Categories
Communication Access Hard of Hearing Hearing Loss Hearing Technology

Gifts for the Hard of Hearing

Gifts of inclusion go straight to the heart. There’s a variety of ways you can support your Hard of Hearing (HoH) loved one, many of which do not cost money. There are some that cost money and also find a special place in the heart. Following are some gift ideas for those in your family with hearing loss.

*Note: We don’t have business agreements with the following companies. We have experience with their products, or have heard good things from others.

Julia: What better gift to give your HoH than the gift of better communication. Join our Lipreading Concept Class. This is a great class you can take together for only $50. This class helps you understand how your HoH hears…and why he/she doesn’t at times. Are your outings now limited because of hearing loss? If you wonder why those really expensive hearing aids don’t work, as you thought they would, then this class is for YOU! Learn how the three golden rules apply to everyday lipreading and how you can have better control of the collateral damage that comes with hearing loss.

Gifts from the Heart

As a hearing partner, a good gift for Hard of Hearing people come from the heart. I recommend getting involved with their hearing loss journey. 

  • Attend local support group meetings. 
  • Attend our workshops. Listen to our podcasts. 
  • Go to the next audiology appointment with them. Together, hold your favorite TV station accountable for quality captions, together. 

If you are already season ticket holders for local theater, send an email and ask about open caption performances. Quality captions are for everybody. You can find more about live theater captioning from these blog posts:

  1. Salt Lake Acting Company – They tell us how they applied for grants for accessibility. You can suggest this podcast to your local theater.
  2. Open Captioned Live Theater – We talked with Vicki Turner who does a lot of open captioning for theaters in different parts of the country.

Download an ASR (automatic speech recognition) app, also called transcription. There’s a variety to choose from these days and most have free trials. Then, start using it together. Introduce the app to others, like friends and family. 

Help your HoH get a caption app for the phone calls too. InnoCaption has different options for smartphone use. (We did a podcast with them too.) Check into it. Try it. You might like it.

Chelle & Julia making plans for 2023
A Living Room Loop

Chelle: Several years ago, my husband bought me a living room hearing loop and added it to the TV. Hearing aids need a telecoil for a hearing loop, make sure you have a dedicated telecoil program in the hearing aids.  Once the loop is connected, walk into the hearing loop and turn on the telecoil program. It offers great sound going through my hearing aids which are programmed specifically for my hearing loss. 

We have the Oval Window Microloop III ($200).  My husband liked this because it was made in America. Test your intended loop area before buying by walking around in the telecoil program. If there’s a hum, there may be magnetic interference in your house. A light hum might be ignored depending on the person. If it’s loud, this may not be a good option. 

Wi-Fi based Listen Everywhere

We did a podcast with Listen Technologies about their new wi-fi based system, Listen Everywhere. This is a public option rather than a private option but it can work at home too. I have one hooked up to my TV. I do not currently have a Bluetooth option with my hearing aids (they are 8 years old) so I use a neckloop in conjunction with my smartphone/tablet. (I’m still using my telecoil program.) This listening system makes me want to get new hearing aids with Bluetooth. 

This requires wi-fi, a smartphone or tablet, and the Listen Everywhere app. This is a pricey system at around $1,000. Again, this is more of a public option meaning many people can use it at the same time. My kids used it with earbuds and were happy with the sound. I’m looking forward to this system being available in public spaces. The cool thing about this system is I can wander all over the house and still receive sound. 

Is tinnitus an issue?

Once I start talking about tinnitus, my own comes to the forefront. Tinnitus can wreck sleep and ruin quiet environments. Here’s a few ideas for tinnitus:

  • SleepStream2: This app has all kinds of environmental sounds to choose from, the water section is my favorite though I like the rain too. You can add background music and control the volume of each sound feature. The app is free, there are in-app purchases.
  • I have heard good things about the ReSound Tinnitus Relief app. It’s a free download with add ons so you can give that a try. (I have not tried this yet myself. If you have, tell us your thoughs.)

Tinnitus can disrupt our lives suddenly and horribly. It can cause depression, anxiety and even suicidal thoughts for some. Because many veterans were coming home with tinnitus, the Veterans Affairs created a workbook to help people habituate tinnitus, How to Manage Your Tinnitus: A Step-by-Step Workbook.  I understand the book is free to veterans. It is available in PDF format for free on their website (it’s a big file). I see it’s for sale on eBay and other places for $30 – $80. The workbook has 2 cds that come with it. 

When I worked for the Utah Hard of Hearing Program, I gave tinnitus presentations once a year. We researched tinnitus solutions for those who have no hearing also. If you want to contact me, I’ll be happy to talk more about tinnitus with you. 

Conclusion: Hearing loss is a communication disorder. When we can’t hear, we lose communication. Give the gift of hearing and support when possible. 

View the companion podcast here.

If you liked this blog, check out: 

National Small Business Day

It’s National Small Business Day November 26th. Give the Gift of better communication. We have a two for one special going on our Lipreading Concepts class and our new Lip Shapes LIVE! class. Take the class and bring a family member with you to help them better understand Hard of Hearing Communication needs. Registration opens soon. 

If you like our content, Buy Us a Cup of Coffee! This helps us to keep content free for those in need. 

Categories
Connections Hearing Loss Hearing Technology

Dr. Ingrid McBride, Mobile Audiologist

Let’s Talk About Patient Centered Care

Our guest this week is an audiologist, Dr. Ingrid McBride. She lives in Arizona and has a mobile audiology practice, Audio-Logics Consultants, LLC. She travels all over the state of Arizona meeting with clients. Hearing Loss LIVE! met her through our friend Gloria Pelletier who also shares her experience below.

A 6 hour appointment with an audiologist?!

Chelle: Earlier this year, Gloria told me she just finished a 6 hour appointment with her audiologist. Wow. I’ve been wearing hearing aids for 31 years and I never had a 6 hour appointment. What a thorough audiologist, I thought. Not only that but the appointment was at Gloria’s home. 

Several months later, Gloria allowed me to sit in on an appointment with her audiologist, Dr. McBride.  We sat together for almost 2 hours while Dr. McBride helped Gloria regain access to her hearing aid phone app. She also walked Gloria through the different features on the app. Even though I asked questions, Dr. McBride kept her focus on Gloria. She faced her client the whole time, speaking directly to her using clear speech. It was impressive.

We did laugh a lot together.

This was the first time I’ve seen hearing aid technology up close in a while. A lot has changed in the last 8 years since I got my last pair of hearing aids!  I was happy to see how much we can adjust programs to our satisfaction in the app. We have more control than ever before. Eight years ago, the most we could do in hearing aid phone apps was change the tone a bit and change the program. This showed me how outdated my hearing aids are. It’s time to get new ones. 

Clear Speech

After what I witnessed between Gloria and Dr. McBride, I’m also going to make sure I have someone who is knowledgeable about patient centered care. In our podcast, Dr. McBride spells that out for us. Determine whether or not you are getting patient centered care.

Listen to, or watch, our podcast and share it with your significant other.  Dr. McBride shares “clear speech” strategies. It takes two to make communication happen and she gives hearing partners a clear guide to follow. 

Hearing Partners Need to be Involved

Julia: Odds are, the hearing partner is the first person to recognize there is a hearing loss, probably before the hearing loss partner realizes it. There’s several misconceptions around hearing aids. Hearing partners, you can get in the know when involved from the very beginning with audiology appointments. 

A misconception among hearing partners, “Go get a pair of hearing aids and things will be back to normal.” Hearing partners don’t understand what hearing aids can, and can’t, do. When “normal” doesn’t happen, they get upset and angry. I’m not sure why all hearing professionals are not more up front about this. As a hearing partner, if you want better communication outcomes you must be involved. Period.

Attend a Hearing Test

When you attend all audiology appointments, you will find out what type of hearing loss your partner is experiencing. What sounds and tones are affected by their hearing loss. This helps you be a better communicator. When getting new hearing aids, you can review the different kinds of hearing aids together. Look for an audiologist that wants you to be successful with your hearing devices AND communication strategies. Listen to our podcast with Dr. McBride to learn more about this. 

Rehabilitation Services

Think about finding rehabilitative services. As an example; when someone goes blind, there are services to help them learn to get around the obstacles. They aren’t just given devices, they get rehabilitation. The same needs to happen with hearing loss. When you see an audiologist check off these items:

  • Do they encourage you to keep a ‘sound’ diary?
  • Do they encourage you to come back as often as needed?
  • Do they share other hearing loss resources with you? (State services, support groups)
  • Do they offer classes like Dr. McBride?

Be a part of the solution so you both can have better communication outcomes.

Thorough Explanations on Hearing Loss & Hearing Aids

Gloria: I met Dr. McBride at the beginning of this year.  She came to my home and did an audiologic consultation. She did some very different testing for my hearing loss that I haven’t experienced before.  She is patient explaining every test, why she was doing it, and what it told her.  We had a small conference before our testing and she realized I could hear male voices much better than female.  She followed up that observation with testing and it was included in my report. She made adjustments in my hearing aids for that.

After the testing, she explained all the results to me.  We went over the audiogram, what it indicated, how it  worked in programming my hearing aids.  This is important because your programming will determine how successful you are wearing hearing aids. She made a mold of my ear canal and we selected the color of the hearing aid.  I, of course, wanted red but that wasn’t in the selection.

Assistive Listening Technology & Hearing Aids

She came back to my home after she ordered the hearing aids and Roger On Pens for me.  She programmed my hearing aids so well that I could wear them all day from day one.  When she was done programming I heard noises that I hadn’t heard before.  

  • The refrigerator growls. 
  • The dishwasher clangs. 
  • The washing machine is possessed. (Just teasing)  

Never go to Walmart with new hearing aids, I felt I was inside a kettle drum. It was so loud and noisy.  All hard surfaces.

After a month she and I had a conference over a video call to adjust my hearing aids again.  I loved it because she is available and can change the programming through the internet.  Easy and convenient.

Patience

What is so surprising is her patience.  She wanted me to understand my hearing loss, what was happening to me with hearing loss and how to make my life easier with the hearing aids.  I have never had an audiologist who “cared” about my adjustment and was willing to work with me until the hearing aids were useful.   Her understanding and knowledge is more than just hearing aids.  She understands the technology associated and the accessories that make hearing easier i.e. Roger On microphones, extra powerpack.  She took into consideration my video conferencing and the need to clearly understand the speech.  She recommended specific headphones that work with my hearing aids and are comfortable.  

She has since been back to my home for an adjustment because I needed help with the phone app for my hearing aids and she was able to get my app working again.  She is amazing at technology.  She took the time to  hook my hearing aids to my cell phone, my computer and any other Bluetooth connection I required.  Then, she showed me how to do it if she wasn’t there.

Rehabilitation Services = Success

For me, she is a “rock star” because she changed my life.  I wear my hearing aids everyday, all day.  I can use my iPhones and video conferencing and I can hear what is being said.  

I am concluding her class on “Living Well with Hearing Loss” and I learned a great deal I did not know before.  I am always excited for her classes because she organizes the material in such an easy way to understand. She understands the complexity of hearing loss and can speak to the emotional aspects of hearing loss

She makes services happen all over the state of Arizona for people with hearing loss.  She consults with Vocational Rehabilitation which has such a major impact for people with hearing loss and returning to work.  

Sometimes you meet someone who is great at their job and a great human being.  Dr. McBride is that person.  Her passion for audiology and her clients is amazing.  I will never settle for less after working with Dr. McBride, not only did she do many tests but she taught me how to advocate for better hearing.

If you liked this post, try Hearing Loops and Telecoils.

Do you like our content? You can help us out by sharing the blog or buy us a cup of coffee. We started this business from scratch, bootstrapping it. We are just into our second year and we are getting our legs under us. Thank you for visiting with us, feel free to contact us anytime.