Open Ears is following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Haiti with the Hear The World Foundation. Jason Norby is a Principal Clinical Specialist at Advanced Bionics LLC. He enjoys sarcasm and long walks in the park. His favorite dogs are puppies, and his favorite color is light tan.
It’s the end of a long work week. I could feel it in the part of my brain that logs hours slept versus hours awake and energy expended. The summary: not enough sleep to offset the hours awake and energy consumed. It’s been a long week. But you know the feeling when something was mentally and physically taxing, yet the intrinsic reward was worth the cost? It was that kind of week and very worthwhile.
The day started with a trip to a school atop a Caribbean mountain to fit three children with hearing aids. The school sat overlooking the coast and green hills nearby. We made this trip to the school earlier this week. The drive earlier this week up the rutted dirt road was epic with bouncing and jostling for several minutes, and the occasional sound of wheels loudly rebelling as they tried to gain traction. The small four-cylinder engine strained in rebellion to the load and incline. Today however, the dark clouds more than hinted of rain.
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.
“Oh man, we’re stuck!” I yelled as our mighty little Toyota HiAce hit a gigantic puddle on the dirt road.
The rear wheels were spinning and our vehicle was sliding around in the mud. I looked out of the side window and it looked like we landed in a lake.
“Do we have a tow winch?” I asked John our fixer/translator/security guy.
“We don’t need a winch.” he said as he looked at me with a smile.Apparently, getting stuck in mud is a common thing for these guys. Our driver started rocking the car back and forth but wasn’t getting anywhere. The 2nd van stopped and started to assess our situation. The driver of the second van got into our van through the window opening like he were one of the Duke Brothers and took over driving duties. John was piling rocks underneath our rear tires while the rest of us in the van were enjoying the impromptu carnival ride. Continue reading “Hear Haiti: The Gift of Hearing”
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.
“I hope this van makes it up the hill,” Mohamed Khaldi excitedly said as our van went uphill on the extremely steep dirt road. Personally, I didn’t think the van would make it up with all our gear and passengers, but it proved me wrong. Who needs a 4X4 when you have a little Toyota HiAce with a faulty A/C system?
We finally arrived to the top of the hill. Wow! The school had a stunning view of the both the ocean and nearby forest covered rolling hills. The kids at this school were very lucky to be enrolled there. The school focused on encouraging, educating and empowering restaveks, orphans, and vulnerable children. Another organization was doing great things in Haiti. It was amazing. Continue reading “Hear Haiti: It Takes A Team”
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”
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.
Theater goers can attest, when one leaves a musical they often walk away with the show tunes stuck in their heads. But a new Broadway revival is leaving the opposite impression, with most of the focus solely on the actors; half of whom are deaf.
Deaf West Theater’s production of Spring Awakening, which opened in New York in September, stars eight deaf actors, eight hearing actors and seven onstage musicians, including Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Marelee Matlin.
At Phonak, we are committed to fighting the stigma attached to hearing loss, to tearing down barriers for the hearing-impaired and to finding new and innovative ways to help everyone reconnect to the beauty of sound. We also know that individuals play a strong role in breaking down those stigmas.
To celebrate those in our community who are being open and proud of their hearing situations, we’ve teamed up with some of our favorite Instagrammers, and asked them to capture their personality and signature looks, and show us what it really means to live with hearing loss.
Last week, we featured 20-year-old Eloise Garland, a music student from the UK.
She is an inspiration to many people – especially teens – with hearing loss, both in what she’s accomplished in her personal life, as well as the unique way she shows of her hearing aids with cool stickers and decorations that she sells on her Etsy.com store, Rainbow Tubes.
You can share your story with us too using the hashtag #lifeison on Instagram! Together we can break down the stigmas of hearing loss.
This is the question that some friends of mine have asked me when we were talking about my job. De facto, this is not a completely fallacious train of thought. There was a time in the past when I was wondering the same: particularly around my A levels, which, as they say, open all the doors to working life. “Really? For everybody?” were my thoughts.
At that time, I was attending a regular school and could perfectly manage my congenitally profound hearing loss in both ears by simply sitting in the first or second row in the classroom. Moreover, I always had terrific, attentive teachers and friends around me for support if necessary. Things then became more challenging when I had to think about my upcoming working life.
Suddenly, I became aware of my handicap and as a consequence, I was wondering which professions I would be able to take up with my hearing impairment.
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.
Imagine a world where every newly constructed building would include accommodations for those with hearing loss, including acoustically-friendly designs, captioning and the latest hearing assistive technology.
While it seems like a lofty goal, one 16-year-old from California is encouraging his community to do just that.
Johnny Butchko knows too well what it’s like to not be able to understand people in public spaces.
“Every day that I am in school I have difficulty hearing in the halls, the cafeteria and the courtyards, because there is a lot of background noise,” he said.
Johnny was born severe-to-profoundly deaf. Equipped with Phonak Naida Q 50 UP hearing aids, he uses an FM system and captioning in the classroom, and a caption phone at home, but in public spaces, the feeling of being lost in translation is all too common.