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.
New Communication Strategies
Do you feel like you’ve lost your voice along with your hearing? You can find it again through lipreading strategies.
Are you frustrated because your HoH partner never seems to ‘hear’ you? Improving communication is a gift for you too.
Lipreading classes improve day to day living with hearing loss. With hearing loss, we talk like anyone else, but we lose the receptive end of communication. Hearing aids help but even with them, we can feel lost. More rehabilitation is needed. We can learn new ways to “hear” using the visual and lines of logic. Our lipreading classes teach the tools and strategies behind lipreading, then reinforce them.
It doesn’t stop there. The people in our day to day lives need to understand the changes in communication style also. It takes two people to make communication happen. If you’re the hearing person in the equation, you will learn valuable communication skills in our classes. You will better understand your hard of hearing (HoH) significant others. Even if your HoH other is in denial, there are things you can do to improve communication.
We have a “buy one, get one free” registration. Bring a family member or a friend. In December, our 2024 classes will go for 2023 prices, $50. We have 4 levels of lipreading classes available. Read about them by clicking this LINK. The Lipreading Concepts and Lip Shapes LIVE classes are available on video to watch without waiting and at your leisure. Use this LINK for the video classes.
Class dates and time for 2024 will be revealed soon!
Hearing Loss Education Packages
Empower yourself, or someone you love, learning more about hearing loss through Hearing Loss LIVE!’s captioned video presentations (or podcasts) and workbooks. The PDF workbooks are inclusive for both HoH and hearing partners. They have personal stories, hearing loss how-to, resources, links to pertinent information and journal space to explore hearing loss. Individual topics are:
- Grief: Hearing Loss & Healing – No one talks about the grief and how to come back from it. We did it with Gloria Pelletier, L.C.S.W., L.I.S.A.C.
- Learning to be Comfortable with Hearing Loss: Mostly this means being comfortable with managing your hearing loss & being proactive.
- Communication Boundaries: Healthy communication includes better communication boundaries. Gloria Pelletier, joins us again.
- Inclusion with Hearing Loss: We want to be included like anyone else. There are things we can do to ensure inclusion.
- One especially for our Hearing Partners: Communication is a two way process. We provide a blueprint to help change communication habits.
- Hearing Loss Accommodations – Behind the Scenes: By learning what happens behind the scenes, we can make the most of our accommodations.
- Our Hearing Loss Tribe: You don’t have to feel alone in this mess. There are others, reach out.
Each package is $15, or pick any 5 for $50. Here’s the LINK to pick up your package.
We’ve gone over some technology the past month, remote microphones being a big one. Hearing aids and cochlear implants have companion remote microphones. They expand the hearing range. This would make a great gift for both of you! Visit our blog earlier this month at this LINK.
We also think ASR (automatic speech recognition) apps are another handy gift for those with hearing loss. They help a lot when people wear masks and we can’t lipread. Hearing Loss LIVE! used ASR on a bus tour while at the SayWhatClub convention last year. We need all the tools we can get!
Android operating systems and iPhones have ASR captions built in. Go to Settings to Accessibility and then look for Hearing. You will find a free version of captions there, plus other settings that might help. If you’re looking for something more, try Otter, a transcript app that work for our purposes. Or, try AVA which has a group chat feature.
Note: ASR works best with wifi and/or strong signal. It can also have a hard time hearing in noisy environments.
Bone Conduction Headphones
Bone conduction headphones are amazing and many hearing people enjoy them because their ear canals are left open to hear environmental noise. While at a few health fairs this past fall, we saw several hard of hearing people using bone conduction headphones. When asked, they said the bone conduction headphones were cheaper than more expensive earbuds/headphones/hearing aids. They were happy with they could hear phone calls through them.
Bone conduction will help people with conductive hearing loss the most. Chelle’s son is deaf in one ear due to middle ear issues. When he tried the bone conduction headphones, he said, “It was trippy hearing sound through that ear again!”
These headphones can help those with sensorineural losses too. Chelle has a profound loss in the high frequencies. She used bone conduction headphones for listening to music in the car during long trips, before her new hearing aids. (She’s too HoH to hear from car speakers.) While using earplugs, she could hear music very well compared to regular earbuds. Without earplugs, not so well. It is another way to get sound to the inner ear; hearing or hard of hearing.
A gift may be as easy as pointing someone to the right services. We’ll list a few.
- State Relay Phone Programs – All 50 states should have a Relay Phone Program. Services vary state to state. As an example, Relay Utah is a great program that offers people who are low income a variety of phones designed for those with hearing loss with tone control, volume control, captions and other features. Other state programs like Relay Colorado have Relay Conference Captioning. This enables people with hearing loss to participate in conference phone calls with real-time captioning. Do a web search to find your state Relay program. Example: “Maine Relay phone program.”
- JAN : The Jobs Accommodation Network – JAN helps employers and employees find solutions to help in the workplace for people with disabilities. Got a work issues? Get in touch with JAN.
- Diglo – A catalog full of devices to help people with hearing loss and deafness. Phones, alerting devices, assistive listening devices, over the counter (OTC) hearing aids and more.
Hearing Things, a Game!
How about helping family members understand what hearing loss is like? Our friend Jodi at Relay Utah found this game: Hearing Things: The Lip-Reading Challenge Game. She used it at a health fair with a ‘games’ theme. It was a lot of fun, she said. It did help people understand the challenges for lipreading…and what hearing loss is like.
More Gifts for People with Hearing Loss
That’s a good start for anyone on your shopping list who has hearing loss. You can also take a look at Hearing Loss LIVE!’s past two years with suggestions as well.