Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Life with a hearing loss...

Hi, friends! Suzie here. I thought this week to share with you a story of a dear blogger friend of mine, Linnea, who I met through my blog, well, actually she found me because she noticed that I was a broadcast captioner for television programming, and she's a consumer of captioning due to her hearing loss. Here's Linnea...
I asked Linnea if she would share with everyone a bit about her personal experience living with a hearing loss and some day to day thoughts on the subject and here's her story... (both Linnea and I hope that bloggers will learn more about hearing loss in the process!)
Linnea was born hard of hearing and also her next brother down was found to have a hearing loss also at around 2 1/2 years old. Nowadays, newborns are tested for hearing loss before they leave the hospital, but in Linnea's case her hearing loss wasn't confirmed until she was also around 2 1/2 years old. She said when she was an infant she didn't learn to crawl and would cry unless she could see her mother. Things improved once she was able to walk though. She also had trouble understanding sounds that are made in the back of your throat, such as she didn't say "green beans" correctly, she couldn't see or hear the "g" so it was "bean beans" to her. Here are some signs to look for in your children for hearing loss...
1.] does not turn to the source of a sound by 3 to 4 months of age
2.} pays attention to vibrating noises or noises that can be felt, rather than heard
3} does not say single words, such as "dada" or "mama" by 1 year of age
4} turns head when he or she sees you but not if you only call out his or her name: this usually is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial hearing loss
5} hears some sounds but not others.
Linnea got her first hearing aid the summer before she started kindergarten.
I asked Linnea about her schooling and what methods of communication she learned in school...
Linnea shared that there were no special Deaf Education Programs in her area when she was growing up, so she attended regular school and learned oral speaking and to read lips. It wasn't until she attended college that she took her first sign language classes. She had speech therapy from Kindergarten through 9th grade and that helped a lot to correct her speech and improve her skills in lipreading.
Linnea shared how difficult classes could be if the teacher walked around the room a lot, as she couldn't see his/her face to lipread, and also if she wasn't in the front of the room it was very difficult to follow what was being said. Even today in her job in a medical facility she encounters issues because people may have on surgical masks in her job, thus you can't lipread, and also there's a lot of accents out there that are difficult to lipread such as European, Filipino, Oriental...she's not alone there, even in captioning accents can trick you up! She shared how draining it is to lipread all day, and I imagine it is! Here are tips if you are having a conversation with someone with a hearing loss, and it's not to shout at them either :>) ...
1] Talk while facing the person.
2] Don’t speak too fast.
3] Don’t mumble.
4] Don’t hide your mouth, chew gum, or eat while speaking.
5] Be expressive--hand gestures and facial expressions can help give clues about what you're saying.
6] If asked to repeat yourself, try using different words than the first time.
7] Reduce or eliminate background noises, like a radio or television.
8] Don’t speak for or answer for a hearing impaired person when talking with others. Give him or her time to respond.
9] Don’t shout – it distorts your words.
10] Relax, be patient, and have a good sense of humor.
11] Ask how else you can help.
I asked Linnea about when she first discovered captioning...
At first Linnea didn't purchase a captioning box because they were expensive. It was during the summer Olympics in 1984 while visiting a deaf couple that were friends that she began to watch the Olympic captions that were on the TV and realized, actually in Linnea's words she was "stunned" with how much she had been missing without realizing it while reading the commentary on the TV. It was then that she decided to buy the equipment. Later on the CC chip was installed into televisions and helped eliminate that extra cost to receive closed captions.
While Linnea appreciates closed captions, there are still irritations, such as not everything is captioned. On DVD's, bonus features aren't captioned, and also there are times that cable companies don't have captions appearing when they should. Can you imagine 9/11 without the ability to have had captions? Or how about weather emergency alerts? Captioning is essential and needs to be available on EVERYTHING at all times, there are a lot of loopholes and poor standards in the market these days, and the economy isn't helping! Oh, that last comment is my point of view!
I appreciate Linnea sharing her story with me and I hope in a few weeks to share more with you on this topic, as it's near and dear to me as I am blessed to work in an industry that provides captions for not only the "gym" crowd walking on the treadmill and reading captions, but for those with hearing losses who count on captions to "hear" what we often take for granted every day! Thanks, Linnea, you're a sweetheart! Suzie
Oh, come back on Saturday, and you can have a chance to win this cute bear! I won him while providing CART/captioning at a conference years ago, and he has little hearing aids in his ears, and I am trying to redecorate my office, so I think it's time he moved to a new home, maybe yours! You can put in your name to win beginning Saturday!


  1. Sounds great just the way you wrote it. The hints to help are ones I have presented in an inservice at my job a couple times. My inservice was titled, Understanding Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids.

  2. What a wonderful interview...very informative! I am a former speech-language pathologist, so I've worked with numerous hearing-impaired kids. Linnea has come a long way and is a real inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

  3. What a great interview. You did Linnea proud!

    take care,

  4. Linnea is so great. Wonderful interview!

  5. Oh and you can enter me in the drawing for the cute bear. I do have a bear collection here at home. Heehee.

  6. Enjoyed the interview. I really gained a lot of valuable insight in reading it, and I love that you interviewed my blogging friend Linnea. She is such a sweetheart.

    Blessings to you on the service you render to others...


    Sheila :-)

  7. How nice of you to interview our Linnea! She is one of my favorite blogging buddies. She belongs to a special group of ladies called the Daring Darling Bathroom Beauty Snapping Divas, which is the picture of her. We go into a bathroom and snap a picture of ourselves.
    Now this information is great for us to know. We who can hear well, do take so much for granted.
    Linnea is a wonderful lady and we all love her!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  8. Wonderful interview - Linnea is a sweetie for sure and to know this side of her is just adding to my appreciation for her! Thanks for sharing this with us :-)

  9. The interview with Linnea was wonderful. There was a lot of insight provided on what life was like for her growing up hearing impaired in a hearing world. Linnea is a very strong person and she made it on her own.

  10. What a wonderful interview. I must head on over to Linnea's to tell her how insightful this was!
    By-the-way - enter me in the drawing please, and if I win, give the bear to Linnea!

  11. Oh THANK YOU for interviewing Linnea. As a blogger friend, I had no idea she dealt with this. What a great gal. And this was very helpful.

    I will be back to enter tomorrow for the bear. We have a little girl in our lives who has a genetic hearing and vision loss. I would love to win it for her! I've never seen anything like it.

  12. I enjoyed this very informative interview with Linnea. I had no idea she had hearing loss.
    Thanks so much. I learned a lot about my lovely friend.

  13. I enjoyed this information about my blogging friend Linnea. That is very helpful and interesting.♥

  14. What a great article. Thanks for sharing this valuable information. It was an eye opener for me.


  15. Thank you so much for the wonderful article/interview with my blog friend Linnea...very informative. I grew up with my mother being very hard of hearing and she didn't have any aids to make things easier. And I was always getting into trouble in school for talking too loud...a disability that people have little patience with....

  16. I'm so glad you interviewed Sweet Linnea. She is one of the sweetest bloggers I've had the honor of meeting. The hints she gave are a must for anyone dealing with those of us with hearing loss. I'm so glad more people will be made aware and seriously, shouting doesn't help, lol!

  17. Thank you for interviewing my mother! I have seen first hand a lot of the frustrations that you talked about. I feel that my ability to communicate with others has been made stronger by the fact that my mother is hard of hearing. I'm glad that you two found each other and that you are both getting this information out to people!

  18. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!