Holiday Gifts For The Hard of Hearing Featured On CBC

December 7, 2018.  We’ve been busy for the past few weeks preparing for the holidays.  The house has been filled with the aroma of Christmas cookies, as I’ve been neglecting many things in order to have my annual baking frenzy.  My bemused husband keeps saying, “Wouldn’t it be easier to just buy the cookies?”  Poor guy just doesn’t get it.  Baking is part of the fun, at least for me.

In between baking sessions, Annie Lee and I found time to visit the CBC studio in Charlottetown to share some gifts of interest to those with hearing loss with Angela Walker of Mainstreet PEI.

CIMG2855 Nov 30 2018 at CBC with Angela Walker

Daria Valkenburg, left, and Annie Lee MacDonald, right, at CBC studio in Charlottetown with Angela Walker, standing. (Photo credit: Lee Rosevere)

If you missed the blog posting on holiday gift ideas, you can click here: What Someone With Hearing Loss Might Like For A Holiday Present…..

IMG_2585 Annie Lee and Daria with santa hats

Of course, we got in the spirit of the holidays with Santa hats! (Photo credit: Angela Walker/CBC)

CBC posted the link to the interview with this summary:  “Our friends Annie Lee MacDonald and Daria Valkenburg from the PEI Chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association drop by the studio with some holiday gift suggestions that could really provide some clarity for loved ones who might have some difficulty hearing.”  See https://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/mainstreet-pei/segment/15644737

And CBC posted a web article with 5 gift suggestions, taken from the interview:  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-5-things-hard-of-hearing-x-mas-1.4933522

IMG_2583 gifts for the hard of hearing

A selection of holiday gifts ideas for those with hearing loss. (Photo credit: Angela Walker/CBC)

One of the items mentioned in the interview, and in the earlier blog posting, is a chair loop pad.  After treating himself to an early Christmas present, Rheal Leger wrote us about his experience:  “My goodness it works. I hear in both ears – genius device. We have a hideaway bed. I installed the device underneath the cushion. Then I plugged it into the TV and voila. Very easy to install. I could have also put the device under the sofa. For it to work you need to be seated where the device is.  Forgot to mention the TV volume is only at 6 and it’s loud enough trust me. This is a gem. Now I’m looking forward to try it in the car.”  Clarity of sound.  You can’t beat that!

Rheals chair loop photo by rheal

Chair loop pad. (Photo credit: Rheal Leger)

If you have a favourite gift idea for someone with hearing loss, let us know.  Email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on our blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI.

Here is one suggestion for those who love goodies to eat, or for a homemade gift, but don’t have the time or interest in baking…..  CLIA (Community Legal Information Association of PEI) is selling homemade plum puddings as a fundraiser, with half the proceeds going to CLIA and half to the Humane Society.   Annie Lee purchased one, and it arrived beautifully wrapped.  What a great service!   If you want one, contact Pat at 902-566-4388, or send an email to plumpudding@eastlink.ca.

CIMG2850 Nov 30 2018 Annie Lee buys plum pudding from CLIA

Annie Lee MacDonald, left, with Kelly Robinson, Program Coordinator at CLIA. Kelly’s mother Pat Robinson makes the plum puddings. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Don’t miss our upcoming events:   

  • Event in Venue Equipped With A Hearing Loop:  UPCOMING CONCERT: Sorensen Christmas Concert at South Shore United Church in Tryon, 7:30 pm on Friday, December 7, 2018.  “The Shepherds Were the First to Hear”, held in the sanctuary. Lunch and a time for Christmas socializing will follow the concert. Admission is a freewill offering which will be donated to the Church Building Fund. This venue is equipped with a hearing loop for the benefit of those with hearing loss. If you have never heard the clarity of sound through a hearing loop, this is an opportunity to try it out.
  • Event in Venue with Real Time Captioning and a temporary hearing loop: The PEI Human Rights Commission & Town of Stratford are hosting Human Rights Day 2018 at Stratford Town Hall, Monday, December 10, 2018, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. This year’s event is to celebrate 70 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to introduce the new vertical $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond of Nova Scotia.  This event will have real time captioning available for the benefit of those with hearing loss, as well as a temporary hearing loop so you can experience the clarity of sound.  We will be there to answer any questions as well.

Check out our Upcoming Events page for even more events.  (See https://theauralreport.wordpress.com/upcoming-events/)

© Daria Valkenburg

 

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Congratulations To Fall 2018 Speechreading Grads

December 2, 2018.  The fall session of Level 1 Speechreading is now over, with 8 graduates.  This session was held at the Seniors Active Living Centre, and was very successful, with a lot of interest in Level 2 and another session of Level 1.

Class photo Fall 2018 SALC Level 1

Fall 2018 Speechreading graduates, from left to right: N. Bondt, H.W. Boggs, N. Smith, B. Bain, N. Gorman, E. Kitchener, S. Beaton, M. Dempster. (Photo credit: Nancy MacPhee)

Evaluation comments were overwhelmingly positive:

  • Completely enjoyed this course.
  • This course met my expectations and I learned a lot, not just about speechreading but information about hearing loss.
  • I was totally amazed at what was available for the hard of hearing.
  • A most worthwhile course. Very informative and educational.
CIMG2835 Nov 26 2018 Nancy & Annie Lee sign speechreading certificates

Every graduate received a certificate of completion, signed by Nancy MacPhee (left) and Annie Lee MacDonald (right). (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Instructor Nancy MacPhee provided the following report:  “During the summer of 2018, Annie Lee MacDonald and Daria Valkenburg had a discussion with the Seniors Active Living Center (SALC) in the Bell Aliant Center about using a room there for speechreading classes.   After further conversations and giving details of the speechreading program to manager Debbie Hood, Debbie presented the information to the SALC board of directors. They unanimously approved the idea of allowing the use of a room to run classes.

Speechreading Level 1 at SALC started September 25th, with eight students enrolled, all of whom successfully completed the course November 27th. This was the largest class to date, and they were a very engaged and dynamic ensemble.  It was a tremendous and very interactive ten weeks.

There was also an evening class (for people who are not free during the day), as well as a Level 2 offered, at the Sobeys Community Room, but there was not enough enrollment.  All those who applied are on a waiting list and will be contacted for the Spring 2019 sessions.  If you would like to put your name on the list, please send an email to hearpei@gmail.com.

For more information about the speechreading program please see: https://www.chha.ca//sren/description.php  or https://www.chha.ca/resources/speech-reading/

Congratulations to all the graduates and to Nancy for another successful session.  Our thanks go to Seniors Active Living Centre for providing space for the course. If you’ve taken this course and would like to add to the evaluations already posted above, please do so.  Your comments can be made on this blog, or you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com.  We are also on Twitter @HearPEI.

Don’t forget! Next Speechreading session begins in the spring of 2019. 

Don’t miss our upcoming events:   

  • Event in Venue Equipped With A Hearing Loop:  UPCOMING CONCERT: Sorensen Christmas Concert at South Shore United Church in Tryon, 7:30 pm on Friday, December 7, 2018.  “The Shepherds Were the First to Hear”, held in the sanctuary. Lunch and a time for Christmas socializing will follow the concert. Admission is a freewill offering which will be donated to the Church Building Fund. This venue is equipped with a hearing loop for the benefit of those with hearing lossIf you have never heard the clarity of sound through a hearing loop, this is an opportunity to try it out.
  • Event in Venue with Real Time Captioning and a temporary hearing loop: The PEI Human Rights Commission & Town of Stratford are hosting Human Rights Day 2018 at Stratford Town Hall, Monday, December 10, 2018, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. This year’s event is to celebrate 70 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to introduce the new vertical $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond of Nova Scotia.  This event will have real time captioning available for the benefit of those with hearing loss, as well as a temporary hearing loop so you can experience the clarity of sound We will be there to answer any questions as well.

Check out our Upcoming Events page for even more events.  (See https://theauralreport.wordpress.com/upcoming-events/)

© Daria Valkenburg

What Happens When The Audiologist Becomes A Patient?

November 20, 2018.  Most of us with hearing loss are used to going to an audiologist for ongoing hearing tests.  We’re told it takes about 7 years from the time someone is told they have hearing loss for that person to actually take steps to do something about it.  It’s brought up over and over again by audiology professionals that this is a bad thing to do.  Your hearing health is important, they will tell you, and of course that’s absolutely correct.

But, what happens when the audiologist becomes the patient or client?  Last month, while in Moncton, I had coffee with Dr Heidi Eaton of Argus Audiology.  If you attended our Tinnitus Seminar this spring, then you would have met Dr Eaton.

CIMG2693 Oct 9 2018 Daria with Heidi Eaton in Moncton

Daria, left, in Moncton with Dr Heidi Eaton of Argus Audiology. (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

I now have two hearing aids”, she mentioned.  I asked what had changed since we’d met a few months ago. “I noticed I was very sensitive to noise.”  Sensitivity to loud sounds even has a term: hyperacusis.  As an audiologist, Dr Eaton knew that “sensory hearing loss, caused by the death of hearing cells in the hearing organ called the cochlea, leads to hearing loss, ringing in the ears and can also lead to sensitivity to loud sounds.”  Hearing loss runs in her family, but she was hoping there was another explanation.

She went for a hearing test and learned she had hearing loss.  As she explained, “I was so surprised by the results I asked my Audiologist to retest me. The results were the same.”  It was the moment she realized what her patients must go through:  “denial before acceptance”.  It gave her more empathy for the journey that patients must take before realizing that hearing loss is now their reality.

Dr Eaton’s candour in relating her experience was very much appreciated.  If you wish to read about her experience in her own words, here is the link:  https://www.dochearing.com/blog/from-audiologist-to-patient.

Dr Eaton’s explanation on sound sensitivity went a long way to finally explaining to me why certain high pitched sounds sound like I’m being stabbed.  The high pitched sounds made by over-excited or upset children in a restaurant, or in an enclosed space like a plane, can make me physically ill.    I get the same reaction from the smoke alarm in our house.  I used to have a similar reaction from our phone, but now we use a ringtone that doesn’t make me cringe.

If you’d like to read more about how the organization of cells in your inner ear enables the sense and sensitivity of hearing, see this link to an article from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary:  https://search.app.goo.gl/kezVc.  The first paragraph gives an excellent summary of the role cells play in our hearing.  “The loss of tiny cells in the inner ear, known as “hair cells,” is a leading cause of hearing loss, a public health problem affecting at least one out of three people over the age of 65. Of the two varieties of hair cells, the “outer hair cells” act as micromotors that amplify incoming sound, and the “inner hair cells” act to sense and transmit information about the sound to the brain. Hair cells do not regenerate on their own in human ears, and they can die away from a variety of factors including excessive noise exposure, certain medications, infection and as part of the natural aging process….

Have you had sensitivity to sounds?  If so, please share your experience. Comments can be made on this blog, or you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com.

Don’t miss our upcoming events:   

  • November Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Guest speaker will be Jessyca Bedard, Clinical Support & Business Development Manager for Oticon Medical Canada, who will talk about BAHAs (Bone Anchored Hearing Aids) and other Oticon products. The presentation will be followed by our Annual General Meeting.
  • Presentation: Annie Lee MacDonald and Daria Valkenburg have been invited to talk about the pocket talker project with the Law Foundation of PEI and PEI lawyers at the upcoming meeting of the PEI Seniors Secretariat on November 30, 2018.

Check out our Upcoming Events page for even more events.  (See https://theauralreport.wordpress.com/upcoming-events/)

© Daria Valkenburg

What Someone With Hearing Loss Might Like For A Holiday Present…..

November 15, 2018.  Now that the first snow has fallen here on the island, thoughts are turning to the annual holiday shopping spree.  “What can we get for our hard of hearing friends or relatives to help them be better able to communicate?” is a common query we get.  Who better to ask than those of us in the same boat!

Last year’s list was popular and this year we can add to it.  Here are some suggestions based on our own wish lists, or products we use and love:

Assistive Hearing Devices For Everyday Use:

  • A pocket talker(available from the PEI Chapter) – a small amplification device, suitable for one on one conversations, or for watching TV. If you, or your loved one, are reluctant to wear or are unable to wear a hearing aid, this is a great tool to take to important meetings such as with your lawyer, financial planner, or doctor.  Many PEI lawyers already use this tool for better communication with hard of hearing clients.
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)

  • Vibrating alarm clock(available from the PEI Chapter) – has a pulsing vibration alarm. You can even get one that will shake the bed to get you awake.  Hmmm…. that’s good for anyone who has trouble getting out of bed in the morning!
  • Vibrating pillow alarm clock – a pillow that vibrates, shaking you awake!
  • Telephone with amplification and a telecoil – not only has the amplification needed for people with hearing loss, and a range of ringtones to choose from. It also has a telecoil that provides the clarity of sound that lets people enjoy conversations again.  The person using it will need to have the telecoil activated in their hearing aid or cochlear implant for the telecoil to work. You can buy a phone like this in places like Staples.  Look for the telecoil sign.
CIMG2540

Brief explanation from the user guide.

  • FitBit – not just for those interested in exercise, but also great for those with hearing loss as you get a vibration on your wrist to let you know when you are getting a call or text on your phone! (See https://www.fitbit.com/en-ca/home)  Jane Scott told us that: “I rely on it quite a bit to know when there is a message on my phone.”  If you’ve missed calls or texts because your phone is stashed away in a pocket or in your purse, then a FitBit may be for you.
  • 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 (available from the PEI Chapter) 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!

CIMG7617 Jun 27 2017 HOH buttons for sale

Hearing Loop Assistive Devices To Give You Clarity Of Sound:

With places on the island that are looped, with what we hope is only the beginning of looped facilities, and Islanders who love to travel, a hearing loop assistive device may be just what you are looking for.

Speech reading instructor Nancy MacPhee wrote the following after sharing a recent blog posting with her students (See https://theauralreport.wordpress.com/2018/11/08/the-sound-through-a-hearing-loop/) “I had feedback this week from people who listened to the difference between the looped and unlooped sound ….and were amazed.     Even though we have talked about looping…and know that some have used it, I realized that there were those who still did not really ‘get’ it.

The hearing loop system used on PEI is the same one used in the rest of the world.  Whatever way you access the loop here on PEI, whether through a telecoil, a receiver, an app, or a pocket talker, will access the loop anywhere in the world that a hearing loop is installed!

If you have a hearing aid or cochlear implant but the telecoil  is NOT yet activated, talk to your audiologist.

If  you don’t wear a hearing aid or cochlear implant, or your hearing aid is not formatted for a telecoil, don’t worry.  You have three ways to access a hearing loop…….

  • If you have an iPad or iPhone, you can download the software for free at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/loopbuds/id1111272148?mt=8. Then you simply plug OTOjOY earbuds into your device (available from the PEI Chapter) and you will access the hearing loop. Unfortunately, at present, there is no software for Android devices.

Loop buds for iPhone (2)

  • If you have no telecoil nor an iPad or iPhone, you can purchase a small hearing loop receiver to access the loop (available from the PEI Chapter). Then, plug earbuds or headphones into the receiver to access the hearing loop.
PLR-BP1-Williams-Sound-Loop-System-Body-Pack-Rece

PLR-BP1-Williams-Sound-Loop-System-Body-Pack-Rece

  • If you have no telecoil nor an iPad or iPhone, one type of pocket talker has hearing loop software built into it (available from the PEI Chapter). If you already use a pocket talker, you may want to upgrade to this type of pocket talker as it does double duty.
    Pocketalker PKT2B (PKTD2.0) from Williams Sound

    Pocketalker PKT2B (PKTD2.0) from Williams Sound

     

Have you considered a chair loop pad? 

Another useful device is a chair loop pad, also called a hear pad or loop pad.  The pad replaces the hearing loop wire and is used where it isn’t possible or desirable to install an actual wire. The chair pad connects to the loop system.  The pad can be placed underneath you so that you can sit on it or it can be placed behind the head if a stronger signal is required.

The beauty of a chair pad is that it’s portable. Simply take the system, power supply, and chair pad with you. At your destination, you connect the amp to the TV, plug in the power supply, connect the chair pad, and you are now looped!

Some people, like Graham Hocking, also use a chair pad in the car.  It’s connected to the radio and plugs into the cigarette lighter.

CIMG2757 Oct 29 2018 Grahams chair looop

Graham Hocking shows his chair loop pad. Normally his wife sits in the passenger seat, but for the photo he placed it on her seat. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Just because you have hearing loss doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy concerts and plays:

Here are two suggestions for those who enjoy entertainment.

Donations that help others with hearing loss:

Consider a donation to the PEI Chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing AssociationAs an organization made up of volunteers, 100% of your charitable donation is used for education and advocacy initiatives.  You can donate by cash or cheque to us directly, or online at:   https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708.

Here are two suggestions made by one of our members:

  • A $25 donation to fund more advocacy, outreach, and education in PEI.
  • A $100 donation to build a fund to support future looping projects.

There are many more items that can be added to this list, of course.  If you’ve tried any of these products, please share your experience. Comments can be made on this blog, or you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com.

Don’t miss our upcoming events:   

  • November Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Guest speaker will be Jessyca Bedard, Clinical Support & Business Development Manager for Oticon Medical Canada, who will talk about BAHAs (Bone Anchored Hearing Aids). The presentation will be followed by our Annual General Meeting.
  • Presentation: Annie Lee MacDonald and Daria Valkenburg have been invited to talk about the pocket talker project with the Law Foundation of PEI and PEI lawyers at the upcoming meeting of the PEI Seniors Secretariat on November 30, 2018.

Check out our Upcoming Events page for even more events.  (See https://theauralreport.wordpress.com/upcoming-events/)

© Daria Valkenburg

 

Hearing Health Day in New Brunswick

November 5, 2018.  Last week four of us travelled from the island to Moncton, at the invitation of our colleagues there, to attend Hearing Health New Brunswick, an educational event put on by Avenir Hearing.  We had a chance to meet with people we don’t see often, and meet new friends, such as Jacqueline and Graham Hocking of England.

CIMG2754 Oct 29 2018 Hearing Health NB in Moncton

Seated, left to right: Brenda Porter, Annie Lee MacDonald, Daria Valkenburg, Jacqueline Hocking. Standing, left to right: Graham Hocking, Nancy MacPhee, Rheal Leger. (Photo taken by Rheal’s wife Simone.)

It was also an important event as it was a chance to socialize with other people with hearing loss and learn from their experiences and tips.  As this was an event put on by an audiology firm, we expected that there would be a focus on the goods and services provided by audiologists and their suppliers.  This was the case here, and there were a few very interesting products we might not have seen otherwise on the island.

However, I found it a bit disappointing that much of the focus was on what they could sell, not what could benefit a person with hearing loss, but might not cost a lot.  For example, there was no initial mention of telecoils, which can be activated in hearing aids at no additional cost.  Telecoils and hearing loops didn’t enter the discussion until some people from the audience asked about them.  Even if you are in an area with no venues equipped with a hearing loop, many electronic devices come with a telecoil.  For example, you can buy an inexpensive phone with a telecoil in a store like Staples.

One audiologist told about being on a bus tour in Ireland and telling the people behind him that he and his wife, who both wear hearing aids, couldn’t hear because of the background conversation behind them.  This was a bit puzzling as most tour buses in the European Union have a hearing loop.  The audiologist and his wife could have switched their hearing aids to the T-switch and heard the guide easily, without any background noise.  It was surprising that he did not seem to know much about telecoils.

A number of audience members commented that the international symbol for hearing loss was not displayed or explained.  The audiologist responding to the comment incorrectly said it was a symbol developed by a Canadian group  and wasn’t widely used or recognized. Several people corrected this misconception about the symbol’s origin, and asked why the audiology firms themselves didn’t display the sign.

The audience was told that it was up to those who have hearing loss to advocate for its use, which was correct.  However, no mention was made of the role that audiologists should play in building awareness.  The international symbol is used to identify places that that have had awareness training in communicating with people with hearing loss, or where there is an assistive listening device in place.  It was a reminder that we need to do more to build awareness of the international symbol here on the island.

Deafness_and_hard_of_hearing_symbol

International Symbol

So those were the not so great points from the day, but there were a number of positives as well.  There was a lot of very interesting and helpful information, which was summarized by Brenda Porter:

Information

  1. Lip reading provides 40% of info. Need to see lips.
  2. Remember that there is a difference between hearing and understanding.
  3. New technology for group conversation increases understanding by 61%.

Tips

  1. Hearing loss is a team sport. Partners and friends have to take part, work together and understand.
  2. For group conversation and at meetings say “I would love to participate fully in this conversation but you have to help me to do that”.
  3. Hearing aids are like false teeth. They don’t work when they are in the drawer.

Communication and Aging

  1. So important to enhance and maintain everyday conversation.
  2. Maintaining social role is very important. When there is a decrease in communication and a decrease in motivation, mood and general health are affected. Your roles of influence in the community- as leaders, providers- can diminish.
  3. Decrease in communication leads to cognitive disorders.

Seven Rules

  1. Let others know about your disability. Be up front.
  2. Develop strategies.
  3. Use sensory aids. Don’t be embarrassed.
  4. Demand access to better communication- hospital, community centre, church.
  5. Try to make your environment communication friendly.
  6. Ask for assistance if you need it. Talk to your doctor, physiotherapist, etc.
  7. Believe in your abilities. Your family and friends need you. Your community needs you.

FINAL TIP

You may lose your sight or your hearing but don’t lose your voice.

In the car going back home, we discussed whether the day had been worth it.  Yes, was the consensus.   While there is both information and misinformation in events such as these, it’s important to get out and hear what messages people are getting, meet people, and to have a chance to try out new technology.  We thank the people at Avenir Hearing for organizing this event.

Do you have a hearing loss issue you’d like 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:   

November Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Guest speaker will be Jessyca Bedard, Clinical Support & Business Development Manager for Oticon Medical Canada, who will talk about BAHAs (Bone Anchored Hearing Aids).  The presentation will be followed by our Annual General Meeting.

Presentation:  Annie Lee MacDonald and Daria Valkenburg have been invited to talk about the pocket talker project with the Law Foundation of PEI and PEI lawyers at the upcoming meeting of the PEI Seniors Secretariat on November 30, 2018.

Check out our Upcoming Events page for even more events.  (See https://theauralreport.wordpress.com/upcoming-events/)

© Daria Valkenburg

“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

 

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