“Living and Thriving With Hearing Loss” Presentation

October 12, 2018.  Whenever possible, we accept speaking engagements as it’s a chance to participate in outreach events and let people know that anyone with hearing loss can have a wonderful life, even if you don’t hear every word.

Last week, we were invited to be guest speakers at the Speaker-A-Night class at Donagh Regional Community School.  This was a great opportunity, as not everyone in the class had hearing loss. We shared our own hearing loss journeys, gave some tips for better communication, and a general awareness of how people can have their hearing affected.  And we introduced the class to the pocket talker, an assistive listening tool that helps amplify sound.

Living & thriving with hearing loss presentation

Presentation made by Daria Valkenburg and Annie Lee MacDonald

The class of 16 participants was engaged and a delight to be with.  The evening just flew by.

CIMG2659 Oct 2 2018 Donagh Community School presentation

Participants at the Speaker-A-Night class at Donagh Regional Community School. Annie Lee stands at the back of the classroom. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

The evening was very successful, and everyone enjoyed themselves, including the presenters!  Our thanks go to Theresa Laverty, who sent us feedback, saying “Everyone in the class thought you ladies did a great job and we all commented on how much information you brought us that we were unaware of.”  And we received the note below from Barb MacFarlane, the Community School Coordinator at Donagh Regional School:

CIMG2660 Oct 2 2018 note from Donagh Community School re presentation

Thank you note from Barb MacFarlane, Community School Coordinator.

Do you have a hearing loss story to share?  Email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on our blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI.

Don’t miss our upcoming events: 

October Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church.  Guest speaker will be audiologist Peter Benstead of PEI Audiology, to let us know about the firm’s public information campaign for hearing health.  With hearing loops now being available at venues on PEI, Peter will also let you know how you can have a telecoil activated to your hearing aid.

We will be in Montague on October 27, 2018!  We will have a table at the 7th Annual Learning and Caring for Ourselves Conference, an event hosted by the Seniors Secretariat of PEI on Saturday, October 27th, 9am-3pm at Montague Regional High School.

Upcoming Event in a Looped Venue: Senate of Canada 150 Medal recipient Pieter Valkenburg will speak about the Borden-Carleton Cenotaph Research Project at South Shore United Church in Tryon, 7 pm on Friday, November 2, 2018.  This event is co-hosted by South Shore United Church and Tryon & Area Historical Society.  Note: this venue is equipped with a hearing loop for the benefit of those with hearing loss.  If you haven’t experienced the clarity of sound that you hear through a hearing loop, this is your opportunity.  Email dariadv@yahoo.ca for more info.

© Daria Valkenburg

 

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Do You Wish You Had Listened To Your Parents?

October 5, 2018.  At a recent meeting, our guest speaker was Mike Smith, publisher of the County Line Courier, who shared his hearing loss story.

CIMG2650 Sep 25 2018 CHHA PEI meeting Mike Smith with Annie Lee

Mike Smith, Publisher of County Line Courier, with Annie Lee MacDonald. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

An avid guitarist, Mike followed the path of many musicians who have hearing loss after exposure to loud music. (Huey Lewis made this announcement earlier in the year: https://www.today.com/health/huey-lewis-announces-hearing-loss-cancels-2018-performances-t127072. A list of 12 musicians with hearing loss is discussed at https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52318-Hear-this-12-celebrity-musicians-with-hearing-loss).

While we hear of rock stars from the 1960s now coming forward, classical musicians can suffer even more damage to their ears.  Why? They tend to practice more often, and longer, so have more exposure! (See http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2018/04/30/musicians-hearing-loss)

Mike Smith with guitar

Mike Smith wishes he had listened to his parents!

Mike told us how he wished he had listened to his parents “when they kept telling me ‘If you keep playing that loud music, you’re going to go deaf!’ Who knew they were right?”  Anyone who grew up in the 60s can relate!

My own father kept telling me “turn down that noise!” and if I didn’t, he’d shut off the stereo.  Poor man didn’t understand that rock music HAD to be listened at full volume!  These were the days before earbuds.  Parents could keep some control.

But for Mike, these lessons learned came too late.  He explained that he first realized he had a hearing loss while in his mid-30s.  “I kept turning the TV louder, twice as loud as the rest of the family members did.

To offset problems hearing music, he bought a new stereo.  “I couldn’t hear voices on the one I had, and it was no different with the new stereo.  I took it back to the store.

Eventually he went for a hearing test.  “I learned that the high end frequency of my hearing is missing”, meaning higher pitched sounds are no longer heard.  It took 15 years, though, before he took the step of getting a hearing aid. One regret?  “I don’t remember my parents’ funerals as I couldn’t hear the service.   This was pre-hearing aid.

Even with a hearing aid, Mike explained that he still faces challenges.  “The office is hard to work in, as it’s a noisy environment. I can’t really hear the editor, who sits not far from me.  Nor can I hear what is going on in the printing area, which is in a separate room.  I have to go to them when I need to communicate.”  Everyone present at the meeting could relate to that!  “In business, people don’t understand”, he explained.  “I have 6 grandchildren, and they don’t really understand why I can’t always hear what they are saying. Luckily, hearing loss hasn’t affected my ability to play guitar.

Now Mike wants to warn young people about listening or playing music too loud.  “At the age of 17, I thought I knew everything.  I didn’t.”  He isn’t alone.  Today’s youth are at risk from sound going directly into the ear through earbuds, which sit closer to the ear drum. The louder music is played, the more damage can be caused. (See http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/earbud-generation-hearing-loss-1.4658336

We appreciated Mike’s frankness in telling his story.  Do you have a hearing loss story to share?  Email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on our blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI.

Don’t miss our upcoming events: 

October Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church.  Guest speaker will be audiologist Peter Benstead of PEI Audiology, to let us know about the firm’s public information campaign for hearing health.  With hearing loops now being available at venues on PEI, Peter will also let you know how you can have a telecoil activated to your hearing aid.

We will be in Montague on October 27, 2018!  We will have a table at the 7th Annual Learning and Caring for Ourselves Conference, an event hosted by the Seniors Secretariat of PEI on Saturday, October 27th, 9am-3pm at Montague Regional High School.

© Daria Valkenburg

Fall Events

September 3, 2018.  Now that we are into September, the leisurely summer pace we’ve enjoyed over the past months will slowly quicken as events begin again here on the island.  In case you’ve not had a chance to look at our Upcoming Events over the summer, a summary is below.  Please note that the date of the September meeting has been changed to September 25 – one week later than originally scheduled.

Over the summer, there have been some interesting reports on how we hear, with the conclusion that it’s our brain that decides what exactly we hear. You may have come across that Yanny or Laurel debate.  In case not, here is the link, so you can try it for yourself:  https://search.app.goo.gl/3VTHw.  If you want to learn more about the science behind this, read here:  https://www.self.com/story/yanny-laurel-science-explains.

And you may have heard about the lawsuit where a disgruntled restaurant patron claimed that an exploding hard-boiled egg that had been warmed up in a microwave caused hearing damage.  Scientists were so intrigued by a You Tube video of an exploding egg that they decided to see if an exploding egg could cause hearing loss. Conclusion? It can’t. (See https://www.popsci.com/microwaved-egg-explosion-damage-hearing)

UPCOMING EVENTS

September Chapter meeting:  DATE CHANGE: Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Guest speaker will be Mike Smith, Publisher of County Line Courier and Summerside Citizen.

October Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church.  Guest speaker will be audiologist Peter Benstead of PEI Audiology, to let us know about the firm’s public information campaign for hearing health.  With hearing loops now being available at venues on PEI, Peter will also let you know how you can have a telecoil activated to your hearing aid.

November Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Guest speaker will be audiologist Derek Hughes of Connect Hearing, to provide a report on a project he did on cochlear implants, in which a number of our members participated in.

Fall Speech Reading Classes: Level I will run Monday evenings, from 7 to 9 pm in Charlottetown, beginning September 24, and will run for 10 weeks.  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.

Email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on our blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI.

© Daria Valkenburg

Did You Hear That Diet Can Help Protect Your Hearing?

August 23, 2018. I’m always up for an excuse to socialize with friends, in spite of hearing loss.  When a group of us go out we do our best to pick a place that will optimize our ability to hear each other.  My ideal restaurant has:

  • No background music…. if I want to go to a concert I’ll do so. If I dine out with my friends I don’t really enjoy the distraction of background music.
  • A booth or walls to help block out sound.
  • A menu, so I don’t have to rely on what a server says.
  • No rattling dishes, scraping chairs, etc to make it even harder to hear.

Recently, three of us went to Mia’s in Ottawa for a lovely dinner.  All of us have hearing loss and we had a great time, and heard each other perfectly well.   This was important as we had a lot to catch up on!

CIMG2422 Aug 10 2018 Dinner at Mias

Left to right: Carole Willans, Daria Valkenburg, Jane Scott at Mia’s in Ottawa.

Take a look at the photo above.  You’ll notice we are by a window, in the corner, with a wall on two sides.  The table had a tablecloth to muffle sound from dishes.  Service was done quietly and there was no background music.

Now, if you are wondering what the title of this posting has to do with eating out, it’s because Mia’s is an Indian restaurant.  All summer there has been article after article, explaining how diet can help protect your hearing.  Suggestions have been made for ideal foods, and we made sure to get a good sample of those in the dishes we chose.  I don’t know if it’s true that food choices can affect your hearing, but as the three of us like Indian food, it seemed a good excuse!

According to the articles, eating a Mediterranean style diet or a salt reduced diet, such as for reducing high blood pressure, helps with hearing health. (See https://www.health24.com/Medical/Hearing-management/News/healthy-eating-may-protect-your-hearing-20180813-3 and https://www.hearinglikeme.com/study-a-healthy-diet-can-decrease-risk-of-hearing-loss-for-women/) One article even specifies four foods to improve hearing:

  1. Potassium rich foods to regulate the fluid in your inner ear.
  2. Foods that contain folic acid help maintain circulation, which in turn help keep the hair cells of the inner ear working properly.
  3.  Zinc rich foods to boost your immune system, which will help reduce the risk of ear infections.
  4. Magnesium rich foods to help protect against noise-related hearing loss.

If you want more information and to see the list of recommended foods, read here:
https://search.app.goo.gl/SjozH

So, go out and enjoy those social occasions!  Got more tips?  Email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on our blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI.

Summer doesn’t last forever.  Plan to join us at our September meeting:  Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. 

Fall Speech Reading Classes

Nancy MacPhee, our speech reading instructor, has notified us that the fall schedule of classes will soon be underway.  It’s worth repeating that studies show that speech reading can have a beneficial effect on your brain and your ability to hear, especially with a cochlear implant.  (See https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-brain-responses-lip-reading-benefit-cochlear.html)

Level I will run Monday evenings, from 7 to 9 pm in Charlottetown, beginning September 24, and will run for 10 weeks. What’s covered in Level I?  Nancy advises that “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.

If you have taken Level I and are interested in Level II, let us know. If there is sufficient enrollment, Nancy may be persuaded to do a Level II session.

© Daria Valkenburg

Don’t Be Afraid To Travel If You Have Hearing Loss

August 3, 2018.  As summer races by, many of us are busy travelling.  When you have hearing loss, sometimes travel can be a bit challenging.  At our May meeting, two intrepid ladies shared travel tips from recent trips made to Malta and Australia, making us long to pack our suitcases and start on an adventure off the island.

Brenda Graves, who visited Malta and Sicily with her husband Stuart this spring, noted that “the close quarters, upholstery, and carpeting found on modern airplanes muffle sounds, making hearing what is being said difficult.”  Brenda, whose hearing loss includes high frequency sounds, found that the increasing number of male flight attendants, with their deeper voices, were easier to understand.  She went on to explain that “As a senior lady, I have found that female flight attendants will lean closer to be heard.

Brenda also stressed that not all activities require you to hear well, and showed us photos from a Good Friday pageant in Malta.  “It was quite the occasion!” she noted.

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Good Friday pageant in Malta. (Photo courtesy of Graves family collection.)

Besides flying by plane, Brenda travelled on a ferry to Sicily, to see Mt Etna.  She explained that “Modern ferries are quiet, with minimal vibration.  Sound systems are good and the crew members are quick to repeat announcements, and escort passengers on deck during rough crossings.

She also took a bus tour, and was happy to find that “Our tour bus was modern and quiet.  Our guide spoke four languages quite clearly and loud enough to be heard, even without the sound system.

In addition to the bus tour, Brenda travelled on Hop On Hop Off buses, saying they were an excellent way to get a taste of tourist spots.”  Her advice?  “If there is a guide, try to sit on the upper level near the guide at the front.  Some buses have audio earbuds with an adjustable volume.  Do not sit on the lower level at the back of the bus, as engine noise and vibration make hearing quite difficult.

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View from Hop On Hop Off bus in Malta. (Photo courtesy of Graves family collection.)

A favourite photo of her trip to Malta reinforced that travel doesn’t always require you to have perfect hearing.  “Me ankle deep in the Mediterranean Sea at St. Paul’s Bay, while back home people were ankle deep in snow!

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Brenda Graves dips her toes in the Mediterranean Sea in Malta. (Photo courtesy of Graves family collection.)

We thoroughly enjoyed the presentation Brenda Graves shared with us on Malta.  She’ll be invited back after her next trip!  But, we had more enjoyment to come, with a presentation by Brenda Porter on her trip to Australia with her partner Gerry Gray.

Brenda explained that Australia was a “once in a lifetime trip” for them, and allowed them to visit Gerry’s cousin in Adelaide, as well as see many sights in this beautiful country.  Preparation was key, and she said they “booked a hotel room in Vancouver both coming and going so that we could have a good rest before the long 15 hour flight from Vancouver to Sydney.”  At each stage she made sure that she “indicated when booking flights and guided tours that I was Hard of Hearing.  I polished up my Hard of Hearing button, and packed all the tools for cleaning hearing aids and replacement bits.

CIMG7617 Jun 27 2017 HOH buttons for sale

After sharing her tips for travel preparation, we learned some good tips for how she managed en route to their destinations.  “I checked all signage in airports and public transit, and confirmed the information. Upon entering the aircraft, I let the flight attendant know that I would need to be advised of critical announcements.

Once in Australia, Brenda “advised hotel desk personnel, tour guides, waiters in restaurants, etc., that I wear two hearing aids and would require clear articulation and eye contact.  I made certain to repeat back information re times and locations to be sure that I had it right.  I always looked for a corner table or the quietest spot in restaurants and was prepared to make errors and laugh.”  This last tip is essential.  Anyone who travels needs a good sense of humour, whether they have hearing loss or not!

She noted four particular challenges during the trip:

  1. Fatigue! “My solution was to try and find rest time each day.”  Good advice.  Those of us with hearing loss know how difficult it can be to concentrate on hearing when we’re exhausted.
  2. Driving on the left side. Brenda explained that “my ‘good’ ear was away from Gerry, who was the passenger and navigator, and sometimes misunderstood the directions he gave.  The solution was to study maps very carefully in advance, keep my cool, and not panic.
  3. Noise level in Sydney. “The noise in Sydney was very tough as it’s a very busy city.  The solution was to find some quiet time in the room each day.
  4. The Australian accent.

Brenda also had some surprises during the trip…..

There were hearing loops in Sydney Opera House and on Sydney ferries.”  (For a list of places with hearing loops on Prince Edward Island, see here: Places on PEI Equipped With A Hearing Loop)

She appreciated that there was “clear signage on Adelaide and Sydney buses re next stops.”  Much better than trying to figure out an announcement!

She noted that there was “generally greater awareness of hard of hearing than here.” Per the Australian Government Hearing Services Program, which is administered by the Department of Health, one in six Australians is affected by hearing loss, and this is expected to increase to one in four by 2050.  Given the expected growth in the demand for hearing services, the Government of Australia says it is focused on improving accessibility of hearing services. (See www.hearingservices.gov.au/)

Wondering about the percentages in Canada?  It’s already higher than in Australia!  According to  the 2012 to 2015 Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS), 40% of adults aged 20 to 79 had at least slight hearing loss in one or both ears.  Adults aged 60 to 79 were significantly more likely to have hearing loss (78%) compared with younger adults aged 40 to 59 (40%) and 20 to 39 (15%). Males (47%) were significantly more likely to have hearing loss compared with females (32%). (See https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-625-x/2016001/article/14658-eng.htm.)

Summing up the advice by the two Brendas:

Brenda Graves:  “It’s your vacation.  Enjoy it!

Brenda Porter:  “Travel is wonderful.  Don’t wait.  Plan wisely re fatigue.  And know that people care and want to help.

Brenda’s presentation on Australia and solid tips for preparation were very much appreciated.  We hope she will share insights from future trips!

After these two enjoyable presentations, it was time to celebrate the birthday of Annie Lee MacDonald.

 

Celebrating Annie Lee MacDonald’s birthday.  (Photo credit:  Daria Valkenburg)

Summer doesn’t last forever.  Plan to join us at our September meeting:  Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church

For more tips on flying with hearing loss, see: https://search.app.goo.gl/adaCz.  Got travel tips for travelling with hearing loss to share?  Email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on our blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI.

© Daria Valkenburg

Hearing Accessibility Tool Now Available At CLIA PEI

July 26, 2018.  After CBC PEI ran an article and interview about the project to help improve communication between those with hearing loss and the legal community (See CBC PEI Helps To Get The Word Out On ‘How A Project To Improve Legal Communication Is Helping Islanders To Hear Better’), we were contacted by CLIA PEI, the Community Legal Information Association in PEI.  This is a non-profit charitable organization that provides information, referrals, and support on legal issues.

Access to justice is important and the staff members at CLIA are dedicated to offering help – at no cost – in navigating the many questions people may have concerning legal issues.  Some examples include answering basic legal questions, or what to do about a particular legal problem.  They have kits available for a modest price for uncontested divorces, or for powers of attorney.  And if you do need to speak with a lawyer, they have a lawyer referral service that gives you a chance to speak with a lawyer for up to 45 minutes for a small fee (currently $25 plus tax).

So we were delighted that CLIA PEI wanted to participate in the project.  To help in our mutual goal of access to justice for all, we provided a few tips on better communication with those with hearing loss and lent them a hearing accessibility tool – a pocket talker.

IMG_2652 Eliza MacLauchlan and Emma Chilton Photo by Ellen Mullally

Eliza MacLauchlan, left, and Emma Chilton, right, use the pocket talker to look over materials left for improving communications with those with hearing loss. (Photo credit: Ellen Mullally)

We look forward to hearing feedback from the range of clients CLIA PEI helps!  If you have legal questions and don’t know who to ask, contact them.  And don’t forget to ask to use the pocket talker if you need a bit of help to hear better, but don’t have a hearing aid or cochlear implant.

CIMG1195 Jul 24 2018 CLIA with pocket talker

Left to right: CLIA Executive Director Ellen Mullally, Daria Valkenburg, CLIA Program Coordinator Kelly Robinson, CLIA Public Legal Education and Information Officer Eliza MacLauchlan. Eliza has the pocket talker, and Kelly our ‘Pardon Me What Did You Say?’ booklet. Notice the wealth of legal information available behind us? (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

For more information on the program with the legal community, which is funded by a grant from the Law Foundation of PEI, see Improving Communication Between the Legal Community and Those With Hearing Loss.

For a list of lawyers on PEI with a pocket talker in their office, and who have agreed to have their information posted on the blog, see: PEI Lawyers With Pocket Talkers.

Contact information for CLIA PEI:  Community Legal Information Association of PEI, Phone: 902-892-0853 or 1-800-240-9798 (toll-free in the Atlantic provinces).  Website:  www.cliapei.ca. Address: 111-40 Enman Crescent, Charlottetown, PE C1E 1E6. Email: clia@cliapei.ca.

If you are a lawyer who would like to participate, let us know.  If you have hearing loss and don’t have a hearing aid, and your lawyer is not part of this project, ask him or her to consider participation. If you have used a pocket talker at either CLIA or a law office, let us know! Email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on our blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI.

© Daria Valkenburg

CBC PEI Helps To Get The Word Out On ‘How A Project To Improve Legal Communication Is Helping Islanders To Hear Better’

July 13, 2018.  We are very lucky here on Prince Edward Island to have the support of media that help us keep the public informed on activities related to those with hearing loss.  As a volunteer non-profit organization we may not have a lot of resources, but we certainly have a lot of champions!  The ‘County Line Courier’ and ‘Summerside Citizen’ newspapers feature our articles, and CBC PEI helps us reach Islanders far and wide.

Earlier this week I was in the CBC Mainstreet studio to support my husband, in an interview he had with Angela Walker for a Cenotaph Research Project.  While there, I was invited to talk about one of our current projects, helping to improve communications between Island lawyers and those with hearing loss.

20180709_113044 daria at CBC studio

At the CBC Mainstreet studio. (Photo credit: Angela Walker)

Here is the link to that interview:  http://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/mainstreet-pei/segment/15556801 and the description from the CBC website:  The PEI Chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association and the Law Foundation of PEI have expanded on a project to ensure lawyers and their clients with hearing difficulties are able to effectively communicate.

CBC PEI went a step further with a web article about the project as well.  Here is the link to the CBC PEI article by Kevin Yarr: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-pocketalker-lawyers-hearing-impaired-1.4744340, with a transcription of the article below.

How a project to improve legal communication is helping Islanders hear better

‘They did a big public service’

Kevin Yarr · CBC News · Posted: Jul 12, 2018 8:00 PM AT | Last Updated: July 12

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

Islanders who are hard of hearing are discovering how useful these Pockettalkers can be, thanks to a pilot project with P.E.I. lawyers. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

A project to help clients understand lawyers’ legal advice is bringing some unexpected benefits, says the P.E.I. chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association.

The pilot project, launched last year, distributed 10 assistive listening devices called Pocketalkers to interested lawyers. The handheld device, which includes headphones, amplifies sounds nearby and helps users filter out background noise so they can focus on what is being said.

Association spokeswoman Daria Valkenburg said lawyers using the device have helped Islanders discover how useful they can be.

“We always knew when a lawyer was in a seniors’ home, if they had gone to visit anybody, because we’d immediately get an email or a phone call saying I want one of those Pocketalkers,” said Valkenburg.

hearing-loss-legal-advice-brochure

P.E.I.’s Hard of Hearing Association has developed a brochure for the reception areas of lawyers’ offices that will encourage people with hearing loss to ask for help. (Angela Walker/CBC)

“They did a big public service. We were getting stories from people saying, ‘I can now play cards, ‘I can now go to talk to my kids.’ I think that’s really important. It helped with different types of social isolation.”

The project received funding and support from the Law Foundation of P.E.I.

The project is continuing this year with a new feature — the association has developed a brochure for the reception areas of lawyers’ offices that will encourage people with hearing loss to ask for help.

For a list of lawyers on PEI with a pocket talker in their office, and who have agreed to have their information posted on the blog, please see here: PEI Lawyers With Pocket Talkers

If you are a lawyer who would like to participate, let us know.  If you have hearing loss and don’t have a hearing aid, and your lawyer is not part of this project, ask him or her to consider participation.  You can email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on our blog at https://theauralreport.wordpress.comYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI.

And if you’re curious about the Cenotaph Research Project interview, you can listen to it here:  https://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/mainstreet-pei/segment/15556040. CBC summary:  Finding the heroic stories behind the names on a local cenotaph. Pieter Valkenburg is a Dutch Canadian who wanted to learn more about the names on the Borden-Carleton Cenotaph. So he started a research project to find the stories behind these fallen soldiers.

Like the work we do?  Consider a donation to help fund activities not covered by a grant.  100% of your donation stays on PEI to help Islanders. See our page at the Canada Helps website:  https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708

© Daria Valkenburg

Report On Our June 2018 Meeting

June 27, 2018.  At the final meeting before the summer break, our guest speaker was Dr. Michael Corman, Principal Advisor of Senior’s Health at PEI’s Department of Health and Wellness. One of the roles of the Department is to provide oversight and policy direction to Health PEI.

Dr. Corman came to give an overview of PEI’s first Action Plan for Seniors, Near Seniors, and Caregivers entitled, “Promoting Wellness, Preserving Health“, released in May 2018. (See:  https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/sante-et-mieux-etre/seniors-health-and-wellness-action-plan) The Action Plan was prepared in consultation with many organizations and seniors, and Annie Lee MacDonald was our representative to ensure that those with hearing loss had a voice at the table.

We wanted ensure that, as the Action Plan becomes implemented, that hearing health and issues around hearing loss are not forgotten, and Dr Corman was presented with information about the work we have done over the past year.  The presentation generated a lot of interest and questions, and we thank Dr Corman and policy analyst Aly Inman for taking the time to meet with us.

One of the items mentioned by Dr Corman was Health PEI’s patient navigator service, which many had not heard about. Here is a link for more information: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/health-pei/patient-navigator and the contact information: Email patientnavigator@gov.pe.ca or call 1-844-882-3141.

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Following the tea break, Jane Scott, of Ottawa, presented a cheque to us from the CHHA Foundation, on behalf of CHHA Foundation’s President Carole Willans. This was the final payment for the grant awarded for the Let’s Loop PEI project in May, in which two churches (South Shore United Church and West River United Church) and the City of Charlottetown’s City Hall participated.  We now have two technicians who can install hearing loops to IEC60118 international installation standards.

In the presentation, Jane read out the following from Carole Willans:  “All the CHHA Foundation Board members expressed their appreciation for the way the CHHA PEI Chapter took advantage of this funding opportunity.  The Chapter demonstrated its great ability to work as a group to get the job done.  More importantly, the lives of so many hard of hearing people have been improved and that is worth every cent.  Kudos to the Chapter and its volunteers for a job well done.  You make all hard of hearing Canadians proud!

CIMG0897 Jun 26 2018 Jane Scott presents Daria & Annie Lee with CHHA Foundation grant

Jane Scott on left presents grant cheque from CHHA Foundation to Daria Valkenburg and Annie Lee MacDonald for the Let’s Loop PEI project. (Photo credit: Brenda Porter)

Our thanks to the CHHA Foundation for helping making this project a reality.  It’s a good beginning as more venues are encouraged to make their places more accessible for those with hearing loss.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church in North Tryon.  In the meantime, you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on our blog at https://theauralreport.wordpress.comYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI

Like the work we do?  Consider a donation to help us do more.  100% of your donation stays on PEI to help Islanders.  We now have a page at the Canada Helps website:  https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708

© Daria Valkenburg

So You’ve Been Invited To Speak To People With Hearing Loss

June 26, 2018.  Last year, as part of a commemoration event in Burgdorf, Germany, I was invited to give a presentation on a displaced persons camp that had been located in Burgdorf between 1945 and 1950. The Camp Ohio Research Project is one I happily volunteer for, as my father had been a resident in that camp.

However, there were many challenges to accepting this request.  As a person with hearing loss, I can easily misunderstand what someone says to me in English, let alone in German or French or Portuguese, the four languages of the audience.  There would be extensive media coverage, and the event was to be broadcast worldwide on a YouTube channel.  I said no, at first.

My husband then pointed out that my father would have wanted me to do this, and he also reminded me that I had taught adults for a living.  Just say yes.  And so I did.

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Onstage in Burgdorf, Germany, giving a presentation to a multi-national audience. (Photo credit: Joachim Dege)

Many presentation tips were drawn upon for this event to be a success.  They included the need to speak slowly.  This is so people who did understand English, but as a second language, could translate what I said in their head, and for the two people translating into German to have a chance to do their interpretation.

Because of the cameras, we had to have good lighting and a good sound system.  Everyone received a handout, in English and German, of the key points to be covered.  As this presentation included a photo slideshow, the pictures told a lot about what was being discussed.

There were many questions after the presentation, and each question was repeated in English and German, as were the answers.  Overall, it was a success.

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Ralf Gräfenstein on the left, and Tobias Teuber on the right, translated my presentation into German. (Photo credit: Bettina Wendlandt)

Many of the same tips used in addressing an international audience, or any audience for that matter, become essential tools for communication in addressing a group of people with hearing loss.

We are lucky to have many interesting presenters at our meetings, but sometimes the presenters make it difficult to follow them.  They speak too quickly.  They face the screen instead of the audience, or they wander around the room, meaning many people can’t see them.  If you can’t see someone, usually you also can’t hear them.

When Brenda Porter made the suggestion that we needed to prepare a tip sheet for presenters, everyone agreed, and 8 key points were decided upon to give to every future presenter. (See here: Tips for presenters when speaking to those with hearing loss )

Tips For Presenters When Speaking To Those With Hearing Loss

  1. Speak clearly and not too quickly, giving a natural pause between phrases/sentences.
  2. Stand in one place, rather than moving around. Face your listeners.
  3. Be sure that the lighting is good and that your face is well lit, not in shadow. In order to speech read, your listeners need to see your face clearly!
  4. Use lots of facial expression. This helps enormously in providing a context for your words and is key for speech reading.
  5. If at all possible, use a sound system. Be sure that your microphone is not directly in front of your mouth. All persons with hearing loss speech read to some extent and need to see your mouth/lips.
  6. Display the main points of your presentation in some way – whether via PowerPoint, a flip chart, or printed outline.
  7. Pause from time to time, especially following key points, and ask whether your listeners whether they need you to repeat/rephrase what you have said.
  8. Before answering, be sure to repeat any audience questions to be sure that listeners have understood them.

There are many more tips, of course, such as not using contractions.  If you don’t hear well, words like ‘can’ and ‘can’t’ sound the same!  Real-time captioning would be great, but is not affordable for a short presentation to a relatively small group.  And if you are listening to a presentation in a language you are not familiar with, contextual clues are very important.

Do you have more tips to share?  You can email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on our blog at https://theauralreport.wordpress.comYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI

Like the work we do?  Consider a donation to help us do more.  100% of your donation stays on PEI to help Islanders.  We now have a page at the Canada Helps website:  https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708

© Daria Valkenburg

 

More Info On Hearing Loop Access at Charlottetown City Hall

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June 17, 2018.  An excellent article, ‘City of Charlottetown improves access at City Hall for people with hearing loss’ by Dave Stewart of The Guardian was recently published in the newspaper.  (See http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/local/city-of-charlottetown-improves-access-at-city-hall-for-people-with-hearing-loss-218999/).

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Rachel McPhee, left, receptionist at City Hall in Charlottetown, talks to Brenda Porter, a member of the city’s board of persons with disabilities, about the new looping technology installed in the building. (Photo credit: Dave Stewart of The Guardian)

You can see in the above photo that the sign for disability access includes the universal symbol indicating that there is a hearing loop installed.  The ‘T’ on the bottom right stands for ‘telecoil’.

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As word spread of the city’s initiative, a wish list for more hearing loop access in public venues began, with the airport, hospital, and theatres top of the list.  Joan Gallant commended Charlottetown’s Mayor: “Congratulations to Clifford Lee for seeing the importance of looping City Hall. Next I would like to see Homburg Theatre looped!! The more public places looped, the more those of us who are hard of hearing will be able to take part and contribute to our communities.”  We can only hope that interest in hearing loop access will grow!

If you do not have a telecoil activated in your hearing aid or cochlear implant, talk to your audiologist.  As Brenda Porter noted in the interview with Dave Stewart “…the sound is clear and crisp. It’s as if I didn’t have any hearing loss. You can come in (to council chambers) and as long as you have a certain component in your hearing aid activated, you don’t have to put on a headset or put on a necklace or do anything that announces to the world that ‘Hey, I’m hard of hearing’.’’

If you have hearing loss, but don’t wear a hearing aid or have a cochlear implant, you can still access a hearing loop by other assistive listening devices.  See our previous posting The Let’s Loop PEI Project – How You Can Access An Area With A Hearing Loop for more information.

Have you used a hearing loop?  Share your experience and help build awareness so more places on PEI can be looped. You can email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on this blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI

Follow this link to places on PEI equipped with a hearing loop: Places on PEI Equipped With A Hearing Loop

Don’t forget about our upcoming meeting, the last one before the summer break:  Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian ChurchGuest speaker:  Dr. Michael Corman, Principal Advisor Senior’s Health at PEI’s Department of Health and Wellness, will give an update on the new Seniors Strategy for PEI.  Our chapter participated on the consultation committee for this strategy.  This is your opportunity to ask questions and make your voice heard as the Action Plan for the Seniors Strategy is developed.

Like the work we do?  Consider a donation to help us do more.  100% of your donation stays on PEI to help Islanders.  We now have a page at the Canada Helps website:  https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708

 © Daria Valkenburg