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Accessibility Accommodations ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) Cochlear Implants Communication Access Hard of Hearing Hearing Aids Hearing Loss Hearing Technology

Smartphone Built-in Accessibility for Hearing Loss

Smartphones, both iPhone and Android operating systems, have come a long way in accessibility for those with hearing loss. There’s several great, built-in features on each phone with a variety of apps to make life easier. This post is only for quick reference. There are a few explanations and a link at the end of the sections to explore the features further.

*Note: Some features vary due to having an older phone, how often you update or the company you use.

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Advocacy Communication Access Communication Practices Hard of Hearing Hearing Loss Hearing Technology Misconceptions Personal advocacy Self Advocacy

Hearing Loss & Confidence

Confidence is hard to come by with hearing loss. In fact, hearing loss can suck the confidence right out of us. It creates continuous doubt… 

  • “Did I hear that right?” This keeps us from speaking up along with, “What if someone makes fun of me?” 
  • “What if I go and can’t hear?” Or, “What if it’s too noisy?” And, “It’s too much work to be out there.” It’s easier to stay home.
  • “What if people get impatient talking to me?” This may be because someone in our past was impatient with repeats. Now we layer that thought onto everyone else. “What if everyone thinks hearing loss is a pain in the ass?”

Ableism from society also chips away at our confidence. 

  • Lack of understanding of accommodations for those with hearing loss.
    • Resistance of live captioning, and/or showing open captions.
    • Assistive listening not being well maintained. Getting the cheapest system, instead of offering a quality listening experience.
  • People thinking our hearing aids fix our hearing loss.
    • “Are your ears on?”
    • “Turn up your hearing aids/cochlear implant!” As if volume is all we need.
  • Forgetting it takes two to communicate. Not facing us to communicate. This happens out in public (facing each other talking used to be the polite thing to do, a social norm). It also happens at home and with friends too.
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Accessibility Accommodations Assistive Listening Device Hard of Hearing Hearing Aids Hearing Loops & Telecoils Hearing Loss

Public Outings: Using Assistive Listening Systems

Let’s take a look at the assistive listening systems we used this past year, in public and private settings. Also known as HATS, Hearing Assistive Technology. 

Hearing devices (hearing aids, cochlear implants, personal amplifiers) work best within a 6 foot range. To understand this best, picture yourself in a 6 foot bubble. Everything in that bubble is what you’ll hear best; shuffling papers, someone coughing near you, candy wrappers. If it’s outside that bubble, the sounds will be more faint and less clear compared to what’s inside the bubble.  Now imagine you’re 12 feet away from the speaker and you’re in an audience, it’s going to be tough to understand what’s being said.  That’s why there’s assistive listening systems, to bridge that gap. They put the speaker in your ear. 

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Accommodations ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) Assistive Listening Device Cochlear Implants Hearing Aids Hearing Loss Hearing Technology Lipreading

Hearing Loss Gifts 2023

What are meaningful gifts for people with hearing loss? Gifts that give more access to communication! There’s a variety of ways to improve communication outcomes:

  • Learning new communication strategies. Hearing aids are a great start, but more is needed to be successful with hearing loss.
  • Technology, there’s more than ever available.
  • Services. Being able to point people to services is also a gift. 
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Assistive Listening Device Cochlear Implants Communication Access Communication with Family Hard of Hearing Hearing Aids Hearing Loss Hearing Technology

Hearing Aids & Cochlear Implants: Remote Microphone Technology

Let’s talk about remote microphones that work with hearing aids and cochlear implants.  Hearing aids are better than ever but they still have limitations. Cochlear implants are great yet they too have their limitations. What are the limitations?