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Washington State News for Hard of Hearing People

The official newsletter for Puget Sound District Umbrella of Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHHH)

Volume 3 Issue 4
Summer 1996

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Regional SHHH Convention Coming to Portland October 25, 26 and 27

In 1992 we had our first regional SHHH convention. It far exceeded everyone's expectations. We had a sell-out and had to turn people away. People have been asking when we would do it again. Now the time has come.

"Exploring Self Help Options With SHHH" is the theme of this convention. It will be held at the Monarch Hotel & Conference Center located at 12566 SE 93rd Ave., Clackamas, Oregon 97015.

How to Get There

If you are traveling south on I-205, take Sunnyside Road Exit #14. Turn right onto Sunnyside Road at the top of the off-ramp merging into the far left lane. Turn left at the first stoplight. This is 93rd Avenue and will lead to the entrance of the Monarch parking lot. If you arrive by air, there is complimentary shuttle service to and from the Airport. What to Expect Friday

The Convention will kick off at noon on Friday October 23 with a program on assistive devices. There will be demonstrations on how to use assistive devices in meetings and in your personal life. You will be hearing speakers telling about the different types of devices available as well as how to use them. There will also be presentations on amplified telephones, voice carry-over (VCO) telephones and text telephones (TTY). You will learn about the relay system and how to talk to someone who can no longer hear you on the telephone.

At 4:00 p.m. Donna Sorkin, Executive Director for SHHH, will speak on the topic "A National Perspective About Hearing Loss." She will discuss the significant impact National SHHH has had this past year. At 7 p.m. there will be a reception in the exhibit area. There will be a chef attended pasta station. It will be your chance to talk with the different exhibitors and learn about their products. You will be able to purchase assistive devices during the convention, but not hearing aids as it is important you deal with your local Hearing Care Professional for hearing aid purchases Saturday

We will begin the day with a subject that is so important to all of us. Tom Rees, Ph.D. Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center at the University of Washington, will discuss "Hearing Aids: Current Status, Upcoming Developments and Future Horizons." He will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of current hearing aid technology. He will also review the new "digital" instruments and what we should look for in choosing a hearing aid dispenser.

This presentation will be followed by Sam Trychin, Ph.D. discussing "Living With Hearing Loss." His presentation will cover "Myths about Hearing Loss." "Not Understanding vs. Misunderstanding: A Crucial Difference." "Causes of Communication Problems," and "Necessary Communication Skills."

There will be a free box lunch for registered conference attendees in the Exhibit area from noon till 1:30.

We will begin the afternoon with Dr. George Gates from the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center at the University of Washington. His topic will be:

"Cochlear Implants - Who is a Candidate and What Benefits Can You Expect? - A Professional Point of View." Dr. Gates has been involved in a lot of research on the benefits of an implant. You will not want to miss his exciting presentation.

He will be followed by Rocky Stone, Founder of SHHH, speaking on "Beating the Odds; Cochlear Implants from an Implantee Point of View."

This will be followed by Sam Trychin, Ph.D. Topic "Hearing Loss and Mental Health Risks."

You will dine in the evening on Rosemary Chicken. Rocky Stone will be the after dinner speaker. His topic will be: "The Great Rewards of Struggle, - Self Help Concept - Putting it To Work in Your Life."

Sunday Morning

Sunday morning will begin with a demonstration of "Dogs for the Deaf." Several of our SHHH members have hearing ear dogs. We hope to hear from some of them on how the dogs assist hard of hearing people cope with their hearing loss.

This will be followed by E. Reich,, Ph.D. American Tinnitus Association. Topic: "Tinnitus"

Following this you will be given a chance to rap with Donna Sorkin, Executive Director of SHHH.

The Convention will end at noon. There will be late check-out so you will be able to hear the speakers first.

Registration Fees

We have tried to hold registration fees as low as possible so that all could afford to attend. The registration fee includes the reception on Friday night, box lunch on Saturday, and dinner Saturday night. See the brochure for fees. Note: The companion fee of $45 was set to cover the food cost for that person. We want to be sure your hearing husband or wife also attends. We feel they will benefit from this convention.

Communication Needs

All meetings will be amplified. . Infrared and FM units will be available for your use. If you have reached the point where you can no longer understand the spoken word you will still be able to understand. All meetings will be Real-Time Captioned. This means that everything said will be printed out on a large overhead screen so you can read and follow along.

Hotel Rooms

The cost per room is $78 for up to four people. Under the ADA, the hotel is only obligated to supply assistive devices for four percent of the first one hundred rooms and then only two percent of the balance. We urge you to bring along any devices you will require. We will have an amplified phone and TTY available at the registration desk.


If you are interested in helping us, there will be a volunteer sign-in book next to the registration desk. We may need help on the registration desk, monitoring the exhibit area, issuing assistive devices, etc. If you would like to assist us, please sign the volunteer log.

Register Now

Please register early for both the convention and to reserve a room. We are expecting an early sell-out. Don’t be disappointed. Register today. Teenage Hard of Hearing Conference

Just prior to our Regional Convention, there will be a conference for hard of hearing teenagers at the Monarch Hotel in Portland. It will take place October 24, 1 - 5 p.m. and 6 - 8 p.m. and October 25 8:30 - 11:30 am. Dr. Sam Trychin will be presenting the workshops. Cost is $20 which includes dinner in the evening. Registration material will be available in early September through Oregon’s Regional Programs and Oregon School for the Deaf. There will be reduced hotel rates for the family. If you are interested, please let the SHHH Umbrella know and we will forward your names and addresses to Karen Swezey, SHHH State Coordinator in Oregon, so that you will be added to the mailing list. Umbrella address is on back page.

Weak Voice Needs Amplification

by Gordon L Nystedt, SHHH Coordinator WA State

Recently I attended an SHHH meeting at PC Lacey. After the meeting I was talking with Mrs. Lucille Halpin. She stated how difficult it was for her to communicate with so many people because she now has a very soft voice, while many of the other residents are losing their hearing. For her to communicate is almost like shouting all day long. She asked if I knew of a device that would amplify her voice when she spoke so she could speak in a relaxed manner.

She presented a problem that is so common in our Retirement and Senior Centers, and yet I had never thought of it before.

What is needed is a small amplification system that can be put in the pocket with a lapel mike so the person does not need to hold the mike when communicating.

If any of our readers have tested a product that works very well for them, please let us know. We will publish it in the Fall newsletter.



[Reprinted from the SHHH Journal March/April 1996 National Action Page]
After working intensively for over six months on the issue of interference to hearing aids from digital wireless telephones, we are pleased to report some positive results.

Pacific Bell, which will be deploying a digital wireless system in California in early 1997, has responded to our concerns. A press release issued on February 21, 1996, indicated that Pacific Bell and its equipment provider, Ericsson, are developing prototype telephones that will allow people with hearing aids to use new digital wireless phones without experiencing user interference and with hearing-aid compatibility. SHHH membership and leadership will test the new phones in North Carolina, where Ericsson’s research and design operations are located, within the next four weeks. Pacific Bell is the first provider of digital wireless telephones to make such an announcement. SHHH will continue to work with Pacific Bell on accessibility for its system in California.

In Addition, Pacific Bell is taking a leadership role within the wireless telephone industry to encourage and support further research on interference. SHHH will participate with others in an advisory role in the research effort. SHHH has also been actively addressing the interference issue at a national level as part of the Digital Wireless Summit process, a cooperative effort of consumers, audiologists, and industry representatives from digital wireless telecommunications and hearing aid manufacturers. This process has been ongoing since it was launched at a two-day meeting in January 1996 in Washington, D.C. Three working groups have met regularly to find short and long-term solutions to the interference caused when people with hearing aids attempt to use digital wireless phones. SHHH is also pushing the inclusion of built-in linkage to telecoils in these telephones. As a member of the steering committee for the effort, SHHH will be helping to develop a final set of recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to guide future development of such digital wireless telephones throughout the United States.


To Sign or Not To Sign: That is the Question
by Penny Allen, President Kitsap Group
[Gleamed from the Kitsap Newsletter "Ears the News" ]

I remember when I first started wearing hearing aids and was worried about whether I would be able to continue working at my job. I went to someone in our union with my concerns. I don’t know what it was exactly that I expected, but the furthest thing from my mind was receiving a handbook on signing. I know now that this woman was truly concerned about me. However, I also realize that she, like so many others, did not know the difference between deaf and hard of hearing. Over the years, I have come face to face with the same misunderstanding. One person, a counselor, even went so far as to suggest that I find employment teaching signing to the deaf! Why didn’t he suggest that I teach Spanish or French? I had studied those languages for years!

Signing is a complex language, and like French and Spanish, it is a foreign language. It isn’t something that can be learned in just a few weeks, and it isn't something that will be retained unless it is used continuously. If I decide I want to learn signing, my family and friends will have to learn it also. Otherwise, who am I going to sign with? Will I have to give up my old friends and make new deaf friends?

So many people fail to realize that the deaf have their own culture. A person born deaf is often raised by parents who are also deaf and is educated in a school for the deaf. One of the most controversial issues today is the opposition of the deaf community to cochlear implants in their children. They really don’t see their deafness as a problem.

Those of us who have a hearing loss, no matter how severe, want to recapture what we have lost. We have discovered that assistive listening devices improve the quality of our lives tremendously. A small directional microphone used at the table in a noisy restaurant enables us to enjoy the conversation without hearing the overwhelming clatter of dishes and silverware back in the kitchen, or the baby crying two tables away. There are many products on the market that help us enjoy television or the theater once again. An amplified telephone allows us to talk to friends sometimes clearer than a face to face conversation.

It is important that we let others know that we hard of hearing people are different from congenitally deaf people. We are outraged at the lack of public assistive listening systems, whereas the deaf can usually get interpreters. The reason is simply ignorance by the general population. The deaf have made their need known. But we hard of hearing people, who by far outnumber the deaf people in this world, have not.

Do I want to learn signing? At the present, I’m learning to quilt.


National SHHH

If you are not a member of National SHHH you are not receiving the National SHHH Journal. Do you ever wonder about the latest in wireless communication? Assistive Devices? Hearing aids? If you were a member of National you would not have to wonder. You would receive the latest information on hearing loss every two months right at your door-step. Membership fee is $25 for individual, $30 for two (you and your partner), and $35 for family. Join Today. Send your check to: SHHH Membership Desk, 7910 Woodmont Ave. #1200, Bethesda, MD 20814


Readers Have Their Say on Channel 7 and 11
Elizabeth Parker Lyon Marketing Manage for QualMed writes:
Dear Mr. Nystedt:

"QualMed recently received a copy of the letter you wrote to the Seattle SuperSonics regarding the closed captioning provided during the televised Sonic’s games. As the corporate sponsor of the captioned telecasts, we were delighted that you took the time to recognize the efforts that the Super Sonics and QualMed have made.

"It is not often people take the time to show their appreciation and the fact you took the time to do so is much appreciated." [We often complain when things are not captioned. We fail to praise people when live captioning does take place as was done this year with basketball games as well as live captioning of Channel 11 news. I urge you to write and express your thanks. You can contact the Sonics at:
Seattle Sonics
190 Queen Anne Ave. North
Seattle, WA 98109

If you have not already done so, I hope you will also express your appreciation to Channel 11.]


Missing Caption From video and TV

Branden Huxtable, Seattle, expressed his concerns about a letter that appeared in our last newsletter entitled "Closed Captioning Does Not Always Happen."

[Editor note: It has always been our policy to send letters that are critical of a company or a product to the company for their response and publish both. In this case this did not happen. It should have. We want to be certain a company has a right to respond before the letter is published. I apologize for this error. We do want to hear your complaints but we do want to be fair and allow the company the complaint is addressed against an equal chance to respond.]


TTY Directory
Lynn Weissel, Redmond, writes:

"I am interested in finding out if there is a phone directory for the Puget Sound area which provides addresses and phone numbers for people that use TTY communication.

"I am aware that there is one produced in Maryland which is for national listings. However, that large an area is not really what I am looking for.

"Please let me know if a smaller one for our area is available and how to purchase one." [Editor note: I am aware of a state directory published by Washington State Association of the Deaf. (WSAD). I contacted Mike Izak. He states the directory is now at the press and he will advise when and where it can be purchased at a later date. If you are interested, please let me know, and I will notify you when the directory is available for purchase.]


Enjoys Newsletter
Fred DeBerry, Renton, writes:

"I got your newsletter today. Good newsletter. I liked the "True Grit" article. Nothing could be more truthful or accurate. I like the idea that you always include some helpful hint like "Caller Identification" article and the one about how to know if you are hard of hearing."


Elvin Johanson, Lacey, writes:

"Thank you for your good works."


Delighted with SHHH
Don Jones, Seattle, writes:

"I am so pleased to learn about SHHH, the West Seattle Chapter, and the opportunity to meet you and others. I wish I had known about this years ago."


Cochlear Implants

Ed Sullivan, Battle Ground, writes:

"I would appreciate information on the Cochlear implant mentioned in your spring issue." [Editor note: Anyone wanting information on the implant write to the SHHH Umbrella. Address on back page. There will be an implant presentation, as well as the manufactures, at our Portland Regional Convention. We urge you to come and talk to other implantees as well as to the manufacturers.]


Want More Information on SHHH
Betty W Pearson, Seattle, writes:

"I found the newsletter in the office of my Audiologist at Virginia Mason Clinic. I would like to know more about your organization and if it is possible to find a source of previous issues." (She signs it Hearing Impaired, not deaf.) [Editor note: If you wish more information about SHHH or would like back issues of our newsletter write to the SHHH Umbrella. Address on back page. SHHH is an organization for hard of hearing people. There are many wonderful deaf organizations. To my knowledge this is the only organization dedicated to help hard of hearing people to help themselves.]


Amplified Telephones
Deon Matzen, Clinton, writes:

"I saw your newsletter in the Seattle Ear Clinic. I picked up a copy and found it most helpful.

I am interested in getting the application you mention in the news to apply for an amplified telephone. [Editor Note: The State of Washington provides The AT&T amplified 710A phone to low income people. You can also purchase it from the state or from your phone store. The Hearing, Speech and Deafness Center in Seattle also has the phone in stock.]


Battery Operated Smoke Alarm
Barnille Halverson, Tacoma, writes

"I am in need of a smoke alarm and have tried several which are not loud enough.

"I need a battery operated one and am asking if you know where I can buy one?"


Repair Decoders
Laura Chick, Spokane, writes:

"I am writing you in hope you may be able to help me with my problem.

"I have a closed captioning instrument that need to be repaired. Sears here in Spokane used to repair them but no longer do.

"Would you have any information as to where they can be repaired and what the cost would be?’


Thanks For Your Financial Support

The SHHH Umbrella is extremely grateful to you for your generous financial contribution. Without your support this newsletter would not exist. Donations received in the last quarter are:

Donors Listed


United Way Giving - Thanks for Your Support

Some of our readers have earmarked their United Way contributions to support the SHHH Umbrella. Other have obtained matching funds from their Employer.

Donors Listed


Thanks to Professionals

The SHHH Umbrella is very appreciative of the support we receive from professionals. Many of our readers are learning about SHHH for the first time because of your action. Following are the hearing professionals who readers have identified to us this past quarter:

Donors Listed


Assistive Listening Devices

Technology is changing so rapidly. Everyday, it appears, there is something new on the market to help hard of hearing people.

There are many different amplified telephones on the market to help us to hear just a little bit better. As mentioned earlier, the AT&T amplified 710A has helped a lot of people. But a phone that is "perfect" for one person may not necessarily work well for you. Their are many different personal FM and Infrared systems that can help you to hear the TV better without breaking the eardrums of your normal hearing partner.

Do you have problems in noisy situations or in the car? Ever try the Pocket Talker?

You can now obtain a hearing aid with a boot so you can plug FM, telephone, and other things direct into the hearing aid.

There are devices on the market that allow you to use the same unit regardless if Infrared, FM, or Audio Loop is in use. You can just change the chip in your personal unit.

We are expecting several of our exhibitors to be displaying the above mentioned items at the Portland Regional Convention. At press time, we have received firm commitments from the Hearing, Speech, and Deafness Center (HSDC) of Seattle, AUDEX of Longview, TX., Audio Enhancement, Riverton, UT., Custom All Hear Systems of Lynnwood, Phonic Ear of Petallluma, CA , and HARC of Kalamazoo, MI. We are still expecting several others to be there.

Unless you attend a National SHHH Convention, it is unlikely you will have the opportunity to view and test such a large array of equipment. This is your opportunity to test and buy the equipment that works best for you.

We expect to have several Hearing Aid Manufactures present so you can talk directly with them concerning the latest in hearing aids. This is an opportunity of a life time!!!!!


Board of Hearing and Speech

Per Carroll Hopkins, Program Representative, House Bill 2309 replaced the Board on Fitting and Dispensing of Hearing Aids with the new board called Board of Hearing and Speech. The new board consists of two Speech Language Pathologist in addition to the current positions.

If you are a Speech Pathologist or know of one that you feel is well qualified to serve on this board, please advise the SHHH State Coordinator. Send your reply to the SHHH Umbrella. Address is on Page 7.


Attention "E" Mail Users

The WA State Coordinator receives late breaking developments from National as well as from the State of Washington.

We have developed an SHHH WA State E Mail listing. If you would like to be added to the list, please send you name and address to Note: If you are a member of a group or chapter in WA state, please advise when submitting your name.


Interested In a Local SHHH Group in Your Area?

Would you like to help organize a local SHHH Group in your area? You say yes you would, but you are new to SHHH and don’t have the experience. That is wonderful! Many of our leaders are brand new to SHHH when they begin. You will receive assistance from the SHHH State Coordinator as well as from National SHHH. You will discover how wonderful and rewarding it is to give of yourself to help others. I don’t know of a more exciting challenge than to organize a local. You will receive help along the way, but not interference. If you have an interest, please contact Gordon Nystedt SHHH Coordinator WA State. Address on the Subcription Page.


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