Bring Back Music into Your Life

May is Better Hearing and Speech month and HLAA-SLC is celebrating with an event called Bring Music Back into Your Life on Saturday May 19th from 4-8 PM. This event is made possible with a combined effort from HLAA-SLC, Loop Utah and the Division of Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

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In addition to the groups listed above we couldn’t do it without participation from some of our favorite local companies who support hearing loss: CaptionCall, Vibe Music Events, Listen Tech, CapTel, Cochlear America, CostCo Hearing Aids of Sandy UT, Hale Centre Theatre, Relay Utah and the U of U Student Academy of Audiology.

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We have a lot of activities planned and much of it in the Loop! Our presentations will be in the hearing loop, we will be playing movies in the hearing loop and there’s the accessible dance floor by Vibe Music Events which is itself looped. To experience great sound, make sure your hearing aid and cochlear implants have the telecoil program turned on. What’s a telecoil? (Sometimes called t-coil.) Visit this website,then make an appointment with your audiologist to ask him/her if your hearing aids (cochlear implants have them) have a t-coil because you want to experience hearing loops. Other accommodations include CART (real time captioning) and ASL interpreters so everyone can enjoy the event.

And there’s a lot to enjoy. Make sure you try the accessible dance platform by Vibe in the gym with various genres of music. Finger foods will be available along with devices that have a t-coil so hearing people can see the difference a hearing loops makes too.


We will also have a living room loop set up in the lounge playing Gael Hannan’s Unheard Voices and there will be musical movies playing theater style in the lecture hall which has a hearing loop. Loop products and information will be set up in the conference room along with information, find out how easy it is to install a living room loop or have on installed. Bluetooth information will be available here too because we love both technologies.

Peter McDonald, hearing instrument specialist will be giving a presentation at 5:00 on the hearing aid music program, streaming and apps that can help.  Have you heard of the speech banana? “The “Speech Banana” is a useful visual tool for describing where the sounds used in everyday human speech occur on an audiogram.” Hearing aids are programmed with the sounds of speech in mind but that doesn’t work for music. Learn how another program on your hearing devices can increase your enjoyment of music with Peter.

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At 6:00 experience Maclain Drake’s energy and enthusiasm for music and how he didn’t let hearing loss keep him from it. He takes on acting too. He will talk about the challenges with music and how he works through it all. His passion for making music accessible to all runs deep.  Maclain has had a hearing loss all his life and wears two hearing aids.


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Maclain as a young Han Solo.

The best part of this is getting to hang out with your hearing loss tribe. Nothing beats being with others who know what you are going through and how best to to talk to you. Meet others in the community with hearing loss and make new friends, find mentors and learn how it’s possible to live better with hearing loss. Register now here:


How to Talk to Your Audiologist

It was a busy day at the Sanderson Community Center with over 300 people attending the yearly egg hunt however we still had good attendance for our meeting in spite of worrying over parking issues.  The steering committee showed up extra early with coffee, Einstein Bagels and juice.  We socialized for about 45 minutes, seeing a few members we haven’t seen in a while which was a delight!  It was one of our best meetings.

Lisa starting off the meeting.

Lisa starting off the meeting.

Lisa Dahlstrom, AuD from the University of Utah, was our presenter and our topic was “How to Talk to Your Audiologist.”  She started us with common questions that should be asked  on your first and why they ask them.

When did hearing loss start?  Does anyone else in the family have hearing loss? that clues her in on if it’s congenital or not.

Is it in one ear or both ears?  One ear can be red flag for something wrong like tumors.

Ear surgeries?  Looking to see if the eardrum might be damaged.

Tinnitus? With dizziness? If the tinnitus came on suddenly or is in one ear only, that’s a red flag for tumors.  She asks about dizziness and then wants to know if it’s a tipping over feeling or is the whole room spinning?  If it’s a tipping over feeling, she will send people to the neurologist.  If it’s the room spinning, she pursues Meniere’s disease.

Have you been around loud noises?  People often don’t know what those loud noises are and they will typically say no but when she asks about their hobbies things turns up like hunting and use of power tools.

About 95% of the people have peripheral hearing loss which is more to the outside: conductive hearing loss, sensorineural, hereditary, trauma, ototoxic and age related hearing loss.

The other kind of hearing loss is retro cochlear, inside the head which is more serious: brain or nerve damage, mini stroke in the vessels around the ear, MS, acoustic tumors and enlarge vestibular aqueducts.

Lisa told us that what we tell her about how we hear, helps adjust her to adjust our hearing aids.  If we bring audiologist a list of specific noises that we think we are missing or what sounds we don’t like helps audiologists make better program adjustments to hearing aid programs.  Things like:

  • When the dishwasher comes on, it seems to shut down my hearing aids.
  • When riding in the car, the road noise shuts down my hearing aids or I only hear the road noise in cars.
  • I can’t follow the conversation with the clerk in the grocery store.
  • Traffic noises is too loud.
  • When I’m in a quiet settings I have troubles following conversation.

I even once complained that chopping vegetables on the cutting board had me grinding my teeth it was so uncomfortable.  Lots of things can be adjusted once we specify what’s bothering us. With today’s digital hearing aids, these adjustments can be made: gain, frequency response, compression, noise suppression, directional mic, t-coil, wireless and  speech enhancement.

She talked a little on the differences between audiologists and hearing instrument specialists.  She ended the meeting saying she like to tell family, “Always give the person with a hearing loss the benefit of the doubt.  Don’t think they are ignoring you or not paying attention.”

After the meeting the steering committee met to talk about upcoming meetings.  May is Better Speech and Hearing month.  We will be joining Loop Utah at one of the first venues to be looped in celebration.  More details on when and where will be coming soon.

In July we will have a picnic in the Millcreek area with tips on socializing with hearing loss leading up to the event.

In September the topic will be Hearing Loss and Health issues with Kathy Evans and Marilyn Call presenting.  We will a couple going to the National HLAA convention in Missouri in June reporting on their experience.   That’s bound to be a super meeting as well!

For November, we will talk about our favorite technology and share how it works.  We will also feature wireless technology and present apps for smart phones that work for hearing loss.