Hearing Better in Airports and Healthcare Settings, Listening Fatigue, and More at Our June HOPE Meeting

If you missed our June 2024 HOPE hearing loss online support meeting, here are the notes and some helpful links.

Notes from HOPE meetings are always available on our blog shortly after the meeting. You can read more about our HOPE program here.

Successful (and Not-Successful) Hearing Accommodations in Healthcare Settings

One participant mentioned that she was successful in getting hearing access in the Multicare system. She completed an online form requesting access ahead of time, and she was able to choose the type of access she needed (ASL, assistive listening, CART, etc.)

A participant shared her long, 40+ years (!) battle to get hearing access in healthcare settings. She’s asked for clear masks, notetakers, Zoom with captions, and other help, but to no avail.

Hospital kits can help you communicate with your healthcare providers when you have a hearing loss.

A participant mentioned that he used the hospital kits for people with hearing loss at Swedish Hospital. These kits were designed and developed by HLAA-WA (led by Karen Utter). The nurse at the hospital made sure the signs from the hospital kit were in the operating room, recovery room, and so on. It was a big help. His day at the hospital was much less stressful as a result. Click here for our hospital kit and to download items to bring with you to the hospital. You can also request a kit from the hospital ahead of time.

At recent doctor appointments, another participant used Live Listen, a speech-to-text app on her iPhone.

A participant shared that telehealth captions will be required in September 2024, per a recent FCC rule.

Self-Advocacy, Anxiety, and Listening Fatigue

One participant shared her experience with feeling exhausted from striving to listen, solving problems, feeling anxiety, and needing to advocate for herself several times over the space of a few days of events, including at a funeral. At the funeral home, she was given a very old FM assistive listening system that didn’t work, so she had to use her own mini microphone. She put the mini-mic on the podium, and that worked really well. She also used Forward Focus on her iPhone, which is connected to her cochlear implant; it directs the sound to what is right in front of her and reduces background noise. To practice self-care, she took breaks, walking outside in the fresh air. She got some questions from friends and family about this, which felt like pushback.

Another participant agreed that she’d received pushback from others, too. She’d also had a “difficult listening weekend.” Her grandson’s voice is squeaky and hard to hear, so she finds herself bluffing, but she really wants to engage with him. She also had to take frequent breaks to relax, and she found herself exhausted.

Memphis Airport Is Hearing-Friendly Via Loops

One participant noted that she found hearing loops everywhere in the Memphis Airport, and it was fabulous. This easy-to-use assistive listening system made her journey much easier. Hearing loops simply require that you turn your hearing aid or CI to T or telecoil mode in order to hear a PA system or microphone more clearly. Loops provide more clarity and eliminate background noise.

Captions on Televisions in Public Spaces: Required but Not Available

One participant said he went to a restaurant that had eight televisions–but none of TVs had the captions turned on. It’s actually a Washington State law (SB-5027 in 2021) that public TVs have captions turned on. The participant said that he mentioned it to the manager, who didn’t seem to believe it. This is a frustrating experience! Our ODHH office is working on cards that explain the law; we can hand these to venue managers. HLAA-WA will follow up on this.

It was also suggested that HLAA-WA contact the head of the Washington State Restaurant Association and ask if they can send an alert through their network.

For more information on this law, watch this video featuring Devin Myers or this one from HSDC.

Hearing Access for Jury Duty

When she was summoned for jury duty in March, a participant requested accommodation–not to be excused, but to be provided CART or another accommodation. Some courts have hearing loops, but the participant couldn’t be assured that she’d be assigned to a looped court. After filing a complaint and much back-and-forth, the participant was excused, which is not what she wanted.

Hearing Loss Tech Tips

Forward Focus (or directional focus) is a feature in some hearing aids and cochlear implants. It focuses on a particular speaker, either in front of you or to the side. Ask your audiologist if you have this feature in your hearing aids. A mini mic such as a Roger Pen or Pocketalker can connect to a CI or hearing aid through Bluetooth. You can ask someone to wear the mic or pass it around to speakers in a group, or give the mic to a tour guide to put on their lapel, for example. You can sometimes find Roger Pens on eBay. For help networking a Roger Pen to up to ten devices, watch this video.

Live Listen is on your iPhone under “Settings.” You need iOS version 14.3 or later. To activate it, click on the “Settings” gear icon, click on “Accessibility,” scroll down and click on “Live Captions.”

If you have an Android phone, you can use Live Transcribe instead.

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