December 20, 2020. As we prepare for the holidays with our families, Annie Lee MacDonald and I send you our heartfelt greetings of the season, plus a brief summary of the activities of Hear PEI in 2020.
….Seasons Greetings from Annie Lee…
2020 is coming to a close and because of the Covid-19 pandemic we were unable to hold a single meeting. It was so nice to see those of you who attended the coffee party at my cottage in the summer. We were able to spend some time together and we were able to update you on the projects your group has been working on.
Covid has introduced many new challenges for those of us who already have difficulties communicating effectively. Hear PEI was able to access a grant which allowed us to devise a see-through mask.
We also realized the need to design pins that we could wear as fashion items to let people know we are hard of hearing. We have different designs, including a bilingual version, and they have become a popular item.
In addition to this the grant allowed us the opportunity to research the different clear-window masks available. ClearMask became the best option as it was approved by Health Canada as a procedural mask option. For the last few months we have distributed masks to medical personnel, doctors, nursing and retirement homes, dentists etc. In doing this we were advocating for the hard of hearing and making professionals aware of the difficulties so many Islanders have communicating effectively, especially now with everyone wearing masks covering their faces and the plexiglass barriers distancing clients from cashiers etc.
At the beginning of December we attended two events, one at AccessPEI, which installed Speech Transfer Systems at two counters at both the Charlottetown and Summerside locations. The other was at Queen Elizabeth Hospital where a Speech Transfer System was installed at the Info Desk. This is a huge accomplishment for us.
Government and others are finally seeing the need and making the necessary move to be more inclusive. In addition to this funds were provided for us to produce videos to help guide the hard of hearing through difficult times. Daria will tell you about those.
Both Daria and I look forward to the time when we can all meet again.
….Happy Holidays from Daria…
As Annie Lee wrote, it’s been a busy time for us this year, with trying to mitigate the effects that pandemic safety measures had on those of us with hearing loss. We’ve learned a lot and we sure didn’t have time to get ‘cabin fever’.
In order to sell masks and pins, an order form and PayPal account were set up. These technological changes have been very useful at a time when social distancing is the norm.
We spent much of the past few months filming. Up to now, 3 new videos are on our Hear PEI Association YouTube channel:
- Say It With A Pin : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-_JwXYPmQc
- Hearing Accessibility Is A Human Right: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCyFCJPpJUc
- Dining Out With Hearing Loss: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntT93a1pBX8
Several more videos are in post-production and we hope to have them online by the end of March 2021.
In addition to the Speech Transfer Systems mentioned by Annie Lee, a hearing loop was installed at the United Church in O’Leary. With each little change we slowly improve the lives of Islanders with hearing loss.
Thank you for your support with donations and purchases of pins and masks. Net proceeds are used for outreach and educational activities. For pins and masks, please check out the order form at: https://form.jotform.com/201983720272252
Annie Lee and I gratefully thank the volunteers who helped us make all these initiatives a reality. May 2021 be more ‘sociable’ than 2020!
Do you have holiday experience or tip to share? Send an email to email@example.com, comment on the blog, or tweet to @HearPEI.
© Daria Valkenburg