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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 4 issue 1
Fall 1996

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SHHH And You

Self Help For Hard of Hearing People Inc. (SHHH) is a volunteer, international organization of hard of hearing people, their relatives, and friends. SHHH is based on the belief that education is the key toward combating the profound ignorance that views hearing loss as a sign of mental or physical incompetence. Little progress can be made until those who cannot hear well — and those who can hear — better understand the nature, causes, complications, and possible remedies of hearing loss. SHHH seeks out people with hearing loss for involvement in local meetings and activities; education on the problems of hearing loss; and instruction on the detection, management, and possible prevention of further hearing loss. SHHH works to develop public and professional acceptance of the needs of hard of hearing people, fostering a climate in which they can seek appropriate alternative communication skills. SHHH urges government at all levels to rectify existing inequities suffered by hard of hearing people. [Editor note; Above taken from the SHHH Manual page 8]

Please join National SHHH today. Individual SHHH National membership dues are $25 per year. If you and your partner would like to join, the cost is $30 for two or $35 for family. Make your check payable to SHHH National and send to:

SHHH Membership Desk
7910 Woodmont Ave. #1200
Bethesda, MD 20814.

If you prefer, you can send it to SHHH Umbrella (see address on page 8) and we will forward it to national for you. Thanks for joining National SHHH. You will be glad you did!


Coordinator’s Comments
by Gordon L Nystedt

About a week ago a lady contacted me concerning her father. She stated that her father had been treated for cancer and as a result he developed a severe hearing loss. She further stated the problem is that he feels he does not have a hearing loss. He feels the family is ganging up on him and whispering to keep him in the dark as to what is going on. She wanted to know if there is anything that I could do to help him realize that he has a hearing problem?

I tried to explain to her what a difficult situation this is. As long as he is living in the denial stage, there is little that I or anyone else could do to help him. I told her that if I tried to do something it might build up another barrier instead of helping.

I wish this was a rare situation, but sad to say, it is very common. There are so many people out there that refuse to do anything about their hearing loss. One man told me he would not wear hearing aids because his wife was not going to be telling him how to live his life. If only he would realize that she was trying to help him because she loved him so much.

We cannot help people until they are willing to help themselves. If people could only realize how much benefit they could obtain by seeking help. Even though hearing aids cannot be worn by everyone, there are other assistive devices available that might be of benefit to them. When we fail to do anything about our hearing loss, love is sometimes replaced by anger. The longer the anger exists, the harder it becomes to admit the hearing loss. If you think you have a hearing loss, please do something about it now. Begin by contacting a medical doctor that deals in hearing loss.


Our Regional SHHH Convention Portland, Oct 25-27
A very Biased Recommendation
by Emily Mandelbaum

If you enjoy a couple hours of learning, easy communication and good company at local SHHH meetings, consider the joy of an entire weekend. Yes, the programs will be excellent. Yes, the exhibitors will let you examine and try the newest assistive devices. The brochures are out. The Washington State Newsletter filled in the details. Gordon Nystedt gave us an update at the last meeting. It’s reasonably priced. It’s close. The Monarch Hotel has lots of amenities. Most meals are included in the registration fee.

Communication aids - FM, amplifiers, real-time captioning - are available for all presentations. The variety of speakers ensures that each person will get some valuable information. If you’re not interested in cochlear implants, learn about hearing aids, assistive listening devices - or amplified phones, TTY’s and the relay services. If you hate technology, listen to Sam Trychin talk about coping strategies. (Effective coping strategies are essential even if you have excellent hearing aids.)

Best of all, it’s inspiring to be with a group of enthusiastic hard-of-hearing people, and it’s fun. I know. I attended the last one and I’m registered for this one. In current jargon from a non-current person - “Go for it.” What more can I say?

[Editor note; Reprinted from the SNO-KING SHHH June 1996 newsletter. See page 2 for additional details concerning the convention. If you still have questions, contact the SHHH Umbrella. See address on back page.]


Early Bird Registration For Regional Convention Extended

If you still have not registered for the Regional Convention in Portland on October 25, 26, and 27, there is still time to register and take advantage of the early bird registration. The deadline has been extended to September 15th. We will not be able to grant any extension beyond that day. As of August 1, over 100 people have been registered from Washington State alone. To be certain the convention is not overbooked, we would recommend you get your registration coupon in the mail as soon as possible. If you have lost your registration form, contact the SHHH Umbrella and we will mail you a duplicate. Address on last page.

Companion Registration Encouraged

The convention registration form stated: “Companion (meals only).” This was an error. Companions have the same benefits as the partner. We encourage couples to attend. We believe both will receive a tremendous benefit from the convention.


Assistive Devices
by Gordon L Nystedt

Technology is changing rapidly, especially in the hearing help field. New telephones are coming on the market. Several new assistive devices have come on the market in the last five years.

One such example is the Wizard. The Wizard can be used like a Pocket Talker. It has, not only volume control, but also tone control. I tried one at the SHHH National Convention in Orlando. The results were very satisfactory. But I realize that a one time tryout is not the best way to determine if something will work for you. Someone else reported that they had a lot of static when using it near radio towers. I will test the Wizard again in Portland.

Ben Havdahl, SHHH Coordinator from Montana, tested a cellular telephone developed by Audex. He was delighted with the results.

If you purchase assistive devices at the Portland Regional Convention, be certain you have a signed contract that allows you to return it if you are not satisfied with the results in your home environment. Sometimes items work very well when we test them, but do not work so well in our every day life.


Voice Carry Over (VCO)

Telephones Do you have difficulty using the regular or amplified telephone? Maybe you have a text telephone (TTY) but never use it as you cannot type or don’t know anyone else who uses one. Would you like to continue to talk to your party but need help in understanding what the other party is saying to you? Have you ever tried a VCO telephone?

If you attend the Portland Regional Convention, stop by the AT&T exhibit booth. They will have a VCO phone and show you how to use it. You will be allowed to make a phone call to anyone in the United States at no cost to you.


WA State Office of Deaf And Hard of Hearing Services (ODHHS) has New Phone Numbers

Both the Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (ODHHS and the Telecommunication Access Services (TAS) have some new telephone numbers. The new number for ODSSH voice and TTY is 360-902-8000. The phone number for TAS voice and TTY is 360-902-8001. The “TTY only” for ODHHS remains the same. It is 360-753-0699. The TAS Voice message is still 800-422-7930, and the TAS TTY message number is still 800-422-7941.

TAS is the agency which provides amplified telephones to low income hard-of-hearing people. If you have any questions, contact them directly.


New Meeting Place for Seattle Hear Here Chapter

The Seattle Hear Here Chapter will begin meeting at the Hamilton House. They have excellent programs lined up for the fall. Please see the “Affiliates in Action” section for details.


I have Decided on the Cochlear Implant
by Homer E. Kissinger Richland, WA

“Well, we have made a decision at last. I completed the preliminaries early this month and am scheduled for implantation on June 28, barring unforeseen mishaps. [Editor note; The operation proceeded as scheduled without any complications.] Mainly, I felt some reluctance to expend resources, time and expense on something that would be much more beneficial to someone in the prime of life than to a gent on the downhill slope of it.

“What tipped the scales was this; my mother died May 4, aged 98 years 10 months. I found myself absolutely unable to participate in or understand anything said or done at her funeral. Everyone feels compelled to speak softly at such occasions for some reason, so I had to face a host of people who would introduce themselves, murmur a few words (sometimes quite a few!) with no idea who they were or what they said. I decided on the spot that if something could be done, it should be done, and the sooner the better.”

[Editor’s Note: As I travel around the state for SHHH, I meet so many like Homer. They are no longer able to carry on a normal conversation, even with hearing aids. When I suggest they think about the possibility of getting an implant, they say they are too old. Why deny ourselves the ability to communicate just because we are old? Please follow Homer’s example and seek help today. You will be glad you did!]


Lady, Age 91, Learns from SHHH
by Dorothy B Ladley,Vancouver, WA

“Thank you so much, Gordon, for copies of all SHHH newsletters. I’ve gained so much information re the latest in hearing aids, which I plan to discuss with my Audiologist. I had no idea of the many new devices and aids available. I have found my Pocket Talker to be very helpful, but do need more modern aids to help me cope with my hearing loss of “moderate to severe.”

“My contribution must have been almost used up with the postage and the cost of the newsletters, - so I'm enclosing another donation. I certainly want the newsletter to keep coming - for through it, at age 91, I’m really becoming well educated on HOH problems, experiences and solutions. Thanks again and keep up the good work.”

A Simple Thought
by Dorothy Shipman, Boise, Idaho

“Many people with a hearing loss choose to deprive themselves of better hearing because they feel a stigma attached to the wearing of hearing aids and that vanity is more important than better hearing.

“A hearing loss is sometimes so gradual that the hearing impaired person may not even be aware of it, though other people, such as family, friends, and co-workers will have noticed the problem. Difficulty in communicating, turning the volume up on the TV and radio, personality changes, even physical changes may occur.

“One of the most common solutions is a hearing aid: There is the BTE, (behind the ear,) IE, (in the ear,) IC, (in the canal,) and CIC, (completely in the canal.) It is imperative when getting a hearing aid to realize you cannot expect normal hearing. A hearing aid does amplify all sounds. It requires that the person wearing the hearing aid must relearn how to listen and what to expect from the hearing aid.

“Another possibility is an assistive listening device, used alone or with a hearing aid. At all times, try the device in the home and outside the home before you purchase it.

“One of the most useful assistive devices is the family - they must learn understanding, support the emotional needs of all family members, and remember to treat the hearing impaired person as they would a normal person, and remember there are certain rules to follow when speaking to a hard of hearing person.

“The family attitudes may encourage or discourage: patience, understanding, support and sincere encouragement is needed at all times.”


Be Careful What You Plug Into Your Hearing Aid
by Irene Albers, Olympia, WA

“While reading the SHHH newsletter Summer 1996, I read “Assistive Listening Devices” on page 5, the fourth paragraph; “You can now obtain a hearing aid with a boot so you can plug FM, telephone, and other things directly into the hearing aid.” Before using any “Plug-in” port on a hearing aid, a person should find out if it has a built-in decibel level ceiling.

In 1984, Don was using just such a device and received an uncontrolled decibel level sound exposure that permanently ruined his hearing. We found out after the fact that his hearing aid “plug-in” port had no protection built in. He developed a severe constant tinnitus as a result of this massive sound exposure and could no longer use a hearing aid. True, he now has a cochlear implant, but given a choice, he would like to be able to use a hearing aid.

“Risking the balance of your hearing to an unbuffered decibel exposure is not worth hearing a little bit better for a few minutes. Sound trauma does not go away - it usually becomes progressively worse.”

[Editor’s note: I passed this information on to Suzanne Quigley, Ph.D., Chief Audiologist at Virginia Mason Audiology Department for her comments. Here is her response:

“Yes, we sell hearing aids with boots. I’ve never heard of such a problem like the one the Albers described. It is good practice that a person with a device that can plug into something, only plug it into devices they know are compatible. Impedance mismatches could damage equipment if things are plugged into each other that shouldn’t be.”]


Weak Voice Needs Amplification
by Sami Styer, M.A., CCC-A Veterans Medical Center, Seattle

“I was reading through the Summer, 1996 newsletter and came across the article “Weak Voice Need Amplification.” I spoke with Julie Hansen a Speech Pathologist here at the VA. I have enclosed some information she gave me. Although I have never tried, nor had experience with any of the devices listed, I thought the information might be useful.

“Thanks for such a wonderful publication. Our hearing impaired veterans are grateful and routinely make positive comments regarding SHHH.” [Editor’s note: I wish to thank Sami Styer and several other Audiologists and Speech Pathologists who sent me material. Two places most often named were Communicative Medical in Spokane, phone 1-800-944-6801 and Luminaud Inc. in Mentor, Ohio, phone 1-800-255-3408. Remember, we have not heard directly from anyone who has used their equipment.

We are very appreciative of The Veterans Audiology Center for educating their clients concerning SHHH. Many of their clients contact us and ask to be added to the mailing list. It is very reassuring to know there are many professionals who are willing to spend time educating their clients. If you see SHHH material in your Hearing Health Care office, thank them for us.


New Contact Person for ADA in Seattle
by Germaine W. Covington, Director Seattle Human Rights Department

“This is to inform you that effective immediately, Roxanne Vierra is the contact person on issues relating to the American With Disabilities Act (ADA) for the Seattle Human Rights Department (SHRD). Jennifer Nelson who was the contact person, has left the City of Seattle's employment.

“Roxanne has been with the department since April, 1989. Prior to joining SHRD, she worked for 10 years coordinating the Disabled Student Services Office at the University of Washington. She has served for two terms on the Washington State Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment.

“Please feel free to contact Roxanne for any information pertaining to ADA. Her direct number is (206) 684-4537 and her work hours are 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.”


Looking Forward to Great Convention
by Elma Hendrickson, Custer, SD

“It is five years ago since I literally pushed myself to go to Denver SHHH Convention with my new cochlear implant to meet others “in my boat.” I was tired of thinking no one understood my problems. I walked into the first meeting, not knowing anyone, and who did I see, but Gordon Nystedt, very visible with his implant trying to get “tuned in” to an inefficient assistant listening system. We have been friends ever since that convention.

“You folks who know Gordon will realize that is all it took to get him started down the path he has taken since then. We are lucky to have him always pushing ahead for all of us.

“Although I live out of your region, I feel I know many of you and I will be attending your regional convention in October. I hope you are all planning to be there and will be supporting it in any way you can. Let us make it a resounding success.”


Readers Appreciate Newsletter

Henry Towne, Kent “Another “up” view on hearing loss! I’m not subjected to listening to gossip. I just ask the purveyor to “write it down” so get it correctly. No gossip! “Is there any truth in the tale that people have had hearing restored by a knock on the head? An enticement to try??? “I don’t hear the warning on our home security system, so I sometimes forget to trip it when I enter. I asked the provider for a flashing light in addition to the beeper. Was advised, not feasible.”

Deanna Baker, Tucson, AZ. “I got your latest newsletter, which I always read cover to cover. It is so great seeing how much work you’re doing up in the northwest. A touch of pride hits, knowing that I helped a little tiny bit. You're a true inspiration to everyone!”

Bob Branigin, Seattle “Enclosed is a donation for the expenses in the publishing of the Washington State Self Help for Hard of Hearing People Newsletter. You sure put a lot of interesting things in the newsletter and I read every word in it.”

Keith Laughton, Sr., Bothell “Just want you to know how helpful this newsletter has been for me. After completing it I pass it on to my daughter who has a masters degree as a Speech Pathologist.”

Dona Fuerst, DVR Counselor, Seattle “I pass on information to my clients, and your newsletters keep me up-to-date on assistive technology, political issues, and conferences. Thanks, and keep up the good work.”

Patricia Davis, Fort Lewis, “I would like to continue to receive your newsletter - I certainly liked the first one!”

Molly Corum, Tampa, FL “Keep me on the mailing list!! The Washington State News for Hard of Hearing People is great!!!”

Kathy Endicott, Spokane “First of all, I want to thank you for mailing the information about the Portland convention to both my mom and me. We already have reservations to attend in the works! We would not have known about it at all, if you had not been so kind as to send us the information. We both appreciate it very much.”

Reader wants to know about Phonak Audio Zoom Hearing Aid

E. E. Boyd, Union, “I have just signed up for the Phonak Audio Zoom hearing aid on a 60 day risk-free trial. I wanted to ask you if you have any information on this aid - or your recommendation.”

[Editor Note: SHHH does not make recommendations of one brand over another but will pass on the comments we hear from other hard of hearing people. Several of our SHHH members have the Phonak hearing aid and are very well pleased with the results. Elaine Maros, Normandy Park has tried other models and has nothing but praise for her Phonak aid. Remember, an aid that may work well for one person may not work well for you. But in the case of E.E. Boyd, he has nothing to worry about. His Hearing Care Specialist is giving him 60 days which, I believe, is 30 days more than the law requires. You can’t go wrong when you get a 60 day risk free trial.

Another person contacted me and stated she wanted to try out a certain hearing aid for 30 days but her Hearing Care Provider told her that was not possible. If you purchase a hearing aid, it is my understanding the law requires that you be given 30 days. If you are not happy with the results, you have a right to return it. If your Hearing Care Provider informs you otherwise, you might want to consult another Hearing Care Provider for your services.]


Thanks for Your Financial Support
Donors Listed

Thanks to Professionals
Donors Listed


SHHH Salutes You, Our Readers
by Gordon Nystedt

We are beginning our fourth year of publication. At the beginning of each year we have selected a person or a professional office we feel deserves a salute for promoting SHHH. This year our salute goes to our readers. We have never required subscription or membership fees for our readers to obtain this newsletter. We strictly depend on your generosity. We have never had to put out a plea for support. You keep coming through month after month and year after year. We started out with about 900 copies. Our last newsletter was for 3000 copies. We have reduced it somewhat this issue. Expenses are approximately $800 per issue.

It is unbelievable the number of lives we have touched this past three years. Many people have found help through this newsletter. You are the people that have made it possible. For without your continuous support this newsletter would cease to exist. I am extremely proud of you. Our SHHH Salute goes to you our readers! You deserve it!! There is no subscription or membership fee required to receive this newsletter. We would like all hard of hearing people to receive it regardless of their ability to pay. At the same time, we must use the dollars wisely that have been contributed.

If you wish to be added to our mailing list or continue to receive this letter, please fill out the coupon below or write a note. If you have responded in the past 12 months, you will continue to receive it and do not need to respond again. This newsletter is separate from your local and national SHHH memberships. If you have been receiving this newsletter for the past year and have not responded, this may be your last issue. Contributions will be listed in the “Washington State News for Hard of Hearing People” is the official newsletter for Puget Sound District Umbrella.

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