As a social media community manager, I get to talk to a lot of people about their hearing loss. It’s been amazing to hear people’s stories – whether it’s a mom sharing an Instagram video from the first time her child’s hearing aids turned on, or a post about how new technologies are allowing a hearing aid wearer to enjoy sounds in situations they never before thought possible.
While most of my interactions have been virtual, the raw emotions are still there. I still feel a closeness with anyone whom I can answer a question for or connect them with our community of people facing similar hearing situations.
A few weeks ago, however, I had the opportunity to go offline and connect with a Phonak user in person, during filming for the new Phonak Virto V custom hearing aid testimonial video.
When I first met Josef, I was immediately warmed by his presence. His friendly demeanor and grandfatherly characteristics makes him someone you could sit down with for hours and listen to the stories he could share from his 81 years of life.
Continue reading “Listening to Josef: A hearing aid wearer we can all relate with”
If you’re active on social media, you probably have a list of hashtags you use when sharing photos about hearing loss. #HearingLoss, of course, #LifeIsOn – the official Phonak hashtag – and others such as #hardofhearing #deafkidsrock and #hearingaids. One hashtag campaign, however, recently gained international attention, with the important message: #ShowYourAids.
The #ShowYourAids social media campaign exploded this summer thanks to one young woman, Emma Rudkin, who knows from experience how tough it can be to wear hearing aids proudly.
Emma, a 19-year-old Texas native and this year’s Miss San Antonio, started the social media movement and non-profit, Aid The Silent, to raise awareness and support for the deaf community.
I talked with her about the #ShowYourAids movement and how she gained the courage to show off her Phonak hearing aids.
Continue reading “#ShowYourAids: Texan Beauty Queen Shows Us How to Live Proudly with Hearing Loss”
If you live with someone who doesn’t have hearing loss, is there a tension around having the subtitles on when you watch television together?
When my husband went away on a trip last year and I was home alone, at the first opportunity I got, I switched the subtitles to ‘on’ and had them on all the time. ‘On’ was not their normal default setting in our house at that time, you see. Normally, I would only ask to have them on when I was really struggling to follow the plot of a show.
Of subtitles, someone once said to me, “I don’t know how you can read the text and watch what’s going on at the same time.” When she said this, I was tempted to say, “I don’t know how you can’t.” Continue reading “Subtitles: On or Off in a Shared Home?”
I’m a talker. Have been since my first words, or so the legend goes. Even as I became part of the “hearing lost” I didn’t stop talking.
According to my audiologist when we lose hearing we have two choices, really — to recede and/or to step forward. Or in my case, to do what has always come naturally.
Being a talker with a hearing loss hasn’t always been a good thing. In fact, it’s caused me countless embarrassing exchanges more times than I have data for.But I discovered that if I talked I didn’t have to listen — or listen as much. I would simply try to outrun the speaker’s attempt at a conversation. I would try to anticipate where the conversation was going and leap into the middle of it with some confirming words or experiences of my own to try that might match the “attempted” conversation.
Continue reading “Talk to Me: Hearing is Not Listening”
“You must have hated The Polar Express when you were a kid,” my friend Stacy said to me.
The two of us were sitting in our class, Writing for Children, talking about picture books. As the semester came to a close, we were finishing our unit on illustrated stories, and meandered to The Polar Express. Being a Caldecott-winning story adapted into a movie, it was an ideal book for class discussion. Most of my classmates heard it at least once, and had their own stories about hearing it for the first time. Mine was not particularly memorable, seeing as I was nine and the elementary school librarian read it to my class.
At least…I did not think it was memorable until Stacy pointed out a central theme to the story.
Continue reading “Hearing, Listening, and The Polar Express”
Over the last couple of months, I’ve been trying out a variety of hearing aids as part of my newly-found “guinea pig” position at Phonak. As a geek, I love playing with new technology and trying things out. As a person with hearing loss, I’m curious about how good things can get for me.
One of the challenges I’ve come upon trying out hearing aid solutions is confusion. You know what happens when you’re shopping for perfumes, and after a (short) while you can’t distinguish smells anymore? That’s a bit what it feels like with sound. Maybe it has to do with the rather strong “habituation” component there is in the way we process sound.
Some situations are clear-cut: for example, after trying out the Bolero Q90 hearing aids for a few weeks, I switched back to my Widex Clear 330 ones to see if I could spot a “reverse difference”. One situation where there was no debate was at the vet’s: I’d been going there regularly throughout my Bolero trial, and when I went back with my Widex aids in, I really struggled to understand what my vet was saying. The room is a bit echoey and she speaks quite fast. To make extra sure I wore the Boleros next time around.
Continue reading “About Being Confused”
As I ride the train every morning, I am reminded of what quiet and/or silence really is. That brief moment when you can hear a pin drop in a packed train car, when someone rustling an umbrella or opening a bag catches your attention because it is a harsh invader in the heavy fog of silence. Everyone seems tired, there aren’t any jovial conversations being had — just the undeniable silence that leaves only the rhythmic steel wheels churning along the rails. When did silence become so thick?
Continue reading “Accepting Silence”