Programmes: Want Them But Never Use Them

When I got my first pair of hearing aids, I was hesitating between a smaller and slightly cheaper model, and a somewhat larger and more expensive one. I honestly wasn’t sure the sound quality was better in the more expensive one. I thought it was, but I wasn’t sure.

What tipped the balance was that the more expensive hearing aids had a button that I could use to switch between programmes. And I wanted that. I was frustrated by the lack of control I had as a user on the hearing aid settings, and so the idea of having programmes I could switch between gave me something to hang on to.

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What Colour Are Yours?

I’m always interested to know what motivates people to choose a particular colour of hearing aid. My first one was a flesh-coloured NHS in-the-ear device. My first pair were also what passes as ‘flesh-coloured’ and were the only colour available. But when I went to buy my first pair of Phonaks, there was a choice of colours — but I didn’t get to choose. I was given a pair on loan and when I liked what they did for me acoustically, I just got to keep them.

My audiologist chose the colour closest to my hair colouring, which seemed a logical choice at the time, but the trouble with having chestnut brown hearing aids is that when you put them down on dark wooden furniture, they’re pretty hard to spot.

Also, if they fall on the floor onto a dark carpet, they’re also hard to find. I’ve had this happen when brushing my hair, as the CROS aid can easily be flipped off the ear and onto the floor. (This is because I opted for a tiny retainer rather than a dummy in ear dome/CROS tip fitting to secure the aid.)

Once, when looking for the CROS, which I’d dropped on the floor, I noticed my dog had something in her mouth. Eek! It was my aid!

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The Name I Call Myself

Picking a term to describe our hearing is fraught with implications.

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.

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