Sound Advice By Ruth Bernstein
In honor of Valentine’s Day 2022, I created a Valentine Acrostic with some ideas that will, hopefully, make your life as a person with hearing loss easier.
Advocate for yourself. Tell people you have a hearing loss and ask them to talk to you when they can see the whites of your eyes. That’s more specific and effective than, “Please face me when you speak.”
Ears and Eyes
Ears and eyes are important because they keep you plugged in to the world! Make appointments to have your hearing aids and cochlear implants checked, update your audiograms, have your devices re-set or replaced and get the wax cleaned out of your ears. There are Covid-19 protocols in place, so you can visit your doctors safely. See your eye doctor, as well. Have your prescription checked so you are able to see all the visual clues that help you hear.
Nurture yourself. The Mayo Clinic, one of my favorite resources for sensible information on a variety of healthcare subjects, offers Self-Care Tips During the Covid-19 Pandemic. Whether you are single or in a relationship, dealing with hearing loss and the pandemic 24/7/365 is difficult emotionally. No one needs to face those problems alone. If you would like support from staff that understands hearing loss, make an appointment with a CHC psychotherapist.
Techniques for Wearing and Coping with Masks is available from the Center for Hearing and Communication. For short conversations, I can use an FM microphone with my hearing devices to enhance my ability to hear. The FM is a small wireless portable device that amplifies and transmits the conversation directly to my hearing devices. FM is not always available, which is why I prefer opening an email on my iPhone, turning the mic on and reading the transcript. I explain what I am doing and why I am doing it. “Hi, I’m Ruth. I’m profoundly hard of hearing and have trouble understanding people wearing masks. I’m turning on a special app the the iPhone mic so I can transcribe what you are saying and understand you."
The Internet has given us the ability to visit museums, hear music, see movies, read books, go to class and travel virtually, amongst other things. The choices are unlimited! You can relax and do something you love or find a new hobby. Check out your local senior center for a wide variety of online programs. I take a Chinese painting class at Carter Burden. Here’s a link to 20 hobbies. Great Courses recently had a sale. For $25 I signed up to Explore 36 of the Earth’s Most Fantastic Natural Features, including the Kalahari Desert, Ayer’s Rock, Mt. Fuji, Iguazu Falls and the Cave of Crystals. I will use Otter because these presentations are not captioned (yet).
Network and learn about coping techniques by joining the Hearing Loss Association of America, New York City Chapter. They have informative Chapter meetings which are recorded for future viewing. The next meeting, Meet the Audiologist: Hearing Aids is on March 1, 2022.
Enjoy life and have a healthy, happy Valentine’s Day!
Hearing Access Advocate