What Do YOU Do With Your Hearing Aids At Bedtime?

August 14, 2019.  Not long ago, a few of us were having a casual conversation when the subject of hearing aids came up.  Specifically, the question was asked “Do you take out your hearing aids overnight?

Hearing aid manufacturers recommend that you remove your hearing aids at night to allow your ear to breathe and reduce the chance of an aid coming out and getting lost in the bedclothes.  It may also be uncomfortable to sleep with aids in your ears.

Removing your hearing aids and opening the battery door at night, or using a hearing aid dehumidifier, helps to extend the life of your hearing aid batteries.  (See https://www.starkey.com/blog/2017/11/Hearing-aid-batteries-longer-life-tips for more tips.)

Based on recommendations, you might expect the answer to the question posed to be YES, but the resulting discussion revealed that the answer was not as cut and dried as you might believe.

One said “Yes, if I’m at home, I remove my hearing aids before going to bed.”   However, safety was definitely a concern. One responded frankly by saying “It depends if my husband is with me.  If he is, I can relax, and so yes, I take them off.

Travelling or care giving responsibilities indicated changes to normal patterns, as was explained by a person who normally removed her hearing aids at night.  “I travelled with an elderly lady and left in my hearing aids.  In case she needed me at night, I wanted to hear her.”  Another explained that, “If I travel and am in a hotel room overnight, then I always sleep with one hearing aid in my ear.

It was a fascinating discussion.  Now we’re curious.  What do YOU do with your hearing aids at bedtime?  Does your normal practice change if you travel?  Let us know!  You can email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on this blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI

© Daria Valkenburg

UPCOMING EVENT

An upcoming event in a venue equipped with a hearing loop gives you a chance to experience the clarity of sound heard through a hearing loop. CONCERT:  Phase II & Friends Happy Days Concert at West River United Church in Cornwall, Sunday August 25, 2019 at 7 pm. Music to warm your heart and soul. Tickets are $10 and are available in the church office or at the door.

 

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Pocket Talkers Available At ALL Stewart McKelvey Offices In Maritimes

August 5, 2019.  Regular readers of this blog are aware of an ongoing project to improve hearing accessibility in legal offices here on the island.  Lawyers who participated in this project, which was made possible through a grant from the Law Foundation of PEI, received tips on communicating with people who have hearing loss, and were invited to try out a pocket talker.  By the end of the trial period, every firm ended up purchasing at least one.  And they used them, to the delight of many clients with hearing loss, who bought their own pocket talkers.  (See “The Pocket Talker Is My Lifeline”)

The law office of Stewart McKelvey in Charlottetown was one of the first firms to participate in the project.  As of this summer, the other 5 offices of this firm now have a pocket talker available. These additional officers are in: Halifax (Nova Scotia), Fredericton (New Brunswick), Moncton (New Brunswick), St. John (New Brunswick), and St. John’s (Newfoundland).

Thank you, Stewart McKelvey, for taking this step in making legal communications between lawyers and clients with hearing loss easier to handle!

For a list of law firms and organizations within the legal community that have pocket talkers, see https://theauralreport.wordpress.com/pei-lawyers-with-pocket-talkers/.

Have a story about your visit to a law office to share?  You can email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on this blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI

© Daria Valkenburg

 

Outreach At Human Rights Conference In Charlottetown

August 1, 2019.  At the recent Human Rights Conference at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel in Charlottetown on June 26, we were delighted to be asked to participate with a display booth. Many people may not associate hearing accessibility as a human rights issue, but it is a fundamental component in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), an international human rights treaty of the United Nations that is meant to protect the rights of persons with disabilities around the world. (See Hearing Accessibility Is A Human Right)

Brenda Porter and Nancy MacPhee were the representatives at this event, ensuring that the issue of hearing loss was not forgotten during the conference.  They handed out pamphlets and answered questions, two excellent ambassadors for living well with hearing loss.

IMG_0842 Jun 26 2019 Brenda & Nancy at Human Rights Conference

Brenda Porter, left, and Nancy MacPhee, right, at the Human Rights Conference in Charlottetown.

Hear PEI Jun 26 2019 Nancy at Human Rights Conference

Outreach events such as these are important in bringing awareness of hearing loss issues to people, and we thank the organizers at the PEI Human Rights Commission for the invitation to participate.

Please visit our Speakers Bureau page if you would like a presentation:  Hear PEI’s Speakers BureauDo you have a story to share?  You can email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on this blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI

© Daria Valkenburg

 

Another Successful Ceilidh Raises Funds for Activities Not Covered By Grants

July 22, 2019.  The Third Annual Bonshaw Ceilidh on May 26, 2019, with half the proceeds going to help fund activities not covered by grants, was another success.  As a kick-off to the fundraising appeal we ran through June 2019, the funds help in ongoing activities.  We all may be volunteers, but there are modest costs involved for any activity we undertake.  So we are grateful to the people who organize the Bonshaw Ceilidh for ensuring that proceeds from one of their monthly events goes to support our work.

CIMG2986 May 26 2019 Bonshaw Ceilidh with Cameron McDuffee

Performer Cameron MacDuffee with, from left to right: Daria Valkenburg, Annie Lee MacDonald, Marion Toole, Nancy Reddin.

This year, as blog readers know, we are working towards a policy change in the provincial government, for equal access to hearing aid funding programs for all adults on PEI.  (See Petition Presented In PEI Legislature)  Funds raised from the ceilidh and through donations help us in our outreach activities, to give small honorariums to guest speakers at our meetings, and to promote hearing accessibility projects that are not funded by grants.

The ceilidh was an opportunity to listen to live music and have an exceptional afternoon with talented artists who graciously volunteered their time and talent: Bill McIntyre, Joanne Gass and her daughter Emily, Cameron MacDuffee, Leonard O’Donnell, Retrofrets, and James Ranahan.  Our thanks to Marion Toole, who made the initial proposal to help our group to the organizers of the Bonshaw Ceilidh, to Ceilidh organizer Tony Reddin, and to the audience who gave so generously.  We also thank all the performers and audience members who signed the petition!  Yes, we did double duty that Sunday afternoon!

CIMG2973 May 26 2019 Bonshaw Ceilidh Bill McIntyre

Performer Bill McIntyre. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

CIMG2977 May 26 2019 Bonshaw Ceilidh Cameron McDuffee

Performer Cameron MacDuffee, currently performing in the role of Claudius in Krongborg-The Hamlet Rock Musical at the Charlottetown Festival. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

CIMG2978 May 26 2019 Bonshaw Ceilidh Leonard ODonnell

Performer Leonard O’Donnell of Brookville, Florida was in The Maritimes on vacation when he noticed the ceilidh advertised and dropped in to share a few tunes. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

CIMG2983 May 26 2019 Bonshaw Ceilidh Retrofrets

Performing group Retrofrets. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

CIMG2985 May 26 2019 Bonshaw Ceilidh James Ranahan

Singer and dancer James Ranahan. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

In addition to the funds received from the Bonshaw Ceilidh, this is a good opportunity to thank the following donors:

  • Cox and Palmer Charlottetown law firm
  • Ruth Walsh
  • Marie McKenna
  • Jean Schurman
  • Sharon Beaton
  • Louise Larkin
  • Alma Nunn
  • Jane Scott
  • Nancy MacPhee
  • Joan Gallant
  • Annie Lee MacDonald
  • Pieter and Daria Valkenburg

Alma Nunn shared this message with her donation: “Thank you to our faithful and dedicated leaders who give freely of their time and knowledge to promote new ideas and technology to the hard of hearing on PEI.

Want to donate? 100% of your donation stays on PEI to help Islanders.  Please visit our page on the Canada Helps website:  https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708.

You can email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on this blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI

© Daria Valkenburg

 

 

 

Hearing Loss — Why Is It An Ignored Condition?

July 18, 2019.  Since April 2001, residents of PEI with hearing loss have had a non-profit volunteer organization to turn to for support and information.  Over the years, we’ve advocated for better hearing accessibility tools and programs on behalf of those with hearing loss, and encouraged hearing accessibility in public places.

The most common issue discussed is the affordability of hearing aids, particularly for seniors.  On PEI, seniors and adults under 65 are not treated equally in access to hearing aid funding.  We’ve tried to do something to change that and blog readers have been following our activities, including the petition being presented in the PEI legislature on July 9.  (See Petition Presented In PEI Legislature).

Annie Lee MacDonald notes that “the petition received support across the Island.”  Indeed it has.  The petition was supported by Islanders of all walks of life, of all ages, and from people with and without hearing loss.  One urologist told me, when I asked him to sign the petition, that many of his patients have hearing loss and he hears that hearing aid affordability is a big concern.  Of course, he signed the petition, as did every other doctor that was approached.

For Annie Lee, “it’s a matter of priorities.  We know the AccessAbility Supports Program needs money to operate and you might ask where it is going to come from.  The Government is constantly coming up with programs to enhance the lives of seniors. We feel the most important question to ask is to verify if there an issue with effective communication. Are seniors missing out on taking advantage of many of these programs because they can’t hear and can’t afford to buy hearing aids? Shouldn’t assistance to buy hearing aids be most important?

In my opinion, it’s a question of opportunity costs. By helping people with hearing loss to maintain the ability to communicate effectively, through a program like AccessAbility Supports and other programs to address hearing accessibility in public places, we avoid the enormous social and monetary costs, plus health care resources, that unaddressed hearing loss can lead to, such as depression, social isolation, and dementia.  The choices are to pay a bit now through a support program or pay a lot more later when conditions worsen.

As has been mentioned in this blog before, of the three most common chronic conditions in Canada, arthritis is #1, hypertension (high blood pressure) is #2, and hearing loss is #3.  Hearing loss is a chronic condition that can lead to more serious issues and health problems if hearing accessibility tools are not available and affordable.

In the last blog posting, you were invited to write a letter to the editor of the newspaper, with a copy of your letter sent to your MLA, and to consider sending a copy to the Minister of Health.  A copy to hearpei@gmail.com would be helpful for us in tracking the support for this initiative.

The first person to accept this invitation was Brenda Porter of Charlottetown.  Her letter to the editor was published in both The Guardian and the Journal-Pioneer on July 15, 2019.

Brenda Porter Letter to Editor - blog

Thank you, Brenda, for writing this important letter!  In order to have the policy changed, we need the public to show continued support for this initiative and to help keep the issue fresh in the media.  Blog readers, will you help?

Our education and outreach activities provide not only awareness, but also tips and techniques to help Islanders thrive while living with hearing loss. Donations gratefully accepted at:   https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708  And please remember, 100% of your donation stays on the island for island-related activities.

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

Petition Presented In PEI Legislature

July 13, 2019.  The petition that has been in circulation for the past three months was presented in the PEI Legislature by Leader of the Official Opposition, and Green Party Leader, Peter Bevan-Baker, on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. The petition requests the following: Supplement the cost of hearing aids for seniors by extending the AccessAbility Supports Program to include all adults, not just those up to age 65, or devise a similar program

Annie Lee MacDonald and I delivered the petition sheets, plus letters of support that we had received, to Peter Bevan-Baker, and learned a bit about the process.  We were told that although the petition would be recorded in the legislature’s official record, there would not be any discussion about it on the day it was presented.  If we want to have the policy changed, it is up to us and the public to show continued support for this initiative and to keep the issue fresh in the media.

CIMG2998 Jul 8 2019 Meeting re petition Annie Lee Peter Daria

Annie Lee MacDonald, Peter Bevan-Baker, and Daria Valkenburg with the petition binders and letters of support that were presented in the PEI Legislature on July 9, 2019. (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

Just before the petition was presented a few late sheets were returned, bringing our final total to 2014, or 80.56% of our original goal.  Our thanks as well to the Long River Women’s Institute for their support.

Petition Jul 9 2019

Alma Nunn sent a message of thanks to Peter Bevan-Baker:  “Thank you for supporting our petition for change in the PEI seniors’ hearing aid subsidies. It is most appreciated by all members who worked so diligently to prepare it and everyone who signed it.”

On the day of the presentation, Annie Lee MacDonald and Bob Furlotte attended the session.  Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed in the session, but Annie Lee noted that “Peter presented each binder separately to the clerk and did what he was allowed to do. It is hard to get a reading because no one comments. The minister assured him he will be taking a serious look at it. Politicians were very friendly, shaking hands as we were lined up in the corridor waiting for the politicians to parade in.” Annie Lee was subsequently interviewed by CBC. (See https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-seniors-hearing-aid-assistance-1.5206463)  She handed out the press release we had prepared. (See Hear PEI re petition being presented in legislature)

After the CBC article was published, a comment was made by Judith Bayliss, who has given permission for us to include it here. Thank you Judith.

IMG_2496 Comment by Judith Bayliss

So, the next steps over the summer are up to us and to YOU, if we want to effect a change in policy.  What can you do?  Write a letter to the editor of the newspaper.  Send a copy of your letter to your MLA and consider sending a copy to the Minister of Health.  Please also send a copy to hearpei@gmail.com While the legislature is not in session over the summer, the work of government continues and your advocacy support is needed.

Our education and outreach activities provide not only awareness, but also tips and techniques to help Islanders thrive while living with hearing loss. Donations gratefully accepted at:   https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708  And please remember, 100% of your donation stays on the island for island-related activities.

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

Petition Update For Week 11

July 1, 2019.  The petition to request equal treatment for adult Islanders in the supplementation of costs for hearing aids continues to be circulated as it heads into Week 12.  The petition requests the following: Supplement the cost of hearing aids for seniors by extending the AccessAbility Supports Program to include all adults, not just those up to age 65, or devise a similar program

During Week 11, supporters of the petition came from both sides of the age spectrum, from age 18 to age 95!  Thank you to Colin MacKenzie and Ruth Brewer (Read about Ruth at “The Pocket Talker Is My Lifeline”).

IMG_2577 Jun 25 2019 Colin MacKenzie signs petition

18 year old Colin MacKenzie signs the petition, while Brenda Porter looks on. (Photo credit: Annie Lee MacDonald)

IMG_2600 Jun 29 2019 Ruth Brewer

95 year old Ruth Brewer signs the petition for equal access to hearing aid support. (Photo credit: Elmer MacDonald)

Thank you also to Joan Gallant for reaching out to her MLA, Brad Trivers, about the petition, who responded by writing her that “Hearing aids are such a critical support for people – regardless of age.

As of the end of Week 11, we’ve reached 74% of our goal, with sheets of signed petitions returned as follows:

Petition Jun 29 2019

The petition is available at:

  • three PEI Council of People With Disabilities offices: Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague.
  • office of ENT specialist Dr. Kristian MacDonald in Charlottetown
  • South Shore Actiplex in Crapaud.
  • Harvey’s General Store in Crapaud. Thank you Doug and Susan Harvey!
  • Bonshaw Post Office
  • Horizon Hearing Centre offices in Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague (see https://www.horizonhearingcentre.ca/). Thank you Michael and Lynn Learie!
  • PEI Audiology in Charlottetown (see https://peiaudiology.ca/). Thank you Peter Benstead!
  • Campbell Hearing in Charlottetown (see http://www.campbellhearing.ca/). Thank you Krista Campbell and Derek Hughes!

We ask you to support the petition and help us reach our goal of a minimum of 2,500 signatures. If you’d like to be one of the volunteers circulating the petition amongst your family and friends, send an email to hearpei@gmail.com.  We welcome not only your signature, but also letters of support. Updates will continue to be posted on this blog and on Twitter (@HearPEI).

Awareness of hearing issues and hearing loss prevention programs are important.  Our education and outreach activities provide not only awareness, but also tips and techniques to help Islanders thrive while living with hearing loss.

If you missed donating during the Great Canadian Giving Challenge in June, please note we have a Canada Helps page for donations all year long.  Donations gratefully accepted at:   https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708  And please remember, 100% of your donation stays on the island for island-related activities.

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

 

 

Congratulations To Spring 2019 Speech Reading Graduates

June 30, 2019.  The spring session of Speech Reading is now completed, with two Levels of classes run this time.  Instructor Nancy MacPhee reported that five students successfully completed Level 1 and another 5 successfully completed Level 2.

The Level 1 graduates are:

  • Kari Ferguson
  • Anita Matheson
  • Gail Metcalf
  • Catherine Parkman
  • Doug Hagan
Level 1 Sp 19 blog

Level 1 Speech Reading graduates Spring 2019 session. Left to right: Kari Ferguson, Anita Matheson, Gail Metcalf, Doug Hagan. (Photo credit: Nancy MacPhee)

The Level 2 graduates are:

  • Ellen Kitchener
  • Hari Boggs
  • Barbara Bain
  • Sharon Beaton
  • Bob Furlotte

Congratulations to all the graduates and to instructor Nancy MaacPhee for another successful session of classes.  Thank you to Seniors Active Living Centre and Sobey’s Community Room for providing space for the two courses.

If you would like to put your name on the list for the fall session of Level 1, please send an email to hearpei@gmail.com.

Have you taken a speech reading course?  We would love to hear from you.  Your comments can be made on this blog, or you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com.  We are also on Twitter @HearPEI.

 

Petition Update For Week 8

June 8, 2019. The petition to request equal treatment for adult Islanders in the supplementation of costs for hearing aids continues to be circulated.  The petition requests the following: Supplement the cost of hearing aids for seniors by extending the AccessAbility Supports Program to include all adults, not just those up to age 65, or devise a similar program

A thank you is extended to the staff at Pizza Donair Hub in Borden-Carleton! Not only did we enjoy a delicious lunch, they were very supportive of our petition.  We also thank the elected municipal and provincial officials we met at last week’s National Accessibility Week event in Charlottetown, hosted by the PEI Council of People With Disabilities.  All supported this initiative, and all except one, a provincial Minister, signed the petition. Thank you as well to Campbell Hearing in Charlottetown.  The petition is now available in their waiting room.

As of the end of Week 8, we’ve reached 66.24% of our goal, with sheets of signed petitions returned as follows:

Petition May 30 2019

The petition is available at:

  • three PEI Council of People With Disabilities offices: Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague.
  • office of ENT specialist Dr. Kristian MacDonald in Charlottetown
  • South Shore Actiplex in Crapaud.
  • Harvey’s General Store in Crapaud. Thank you Doug and Susan Harvey!
  • Bonshaw Post Office
  • Horizon Hearing Centre offices in Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague (see https://www.horizonhearingcentre.ca/). Thank you Michael and Lynn Learie!
  • PEI Audiology in Charlottetown (see https://peiaudiology.ca/). Thank you Peter Benstead!
  • Campbell Hearing in Charlottetown (see http://www.campbellhearing.ca/). Thank you Krista Campbell and Derek Hughes!

We ask you to support the petition and help us reach our goal of a minimum of 2,500 signatures. If you’d like to be one of the volunteers circulating the petition amongst your family and friends, send an email to hearpei@gmail.com.  We welcome not only your signature, but also your letters of support. Updates will be posted on this blog and on Twitter (@HearPEI).

Awareness of hearing issues and hearing loss prevention programs are important.  Our education and outreach activities provide not only awareness, but also tips and techniques to help Islanders thrive while living with hearing loss. Please consider donating to us this month, during the Great Canadian Giving Challenge.  100% of your donation stays on the island for island-related activities. Visit our secure online donation page here to process your online donation today.  Every donation enters our organization into a draw for $10,000.

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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

UPCOMING EVENTS

June Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Guest speakers:  Colin MacKenzie and Nancy MacPheeColin will speak about his experience as a youth with hearing loss.  Nancy will give a report on the CHHA National Conference in Montreal that she attended.

Outreach Event: Invitation to have a display booth on June 26, 2019 at the National Human Rights Conference, at The Delta Prince Edward Hotel in Charlottetown. Link to the agenda: https://www.cashra2019pei.ca/programme.

 

The Great Canadian Giving Challenge Charity Appeal

June 8, 2019.  Over the period that this blog has run, readers have had a chance to learn about various issues related to hearing loss and hearing health.  You’ve been able to follow the activities of volunteers here on Prince Edward Island.  And you’ve had a forum to comment and share your own information and insights.  While everyone involved with our hearing loss group here on the Island is a volunteer, funding is still needed to keep going.  So this blog posting is an appeal for you to consider making a donation to continue this good work…….

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Supporters and Friends of Islanders who have hearing loss:                                      

The Great Canadian Giving Challenge is here!!   Every $1 donated to the PEI Chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association in June via CanadaHelps.org, automatically enters us to win an additional $10,000 donation. The grand prize draw is on Canada Day and one lucky charity will receive the grand prize of $10,000. 

As volunteers who actively work towards increased awareness of hearing loss issues, we ask you to consider making a donation to us during the challenge.  We are dependent on your generous donation to maintain and expand advocacy, outreach, and education for Islanders with hearing loss.  Every dollar that you donate goes directly to these initiatives right here in PEI.

One in five Canadians has some form of hearing loss.  Even if you don’t suffer from hearing loss, many of you will know someone who does. Early intervention is important for several reasons, among them:

  • Hearing loss can worsen. It never gets better!
  • People tend to adapt to hearing aids more easily if they get them earlier.
  • Some studies show that untreated hearing impairment can affect your socioeconomic status.
  • Untreated hearing loss can lead to higher depression and anxiety rates.
  • Untreated hearing loss may increase the likelihood of dementia.

Our education and outreach activities tackle these issues by providing not only awareness, but also tips and techniques to help Islanders thrive while living with hearing loss.  You may have participated in one of our outreach and awareness programs, or attended a seminar or information meeting. But we can’t do it without your support – whether the donation is large or small, every dollar helps. And just imagine what we could do if we won the $10,000!

Please consider donating to us during the Great Canadian Giving Challenge during June.  Visit our secure online donation page here to process your online donation today.

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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

UPCOMING EVENTS

June Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Guest speakers:  Colin MacKenzie and Nancy MacPheeColin will speak about his experience as a youth with hearing loss.  Nancy will give a report on the CHHA National Conference in Montreal that she attended.

Outreach Event: Invitation to have a display booth on June 26, 2019 at the National Human Rights Conference, at The Delta Prince Edward Hotel in Charlottetown. Link to the agenda: https://www.cashra2019pei.ca/programme.