Fellow blogger and hard of hearing advocate, Lip Reading Mom, has a great campaign going this month called Show Me Your Ears. http://lipreadingmom.com/show-me-your-ears/. (You can also find her on Facebook.) She has received pictures of all kinds of ears, hearing aids and cochlear implants. I love the idea of coming out with our hearing aids and not being ashamed of them. There are too many cool hearing aids out there now to hide them.
A few years ago, I attended a graduation party. I was in the kitchen with several people I didn’t know so I told them I was hard of hearing, that way they knew they might have to repeat. Conversation slowed as if they were embarrassed for me so I told them I had really cool ones! I whipped one off my ear and showed it to them; translucent red with black trim. When I looked up, all mouths were hanging open. They couldn’t believe I shared my hearing aid with them. I laughed! The look on their faces was priceless. They asked more questions about hearing loss after that. I hope I showed them hearing loss is nothing to be ashamed of.
Thanks to Listen Technologies, the workshop area was looped for our convenience. For those who didn’t have t-coils in their hearing aids, assistive listening devices were provided. Gayl Hardeman provided captions so we were well accommodated.
Frank Clayton presenting his workshop.
Happiness 101 was our first workshop presented Thursday morning by Frank Clayton. Happiness, thought to be based on genetics for many years but now research has shown that’s only about 50% of the equation. Ten percent is life circumstances (such as winning the lottery). Forty percent of happiness is based on choice, meaning we can choose happiness… or not. Happiness has its myths, such as “I’ll be happy when I win the lottery.” Winning the lottery would create a happy booster but it won’t make for a long-lasting happiness. Instead of a destination, life should be a journey. A person could find joy in each day.
All three cochlear implant companies presented information about their products – Advanced Bionics, Med-El and Cochlear America. Did you know they are coming out with water-proof devices now? Wow. All three companies showed us their product without competing. Lots of information about implants stuffed into one hour. Luckily all three companies had a booth set up and we could ask more questions later.
Robin Traveller is a hard of hearing specialist working at the Utah Sanderson Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She gave a presentation on the different assistive listening devices available to the hard of hearing. She told about different phones, FM systems, alert systems and more.
Robin was our last presenter of the day. After her, convention attendees were free to sight see around the area. Some went to Temple Square downtown and others went to Park City. The Big Red Bus provided a tour around the city and still others went to Antelope Island.
Three more workshops were presented the next day.
Brenda Estes gave a presentation on how to file complaints with local news stations on captioning, or lack of captioning. She gave us complaint procedures and provided some websites to start with. She talked about advocacy and how to create a panel to get things moving.
Mitch Levy from Hamilton Relay was presenter number two on Friday. He showed us all the services available to us through the company. From phones to, relay services and even apps on smart phones for relay services.
Enoch Cox from Advanced Hearing Center here in Salt Lake. He is a self-proclaimed hearing aid “nerd.” Growing up in the family business, he built his first hearing aid at 14 years old so he knows the technology inside and out. He didn’t present but opened the floor right away for questions. Many questions followed, he charmed us with his knowledge and sense of humor.
During breaks between workshops we tend to socialize a lot. Coffee, tea and snacks were available.
After the days workshops we all split up for tours of the area once again.