A Pocket Talker Can Open Up Your World

December 11, 2017.  Over the past year, through a grant with the Law Foundation of PEI, our Chapter has been working with PEI lawyers on improving communications with the hard of hearing.  One of the technological tools introduced to them was a simple pocket talker.  The results have been amazing and encouraging and lawyers who have tried using this small device with their clients have not only embraced it, but introduced it to many of their own clients.

Using a tool for better communication makes good business and legal sense, but letting their hard of hearing clients, especially those in seniors’ homes, and friends know about the pocket talker is a valuable community service that lawyers have provided.  We are delighted that the Law Foundation of PEI has funded the program for a second year.

CIMG9657 Dec 4 2017 Law Foundation of PEI Sheila Daria Annie Lee

Law Foundation of PEI Executive Director Sheila Lund MacDonald goes over grant details with Daria Valkenburg and Annie Lee MacDonald.

Several residents in seniors’ homes have since purchased a pocket talker for themselves.  One home, Geneva Villa, called us after a lawyer suggested it might be useful.  After purchasing one pocket talker and giving it to a resident to try out, they ended up buying another as the resident didn’t want to give it back.  It’s amazing what happens when people can hear again.  The world opens up!  Life becomes more interesting and fun when you are able to communicate.

CIMG9677 Dec 11 2017 Geneva Villa Liz Flack Diane McQuaid Annie Lee

Liz Flack and Diane McQuaid of Geneva Villa receive a pocket talker from CHHA PEI President Annie Lee MacDonald (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

So, with the holidays approaching, we at CHHA PEI want to thank not only the lawyers who supported and helped spread the word about tools for better communication, but also the purchasers of pocket talkers who have recommended it to their own friends and relatives.  May 2018 be the year for better hearing on Prince Edward Island!

Next Chapter meeting: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at North Tryon Presbyterian Church

Do you have a story or tip about improving communication when you are hard of hearing? Comments can be made on this blog, or you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com.

© Daria Valkenburg

 

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All I Want For Christmas…..

December 8, 2017.  With the holidays approaching, many of us are asked “What can we get for our hard of hearing friends or relatives to help them be better able to communicate?”  Who better to ask than those of us in the same boat!

Here are a few suggestions based on our own wish lists, or products we use and love:

  • A pocket talker – (available through CHHA PEI) – a small amplification device, suitable for one on one conversations, or for watching TV. Many PEI lawyers use this tool for better communication with hard of hearing clients.

annie-lee-macdonald-with-pocketalker sarah macmillan cbc

  • TV ears – a device that connects to your TV, cable box, or satellite box. The transmitter then sends audio wirelessly to the headset worn by the user.
  • Vibrating alarm clock – has a pulsing vibration alarm.
  • Vibrating pillow alarm clock – a pillow that vibrates, shaking you awake!
  • Telephones with amplification – increases the call volume output of telephones so those who are hard of hearing can hear better on the telephone.
  • FitBit – not just for those interested in exercise, but also great for the hard of hearing as you get a vibration on your wrist to let you know when you are getting a call or text on your phone! Read Jane’s story below.
  • A Live Caption App for a smartphone or tablet – converts speech into text.  Visit livecaptionapp.com and download for under $7.
  • Hard of Hearing button – imagine how nice it would be never to have to explain to someone that you are hard of hearing, when you can wear a button that says you are hard of hearing! Available from the PEI Chapter for $2 each.

CIMG7617 Jun 27 2017 HOH buttons for sale

  • Membership in the PEI Chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association – for an annual membership fee of $35, you get to meet the nicest group of people, all of whom have hearing loss!
  • A Donation to the PEI Chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association – we are a charitable organization. As an organization made up of volunteers, 100% of your donation is used for education and advocacy initiatives.

My friend Jane shared her experience with the FitBit…. I got my Fit Bit in September and am very pleased with it. As a personal fitness tracker it helps keep track of my activity, gives be a nudge by way of a vibration if I haven’t moved or when I have achieved my target number of steps for the day.  It also tells me how long and how well I slept and can track weight loss.  This is all wonderful.  Some of the more sophisticated ones also track heart rate and stair climbing but I opted for the simplest model.

As a person who is hard of hearing and whose phone is often buried in my purse, I often miss calls and texts because I don’t hear it ring/ping.  With the FitBit I now get a vibration notification on my wrist when my cell phone rings or a message is received even if my phone is in another room or on another floor in the house.  Some of the more sophisticated models also have a visual screen so you can read your text messages or see who called.

So I would say, for general healthy living, a FitBit is a wonderful gift, but for those of us that are hard of hearing it has the added advantage of giving us additional cues from our phones.  It’s super simple and it works.

Next Chapter meeting: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at North Tryon Presbyterian Church

Do you have anything to add to this list?  If you have tried any of these products, please share your experience, as Jane did. Comments can be made on this blog, or you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com.

© Daria Valkenburg

The ‘Pardon Me, What Did You Say?’ Roadshow At West River United Church in Cornwall

December 7, 2017.  On November 27, 2017 we had our 8th, and last presentation for the booklet ‘Pardon Me, What Did You Say? Navigating in the hard of hearing world’ at the West River United Church in Cornwall, Prince Edward Island.  This was a lively group of 14 people, resulting in a total reach over the 8 presentations of 268 participants.  In addition to the CHHA PEI committee members for the project of Annie Lee MacDonald, Brenda Porter, and Daria Valkenburg, we were joined by CHHA PEI members Margaret MacPhail and Marion Toole as hosts.

Catherine Freeze, Seniors Policy Advisor for the PEI Department of Family and Human Services attended this session.  One of Catherine’s files is the PEI Seniors Secretariat, which hosted the PEI Party Line.  Brenda Porter participated in one of the sessions on November 22, discussing the booklet.  In addition, the PEI Seniors Secretariat provided our Chapter with a grant for seminars, one of which was the successful ‘Demystifying Cochlear Implants’ seminar with Dr. David Morris in October.

CIMG9647 Nov 27 2017 West River United Church Cornwall

Left to right: Daria Valkenburg, Marion Toole, Catherine Freeze, Brenda Porter. (Photo credit: Gerry Gray)

The evaluations continue to be positive, and all the participants filled out an evaluation.  7 participants identified as hard of hearing (50%), 5 not, and 2 did not answer the question.  9 (64%) noted that they had close friends or family members who were hard of hearing.

One of the questions asked in the evaluations is ‘How involved are you now socially – with family, friends in the community?’, and people had the option of answering ‘Rarely’, ‘Sometimes’, ‘Often, or ‘Frequently’.  As per our expectation, people who came out to the presentation were active socially. No one answered ‘Rarely’.

Comments in the evaluations included:

  • Great tips, great presenter.
  • Get this info to home care and community care staff, and nursing homes. They need training.
  • Very timely presentation on an important topic. More awareness needed in general on this issue, especially with service providers and healthcare workers.
  • Very practical collection of useful tips.
  • Excellent presentation – thank you!

One of the questions asked was whether people wanted to be contacted for a follow-up to the presentation.  10 answered yes and provided contact details.

This concluded the round of 8 presentations and one presentation by telephone for this year.  All of us at the Chapter extend our thanks to the venues that hosted us, and to all the participants who took time out of their busy lives to come out and learn about ways to improve communications with those who are hard of hearing.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons For Seniors Program, the booklet was written by members of CHHA PEI, and illustrated by artist Wayne Wright.

Next Chapter meeting: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at North Tryon Presbyterian Church

Do you have a tip or story to share about hearing loss, or living with someone who is hard of hearing?  Let us know!  Comments can be made on this blog, or you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com.

© Daria Valkenburg

 

The ‘Pardon Me, What Did You Say?’ Roadshow At Alberton Arts & Heritage Centre

December 7, 2017.  On November 20, 2017 we had our 7th, and penultimate at the Arts & Heritage Centre in Alberton.  This was our smallest presentation, with 9 people, resulting in a reach of 254 participants to date.  In addition to the CHHA PEI committee members for the project of Annie Lee MacDonald, Brenda Porter, and Daria Valkenburg, we were joined by CHHA PEI members Alma Nunn and Fran Salsman as hosts.

The evaluations continue to be positive, and all the participants filled out an evaluation.  7 participants identified as hard of hearing (77.8%), 2 not.  5 (55.5%) noted that they had close friends or family members who were hard of hearing.

One of the questions asked in the evaluations is ‘How involved are you now socially – with family, friends in the community?’, and people had the option of answering ‘Rarely’, ‘Sometimes’, ‘Often, or ‘Frequently’.  As per our expectation, people who came out to the presentation were active socially. No one answered ‘Rarely’.

Comments in the evaluations included:

  • Good presentation and booklet
  • I enjoyed the presentation and will use some suggestions
  • Very helpful

One of the questions asked was whether people wanted to be contacted for a follow-up to the presentation.  8 answered yes and provided contact details.

The booklet is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons For Seniors Program, was written by members of CHHA PEI, and illustrated by artist Wayne Wright.

Do you have a tip or story to share about hearing loss, or living with someone who is hard of hearing?  Let us know!  Comments can be made on this blog, or you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com.

© Daria Valkenburg

Executive Board Installed at Annual General Meeting

December 6, 2017.  On November 28, 2017, CHHA PEI held its annual general meeting, at which the executive board was installed.

CIMG9651 Nov 28 28 2017 CHHA PEI board

The executive board for 2018, from left to right: Annie Wood, Treasurer; Joan Gallant, Secretary; Daria Valkenburg, Public Relations & Advocacy Officer; Brenda Porter, Vice-President; Annie Lee MacDonald, President. (Photo credit: Marie McKenna)

The annual general meeting was followed by the regular monthly meeting.  A Christmas game played during the break was won by Brenda Porter, and her prize was a unique pair of socks that got everyone’s interest!

CIMG9650 Nov 28 2017 CHHA PEI meeting Brenda won socks in Xmas quiz contest

Brenda Porter displays the socks she won. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Although our blog is active, we are always available by email, and we will continue to work behind the scenes on the projects for 2018, our next meeting will not be until Tuesday, April 10, 2018.

Do you have a tip or story to share?  Let us know!  Comments can be made on this blog, or you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com.

 © Daria Valkenburg