Notes from Our April 2024 HOPE Meeting

If you missed our April 2024 HOPE virtual hearing loss support meeting, here are the notes. Our topics included navigating airports when you have a hearing loss, captions on televisions in public, and uncomfortable hearing aids.

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

Navigating Airports When You Have a Hearing Loss

Participants talked about how hearing help isn’t always available when they arrive at the airport. Also, airline staff don’t always directly notify people with hearing loss about gate changes or instructions.

Suggestions:

  • Use the airline’s app on your smartphone. The app vibrates to notify you of boarding instructions and other information.
  • Directly tell the gate staff that you’re hard of hearing and to please notify you of any instructions. Then stand close to the gate so they can’t miss you. One participant noted that doing this makes it hard to leave to get food, so it’s good to plan for that possibility.
  • Wear a button that says, “I’m hard of hearing, please face me.” This can be really helpful to flight attendants on the plane, too.

Hearing Access in Healthcare: A Success Story!

One participant shared her successes in asking for hearing access in advance of three medical tests at a hospital. They had a Pocketalker waiting for her! With a little help and guidance to staff from the participant, the Pocketalker worked great in most of the settings. A clip-on mic would have been better when the technician needed both hands to perform the test.

Note: For more details and help on hearing access in healthcare, see our blog post.

Problems with Hearing Aid Ear Molds

A participant was wondering about why she kept having to push her ear molds in, and they had little “tails” that were uncomfortable. The provider filed the “tails” down, but it didn’t help Also, she was getting a lot of feedback.

Another participant suggested that the ear molds could be the wrong size, which can cause these problems. It may help to go back to the hearing care provider for a new ear mold. Another participant encouraged her to remember that you have the right to hear well, be comfortable, and trust yourself. Even when it’s scary, it’s OK to ask for what we need.

Another suggestion was that when the ear mold is being made, to help with the fit, you could yawn and move your mouth a little bit. The mold will harden a little differently that way.

Captions on Public Televisions: What to Do

A participant noted that while at a restaurant, he asked the staff to turn captions on the televisions. The staff said it wasn’t possible because they didn’t have the remotes, and when they tried the buttons on the television, nothing happened.

Suggestions:

  • File a Human Rights Commission complaint under RCW496520.
  • A card that explains the law could be made. We could hand it to the venue’s manager.
  • Contact the Washington Restaurant Association and explain the law, how important it is to customers with hearing loss, and how it would help their business to have the captions on.

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