Last Chance To Help Us Win $10,000

June 28, 2019.  An earlier blog posting discussed the Great Canadian Giving Challenge Charity Appeal, and the opportunity to win $10,000 every time an online donation was made at Canada Helps during the month of June.  Time is running out for this contest! (See The Great Canadian Giving Challenge Charity Appeal)

A big thank you to everyone who donated.  Not only did you help ensure that we have the funds to continue helping Islanders with hearing accessibility awareness and education, you gave us a chance at this prize.  If you haven’t yet donated, please consider doing so at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/gcgc/86759 

Donor Joan Gallant provided the following message with her donation:  “I appreciate all the hard work done for those of us with hearing problems. It is an important organization and thanks go out to Annie Lee MacDonald and Daria Valkenburg for the many hours they put in for the benefit of those who are hard of hearing.” Thank you, Joan, for your heartfelt comments.  Want to join Joan? 100% of your donation stays on the island. Here is the link again!  See https://www.canadahelps.org/en/gcgc/86759 

GCGC-button_3

All of us can identify a family member or friend whose life is restricted because of their hearing loss. We all can do more to help build awareness of hearing issues, and to encourage hearing loss prevention programs.  Please share your ideas and stories by commenting on this blog, or by sending an email to hearpei@gmail.com.  Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @HearPEI.

© Daria Valkenburg

Advertisements

A Link Between Hearing Loss and Your Heart?

March 12, 2019.  A few years ago I read a book, ‘Scotland’s Inventors – How Scotland Invented Everything’, by Callan Anderson (See https://www.amazon.com/Scotlands-Inventors-Scotland-Invented-Everything-ebook/dp/B00E51N5BG).  At first I thought this was a joke, but quickly realized that the book explained Scottish connections to inventions and schools of thought.  ‘Who knew?’ was my reaction.

I was reminded of this book as new information keeps coming out on the link between our hearing and the physiology of our body.  The most recent is a link between hearing loss and heart disease.  What?  My mother had a heart condition and I spent many years traipsing to cardiologists with her over the years.  Not once did one of her cardiologists discuss her hearing, although it was obvious to each one that she had hearing loss!  They discussed her other medical conditions and diet, but hearing health?  Not once.  So I read the articles discussing a link with both great interest and scepticism.

So what’s the link? Our inner ears have a lot of blood vessels.  Per a study by Dr. David Friedland, PhD, Professor and Vice-Chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and other researchers, any change, such as injury to the blood vessel and impaired blood flow, can affect your hearing.  This suggests that any change in low-frequency hearing can be an indicator that there is risk of cardiovascular disease!  An audiogram may provide a hint that the person may be at risk for a heart condition! (See https://aberdeenaudiology.com/2019/02/13/heart-disease-and-hearing-loss-2/  and https://hearinghealthcenter.com/blog/the-link-between-heart-issues-and-hearing-loss/ and https://www.enttoday.org/article/low-frequency-hearing-loss-may-indicate-cardiovascular-disease/)

Another study, done at the Bionics Institute medical research facility in Australia, has found that tracking heart rate can be an early indicator of hearing loss. In this study, researchers found that sound levels directly affect heart rate.  A significantly lower heart rate was recorded when lower level sounds were played, while an increased heart rate occurred for higher level sounds.  The conclusion was that combining heart rate information with brain responses was an objective, and more accurate and effective, method of detecting hearing loss, particularly in infants.  (See https://www.timesnownews.com/health/article/tracking-heart-rate-can-help-detect-hearing-loss-early/375460)

We’d love to hear from audiologists and cardiologists to get their input on this link between heart health and hearing loss.  And of course we want to hear about your experiences, particularly if you have both a heart condition and hearing loss.

We all can do more to help build awareness of hearing issues, and to encourage hearing loss prevention programs.  With upcoming provincial and federal elections coming up in the near future, your voices and your suggestions for improvements to hearing accessibility are needed. Please share your ideas by commenting on this blog, or by sending an email to hearpei@gmail.com.  You can also follow us on Twitter @HearPEI.

© Daria Valkenburg

UPCOMING EVENTS

April Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Guest speaker will be Lisa Gallant, pharmacist and owner of South Shore Pharmacy, who will talk about ototoxic drugs (drugs that affect your hearing).

Speech reading classes begin Spring 2019.  If you would like to register, send an email to hearpei@gmail.com.

 

The Sound Through A Hearing Loop

November 8, 2018.  Quite often, we’re asked what the difference is in what someone hears within a hearing loop and outside of a hearing loop.  We’ve sent links that others have shared with us, and encouraged people to visit venues on the island that have a hearing loop installed.  During a sound and equipment check for a presentation last week at South Shore United Church in Tryon, Jack Sorensen of the church made a recording for us.  He recorded the presenter, Pieter Valkenburg, as heard through a microphone by the front pew of the church, and as heard through the hearing loop.

Jane Scott and Don Gribble were kind enough to transfer the audio files to a website, which allowed us to provide the links you see below. Can you hear the difference in sound quality?

looped vs non looped

What was recorded through the microphone by the front pew of the church: 

https://soundcloud.com/user-82887253/zoom0013pieternonloopedmp3?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=email

What was recorded through the hearing loop:

https://soundcloud.com/user-82887253/zoom0012pieterloopedmp3?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=email

Several blog postings have been written on hearing loops and there is a site page on this blog for places on the island where a hearing loop has been installed (See https://theauralreport.wordpress.com/places-on-pei-equipped-with-a-hearing-loop/).

While we are at the beginning of looping projects on the island, other places have been very creative in making sure accessibility for those with hearing loss is a priority.  Previous postings have mentioned a number of places around the world.  This time, here is a link to a story about shoppers in one store in Maryland who can choose the ‘hearing loop lane’ when it’s time to pay!  See http://www.baltimoresun.com/bs-bz-wegmans-hearing-loops-20160116-story.html

Thank you to Jack, Jane, and Don for their help with the sound files.  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

Outreach Event At PEI Seniors Secretariat Conference In Montague

November 4, 2018.  Last week we hosted a table at the 7th Annual Learning and Caring for Ourselves Conference, an event hosted by the Seniors Secretariat of PEI at Montague Regional High School.  This was a relaxed event, with a small number of participants, and our table was well visited.

Some of the participants remembered us from last year’s ‘Pardon Me What Did You Say?’ Roadshow.  A few had heard us on one of the interviews given on CBC Radio.

Visitors were interested in hearing loops and pocket talkers and we were kept busy with explanations.

CIMG2752 Oct 27 2018 Senior Secretariat Conference Montague

Annie Lee MacDonald (left) and Daria Valkenburg (right) at Montague Regional High School. (Photo credit: Shelley Cole)

CIMG2750 Oct 27 2018 Senior Secretariat Conference Montague

Annie Lee MacDonald listens to a visitor at our table at Montague Regional High School. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Outreach events are very useful for us, as we not only have a chance to speak to people we wouldn’t otherwise see, we also get an idea for what issues are top of mind for people.  For a conference on seniors, it was also unfortunate that hearing health, let alone hearing loss, is still not a priority.

An interesting animated video entitled ‘The Science Of Hearing’, produced by the people who organize the TED Talks, explains the hearing process in five minutes. Take a look for yourselves:  http://mentalfloss.com/article/550074/learn-everything-you-need-know-about-science-hearing-five-minutes

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

Would You Wear Glasses?

October 18, 2018.  Glasses have been in the news lately.  Do you wear glasses?  I do, and since I love to see where I’m going, I wouldn’t be without them.  So what’s new with glasses?

If you enjoy going to the movies, then you may have noticed that on PEI they have a closed captioning system you can ask for when you buy your ticket.  This little device sits in the cup holder and you can then swivel your head back and forth between what’s on the big screen and then down to the cup holder to see what is being said.  It works.

In many other places, there are closed captioning screens on either side of the big screen.  If you go to an opera, then you know what I’m talking about.  The opera is sung in one language, with surtitles displayed in the language of the audience (ie English) so you know what the singers are saying.

Now you can borrow Smart Caption Glasses that operate like 3-D.  You look at the big screen at the movies, and the closed captioning is displayed right in front of your very eyes.  No need to swivel your head, as the captions are right in your line of vision!  See https://hackaday.com/2018/10/14/glasses-for-the-hearing-impaired/ for more information and watch a short video (which has closed captioning).  Absolutely fascinating!

That’s the future, and it’s an exciting one that makes the world become more inclusive.  However, there is a long way to go, as I found out in an article I recently read in The Economist.  In parts of Asia, there are many people who earn their living not by receiving a wage, but by doing piecework.  One example used is that of people working in a garment factory who are paid by each piece successfully completed.  My maternal grandmother worked in a garment factory, so the article caught my attention.

Here’s what the gist of the article was about…..Older adults, whose vision is no longer as good as it once was, are not able to be as productive because they can’t see well.  The solution? Give them a pair of glasses.  For those who accepted the glasses, productivity increased by 39%.  A no-brainer, you’d think, right?  If being able to see increases your earnings, wouldn’t you want a pair of glasses?

The problem?  Many people don’t want to wear glasses!  They think it makes them look ‘ugly’! Some countries have regulatory hurdles, where glasses can only be provided by licenced practitioners. No going to the local pharmacy or dollar store for a pair of ‘readers’.  Read the article for yourself at https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2018/08/02/wear-glasses-earn-more.

The Economist article made me think of how many of us avoid dealing with hearing loss.  We pretend we can hear fine, we avoid going out as often, and we can find it difficult to adjust to the fact that hearing aids and other assistive listening devices are now part of our lives.  With all the new tools and research coming out, we should be embracing how lucky we are to be living at a time when so many people are trying to help and find solutions!

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.  See https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/event/learning-and-caring-ourselves-conference-0 for more information on this event.

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.

Event in Venue Equipped With A Hearing Loop:  UPCOMING PRESENTATION: Sorensen Christmas Concert at South Shore United Church in Tryon, 7:30 pm on Friday, December 7, 2018.  Freewill offering, beneficiary will be South Shore United Church. 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.

© Daria Valkenburg

A Sad Farewell To Jean Profitt

October 12, 2018.  We were saddened to learn of the passing of friend and member Jean Profitt yesterday.  Her funeral is on Saturday afternoon at the Anglican Church in Crapaud.  For more information, please see: https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/obituaries/jean-borthwick-profitt-9075/

Annie Lee MacDonald noted that “Jean was a charter member of the CHHA PEI Chapter. She served as Vice- President since it was formed in 2001, until recently when health issues prevented her from being active. Jean was a strong supporter of our Chapter and promoted it wherever she went.

Our condolences go out to her family.

If you have memories you’d like to share about Jean, please 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 in Jean’s memory.  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

“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

Speakers’ Bureau

August 27, 2018.  On our blog we now have a number of dedicated pages, such as:

  • Places on PEI equipped with a hearing loop
  • Lawyers and law information offices on PEI that have a pocket talker available
  • Upcoming events

Now we have added a Speakers’ Bureau page (See https://theauralreport.wordpress.com/hear-peis-speakers-bureau/).  We get several speaking requests, but on an ad hoc, informal basis. With so many options for speaking engagements amongst our talented volunteers, we try to fulfill whatever requests we receive.

So, if you require a speaker on an issue related to hearing loss, hearing health, hearing loops, or speech reading, let us know!  Email us at hearpei@gmail.com.

 

© Daria Valkenburg