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Hearing Loss and Connecting with Loved Ones in Challenging Times

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

Q&A with CHC Clinical Directors

Nearly one year into the pandemic, CHC experts consider the ways in which our clients have adapted their lives to meet today’s challenges and offer tips on connecting with the ones you love.

Participating in this brief Q&A:

  1. Audiologist Ellen Lafargue, Co-Director, Shelley and Steven Einhorn Audiology and Communication Centers

  2. Speech Language Pathologist Liz Ying, Co-Director, Shelley and Steven Einhorn Audiology and Communication Centers

  3. Psychologist Jeff Wax, Director, Baker Family Emotional Health and Wellness Center

  4. Education Specialist Dana Selznick, Assistant Director of Communication Services, Education and Family Support

How are your clients with hearing loss coping now that we are 11 months into the pandemic?

Jeff Wax: There are many shared common experiences and situations—illness, masks, social distancing, isolation—that bring on mild-to-profound feelings and have also triggered difficult feelings from our pasts that we thought were resolved. In the broadest view, we are getting through and best if we can recognize that fact.

Liz Ying: Our older pediatric patients are relying heavily on social media, texting and playing online video games to remain connected to their peers. Adult patients are also using social media for information sharing, but they are more reliant on virtual meet-ups to have more personal interactions with peers and loved ones.

Dana Selznick: While cabin fever has reached a whole new level, the kids at CHC continue to amaze us with their resilience. The kids have gained independence, expanded their creativity and become pros at everything involving technology!

What tech tip would you offer someone who’s feeling isolated and alone?

Liz Ying: Fortunately, communication is not limited to verbal exchanges. Sharing, via text or email, a photo or interesting article with a friend keeps you connected and lets others know that you are simply “thinking of them.” Join a virtual book club or contact an organization to read to children or seniors. If you are a crafts person, make something that can be shared with others (mask, scarf, quilt). At a socially acceptable distance, while running errands or walking about, remember a wave, smile or simply a head nod signals that you acknowledge you are not living this experience alone.

Ellen Lafargue: Using video platforms (Zoom, FaceTime, Google Meets) enables us to meet up with others even when we cannot be in person. Utilizing technology tips such as captioning apps and Bluetooth connections can make it much more accessible.

What advice can you share with people who will be celebrating Valentine’s Day apart?

Dana Selznick: If you are are trying to connect virtually with a kiddo on Valentine’s Day, try reading a virtual Valentine’s Day book together or making an art project over Zoom or FaceTime.

Jeff Wax: Think of something creative to share—whether it is in person but socially distant or through telecommunications. Sing a song, do a dance, paint a card on a balloon—be silly and corny!

Have clients surprised you in their ability to cope in challenging times?

Jeff Wax: There are many who have used online telecommunications to have different and meaningful family and friend gatherings—birthdays, funerals, graduations, Thanksgivings, seders—and one client comes to mind . . . a client who has put off for years but recently took the risk and enrolled in a 10-week Mindfulness and Meditation online course—connecting to her reflective and inner life.

Liz Ying: Parents have encouraged kids to draw pictures for ‘first responders’ or to express how they are feeling about current events.

CHC is here to help people connect with loved ones and the world around them. Can you share a client story that illustrates this?

Ellen Lafargue: RLW, a 36-year-old father of two, marketing professional, longtime CHC client and longtime hearing aid user. Client has been quarantining for 8 months due to health issues when his hearing aid broke. Aid could not be repaired due to age, and client felt that he was at a tremendous disadvantage because of masks and lack of hearing aids. Due to underlying health issues, the client could not come into the office. Instead, we were able to ship a tablet with specialized test programs on it and the client, under my direction, was able to take an at-home hearing test. Based on this result and the history we had, and through several tele-visits, we were able to fit the client with replacement hearing aids. He is so pleased to be connected to his family and surroundings once again.

What’s Your Pressing Question?

Do you have a question for our team of Clinical Directors? Click below to contact us and submit your question. We’ll share it with the team and let you know their thoughts and advice.

Happy Valentine’s Day and best wishes to you all!

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