“Listen To This” Prize Awarded At 2018 PEI Science Fair

March 29, 2018.  On Wednesday, March 21, 2018, we were honoured to judge a specialty prize, the “Listen To This” Award, which comes with a $25 prize, at the PEI Science Fair.  This is presented annually to a student whose project best demonstrates awareness of hearing loss and associated issues, in an effort to encourage young scientists in the making to consider issues of concern to the hard of hearing.

CIMG9914 Mar 21 2018 Daria Ahnais and Annie Lee with Listen To This certificate

The 2018 ‘Listen To This’ Award at the PEI Science Fair was presented to Ahnais Young. Left to right: Chapter Public Relations & Advocacy Officer Daria Valkenburg, Ahnais Young, Chapter President Annie Lee MacDonald.

This year, the award went to Grade 10 Bluefield High School student Ahnais Young, of Bonshaw, for her project “Auditory and Cerebral Hemispheric Lateralization in Relation to Handedness”.  Ahnais’s project tested whether ‘auditory dominance is related to cerebral hemispheric lateralization’.  What does this mean?  Basically, the right side of your brain controls the movements of the left side of your body, and vice versa.

Ahnais wanted to see if this held true for hearing as well. She wondered whether, if the right side of the brain controls the left side of your hearing, and vice versa, you would hear better from one side of your ear than the other.  She also wondered if auditory dominance was determined by brain dominance.

The project testing phase was in two parts.  Participants were first given a Brain Dominance Test, where they had to answer questions on a variety of topics, quickly and without thinking. This showed which side of the brain was most dominant.  (Try the test yourself at: http://www.ipn.at/ipn.asp?BHX) See the chart below to show what functions are controlled by the right and left sides of our brains.

Brain dominance chart showing left and right brain functions

Chart used by Ahnais Young in her presentation to explain what is controlled by the left and right side of our brains.

Next, participants took a hearing test, where they listened to sound files of different frequencies.  This examined the sensitivity of hearing at different frequencies ranging from 250 Hz to 8000 Hz.  Want to try the test yourself?  Here is the link:  https://hearingtest.online/

The result?  Brain dominance does NOT determine auditory dominance.  In her sample size of 135 participants, these were the results:

  • 67/135 participants were right ear dominant – 49.63%
  • 53/135 participants were left ear dominant – 39.26%
  • 13/135 participants were equally dominant in either ear – 11.11%

The participants who were equally dominant in either ear tended to be left-handed or ambidextrous.  Right ear dominance is believed to be due to the left side of the brain having the advantage for processing verbal information.

In her conclusion, Ahnais noted that research has proven that hearing is processed in the left side of the brain.  “This is where the primary and secondary processing centres are located for speech, comprehension, hearing, and language.  Our right ear has a more direct route to the processing centres because the left side of the brain is connected to the right side of our body.

Involved in the PEI Science Fair since Grade 4, her parents are supportive of her projects, telling Ahnais that “It’s not about winning, just try your best.” This was an excellent presentation, well researched, and held our interest.  Perhaps one day this project could be enlarged upon and studied further.  Ahnais explained that she is looking at being either a veterinarian or a neurologist, but neurology is getting the edge.  We certainly hope so!

Do you have a tip or story to share about hearing loss?  Let us know!  Comments can be made on this blog, or you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com.  Don’t forget to check the upcoming events listing below!  You won’t miss out on events of interest to you.

© Daria Valkenburg


UPCOMING EVENTS

Next Chapter meeting: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church.

Speechreading Classes begin in April and run for 10 weeks: Two sessions are offered this spring: Monday evenings from 7-9 pm beginning April 2, 2018, or Tuesday afternoons from 1:30-3:30 pm beginning April 3rd.”  

Upcoming Seminar:  “THERE IS HOPE: Understanding and Managing Your Tinnitus”, with audiologist Dr. Heidi Eaton, Saturday, May 12, 2018 at Seniors Active Living Centre in Charlottetown.  Watch for more details and registration information.

Upcoming Seminar: “So You’re On The Road To A Cochlear Implant” with Jodi Ostroff, Ph.D., Clinical Account Manager, MED-EL Medical Electronics,, Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at the Farm Centre in Charlottetown. Watch for more details and registration information.

Upcoming Seminar: “What’s In The Box?” with Jodi Ostroff, Ph.D., Clinical Account Manager, MED-EL Medical Electronics, Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at the Farm Centre in Charlottetown. Open to those with MED-EL Cochlear Implants. Watch for more details and registration information.

Upcoming Seminar: “New Technology and Cochlear Implant Candidacy” with Jodi Ostroff, Ph.D., Clinical Account Manager, MED-EL Medical Electronics,, Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at the Farm Centre in Charlottetown. Open to Audiologists. Watch for more details and registration information.

Upcoming Ceilidh Fundraiser you won’t want to miss: Sunday, May 27, 2018 at 2:00 pm at Bonshaw Hall.  Half of the proceeds to benefit our Chapter!

 

 

 

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Interview on CBC re Speechreading Program on Thursday Afternoon and Update on Upcoming Meeting on April 10, 2018

March 28, 2018.  We have a busy first meeting of 2018 on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 9:30 am at the North Tryon Presbyterian Church in North Tryon.   Two special speakers will be coming to discuss the Hearing Aid Rental Program on PEI, and Alert Ready.

Hearing Aid Rental Program is now on PEI!  Last fall our guest speaker from Avenir Hearing in New Brunswick spoke about the hearing aid rental program.  (See Exploring The Option of Renting Your Hearing Aids) This option is now available on PEI!  Management from the clinic now offering the option of renting your hearing aids for a three year period will discuss the program they can offer.  If you need new hearing aids, or have been reluctant to make the investment, this may be the very opportunity to help you access what you need to improve your hearing.

Alert Ready!  What does it mean for the hard of hearing?  Tanya Mullally, Provincial  Emergency Management Coordinator of the PEI Emergency Measures Organization, will join us and let us know about Alert Ready, and the province wide test coming up on May 9. We’ll learn what alerts will be broadcast, how it affects the hard of hearing, and what types of sounds to expect. If you have a smart phone, bring it along and Tanya will check to see if it’s compatible with the program.  Please note that most phones more than a year old will not have the compatible software.  For more information, see the previous blog entry Emergency Alert Test On PEI On May 9

CBC Interview On Speechreading Program:  At the end of 2016, a documentary ran on television about the 1916 documentary ‘The Battle of the Somme’, a World War I film about ordinary soldiers, but without sound.  In 2009, almost a hundred years later, with the help of British military historians, forensic lip-reader Jessica Rees was able to interpret some of what the soldiers in the film are saying, bringing a voice and personality to many of the men in the film.  (See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1165523/I-8217-m-going-bomb–8217-em-b–r-8217–Lipreader-helps-Tommies-voice.html) It’s a skill that many of us would love to have!  For the hard of hearing, it’s become an essential tool.

When you are hard of hearing, you need to be savvy about different ways to help you communicate.  Some people have hearing aids, others cochlear implants – or a combination of both, while some hard of hearing people use no technological devices.  All technological devices in use today amplify sound to one degree or another, but it isn’t a replacement for two good ears.

To help improve their ability to understand what others are saying, many hard of hearing people who love to communicate with others take classes in speechreading, offered by the PEI Chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association.  Did you know that classes on PEI began 18 years ago?  (See “So That’s What They Said!” at CLC Jan 25-2017 speech reading classes)

CBC Radio interviewed Annie Lee MacDonald and Nancy MacPhee about the speechreading program.  (See Spring Speechreading Classes Begin in Charlottetown in April)  This interview will run on Thursday, March 29, 2018 on the program Mainstreet.

CIMG9942 Mar 28 2018 CBC Radio interview

Annie Lee MacDonald on left, Nancy MacPhee in centre, with CBC Mainstreet program host Angela Walker. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Tune in to CBC Radio, 96.1 FM to ‘Mainstreet’ on Thursday, March 29, 2018, between 4:00 and 4:30 pm Atlantic Time, and listen to Annie Lee MacDonald and Nancy MacPhee’s interview on speechreading with program host Angela Walker.

We are gearing up for a busy spring.  Don’t miss out on events of interest to you.  Check the upcoming events listing below!   Do you have a story or tip about hearing loss issues that are important to you? Comments can be made on this blog, or you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com.


UPCOMING EVENTS

Next Chapter meeting: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church.

Upcoming Seminar:  “THERE IS HOPE: Understanding and Managing Your Tinnitus”, with audiologist Dr. Heidi Eaton, Saturday, May 12, 2018 at Seniors Active Living Centre in Charlottetown.  Watch for more details and registration information.

Upcoming Seminar: “So You’re On The Road To A Cochlear Implant” with Jodi Ostroff, Ph.D., Clinical Account Manager, MED-EL Medical Electronics,, Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at the Farm Centre in Charlottetown. Watch for more details and registration information.

Upcoming Seminar: “What’s In The Box?” with Jodi Ostroff, Ph.D., Clinical Account Manager, MED-EL Medical Electronics, Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at the Farm Centre in Charlottetown. Open to those with MED-EL Cochlear Implants. Watch for more details and registration information.

Upcoming Seminar: “New Technology and Cochlear Implant Candidacy” with Jodi Ostroff, Ph.D., Clinical Account Manager, MED-EL Medical Electronics,, Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at the Farm Centre in Charlottetown. Open to Audiologists. Watch for more details and registration information.

Upcoming Ceilidh Fundraiser you won’t want to miss: Sunday, May 27, 2018 at 2:00 pm at Bonshaw Hall.  Half of the proceeds to benefit our Chapter!

© Daria Valkenburg

 

Emergency Alert Test On PEI On May 9

arch 22, 2018.  How many of you remember those announcements on CBC that would say “This is a test of the emergency broadcast system” and, if you knew what was coming, you’d immediately cover your ears to block out the very loud signal that was broadcast?  If this brings a smile of recognition, then you will be well prepared for the mandatory emergency alerts that Canadians are to get on their phones.  Not read about this yet?  See the link for the announcement:   https://search.app.goo.gl/8tkN.

Starting April 6th, in addition to TV and Radio, Alert Ready will be sending life-threatening emergency alerts to cell phones and wireless devices that are compatible with Wireless Public Alerting (WPA).

According to the CRTC, we can’t be charged for this emergency alert service on our cell phone, which is very welcome, and unlike the fees we are already charged for 911 access and the Text 911 feature available to the hard of hearing.

To find out more about the public alerting system as it impacts us here on Prince Edward Island, we’ve been in contact with Tanya Mullaly, the Provincial Emergency Management Coordinator of the PEI Emergency Measures Organization.  Tanya has advised that “The next emergency public alert test will be conducted in PEI on May 9th at 1:55 pm.  This will test all 3 modes of delivery, including radio, TV and wireless functions.

When asked about accommodation for the hard of hearing, Tanya noted that we first have to see if our wireless device (ie smart phone or tablet) is compatible to receive wireless alerts through the carrier, and stressed the importance of looking at the website www.alertready.ca  to see if our phone type is included in the list.  This list changes daily as the providers update the software.

When you go on the website, click the option “CHECK YOUR PHONE’S COMPATIBILITY”.  You’ll be directed to a Red Box and asked to “SELECT YOUR WIRELESS CARRIER FROM THE LIST BELOW”.  Scroll down until you find your carrier, select it, and push “GO”.   Next you’ll be directed to blue text that says “COMPATIBLE DEVICES” and beside that a “+” sign.  Click the + sign and see if your particular model is listed.  If it isn’t, don’t worry, it will be soon.

Tanya has noted that while at present there are no special features for the hard of hearing for emergency alerts sent via wireless devices, “The vibration feature that accompanies emergency alerts sent to these devices will help to make hearing impaired people aware of the alerts.

Please see the fact sheet sent by Tanya, which will give you more information….Public Alerting Fact Sheet

Have you checked if your phone is compatible for Alert Ready?  Let us know! Do you have a story or tip about hearing loss issues that are important to you? Comments can be made on this blog, or you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com.  Please also note the upcoming events that follow below.

Next Chapter meeting: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church.

Upcoming Ceilidh Fundraiser you won’t want to miss: Sunday, May 27, 2018 at 2:00 pm at Bonshaw Hall.  Half of the proceeds to benefit our Chapter!

© Daria Valkenburg

 

Spring Speechreading Classes Begin in Charlottetown in April

March 9, 2018.  This winter, during some cold and rainy days during our holiday in Florida (OK, I know, cold weather in Florida is an oxymoron when you are Canadian, but it wasn’t beach weather!) I binge watched episodes of NCIS, a program that’s run for 15 years but which I’d never seen before.  As a person with hearing loss, I was amazed at the number of episodes in which forensic scientist Abby used her speechreading skills to help the NCIS investigators solve a case.  Abby’s adoptive parents were deaf and she was fluent in both sign language and speechreading.

Studies are now confirming the benefits of speechreading if you are hard of hearing.  In one study for those with cochlear implants, researchers found that speech reading can have a beneficial effect on the brain and on a person’s ability to hear with a cochlear implant.  (See https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-brain-responses-lip-reading-benefit-cochlear.html)

Given all the benefits, not to mention the fun you’ll have learning a new skill, we were delighted that our speech reading instructor, Nancy MacPhee, is organizing the spring session of Level I classes, beginning in April.

IMG_1358 Nancy MacPhee (2)

CHHA PEI Speechreading Instructor Nancy MacPhee (Photo credit: Annie Lee MacDonald)

Here is the announcement from Nancy:

“The Prince Edward Island Chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association is pleased to announce that they will again be offering Level 1 Speechreading classes in Charlottetown this Spring.

The program covers information and practice related to facial expressions and lip movement.  The sessions also cover understanding hearing loss, as well as coping strategies.  It’s your chance to meet, and interact with, other members of the hard of hearing community.

Seating is limited and participants must register in advance, Classes are being offered either Monday evenings from 7-9 pm beginning April 2, 2018 or Tuesday afternoons from 1:30-3:30 pm beginning April 3rd.”  

Please contact us by email at  hearpei@gmail.com, or by phone to Annie Lee MacDonald  at 902-855-2382.  Alternatively, you can email our instructor, Nancy MacPhee, directly at macphee202@gmail.com.  Please note there is a modest fee to cover the cost of materials.

What Is Covered In The Level I Speechreading Course?

Level 1 introduces the most visible spoken consonants, as well as thematic groups, such as colours and numbers. Students practice with phrases in class groups as well as with the instructor. General info on hearing loss, as well as coping and communication strategies, are covered.

Have you taken a speechreading class?  Share your experience and help encourage others to learn this valuable skill. Do you have a story or tip about hearing loss issues that are important to you? Comments can be made on this blog, or you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com.

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

© Daria Valkenburg