June 26, 2020. “I’m hard of hearing.” How many times have you said that, or heard someone tell you that? Over the past months, many people with hearing loss have had difficulty hearing in a world of face masks and plexiglass barriers. While businesses and service providers have a duty to provide a hearing accessible environment, the person with hearing loss has a role as well. Wearing a hard of hearing button when running errands goes a long way to bring awareness and understanding.
The power of a simple pin saying ‘hard of hearing’ shouldn’t be underestimated!
“…Your hearing impaired badges are terrific… I too am severely impaired,” wrote Susan MacDonald. She wore her hard of hearing pin while shopping and wrote again to say “…I had it on today and went into SoftMoc shoe store. The customer service rep said she loved the pin and thought it was a terrific idea. She spoke at a great decibel to me. Thank you…”
Some people think that hearing loss should be a private matter. “It’s no one’s business whether I have hearing loss or not” is an often heard comment. More and more, though, many wonder if that’s the right attitude to have.
Here’s an example…. You’re at the cashier to pay for your groceries, and can’t hear properly because people are behind a plexiglass barrier. Maybe the cashier is also wearing a face mask. Even if you have hearing aids, it’s a challenge to hear. The cashier is harried, and there are people in line behind you.
Take a look at the photos below. Which one is likely to get you a response to ensure you can hear?
On the left, no pin saying “hard of hearing”. On the right, wearing a pin that says “hard of hearing”. (Photo credits: Pieter Valkenburg)
It never fails. Wear a pin, and you get a smile of understanding. The person speaking tends to look at you more often, and takes the time to speak in a clear voice. You’re happy you can hear. The person speaking to you is pleased to have been able to help.
Don’t underestimate the power behind a simple pin. It’s low tech and inexpensive. Hear PEI now also has a bilingual pin.
Recently, Susan Choi commented on a previous blog posting: “…I enjoyed your article on living with and coping with hearing loss during these days of masks and social distancing. Even though, at the tender age of 72, my hearing is not what it used to be, I am reminded through your article how little I know or understand about living with a true hearing loss! Sadly, I had not even thought about how masks and social distancing would be affecting those with hearing loss!!!!”
Thank you to Susan MacDonald and Susan Choi for their comments. Would you wear a hard of hearing pin? If you have, what has been your experience? To share your story, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, comment on the blog, or tweet to @HearPEI.
Last few days in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge!
Only a few days are left in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge. This Canada Helps initiative offers a prize of $20,000 to one lucky charity. Every SINGLE dollar donated represents an entry into the contest. As an example, $100 means 100 chances to win. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Hear PEI was the lucky charity to win $20,000?
Thank you to those who have donated. Not made a donation? Please consider helping the volunteers at Hear PEI have funds available for more outreach activities. Remember, 100% of your donation stays on PEI to help Islanders.
Donations can be made at this Canada Helps page: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708
© Daria Valkenburg