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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 2
Winter 1996-1997

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SHHH And You
Never in our history has technology been changing as rapidly as it has the last few years. Telephones and wireless communication are of great importance to hard of hearing people. Far too often the needs of hard of hearing people are not included when changes are made.

In this issue you will read about two new requirements for telephones. One mandates that hearing aid compatible phones carry a permanent label to indicated that feature. The second requires amplification in all telephones.

Also you will find information concerning wireless and cellular telephones.

These things did not just happen. They happen because we have a national organization which is advocating for the needs of the hard of hearing and assuring we are not forgotten in this age of rapidly advancing technology.

National SHHH needs our support. The larger our numbers, the greater the influence national will have when talking with congress or dealing with government agencies.

Please join National SHHH today. Individual National SHHH membership dues are $25 per year. If you and your partner would like to join the cost is $30 for two for $35 for a family.

Make your check payable to National SHHH 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. You will receive their fantastic Journal called Hearing Loss which is published 6 times a year Thanks for joining National SHHH.


Coordinator’s Comments
by Gordon L Nystedt

We in Washington State have come a long way in the last three years. This newsletter has reached many more people than we would have ever dreamed possible.

We are extremely grateful to the hearing health care offices throughout the state that have displayed this newsletter in their offices or make copies for their patients. We are also grateful to our readers who have made copies for friends and relatives. The whole purpose of this newsletter is to reach out and let people with hearing loss know they are not alone and that help is available.

Before you see this newsletter it has been sent to six critics to add their comments and suggest revisions. They are Diane Jandl, Elaine Maros, Karen Utter, Joan Baker, Emily Mandelbaum, and Lona Jennings. I am very appreciative of the time they give to help make this newsletter better.

It is a lot of work to prepare this newsletter for mailing. For this I am indebted to Elaine Maros and the members of the West Seattle SHHH Chapter who have been so faithful in folding, taping, and preparing for mailing.
Congratulations to all for a job well done!!

So the next time you sit down and enjoy the newsletter, remember it is not a one person show. It is the dedication of so many that make it possible. Of course you, the readers, are our most important ingredient. Without your financial support and your informative letters, this newsletter would cease to exist. So thanks to all of you and have a wonderful Holiday Season!


ALL Telephones Will Be Required to Have Volume Control

Brenda Battat, Deputy Executive Director of National SHHH states; “One area in which SHHH groups and chapters and the National office have worked long and hard is to increase access to telecommunications. I thought you would be interested in knowing that the regulations for the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988 were finalized in June 1996. As of November 1, 1998, in addition to being hearing aid compatible (HAC), all telephones manufactured in the United States, including cordless phones, must have volume control. By April 1, 1997, compatible phones must have the letters “HAC” permanently affixed, to make them easily identifiable. The regulations cover phones in hotels and motels, nursing homes, and the workplace.” The regulations state; “As of January 1, 2000 or January 1, 2005, whichever date is applicable, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that all telephones located in the workplace are hearing aid compatible, as defined in Section 68-316. Any person who identifies a telephone as non-hearing aid-compatible, as defined in Section 68-316, may rebut this presumption. Such telephone must be replaced within fifteen working days with a hearing aid compatible telephone, as defined in Section 68-316, including, as of November 1, 1998, with volume control, as defined in Section 68.317.” Effective dates vary for nursing homes, motels, etc. You will be kept informed through the National SHHH Journal, Hearing Loss.


It’s Not Fatal
by Penny Allen,
President, Kitsap SHHH Group

[Editor note: This article is a reprint from the Kitsap Group Newsletter “Ears The News.” I am sure many of our readers are going to identify with this story. It is indeed sad when failure to do something about our hearing loss can cut us off from those who love us the most.] “My niece, who recently became a mother, decided to write a family history for her child. When she started asking me questions about her grandfather, I was amazed to discover that she felt that he had never cared for her. I mentioned this to my daughter, and she felt the same way. “Grandpa didn’t like me either, Mom. He never talked to me,” she said.

“I had always thought of my father as a fun person, who loved people and took joy in life. As a little girl, we caught fireflies on summer nights and drank root beer floats and talked, while the crickets played background music. In my teenage years, we read to each other and went to Shakespearean plays and art museums. There were always interesting people to visit, as my father knew everyone and was generous with his time. We always had house guests. Dad had excellent memory recall and never failed to hold a group of people enthralled by his vivid tales of adventures in far-off places.

“As the grandchildren came along, and we descended upon my parents for week-long visits, Dad always seemed glad to see us. We used to sit around the big kitchen table and talk far into the night. The conversations, however, were mostly one-sided by then (his side), and the stories were pretty much the same. Rarely did others get a word in edgewise and when they did, he didn’t respond. He was always happy to see the little ones at first, but he never really paid attention to them after that. He also intimidated them with his loud booming voice.

“As the years went by, Dad became more reclusive and moody. He refused to go places, and my mother often made trips alone to visit my brothers and me. I telephoned frequently, but Dad wouldn’t talk on the phone. My mother always had to relay information to him and somehow it wasn’t the same. I felt saddened that we were losing the special relationship he and I had, but I didn’t know why it was happening.

“When Mom fell and was in the hospital with a concussion, everyone in the family concluded that Dad was insensitive, because he just sat in the doctor’s office and didn’t show any interest in my mother’s life-threatening situation.

“Looking back, I remember that no one ever talked about my father’s hearing loss. The only time it was addressed was when I got my first pair of hearing aids when I was forty years old. I put one of my aids in his ear and turned it on. WOW! He was so excited! I wanted to take him to an audiologist but he wouldn’t go. Each time I visited, I brought up the subject, but he just shrugged it off and said he was too old or that he’d think about it.

“Now five years after Dad’s death, I sit here thinking about my niece’s and daughter's feelings about him. A deep sadness washes over me because I finally understand. he didn’t talk to his grandchildren, not because he didn’t care for them, but because he couldn’t hear them. He monopolized conversations, not because he was rude, but because he couldn’t hear what anyone else said. He didn’t talk to me on the phone, not because he didn’t love me, but because he couldn’t hear me. He didn’t ask the doctors questions about my mother, not because he was insensitive, but because he couldn’t hear the answers.

“My father died from an Aneurysm at the age of 88. He didn’t die from a hearing loss, but he allowed his hearing loss to destroy friendships and ruin his relationship with the entire family.”


AT&T Wireless Services and Hard of Hearing
Following is a quote from Laura Ruby, External Affairs Manager, AT&T Wireless Services.

“Under Section 255 - Access by Persons with Disabilities - of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, wireless service providers like AT&T Wireless Services are required to ensure that our service is accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities, if readily achievable. If accessibility is not readily achievable, then we must ensure that our service is compatible with existing peripheral devices or commonly used phones and equipment owned by the customer.”

She further states: “The first group of consumers to request access to our services were hard of hearing people who use hearing aids and wanted to be able to use digital phones. They did so through a petition for rulemaking to FCC. The FCC is likely to initiate a rulemaking on wireless service accessibility early next year.”

“The wireless industry is funding research at the University of Oklahoma Wireless Compatibility Center to evaluate interactions between wireless phones and hearing aids. The first phase of research — testing digital technologies with 68 hearing aid wearers — is complete. The second phase —laboratory testing and identification of solutions — will be completed by the end of 1996.”

[Editor’s note: This is another example of National SHHH looking out for your interests. Many of our readers have expressed an interest in finding a wireless phone or cellular phone that is compatible with their hearing aids.
More and more of the wireless phones being manufactured today are being made with hard of hearing people in mind. One wireless and cellular phone already available is Manufactured by Audex. The Hearing, Speech and Deafness Center (HSDC) in Seattle is an outlet in WA State. Phone 206-323-5770. 1620 18th Ave Seattle, WA 98122


Hard-of-Hearing Moviegoers To Have Better Access

In the first agreement of its kind, Cineplex Odeon Corporation, one of the nation’s largest operators of motion picture theaters, has agreed to provide significant numbers of listening devices for moviegoers who are hard-of-hearing, under an agreement reached today with the Department of Justice.

Today’s settlement resolves complaints filed with the Department by Dorothy Shipman [SHHH member], a woman from Boise, Idaho, who is hard-of-hearing, and the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. Their complaints alleged that Cineplex Odeon violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because many of its more than 800 theaters nationwide lacked assistive listening systems for persons who are hard-of-hearing.

Under the settlement the Toronto-based company has agreed to: Increase the number of receivers to equal 2% of seats in theaters that opened prior to 1993; and 4% of seats in theaters where sound systems were replaced after January 26, 1992, with a minimum of four receivers at each theater.

Display an on-screen announcement before the beginning of a movie telling audiences that assistive listening devices are available upon request, starting January 1997

Ensure that some receivers facilitate sound directly through hearing aids, which is particularly important to people with severe hearing impairments.

Copies of the agreement may be obtained by calling the Justice Department’s toll free ADA Information line. The number is 800-514-0301 voice or -0383 TTY.

Information is also available on the ADA homepage Internet address:


Home Security System
by David Goularte, Olympia

“Regarding Henry Towne’s letter, page 4, Fall issue of WA SHHH newsletter - I’m amazed continually how people are constantly advised that things “can’t be done.” I have a full house security system from Homeguard installed in 1990.

At my request there are flashing lights at all entrances and nearly every room. They were very accommodating to my concerns. Please let Mr. Towne know not to give up, that nearly anything can be done!”


Hate Wearing Hearing Aid
by Dorothy Reams, Everett

“Just got the SHHH Newsletter. Am delighted with your notes and comments.I got sparked up about the dad and his refusal to get “an aid.” I have one and hate the thing. Worst of all, I hate being bossed around by my husband to wear it!

“Mostly I’ve decided there's lots of us out there who don’t want to listen to second hand TV programs we wouldn’t listen to at all; - a lot of chatter of the -I said - she said- they said type; -second hand buzz sounds, so called music, a fridge that growls all the time, the kids next door, and their yappy dog. etc.

“I’ve got a moderate to severe loss and I can hear fairly well with my well fitted aid, but I’ve gradually weeded out stuff I refuse to waste my energy on, - save it for meetings I want to attend. etc. Of course this makes me sound very self-centered and stubborn, which I probably am. But a certain amount of this gives us strength for survival or is that an excuse?

“Another matter I want to bring up. I had a rather bad time last spring with a set of medical problems which I had no idea were interrelated to random head aches, very severe ones, pains in ears and yellow waxy buildup, nose bleeds, random loss of sight, pains in jaw, cramps in neck and finally increasing dizzy spells. All of these symptoms were interconnected to an infected blood vessel which is located above the right eye and mercifully is specifically treated with cortisone. What a relief to get the monster under control. My dentist blamed it on a bad denture and others merely urged megadoses of aspirin.

“A group of symptoms such as these can be controlled at least, and should be pointed out to your readers. This cluster wasn’t spotted until 1993 so I’m told, one of the new breakthroughs of new research. Oh yes, the cure is spectacularly fast but the maxi dosage has to be tapered off very gradually to prevent recurring damage. See your MD on this.”


FM In School For Hard of Hearing Children
by Jeanne Hollabaugh, Ellensburg

“I really like receiving the WA SHHH newsletter. Keep up the great work.

“I feel compelled to write regarding FM systems for children in school. (see Alice Reece, Enumclaw in vol 3. issue 2) Ms. Reece wrote that she was able to purchase her son’s FM system through grants from various service organizations. That is wonderful. However, if a child needs to use an FM system in order to have access to instruction in the classroom, then it is the obligation of the school to purchase and maintain the system. That is the law.
I know it is sometimes difficult for parents to know what to ask for from the school. Often schools are reluctant to offer services unless parents specifically request them.

“For parents who have access to the Internet, I invite them to check out our E-mail support group. We are parents of HOH/deaf children. We share information about education issues as well as medical and emotional issues.

To join write a message about yourself and ask that your name be added to our mailing list. E mail to:”


Readers Have Their Say
University of Washington Has Web Site for Hard of Hearing by Linda Howarth, Seattle
“Could you mention our web site in the next issue of your newsletter?”

Application to Receive Amplified Telephone
>From State of WA
By Several Readers

We continue to receive many requests for application forms to receive the AT&T Amplified 710A telephone from the State of Washington. It is issued free to low income people. Many audiologist have the forms in their offices. If they do not, contact the SHHH Umbrella and we will provide you with one. (See address on page 8)

The AT&T Amplified 710A is an excellent telephone and can also be procured from many audiologists or from the Hearing, Speech and Deafness Center in Seattle. its only drawback is that the numbers are not large enough for people with vision problems. The second problem concerns whistling when using it with the hearing aid. this happens when the user increases volume in both handset and the base. I have been told that if you turn off the amplification in the base the whistle disappears.

Some of our hard of hearing people have just completed a test on the Ameriphone XL-30. This phone has many outstanding qualities including large numbers. it not only amplifies the incoming voice, it can also amplify your outgoing voice. This is a real help for many of our senior citizens who have softer or low voices. In addition this phone has a direct audio connection port. If you have a FM neck loop or head phones, you can plug them directly into the phone. You may wish to purchase their patch cord at the same time you purchase the phone. This will give easier connections when using a neck loop or head phones. A third feature is that it automatically reduces the volume to normal levels when you hang up. This is an important feature if you have small children or grandchildren in the home.

If your audiologist carries assistive devices they may have this phone. If not, you can call Ameriphone 800-874-3005 to learn the dealer nearest you. The phone is also carried by the Hearing, Speech, and Deafness Center in Seattle, phone 206-323-5770


Phonak Hearing Aid
by Ben Gilbert, Tacoma

“I wear a Phonak, Audio-zoom, the high-powered one for severe hearing loss and am enthusiastic about it. The key to the Phonak, as to all so-called “programmable” aids is in the settings. Phonak has three channels and they are tailored to my particular needs as well as to reflect my audiogram. I switch channels with the little remote control I hang around my neck.

“It took a certain amount of tinkering by my audiologist [Shann Rand], but the results have been great. I have one channel for ordinary conversation, one for noisy situations such as restaurants, and one which, with the aid of the Phonak’s powerful “T” switch has made it possible for me to talk on the phone again. It also works well in rooms equipped with loops, infrared, etc., but such facilities are rare as you know.



Thanks for Your Financial Support
Donors Listed


Book Report
by William J Nemerever, Port Townsend

Missing Words The Family Handbook on Adult Hearing Loss
by Kay Thomsett & Eve Nickerson
Gallaudet University Press,
Washington, D.C. 1993

“Missing Words, for many of us, this is how it all started! When we recognized some hearing loss, we thought of it as if we had gained a couple of pounds that we have to carry the rest of our lives. This may be so for a few, but for many it is more like carrying an ever-growing burden, and we do not know how much it will grow. Nor do we realize at the time how much our lives will be affected. When our sight gets worse, we get new glasses and we can carry on much as before; our friends tell us how attractive they look. It is no big deal. When we wear hearing aids, we have become “peculiar”, nobody compliments us on our good taste, and everybody pretends not to notice. Ben Franklin, with his bifocals, looks wise and interesting. George Washington, with his ear trumpet, well that is another matter. Attitudes have not changed much in the past two hundred years.

“What awaits us, we usually do not think about very much. This book, which is many things, tells the story of Eve Nickerson, a schoolteacher, who in just seven years went from normal hearing to total deafness. Her story is told from three different viewpoints: hers, her daughter’s, and her ear doctor’s.

“Her story relates how she, her students, and her family observed, most of the time, but not always, her failing hearing; how she coped by adapting her behavior, and enlisted the cooperation of others; how she sought medical help; and how she struggled to take charge and retain her hold on life. The book contains a wealth of detail on ways to communicate, hearing devices and aids, cochlear implants, coping strategies, and other available resources. It is perhaps not going too far to call deafness (partial and total) a social disorder, as well as one constituting an individual handicap, because its most difficult for others to reach you and for oneself to stay connected with the world.
“Kay Thomsett, her daughter, in addition to her experience as a close family member brings her outlook of a student of psycholinguistics (how the mind makes sense out of the signals it receives which are set off by the sound of language). She combined her anguish at her mother’s struggles with her training and was thereby able to provide productive ideas as well as emotional support.

“Her ear doctor (otologist) has provided short but very informative essays on several important topics, such as controlling the conversation, dispelling fear, hearing and hearing aids, cochlear implants and coping improvements.
Additional comments are sprinkled throughout the book.

“There is no way in which a review can really summarize a book so rich in content. If you have any interest in hearing loss — your own or that of people close to you — this book will serve you very well in many ways for a long time.”
[Editor note; This book can be obtained from SHHH National. Price is $21.95 plus $6.50 Postage and Handling. Ask your local library to stock this book.

You will not only help yourself but also help other hard-of-hearing people within your community. Send your order to SHHH Publications, 7910 Woodmont Ave., Suite 1200, Bethesda, MD 20814]


Tacoma SHHH Chapter has moved to Tacoma Area Coalition of Individuals with Disabilities (TACID), 6315 South 19th Street. Please see “Affiliates in Action, Page 7


Thanks to Professionals
Listing of Professionals


Starting a Local in Your Area

Would you like to become part of a local in Your area? People in Yakima, Spokane, Olympia, Port Townsend, and the University of Washington area have expressed an interest in getting a local going. If you would like to be part of a group in anyone of these areas, or any other area, please send an E- mail or a letter to the SHHH Umbrella. Address on the Subcription Page. The University area would be for all but with emphasis on those employed and in age 20 to 50 bracket.

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