This page is dedicated to questions regularly asked on the DeafandHoH.com Facebook Group page. All answers are sourced from our Facebook group members' responses.
Is there any advice for the hearing loss community that doesn’t sign and utilizes lipreading now that people are wearing masks?
If people you are trying to communicate with don’t have masks that show their face, it may be best to back up at least 6 feet and have them remove the mask and repeat what was said. If this is uncomfortable for someone, apps such as Live Transcribe, SingSchool, or Signspeak can help with communication during this time.
Source: Facebook group member Jill Eff
Audiology and Hearing Aids
Is it normal during the adjustment period of getting hearing aids to have a hard time hearing speech and needing people to repeat themselves?
Hearing aids definitely help one hear more than what they are used to, but it’s not a complete solution to profound hearing loss. It is completely normal to have people repeat themselves and still not be able to hear perfectly, and with time it may be easier to get used to hearing with the aids and learn to discern speech more quickly.
Source: Facebook group members Viv Anderson, Katie Sisk, Liz McGrath, Debbie Thompson, and Boy Gardner
I can’t afford my hearing aids. Is there any funding that can cover some costs?
If the hearing aid is needed for work, the office for vocational rehabilitation in your nearest city may be able to help with financing. A federal government grant may also help, depending on the situation. The company TruHearing works with benefit programs to make hearing aids more affordable. It’s also smart to look into Medicare, AARP, and insurance programs that can help with some sort of finances. If nothing else works, finding used or inexpensive hearing aids through Ebay, Costco, or Sam’s Club is what many members of our Facebook group have suggested.
Source: Facebook group members LisMarie Cordell, DeAndre Ponytail Hubbbard, Danial Honnon, Margie N Tim Koger, Ester Elbert, Michele Mick, Robin Marker, and Linda Goldman Sommer
What should I do to keep my hearing aids protected at amusement parks or water parks?
If hearing aids are fitted properly, going on dry rides with them in should should be fine. When going to water parks, you should take both or at least one out so no water damage occurs. We recommend getting waterproof cases, which you can find on Amazon. It’s good to be cautious at places in which water is involved.
Source: Facebook Group members Joy Sanchez, Alive Kerastas, and Ava Rose
What are the pros and cons of Cochlear Implants?
Cochlear Implants are different for everybody and depend on the type of hearing loss one has: some people say they work great and have been life-changing; for some, they weren’t the right fit. Some people in our Facebook group say that since the implant requires the brain to hear mechanically, the sounds are very robotic. Others have reported that this is only temporary and the robotic sound went away after some time had passed. Although it can be an invasive surgery, many Facebook members have shared that, with practice, it has helped them immensely. Ultimately, when considering Cochlear Implants, you should consult professionals and friends and family.
Source: Facebook group members Delanie Harrington, Bobby Hamby, Anthony Thomas Hastings, Faith Alyssa Barrett, and Amie Vines
How can you prevent yeast build up and infections from hearing aids?
Many different factors should be taken into account when dealing with constant infections with hearing aids. It is important to call either an ENT or Audiologist to determine the best plan to take action with this. However, there are some easy steps you can take to reduce the chance of infections:
- Thoroughly and continuously clean the hearing aids with any sort of wipe or spray.
- Make sure no allergies are related to the material, mold, or dye used to create the hearing aid.
- Ensure your ears are fully cleaned as well, letting them breathe from the hearing aid whenever possible and using swimmer's ear solution, ABX drops, or some other type of ear cleaner after swimming or sweating.
Source: Facebook group members Christine McGee, Monica Shawn, Hillary Smythers, Jennifer Adams, and Mandi Holden
What is Long QT Syndrome or Long QT deafness?
Long QT syndrome is a heart condition in which the rhythm of the heartbeat is irregular and fast-paced (arrhythmic tachycardia). Side effects of this syndrome include seizures, feeling faint, and possibly death. Medications and other conditions can heighten this disorder. Treatment can include changes in lifestyle, daily medication ranging from dietary supplements to beta-blockers, or devices like pacemakers. When hearing loss and Long QT syndrome coincide, it is typically a case of Jervell-Lange-Nielsen Syndrome. A team of doctors is needed for treatment including an audiologist.
Source: California Ear Institute and Facebook group member Kaile Wilson
Deaf Culture and Audism
What are some of the most important things a person who is deaf or hard of hearing wishes a hearing person would know?
Our Facebook group members have highlighted the following points:
- Not all people in the hearing loss community can read lips; ASL is widely used and the ability to read lips shouldn’t be assumed.
- Not everyone who is deaf or hard of hearing utilizes hearing aids or likes hearing aids. Hearing aids are not a perfect fit for everyone. Adding to that, if someone utilizes hearing aids, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can hear 100% with them.
- Being deaf of hard of hearing isn’t something that needs to be “fixed” and being deaf or hard of hearing will never make someone less intelligent than a hearing person.
- “Never mind” is not the right response if a person who is deaf or hard of hearing doesn’t understand you the first time. This saying is incredibly disappointing and rude when trying to communicate to the hearing loss community.
Source: Facebook group members Heather Lovins, Mishael Greenwald, Bobby Gardner, Scott Manion Sr., Karen Bartle, and Carolyne Yates
What are some good job options for the deaf and hard of hearing?
Vocational Rehab is a great start to finding different jobs that may suit you and accommodate for hearing loss. Unique opportunities include being a deaf mentor or ASL/deaf culture teacher. Other great jobs examples from members of our Facebook group are Amazon worker, registered nurse, dining assistant, retail warehouse worker, rural carrier associate at a post office, firefighter/EMT, physical therapist assistant, and many more. There are many jobs out there that will provide accommodations for the hearing loss community; it’s best to find your passion first and go from there.
Source: Facebook group members Chris Gonzalez, Lisa Kay Radake, Crystal Brewer Hostetter, Kyrie Eleison Depra Singson, Catherine Macdonald, Mishael Greenwald, Adrian Crutchfield, Chelsea Elertson, and Cecilia Yvonne James
Who are some deaf role models in the community to research more on?
Provided by our DeafandHoH Facebook group, some deaf and hard of hearing role models are as follows:
- Sean Forbes, American hip-hop artist
- Keith Wann, comic performer
- Marlie Matlin, actress, author, activist
- Matthew Maxey, activist, founder of Deafinitely Dope
- Heather Whitestone, first deaf Miss America titleholder
- Nyle Dimarco, activist, model, actor, winner of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 22
- Helen Keller, author, activist, lecturer
Source: Facebook group member Lydia Olejniczak
Why isn’t it a requirement for audiologists to learn basic audiology signs in training?
Since audiologists deal with hearing aids and tend to help prevent hearing loss and damage to the best of their abilities, they may think understanding speech should be the first priority rather than communicating through ASL. Audiologists are required to take a basic course in ASL, but they may not transfer that knowledge into their field and practice. Here at DeafandHoH.com, we acknowledge this is definitely an issue in the field. We suggest that you hold your audiologist accountable and ask for interpreters as much as you please.
Source: Facebook group members Elise Hope Basiletti, Jenavieve Hoehn, Monica Johnson Gueye, and Rikki Kolowich
How can employers and their companies can make the workplace culture more inclusive for those who are deaf or hard of hearing?
A couple ways employers can make the workplace more inclusive to the hearing loss community is to have closed captions for any video needed in training and to have interpreters easily accessible when needed without request.
Source: Facebook group members Lydia Olejniczak, Elize Hope Basiletti
Are there sign languages for other languages besides English?
Of course! Being deaf or hard of hearing isn’t unique to Americans or English-speaking countries; many other countries have their own sign language that coincides with their native speaking language. Around the world there are over 135 different sign languages in use. You can view a list of the various sign languages on Ethnologue.
Source: Facebook group members Holly Hanson George, JoAnne Wirtz, Kelly Reynolds Myers, and Jeffrey Levi Palmer
Are facial expressions a part of ASL?
Yes, facial expressions are an important factor when signing and set the emotional tone of what is being communicated, for example, raising or furrowing of the eyebrows when signing a question or making a happier expression when singing about something you enjoy doing. Facial expressions are a huge part of understanding the signs being communicated to one another.
Source: Facebook group member Phyllis Hernandez
What are some good tips and resources for someone starting out and learning ASL?
Check out our sign language resources for links to nationwide school directories, online classes, and many other online dictionaries and other apps to help you learn ASL. Many of our Facebook group members recommend Lifeprint.com and YouTube as well. The main tip for learning ASL among members was to get involved with the community and immerse yourself by going to deaf events as well as signing up for courses and practice.
Source: Facebook group member Lydia Olejniczak
Do you recommend any baby monitors that vibrate for deaf parents?
Websites like the WCI Online Store, Harris Communications, and Sonic Alert all carry vibrating monitors. Amazon also has some options, although you should always check reviews to make sure they are reliable. If you have an Apple Watch, there may be a way to send alerts through the device as well.
Source: Facebook group members Stephanie Morrisett, Julia Rood, Anne Ehrlichmann, Lori Cacciatore, Lisa Crews, and Caryn Marcia
Do you have any recommendations on over-ear headphones to help with listening to music for mid-range hearing loss?
Members of our Facebook group recommend the headphone brands Skull Candy Iconic, Rock Papa, Beats, BOSE QuietComfort 35, Jabra, and Sharper Image. Another suggestion is bone-conducting headphones from brands like Aftershokz or Aeropex. While these can be ordered online, it’s always helpful to try out headphones when at a store to see which ones work best for you.
Source: Facebook group members Kerry Berg, Nicki Tsang, Tammy Sullivan, Aida Regal Pouslen, Amy Abbott Stoesser, Jenn Spencer, and Kathleen Browning
How do I change the location of subtitles on YouTube when it gets in the way of visuals?
Changing the location of subtitles on a YouTube video is available in settings. DeafandHoH.com Facebook group member Avinatan Shinar explains, “Press the left mouse button while the cursor is on the subtitle and then move them.” Google provides an explanatory video on this and other settings, such as font size and color.
Source: Facebook group member Avinatan Shinar
What are the best options for phones that have “CC”?
Hamilton CapTel and CaptionCall offer free phones for landlines that utilize captioned calling. There are also installations and apps for captioning programs that can be downloaded onto a computer and phone such as Innocaption, ClearCaptions, Subtitle Viewer, ClearCaptions, and many more. If using ASL, there is also VP, or video phones, in which an interpreter’s voice is used to communicate to callers. Some VP companies are Sorenson and ZVRS.
Source: Facebook group members Tonia Arnall, Mary M Martin, and Liz McGrath