‘A Pocket Talker Changed My Life’

October 2, 2019.  Thanks to a grant from the Seniors Secretariat of PEI for the project “Social Media for Hearing Losses on PEI”, and the brilliant assistance of our post-production editor Wendy Nattress, we have been able to make fully captioned short videos on topics of interest and value to those with hearing loss.  Our first project, “What Is A Car Loop?” with guest Graham Hocking of England has already had an effect beyond the island. (See Grant Awarded From Seniors Secretariat of PEI)

The video also stimulated interest in hearing loops, as noted by Brenda Graves, who sent the following feedback: “Very informative. Too bad banks don’t have loops available for ‘in branch meetings’ or ‘transactions’.”  Perhaps as more people learn about the clarity of sound heard through a hearing loop, they will ask more businesses and services for that accommodation.

Our second video, “We Are Your Bridge To Hear” (See We Are Your Bridge To Hear) gave a brief introduction to some of the issues related to hearing loss.

IMG_20190930_083547 Wendy at work on video

Post-production editor Wendy Nattress hard at work with our raw video footage. (Photo credit: Graeme Nattress)

Our third video, “A Pocket Talker Changed My Life” features a dynamic and articulate 95 year old Ruth Brewer was interviewed about her experiences with a pocket talker.  A meeting with Ruth had been the subject of an earlier blog posting.  (See “The Pocket Talker Is My Lifeline”)

This third video has had a lot of feedback already, which we had expected given the popularity of pocket talkers on the island….

Comment from Brenda Porter: “Excellent video. Very well done. Congrats!

Comment from Nancy MacPhee:  “Great video! Well done, ladies.

Comment from Jane Scott: “I loved it.  Ruth is a gem and what a heart-warming story.

Comment from Ted at ALDS: “WOW actually a double WOW WOW – that is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing.  This is a wonderful video. Can I please share this with my rep at Williams Sound, Mike would be thrilled to see this video.  Fantastic!

Teds comment with frame

Screenshot above shows Ted’s additional comment on YouTube: “What a fantastic video and demonstration.  Thank you for sharing.

It was a leap of faith to try doing YouTube videos, but the feedback has been so encouraging we are planning another one!  Please keep the comments coming!  Thank you to Wendy Nattress and Ruth Brewer. As always, you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com,  comment on our blog, and follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI.

© Daria Valkenburg

UPCOMING EVENTS

October meeting:  Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at 11:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. NOTE: This is a luncheon meeting! Brenda Porter will lead a discussion entitled “Our Stories Matter: Helping Others to Understand….An informal, mini-workshop on sharing our own voices.  

 

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We Are Your Bridge To Hear

September 25, 2019.  In the previous blog posting, I explained that a grant from the Seniors Secretariat of PEI for the project “Social Media for Hearing Losses on PEI” gave us some seed money to make fully captioned short videos on topics of interest and value to Islanders, and non-Islanders, with hearing loss.  Our first project, “What Is A Car Loop?” with guest Graham Hocking of England has already had an effect beyond the island. (See Grant Awarded From Seniors Secretariat of PEI)

CIMG3077 Aug 23 2019 Daria & Annie Lee at Pedros in Rustico

Daria (left) and Annie Lee (right) in a planning session for the YouTube video project.

People with hearing loss face many challenges, and have to learn many coping techniques to live and thrive. Hearing loss is the third most common chronic condition in Canada, and more information needs to be made available to the general public, as well as to those who are affected.  With the wonderful assistance of our post-production editor Wendy Nattress, we now also have available on YouTube a new video, ‘We Are Your Bridge To Hear”, about our organization and a brief introduction to the hearing loss world.

 

Presentation1

Screenshot above shows a comment from Ted of ALDS on YouTube: “Fantastic video ladies! Most excellent… Keep doing the wonderful work you are doing.

After seeing the video, Brenda Graves commented that: “In my own experience, sometimes a friend says something humorous or ‘profound’. I don’t hear them so I ask them to repeat it. They think I am stupid or slow because I ‘didn’t get it’, when in fact I didn’t HEAR it.  A former US president Ronald Reagan (politics aside) was thought to be an unintelligent man because he didn’t ‘understand’ things said to him.  Like me, he was hard of hearing (more so than me actually).  And if a US president can be considered slow or stupid because of a hearing loss, what does that say for us ‘regular’ people? I wish your organization much success in its efforts to educate the ‘hearing’ public about the situations of those who are hard of hearing.

Thank you to Wendy Nattress for her excellent work in making the video so presentable, and to both Brenda Graves and Ted for their comments.  As always, you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com, comment on our blog, and follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI.

© Daria Valkenburg

UPCOMING EVENTS

October meeting:  Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at 11:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. NOTE: This is a luncheon meeting! Brenda Porter will lead a discussion entitled “Our Stories Matter: Helping Others to Understand….An informal, mini-workshop on sharing our own voices.  

 

 

Grant Awarded From Seniors Secretariat of PEI

September 20, 2019.  As a non-profit organization run by volunteers, we depend on grants and donations to help provide outreach and educational activities that build awareness of issues related to hearing health and hearing loss.  To extend our outreach capability, we were delighted to be awarded a grant from the Seniors Secretariat of PEI for the project “Social Media for Hearing Losses on PEI”.

Funding for this project is giving us the opportunity to make short videos on topics of interest and value to people with hearing loss, here on Prince Edward Island, and, as we are quickly discovering, outside the province.  Each video is fully captioned.

CIMG3054 Aug 1 2019 Signing of Senior Secretariat contract for you tube videos

Daria Valkenburg and Annie Lee MacDonald with Mary Driscoll Seniors Policy Advisor Department of Social Development and Housing (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

Our first project, “What Is A Car Loop?” was filmed with guest Graham Hocking of England, who demonstrated how he could easily listen to his car radio or passengers through a hearing loop.

Photo of Wendy Nattress by Graeme Nattress

Wendy Nattress. (Photo credit: Graeme Nattress)

We are very lucky in our post-production editor, Wendy Nattress, who volunteered to edit our footage and set us up with a You Tube account.  Wendy and her husband Graeme are the parents of four children.  One child, Eric, is a Deaf child with moderate/severe hearing loss.  Wendy explained that “using a big ‘D’ for the word Deaf is a cultural identifier that does not view hearing loss as a disability, but rather as a cultural gain.”  Because of this hearing loss connection, and the nature of our project, Wendy was interested in donating her time and knowledge in video production.

You can watch the video here:

After seeing the video, Graham, who is a trustee with the British organization Deaf Aspirations, explained that the organization would like to post the video link on their website. (See  Deafaspirations.org for more information.)  Ken Carter, Company Director, wrote that “I thought the video created in PEI was really interesting and forward thinking.

Graham’s reaction?  “Jacqueline and I were very impressed with your 1st video production. Very clear with the explanation and we do realize a lot of work and efforts went into it, even capturing cow mooing in the background. Well done.

We are very encouraged and delighted to be making a difference already with this new venture!

The Seniors Secretariat of PEI was formed in 1998 as an entry point for seniors to collaborate with government on matters relating to seniors, their issues and concerns; to act as a resource and information centre and to advise government on the development of public policy. Members come from the general public as well as various non-profit organizations that represent seniors.

Thank you to Wendy Nattress and Graham Hocking.  As always, you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com, comment on our blog, and follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI.

© Daria Valkenburg

UPCOMING EVENTS

September meeting:  Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian ChurchGuest speaker​s​: Patsy Beattie-Huggan, Community Engagement Consultant, will give an overview of the new 211 Information Service provided by the United Way. ​Brenda Porter will lead a discussion entitled “Our Stories Matter: Helping Others to Understand….An informal, mini-workshop on sharing our own voices.” Annie Lee MacDonald and Daria Valkenburg will introduce you to some of the Tinnitus Relaxation Therapy techniques they learned this summer.

Fall Speech Reading Classes: Level I will run Tuesday afternoons, from 2 to 4 pm in Charlottetown, beginning September 24, with popular speech reading instructor Nancy MacPhee, and will run for 10 weeks. Email hearpei@gmail.com for more information or to register.   What will you learn? 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. Speech reading takes lots of patience and practice, but it’s also fun!

MORE ON…. What Do YOU Do With Your Hearing Aids At Bedtime?

August 29, 2019.  A recent posting summarized a discussion a number of us had regarding the question “Do you take out your hearing aids overnight?”  (See What Do YOU Do With Your Hearing Aids At Bedtime?) Feedback from readers was invited and a few people added their voice to the commentary.  The responses:

By Twitter:

Jen: “Take them out! Behind the ear with large molds are not that comfortable to sleep with.

Jane: “Cats love the taste of earwax. Learned the hard way that I MUST put my hearing aids in a container or inside a drawer on my bedside table or it’s a cat toy!!!. Twice.. chewed earbuds not covered by warranty!

By Email:

Julie: “Hearing aids ALWAYS come out at night and most nights are put into the dehumidifier that came with my hearing aids. They simply cost too much to risk getting them damaged not to mention how sore you ears are (just falling asleep in an upright position during a quick nap). The safety hazard that comes from being without them when they need to be sent away for maintenance (e.g. Such as damage from laying in them) is far greater than the risk of falling asleep without them in my ears in my home or anywhere else.

Intriguing question though…..anyone I know who is worried about night time security has installed special alarms systems in their home. I know one family where all three family members are deaf and that was the solution they found worked best.

Another thought…. if you don’t remove your hearing aids at night your brain probably is not resting enough and lack of good quality sleep can make daytime hearing more difficult and stressful….just my two cents.

Thank you to those who responded.  Julie brings up an excellent point between lack of sleep and one’s ability to hear!  And thanks to Jane, we now know cats love earwax and can see your hearing aids as a toy!  It’s not too late if you want to tell us what YOU do with your hearing aids at bedtime, and if  your normal practice changes if you travel. Let us know!

In the meantime… I recently read an interesting article on how hearing aids are being partnered with artificial intelligence (AI) to tell if:

  • You are actually using your hearing aids, or if they are sitting in your purse or bedroom drawer!  How does AI know?  It can tell if you are actively listening!
  • You’ve fallen.  If so, a message can go out to request help to contacts you have pre-selected, along with your location.  Yes, these new hearing aids will know where you are!
  • You’re getting enough exercise.  If you are interested in tracking how many steps you take in a day, you no longer will need to wear a wrist device.  Your hearing aid can tell you, apparently with more accuracy too.
  • You are listening to a foreign language and need simultaneous translation.  Boy, I could sure use that when visiting my husband’s Dutch relatives!

For more information, please read the article at: https://inews.co.uk/news/worlds-first-ai-enabled-hearing-aid-goes-on-sale-in-the-uk-livio-ai/

Would you wear a hearing aid with AI?  Email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on this blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI

© Daria Valkenburg

UPCOMING EVENTS

September Chapter meeting:  Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church.  Guest speaker​s​:  ​Brenda Porter, who will lead a discussion on taking responsibility for dealing with your hearing lossAnnie Lee MacDonald and Daria Valkenburg will introduce you to some of the Tinnitus Relaxation Therapy techniques they learned this summer.

Fall Speech Reading Classes: Level I will run Tuesday afternoons, from 2 to 4 pm in Charlottetown, beginning September 24, with popular speech reading instructor Nancy MacPhee, and will run for 10 weeks. Email hearpei@gmail.com for more information or to register.   What will you learn? 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. Speech reading takes lots of patience and practice, but it’s also fun!

 

 

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.

 

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