Hard of hearing

Merry Christmas and happy new year

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Source: https://de.freeimages.com/photo/chocolate-santa-1320396 @RAWKU5

Dear readers,

The year 2017 is coming to an end and at this point I would like to thank you for reading my blog and for all your feedback this year.
This year has been an eventful year for me personally, with many different events that have made me grow again as a person.
I still have a lot of fun writing my blog and I noticed that there is still a lot to write about next year.
Life with a hearing impairment in daily life is and remains an issue for us hearing impaired people as well as for those who are goodhearing. Informing yourself and others, acceptance, openness about our hearing impairment and what we need for good communication is and remains important in our lives.

My path was long and I’m still learning. So it is never too late to start with small steps. Don’t you know how to best inform your environment? You are welcome to use examples from my blog or books! If you want to publish something from my blog, I will appreciate it if you let me know. Or simply call attention to your environment on my blog. Try it and give me your feedback.

Finally, if you consider good resolutions for next year, I would like to ask you to think about what YOU need in order to improve your communication next year, to improve your quality of life and to be able to say too next year: “I am hearing impaired, so what?”.

At this point, I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. I take a short break and hope that we meet again at the beginning of 2018.

 

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Hard of hearing

Future

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ource: Petra Bork/ pixelio.de

Wow! Today I read the following in a Dutch newspaper: Someone has developed a glove (see the original article http://motherboard.vice.com/read/this-smart-glove-translates-sign-language-to-text-and-speech) with which signlanguage can be translated into speech! Imagine: a deaf person using signlanguage with a good hearing person and with one push-button, the signs are translated into a spoken language! It goes without saying that the person who „listens“ to them does not have to learn sign language.

Unfortunately, the glove is still a prototype at the moment, but it is already investigated whether the translation of signlanguage into several languages is possible.
And the next prototype will have WiFi, which means it can send SMS and e-mails. A smaller version for children is also planned. The designer, Hadeel Ayoub, came up with the idea because she has an autistic niece who doesn’t speak the language and uses sign language.
And the future does not stand still… Apparently, scientists have now also found out how tinnitus (ear noises) is caused (http://motherboard.vice.com/read/now-we-know-what-causes-tinnitus-that-never-ending-ringing-in-your-ears?trk_source=popular). Although a cure is not yet in sight, it is the first step in this direction.

Likewise, Microsoft and the Chinese Academy of Sciences are investigating how signlanguage can be translated into text through a Kinect camera and software. The person on the other computer can then enter text, which in turn should be translated into signlanguage. The original text is unfortunately only in Dutch, but for those of you who understand this is here the link http://www.nu.nl/gadgets/3528110/kinect-laat-doven-via-gebarentaal-communiceren-met-computer.html
This development is also still in the test phase and not yet on the market. However, the results should be promising.

If that’s the future, I don’t mind at all! It is interesting and exciting to see how these developments continue and it certainly brings some hope for the future.
I wanted to share this information with you, although of course it does not mean that with so many aids you should not bother in the future to communicate with hearing impaired people!

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Hard of hearing

One of those days …

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Source: 123gif.de/schoenen-tag/gif-schoenen-tag-0007.jpg

Yes, yesterday was one of those days. When I cleared our dishwasher, it turned out that a double-walled tea glass had broken down and could be thrown away. Too bad, it was the last of three glasses and I liked to use it because it was big and nice. But hey, this can happen.
When I came back from gymnastics, the lift didn’t work and I was forced to go upstairs 6 floors. Of course good for the figure, but if you have just had an hour of gymnastics behind you, not really recommendable.
Thankfully it went well until I wanted to go to bed. Yesterday was my laundry day. Because I had emptied out my summer wardrobe last week in order to exchange it with the autumn/winter wardrobe, I had some extra laundry this time and the washing machine had turned three times this day. The first two times, I heard the washing machine beep, a sign that the laundry is finished. Then I emptied the washing machine and hung up the laundry for drying. So far so good. But the third wash, I didn’t hear any more. This is something that happens very often, because the beeping is very quiet and high. And then it can happen that I forget the washing machine completely. Yesterday, too.
My husband usually hears the beeping and eventually turns off the washing machine. But he doesn’t always tell me that! And then it can happen that the laundry stays in the washing machine for a while. Yesterday, too. Only when I wanted to go to bed, I noticed that there was still laundry in the washing machine and had to hang up the laundry by then …
The same thing happens with the dryer: sometimes I notice that it’s only finished when I want to go to bed and then the dryer has to be emptied from fresh laundry.

Anyway, a lot of electrical devices have beeps when they’re done. Which I usually don’t hear when I’m not in immediat vicinity.
So we have an egg cooker, which is very good, but only has a very short and gentle beep when the eggs are ready and it does not switch off automatically. That means if I miss beeping, I’m never sure if the eggs are cooked or not yet.
The waterkettle is better! It switches off when the cooking is done and has a light in the switch. And we once had a dishwasher, where the operation was visible on the front side and you could see when the dishwashing program was finished.

Acoustic and visual signals are certainly something I pay attention to when buying an electrical device.
I still try to “train” my husband even better so that he informs me about turning off the dryer and washing machine. So that there may be “One of those days, so beautiful as today” again…!

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Hard of hearing

Quality of life

Lebensqualität
Source: Dead And Alive ID: 164729© Emanuel Hategan | Dreamstime Stock Photos

As a hearing aid user, one comes to the inevitable purchase of a new hearing aid once in the 5/6/7 years. In addition to the new fitting, hearing tests, visits to the acoustician, this also means you have to have a full purse. Unfortunately, I have to address an issue here which is unpopular in Switzerland and which is not being talked about. But, I promise you, dear readers, that I will approach this topic very carefully, so please read on.

Since 2011 there has been a flat-rate regulation for hearing aids in Switzerland. In short and simply put, you can buy the hearing aid you want and where you want, but you only get a lump sum (see http://www.bsv.admin.ch/aktuell/medien/00120/index.html?lang=en&msg-id=39314). This regulation was created because authorities wanted to create a certain amount of competition between acousticians and hearing aid manufacturers in order to reduce the price of hearing aids. Now, six years later, we still don’t know whether it worked or not. Extensive investigations in this area are not available.

The claims of the acousticians, the health insurance company and so on, that there are cost-covering hearing aids for all may be true, but unfortunately in practice it is only true for very few hearing aid users! Sure, I could buy me a cost-covering hearing aid. But does that also bring me a piece of quality of life? No. Even if I don’t want the latest technical novelties, the cheapest, cost-covering hearing aid is not enough for me. For the simple reason that a hearing loss is purely individual, and above all because severe hearing loss cannot be compensated with a cheap hearing aid. Point.

I admit that I am very demanding in terms of quality of life. As for my hearing aids. Precisely because it is about quality of life! Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to pay the extra price. So in that case, you have the choice between being satisfied with less quality or maybe being stuck in debt.

Although the Swiss invalidity insurance company IV (Invalide Versicherung) knows a hardship provision that should help out in the worse cases, this provision does not work in many cases (see a report from the Tagesanzeiger in 2014 http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/wirtschaft/konjunktur/Die-IV-hat-kein-Gehoer-fuer-Haertefaelle/story/23384918). Many of those affected are unaware of this hardship provision or refrain from using it because it is very complicated and requires a great deal of perseverance. Nobody knows how many people are disadvantaged as a result of this. Surveys for this purpose are of course somewhat embarrassing and acousticians have absolutely no enthusiasm for this regulation. Even the honest and good acousticians also want to sell a high quality product and will prefer to promote the more expensive models.

Enlightenment is therefore the keyword here. The hardship regulation should become more familiar and easier! A hearing aid is expensive enough, let alone the batteries, which are usually needed weekly, the drying capsules and cleaning agents. For the most severely hearing impaired, there are often additional aids for telephone, television or meetings. Here in Switzerland, you have to pay for them yourself if you are not employed, for example. Especially when you are not working, a hearing aid should not only be a piece of technology, but also a piece of quality of life, otherwise you are in risc of isolation!

Next year it will be my turn again for a new hearing aid, but I thought it would be appropriate to talk about the topic here, because it is usually not mentioned. If you need a new hearing aid, be aware that there may be a hardship provision that may apply to you. Checking that doesn’t hurt. After all, it’s about your quality of life!

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Hard of hearing

Elections

September 27th, 2015
Wahlen
Source: Stock Illustration: Rigging election- election fraud ID 42619852 © Samiph222 | Dreamstime.com

In a few weeks’ time, Switzerland will be ready to vote. Politicians are very busy with their campaign and you see posters everywhere, you get election advertising in your mailbox on a regular basis. Nevertheless, I still have no idea who and especially which party to choose.
The election campaigns are full of themes. Only one thing I missed, or perhaps overlooked because of the lack of attention: where is the attention for the handicapped, impaired or chronically ill?
Oh yes, last week this message: http://www.blick.ch/news/Politik/kaffee-mit-hindernissen-hier-bestellen-politiker-mit-gebaerden-id4199758.html
Very good initiative of an engaged swiss MP ! Too bad that it was only unique, we could use more of it!

Last week, the Federation of the Deaf had a discussion with Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga http://www.sgb-fss.ch/aktionswoche-des-gehoerlosenbundes/
Of course great initiative, which I support very much! Unfortunately, I have not read anything about this discussion in the media and that is of course a pity again. Why are the media not interested in such a valuable discussion? Why couldn’t goodhearing people know about it? That would certainly be good for more clarification and understanding, wouldn’t it?!

Also last week the news: health insurance premiums are being raised, which is of course unfavourable for the handicapped and chronically ill, because we are becoming more and more expensive and we pay more and more.
But is this still no reason for the parties not to think about the group of handicapped, impaired or chronically ill people? I do not believe that I have ever seen a word, positive or negative, in the party campaigns about these target groups. And I therefore have no idea which party, as a person with impaired hearing, I should cast my vote.

There are, of course, several important issues that will probably also appeal to the electorate, such as refugee issues. Very important, I’ll admit that immediately.
But the handicapped, impaired and chronically ill are also part of society and are also voters. With a few good exceptions, of course, we do not find ourselves in our representatives. Let’s be honest: how many impaired politicians actually exist? Not only in Switzerland, but worldwide. I think you can count them on the fingers of two hands.

Since I don’t believe in coincidences, I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

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Hard of hearing

Boundaries

Grenzen

Source: http://www.freestockphotos.biz/stockphoto/6405

The last few years I think, forced way, much about the question:”When am I at my limits, when do I cross this limit and when not”.
I am already aware of the fact that nowadays I reach my personal limits faster than before, say, 10 years ago. The sudden drop in hearing not only caused me to hear less, but also made my tinnitus (ear noise) grow louder. And tinnitus has the unpleasant tendency to become increasingly audible, especially when you are stressed or tired. Though I am fortunately not suffering from my tinnitus, I am aware that it plays a hidden role when I try to listen for a long time.

Now I have become accustomed to using the word “no” now and then, when there is too much coming my way and I try to spread out demanding activities as much as possible. But from a purely technical point of view, I’m interested in the question of when do you reach your limits? We constantly read in the media that our society is more and more “burned out” at risk. You have to be available at all times, overtime is now normal. And woe betide the one who dares to say no to his boss.
Despite the wealth of information on this phenomenon, I still do not know where this harmful tendency comes from.

My own speculations are these: Does the changed industry and economy have anything to do with it? Or does it have something to do with the fact that before decennial parents have set ever fewer and fewer boundaries for their children and that such a (or even two) generation has grown up that has not learned to set boundaries for itself and its surroundings? For example, self-control is something that needs to be learned and does not come naturally to us.
I know from myself that I lose my self-control more quickly when I am very tired or stressed, although I usually have good self-control.

But when do you start saying “enough is enough”? Personally, I have had to learn to set my limits and I am still in the process of learning. I now recognize all the physical symptoms that signal my limits, so that I can decide for myself whether I should not go beyond my limits, or that I go beyond them and that then it is really over. Only when you recognize your own limits can you consciously choose how to deal with it. Or use its limits preventively.

Admittedly, sometimes I am a bit envious of people who show their limits in an apparently natural way. I still find it sometimes difficult to say no! However, I am convinced that the statement, boundaries create identity, is correct. Those who manage to set clear boundaries for themselves and others are respected and the boundaries are accepted. And sometimes, to my surprise, my boundaries are also accepted and respected.

Why is it still so difficult?

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Hard of hearing

Equality Day

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Source: royalty Free Stock Photography: EqualityID 15466627 © Selvam Raghupathy | Dreamstime.com

Yesterday I was on an equality day organized by the foundation Agile. On this day (or rather afternoon) topic was the right to a workingplace for the disabled (I prefer to say impaired) fellow human beings. This day was well attended and the topic was “hot”.
Apart from a few minor blemishes, the T-status of my hearing aid did not work with the loop and I could not use the translator for the speech in French because I had to put it in my ears, where of course my hearing aids are, the day was very interesting. Luckily, I had brought my own FM system and that helped me to understand better and I also understand a little French and the speaker had some supporting powerpoint pictures.

The main topic was, of course,”What about the right to work for disabled people”. The answer was, in short, we are on the right track, but we are far from where we should be. And where we should be, of course, is a society where disabled people should have unhindered access to the labour market and jobs.
In my opinion, a nice striving, but a little idealistic. Sure, sometimes you just have to be a little bit idealistic to make a difference, but on that day I often heard beautiful words such as “sensitizing employers” and “stimulating measures”. Everything’s true! But in my experience as an employment consultant for hearing and speech impaired, it also happened very often that the first question of potential employers was “what does it cost me?” or “if something happens in the workplace, who pays for it?”.
Doesn‘t everything revolve around money in the end, even if you are of good will …? That was the question the panelists asked on the podium too. It had already been agreed that although this question was justified, there were many measures to cover the costs of hiring a disabled person. Not every disability is the same, of course.

I agree with both visions, but I wonder whether employers and disabled jobseekers and employees know enough about these measures. And I think the answer to that is no. There is a need for much and much more enlightenment!
Clearly, not every impairment/disability is the same: it takes different measures when you hire a wheelchair user or a hearing impaired person. But for both, the will must be there. And most employers, including those of goodwill, are often still afraid to hire or retain a handicapped/disabled employee because they think the costs will be too high and it will take up too much time. And as long as this image remains intact, there will unfortunately not be much change, ideals back and forth.

Nevertheless, such days are very good and useful because draw attention to this topic again. It was also very heartwarming to see how many wheelchair users and people with helpdogs were present.
That is why I would say: we need more of such days!

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