Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Communication rewards

Dr. Trychin, in Staying in Touch, recommends that we show our appreciation for the efforts people make to communicate. Positive feedback facilitates the continuation of better communication. Some ways he suggests to verbally reward others:

Thank you
I appreciate it
That's great
That's much better
That's wonderful

Some non-verbal expressions of appreciation and reinforcement:

Thumbs up

Monday, March 22, 2010

When disclosing, avoid:

  • being apologetic about your hearing loss
  • putting yourself down
  • getting angry at the other person because you can't hear them
  • being impolite
  • guilt-tripping
  • being defensive
-- paraphrased from "Staying in Touch"

I know someone with hearing loss (who hasn't accepted it yet) who gets irritated with me when I talk to him with background noise playing. Gives me a pinched-up irritated look and says, "What?!". Sure doesn't make me want to repeat what I said.

I tend to let people know about my hearing loss when there's a problem in communication. I'm not comfortable starting off a conversation about my hearing loss when it may not be relevant at the moment.

I also feel uncomfortable when someone discloses my hearing loss for me. I feel it should be my prerogative. I was in a meeting once where I took out my FM device and pushed it towards the middle of the table. One of my colleagues stopped the meeting to remind everyone to speak up because of my hearing loss. My colleague meant well but I didn't really like the attention, and the implication that everyone was somehow ignoring my needs. Personally, it made me less likely to use the FM device if it was going to interrupt the flow of a meeting.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Disclosure - letting others know

Failure to inform people of your hearing loss may result in misinterpretation of your failure to understand or respond as:
  • disinterest
  • low intelligence
  • social/personality psychological issues
  • laziness
  • unfriendliness
  • aloofness
  • uncooperative
  • incompetent
 --paraphrased from "Staying in Touch"

My failure to respond has resulted in hurt feelings. My father said something to me but my back was turned so I didn't respond. He told my sister that he was hurt that I ignored him. Good thing my sister explained to him that I wasn't ignoring him, that I really do have a serious hearing loss. Sometimes people really don't realize how much someone can't hear until something like this happens.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Communication: Environmental Barriers

  • poor room acoustics
  • background noise (fans, air conditioners, computer humming, chitchat, thin walls let sound through, etc.)
  • poor lighting (can't see faces properly)
  • distance from sound
  • distractions
  • size and arrangement of meeting table(s) (not circular, many people at the table, arranged in rows)
  • interfering objects (pole in the middle of the room blocking view)
  • poor angle of vision
  • no assistive devises (e.g. FM system)
  • assistive devices that don't work well
  • no visual aids (powerpoint presentation, electronic white boards, blackboards, flip charts)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Parties, loud social gatherings

Just reading the "Staying in Touch" workbook and it had an interesting example in the "Assessing Physical Environments" section:

At a party or loud social gathering it's not well-received to ask the host to turn down the music especially when people are dancing. A solution to this problem would be to ask the person who is talking to you if they would move to a quieter room. He continues to say that "people who are hard of hearing should be wary of assuming that others won't cooperate when asked to make environmental modifications".

For me it's not about whether they would cooperate. I would find it awkward to ask someone to move to another room, especially if I don't know that person and they were being polite by striking up some small talk (which I'm not terribly good at). I would feel awkward about removing them from their social comfort zone to have a small talk conversation with me. I would worry that we'd move to the other room and she'd say something like "I was saying, 'Nice music isn't it?'", then I'd say "Yes, it is. Good beat." and then we'd stand there in silent awkwardness and she'd say "Well I better get back to the party, my husband is probably looking for me."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Problem communication situations for the family members of HoH

  • I forget to speak up
  • I forget to face the hoh person
  • The tv/radio is too loud and disturbs the rest of the household
  • I have to repeat a lot
  • We sometimes become frustrated or bothered because of the hearing issues
  • Not sure what to do when I know that he/she is not understanding someone else who is talking to them
  • Dependency - having to interpret in social situations
  • He/she doesn't pay attention to what I'm saying 
  • Ability to understand what I'm saying is not consistent, it's varies
  • Conversation length has decreased and we talk less
  • Not doing things we used to enjoy - movies, plays
  • Not getting any feedback as to whether he/she understands or doesn't understand what I'm saying
  • Having to repeat when under stress e.g. emergency situation
  • Doing things for her/him that she/he could do if she/he tried
  • Isolation - not seeing family and friends as often, not traveling or going to new places as often
*paraphrased from "Staying in Touch" by S. Trychin

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Communication tips

Problem communication situations for the HoH

  • listening while driving
  • large group situations
  • more then one conversation going on at once
  • hearing whispers
  • understanding at the doctor's office or hospital
  • understanding police when stopped in traffic
  • understanding people who look/turn away while talking
  • understanding people while background music/tv/radio is playing
  • understanding people while walking on a city sidewalk (traffic noise)
  • understanding people while walking on a trail (trail too narrow to walk side by side)
  • understanding people during a holiday family dinner
  • understanding people on the phone
  • understanding people with speech issues (quiet talkers, mumblers, speech impairment, accents)
  • not aware of people talking to HoH person (can result in hurt feelings and confusion by perception that they are being deliberately ignored)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Interactive hearing tutorial

I found this National Institute of Health hearing tutorial interesting, especially the interactive pitch/loudness display on Lesson 3 - Pitch Me A Curve.
(Click on the Hearing Response tab.) It confirms that I hear nothing at 2000hz and beyond.....well, not exactly nothing. I hear a snap at 20db and higher.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My 2008 audiogram

Found my 2008 audiogram in my files and scanned it. Turns out I'm more HOH then I remembered. Can't hear anything beyond 2000hz.

I wonder why we are not tested with our hearing aids on? I would like to see the difference, with and without aids.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hearing aid jewelry

This fin model is interesting:

The whole hearing aid is an adornment:

This has a round loop that the earring/beads is/are attached to, and then the HA and tubing fits through the loop:

For more photos see the Beading Gem blog.

Siemens Vibe
Hearing aid fits in the crest of the ear. Customizeable with interchangeable, snap-on colours and graphic patterns.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Update on my chewed up hearing aid

My hearing aids are under a year old, so they are covered by insurance. What a relief. All I pay for is a new right earmold....$60. Not bad. Had the mold impression made this afternoon. Now it's just a matter of waiting for my mold and new hearing aid to arrive. Shouldn't be long.

The technician said about once a month they get a hearing aid in need of repair because a dog munched on it. What a surprise. I thought I was the first in all of history to have my aid chewed by a dog.