Lots of us struggle to feel comfortable with public speaking. For hearing loss navigating a world filled with communication barriers, the struggle can be even harder.
Enter Audible Talkers, a Toastmasters chapter aimed to help people with hearing loss address their specific challenges, find friendships, and emerge more confident than ever.
Led by Harry Wolfe, the Audible Talkers meet online twice a month. The meetings are hearing-accessible via live captions and written transcripts of speeches. All participants turn on their video cameras, and they make sure people’s faces have adequate lighting so that fellow participants can speech-read. When the group meets in person, they use a room with a hearing loop.
The group has touched people not just in Arizona, where they’re based, but all across the country.
Chelle Wyatt, formerly a hard-of-hearing specialist for the State of Utah, joined the Audible Talkers to improve her speaking skills. She had experienced some problems interacting with the media, even freezing up during one TV interview. Chelle was very articulate, but she wanted to enhance her delivery to better engage the audience, and she needed to practice speaking to get more confident.
After delivering just two speeches to us, Chelle entered the Toastmasters International Speech contest. She had a lot of self-doubt, but she took Harry’s advice to focus on enjoying the experience rather than controlling the outcome.
Chelle won the contest–even beating out people with typical hearing.
Now, Chelle co-hosts the podcast Hearing Loss LIVE! along with Julia Stepp.
If Chelle and Harry inspire you as they do us, you’re warmly invited to join the Audible Talkers. They meet the first and third Monday of the month from 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm Arizona time. You can find updated information on their Facebook page.