May 11th, Hearing Loss & Identity Workshop

HLAA-SLC and DSDHH is teaming up for another Better Hearing and Speech month event this year.  This year our workshop will be on Hearing Loss & Identity.  Hearing loss can affect our personalities and we lose the person we think are. We are embarrassed by it and we hide it making it feel shameful. Let’s discuss that, go over the past and find out why we might think that way.  During the second presentation we will share some tool for accepting hearing loss and moving on our with our lives.

On either side of those presentations we’ll be having fun with a hearing loss quiz and prizes, food and more. Join us by registering at the link below. The event brings together good people, fun times and maybe you’ll learn a few things too.

Register here:


Solo Traveling with Hearing Loss

We are excited to have Michele Linder present at our HLAA chapter meeting on November 17th from 10 AM to noon on traveling with a hearing loss. Get over your fear of traveling with hearing loss! Michele has good tips and strategies on conquering solo traveling.  Michele has no usable hearing and gets by on lipreading (and sometimes notes back and forth) in life as well as traveling in foreign countries successfully.  Also, chapter members Charla and Kevin will tell us how to make sure cruise ships are accessible to our hearing loss.

Traveling Solo with HL

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.

Bring Back Music jpg

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.

Hearing Loop We Support Url Rev A

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.

Maclain 2

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.


maclain 4

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:


Hearing Loss and Interviewing

At the 2012 HLAA Rhode Island convention, Malik B. El-Amin presented a workshop called Hard of Hearing and Exceptional – Landing the Job and Achieving Career Success. In today’s world it’s tough finding a job and having a hearing loss on top of it doesn’t makes us feel any more secure in the process. The American Disability Act (ADA) backs us up but doesn’t guarantee we will have a job. Malik went over the ADA, what it covers and what it doesn’t. Here’s his overview:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) –Title 1

Covers private, state & local govt., employment agencies, and unions with more than 15 employees

Covers job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, and training

Must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, have a record of such an impairment, or be regarded as having such an impairment

Must meet legitimate skill, experience, education, or other requirements of an employment position that you hold or seek, and be able to perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation

Reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions. No “undue hardship”

Employer cannot make any pre-employment inquiry about a disability or the nature or severity of a disability

An employer is not required to reallocate essential functions of a job as a reasonable accommodation

Some of what he shared is common sense; look professional, arrive early and leave behind or turn off phones and gadgets. Keep your current job or do some volunteer work to fill time. Go to industry related events and check out the local chamber of commerce.

For those of us with hearing loss, he had a few more tips like controlling your hearing loss. Rehearse talking about your hearing loss before hand, be comfortable with it. Don’t fake it or bluff your way through. Use your typical accommodations. Provide accommodations if you can, ask for the rest. Don’t be afraid to ask for adjustments in the interview, like lighting (if I can see you better, I hear better). This shows you in charge of your hearing loss.

We don’t have to disclose our hearing loss on applications or at interviews but it might be better to be upfront so no one is surprised. (Personally, I don’t list my hearing loss on applications and I don’t talk about it on the phone. I wait until I’m in front of the person so I’m not prejudged.) There are some positive aspects to hearing loss he reminded us.

We are good about accepting others as they are.

We listen because we have to.

Adversity is no stranger to us.

Malik is a member of the HLAA Los Angeles chapter.  His convention presentation can be found here: (cut and paste might work better than clicking)


Here are some helpful links to other websites on hearing loss and job interviews:

Employment Toolkit for the Hard of Hearing by HLAA

Managing at Work

CapTel has suggestions:

blog by Gael Hannan

Another bloggers personal perspective:

Scott Bally’s Workshop at the SayWhatClub Convention: Ten Communication Strategies That Really Work


Last May, I attended the SayWhatClub’s convention in Williamsburg, VA.  Dr. Scott Bally and Bonnie O’Leary gave a two hour presentation giving  us “10 Communication Strategies That Really Work.” I think we all learned at least one thing here (if not 10) about communicating with a hearing loss.  I also saw him at workshop a year ago at the HLAA convention in Rhode Island.  If you ever get a chance to see him present, do it.  Not only does he give good information but he’s also a lot of fun.  Here’s a summary…


 Scott Bally


#1  Shore Up Your Repair Strategies


Scott says, “Be fair and don’t overburden the speaker. Eliminate “huh” and “what.” Learn to be assertive but not aggressive. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Have a variety of repair strategies to fit different circumstances. (Ask for the topic, a repeat or a rephrase as an example.) Be sure to thank the other person for their help and sensitivity, a show appreciation goes a long way.




#2  Use Maintenance Strategies


“confirm…CONFIRM… CONFIRM” He says. Repeat back what you heard to be sure you understood correctly. When trying to follow a conversation or instructions, take it in small increments and set the pace you need. Stop speakers sooner than later if you didn’t understand because believe it or not, you’re wasting less time.




#3  Anticipate


Knowing a topic can increase your understanding of a conversation by 50%. Here, he provided us with a lip reading exercise. He silently mouthed 5 words without giving us a topic. I got all of them wrong. Then he told us the next five words would be ‘fruit.’ I got all but one right. The funny part of this, the first set of words were the same fruit. Peach looks like another word altogether if a little body language is thrown in. He sure threw us off there the first round.




#4  Guide Communication


Guide conversations by initiating topics but don’t dominate conversations, he warns. We can also lead communication by asking better questions. Ask yes and no types of questions and closed set or limited set questions. Get precise enough to get simple answers. “Effective questions will limit what you need to lip read…and makes it easier!” Finally, instead of “What” or “Huh,” repeat back what you heard and ask for the missing piece, saving energy on both parties. Or better yet, ask for a rephrase.




#5  Create Better Communication Partners


“People can change, it takes persistence, sensitivity and constant reminders.” Explain your hearing loss, tell the other person what you need and suggest verbal or non-verbal reminders. It’s important to be knowledgeable about your hearing loss because not all are alike and we all have different needs. He also emphasizes our partners have the same sad feelings we do so “Develop solutions together.”




#6  Create Better Communication Environments


Improve your environment paying attention to lighting and acoustics. Create a communication environment. He showed us pictures of beautiful rooms which promoted sound bouncing all over the place making it more difficult on our ears. How do we improve our rooms? Have curtains instead of blinds, a throw rug over wood floors, big, fluffy pillows and furniture. Plants and books also help soak up sound. How about looping the living room, aren’t we worth it?




#7  Be More (or less) Assertive


Where are we on the assertive scale of one to ten? Some of us may be a bit too shy and other might be too demanding. Scott suggests being clear with your request and provide a reason (being upfront about your hearing loss). Use courtesy instead of anger. An example he provided, “If you trim your mustache, I’ll do dishes for a month” vs “It’s me or the mustache!” How would you like to be asked?




#8  Pace Yourself


Trying to hear for hours at a time is exhausting. It’s okay to take time outs, he says. Walk around the block, take a mental nap, slip into a quiet room. Let your ears and brain rest and he even gave us permission to fake it once in a while, especially if it’s Aunt Bessie telling the same story for the 100th time. He advises us to be well rested before big hearing events too.




#9  Give Yourself A Break.


“Change what you can, don’t frustrate yourself trying to change the unchangeable.” Look for things you can change in your environment. Can you change a mumbler? (See # 5) Or someone with a mustache? You can ask them to trim it but they may refuse. Don’t bang your head on a brick wall. Remind a fast talker to slow down with a prearranged hand signal telling them you really do want to know what they say and want to hear every word.




#10  Change Your Thinking


Hearing loss is only part of the problem. Things like loud music in restaurants, everyone talking at one and acoustics compound the problem. Some people have long mustaches, accents, are soft talkers or fast talkers. Communication is a two way street. Make our needs known, keep a variety of strategies at our disposal and we can get along in society. We are smart people because we are constantly filling in the missing pieces. “It’s more than lip reading! It’s visual plus auditory plus context plus linguistic knowledge. 2 + 2 = 5,” he tells us.




For more information on Scott Bally check out his book:


Speech Reading: A Way to Improve Understanding, a book he co-wrote with Harriet Kaplan and Carol Garretson


This post written by Chelle George