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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 3
Spring 1997

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SHHH And You

For many of you, the Regional Convention this past fall was your first SHHH Convention. Several were apprehensive about coming and were afraid of not understanding. You were so delighted to find out your fears were unwarranted because all of your communications needs were met. If you have never attended an SHHH convention, you are missing a special treat. No where else will you have a chance to view and try out so many products that help you to live a richer and fuller life. In addition you will find workshops that you will feel were designed for you.

The 1997 National SHHH convention will be held in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13-16 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Watch for more information concerning this convention in upcoming issues of the National SHHH publication magazine Hearing Loss. If you are not a member of National SHHH, now is the time to join. Individual membership is $25. If you and your partner would like to join, the cost is $30 or $35 for complete family membership.

Make your check payable to National SHHH and send to: SHHH Membership 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 six times a year. Thanks for joining National SHHH. We hope to see you in Phoenix in June. If you are already a member of National SHHH, Encourage a friend to join.


Coordinator’s Comments
by Gordon L Nystedt

“I received so much information from your newsletter. You need to do a better job of letting people know SHHH exists.” This is a comment I hear over and over again. I wish there was some magical way we could let everyone with a hearing loss know of the devices, besides hearing aids, that might help them cope better with their hearing loss. How do we get the word out? I wish I knew the answer.

At the present time we mail this newsletter to all known hearing health care professionals in the State of Washington. We are counting on them to advise their clients that SHHH does exist and that it can help them learn to cope. The next time you visit your hearing health care professional office, check and see if our newsletter is displayed. If you do not see it, ask them if they receive it? If they do not, send us their name and address and we will add them to our mailing list. It is only by working together that we can educate hard of hearing people about the help available.

If you are one of those who has received help from our newsletter, let us know. Also let your audiologist know. Tell him/her what SHHH has meant to you. After you finish reading your newsletter, pass it along to a friend that has a hearing problem. If you have an idea on how we can better meet the needs of hard of hearing people, we would appreciate hearing from you. Far too often people start to cut themselves off from the outside world when their hearing decreases because they are unaware that there is help. The action we take just might change the life of someone else.


Program on Hearing Aids Past, Present & Future
Saturday, March 22, 1997

“The Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle is pleased to announce that it will host a half-day program to discuss Hearing Aids: Past, Present, and Future as part of its continuing series of public education conferences.

“This morning program will begin at 9 AM with an introduction by George A Gates, M.D., Executive Director, on health and disorders of the inner ear. “Sharon Kujawa, PhD., Assistant Professor and Chief of Audiology in the U of W Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery will discuss how the various common disorders of the inner ear affect hearing and hearing aid use.

“Tom Rees, PhD., Associate Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Audiologist in the otolaryngology clinics at the UW Medical Center and Harborview Hospital, will talk about the history of hearing aids and what is currently available. “Pamela Souza, PhD., Assistant Professor in the U of W Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences will then talk about future trends in hearing aid technology and research in amplification.

“George A Gates, M.D., will discuss newest advances in Cochlear Implants, including the new CI24M from Cochlear Corporation. “The program will end at noon. Talks will take place on the University of Washington campus in Room CD 150 of the CHDD Building Complex. Parking is available in the S1 parking lot for $2.50.

“There will be time for questions after each of the talks. FM Systems and captioning will be available.

“Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center is located on the first floor of the CHDD building, one block south of the University of Washington Medical Center and Hospital (UWMC). Parking is available in the S1 parking lot, directly west of the CHDD building.

“The UWMC is located at 1959 N.E. Pacific Street, at the south end of the University of Washington Campus. Freeway Directions “From I-5 take Exit 168B (Bellevue, State Route 520) heading east. Then take the first exit, Mountlake Blvd., and follow signs to UWMC.

“From I-405 take exit 14 (Seattle Via Evergreen Point Bridge, State Route 520) heading west. Then take the Mountlake Blvd. Exit and follow signs to UWMC. Parking

“From NE Pacific Street, turn south on 15th Ave NE until it curves to the right. Turn left onto Columbia Road where there is a gatehouse with a parking attendant on duty. Parking is $2.50. The S1 parking lot is on your right as you drive east. The CHDD building is located on the far east side of the parking lot. Follow the signs to the meeting room CD150.

[Editor’s note: Above information supplied by Linda Howarth of the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center. While there is no registration required, it is important we know the approximate number planning to attend as seating is limited. Please advise the Umbrella if you are attending and the number in your party.


Hearing Health Fair
at Hearing, Speech, and Deafness Center May 17th
“The Hearing, Speech and Deafness Center (HSDC) will hold our 3rd Annual Hearing Health Fair on Saturday May 17, 1997 from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Once again, we will display the newest in technology for hearing aids and assistive listening and signaling devices. We will also offer popular education programs. More information as plans evolve. We look forward to seeing our friends from SHHH at this function.”

[Editor’s note: Information supplied by Edward Freedman, Executive Director of HSDC. Please stop by the SHHH table and introduce yourself. It is your chance to visit the center’s newly re-opened store called “Beyond Hearing Aids - A Retail Store”and try out some of the items you learn about at SHHH meetings or through this newsletter. HSDC is located at 1620 18th Ave., Seattle. (Corner of 18th and Madison). Free parking on the street or in the parking lot behind main building off Madison. For more information phone 206-323-5770 V/TTY or E- mail:]


SHHH Will Visit Your Community Soon
Gordon L Nystedt, SHHH Coordinator for WA State will be speaking at the Senior Center in Centralia - Chehalis area on March 3rd. He will also speak at the Greenwood Senior Center in Seattle on April 8th. See Affiliates in Action on page 6 and 7 for details. Gordon will discuss the importance of communication. Communicating with people with a hearing loss can be very frustrating, not only for hard of hearing people but also for hearing people. This is especially true when trying to communicate with someone who does not recognize they have a hearing loss, or will not come to grips with their hearing loss.


What To Expect at a Hospital

Sometime during our life, all of us will most likely be hospitalized. There is probably no other place where it is more important that we understand all communication in order to receive the proper medication, as well as understand the procedures about to be performed.

Hospitals are required by federal law to be accessible to people with hearing loss. This means supplying you with an amplified telephone as well as captioned TV or assistive devices that will meet your needs. If your hospital stay is a planned event, it is suggested you visit the hospital prior to admission and find out the services they will make available.

If your hospital does not have the equipment to accommodate your hearing needs, it is a good time to educate them as to the SHHH Hospital program and your availability to help to implement the program. Brenda Battat, Deputy Executive Director of SHHH, recommends we make good use of the preadmission visit to discuss our hearing loss and educate the staff on how to communicate with us.

She suggests we take along some communication tip cards to hand out. She also recommends that we promise ourselves that we will not bluff. It is important we understand instructions for tests and medications and if we do not, we ask for them in writing.

In the September/October issue of Hearing Loss Brenda Battat has an excellent article “Tips to Go To The Hospital.” This is recommended reading for anyone contemplating future hospital stay. National SHHH can advise you how to obtain a copy of this article. If you are not a member of National SHHH, join today.


Amplified Telephones
Amplified telephones appear to lead the list of items that are extremely helpful to hard of hearing people. One of the phones we have talked about is the AT&T Amplified 710A. Seattle Hearing, Speech and Deafness Center (HSDC) has been informed by AT&T that this phone is no longer being manufactured. A few audiologists may still have some available.

The Washington State Telecommunication Access Service (TAS) states they still have several available at no charge for low income people. Other people can also obtain the phone from TAS for a fee. They will advise the price before issuing it to you. If you would still like to receive this phone from TAS you need to complete and send in the proper paperwork. If your audiologists does not have the form, you can call TAS 1-800-422-7930 and have the proper form mailed to you.

Many of our hard of hearing SHHH members tested a few phones last fall. The Ameriphone XL-30 received a lot of praise. This telephone not only amplifies the incoming voice but can also amplify your voice to the person to whom you are speaking. In addition it has a place to plug in a neck loop to take advantage of the “T-coil” switch on your hearing aid. Check with your audiologist to see if he/she stock it.

Another phone that has received praise from the hard of hearing community is the Audex Cordless Phone. It is one of the few cordless phones that has a strong “T-coil” built in. It also has a plug in for a neck loop or a cochlear implant patch cord. If you live in the Seattle area you can test this phone or the Ameriphone XL-30 at HSDC. If you live in another area, you can contact Audex phone number 1-800-237-0716 to locate the supplier nearest you. Remember, there is no one particular phone that meets the needs of all hard of hearing people.


Do You Sometimes Have Trouble Hearing and Understanding?
by John Centa,
Region 10 SHHH Coordinator
There are all kinds of devices, systems, and techniques that can help most hard of hearing people. They include amplified and hearing aid compatible telephones; TV systems; devices for use in cars, buses and planes; systems for churches, entertainment centers, classroom or training sessions; businesses or political offices; vibratory or flashing light wake up devices, doorbell and fire alarms, even devices to help at the dinner table or in a noisy meeting.

However, nothing can help until YOU MAKE UP YOUR MIND that YOU are the problem and YOU want to be helped. Then all kinds of help is readily available! The sequential steps to SELF help are very straightforward: Have your health and ears carefully checked by your doctor, and if any questions arise have your ears checked by an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. Have your hearing checked by a competent audiologist or hearing aid dispenser.

[Editor's note: If you don’t know where to go, come to a SHHH meeting and talk with members about the service and help they have received locally.]

If they recommend a hearing aid, get it and PLAN TO WORK HARD AT LEARNING HOW AND WHEN TO WEAR IT. Even the best and most expensive hearing aid won't give you “new” or good ears! It is a tool and you will hear some sounds you don’t want to hear - but MUST put up with to hear/understand the sounds you are interested in.

Expect to spend several months wearing the aid conscientiously; talking with your professional and friends learning how to get the most possible help. You will find there are common hearing situations where your hearing aid by itself CANNOT do the job! Noisy backgrounds, rooms with poor acoustics, some telephone situations, TV volume, problems with a spouse that has good hearing; hearing passengers in a car or RV or plane. NOW is the time to take SELF HELP action and learn how to help your hearing aid!

[Editor’s note: Be certain you talk to your Hearing Health Professional about the “T-coil” in the hearing aid and the benefits of using it with assistive devices as well as with the telephone. Discuss assistive devices that can help you along with your hearing aid. If you have any questions on where to begin, contact your local SHHH Group/Chapter or the SHHH Umbrella. (Address is on Page 8.) Remember, no one can help you until you take that first step. It is up to you!]


What Brand Hearing Aid Should I Buy?
The SHHH Umbrella receives many inquiries as to which hearing aid brand is the best. There is no one particular brand that meets the needs of everyone. The type of hearing aid that may benefit you will depend on the type of hearing loss you have as well as your life style.

For example, a person that stays home all the time might not want the same aid as a person who is constantly in noisy situations. Go to a professional that can offer you a choice. The most important thing to remember is that the hearing aid gives you benefit. Too often people purchase a hearing aid and it ends up in a desk drawer. This could be due to the person not giving it time to work or due to a poor fit. State law allows you to return a hearing aid, within a time period, that doesn’t work for you or improperly fitted and get most of your money back.

If you are wearing a hearing aid that gives you great benefit, share your story with us so we can share it with other hard of hearing people.


Reader’s Comments

Enjoys Reader’s View
Cyndee Northrop,
“I would like to take a minute and let you know how much I have enjoyed your outstanding newsletter. Each issue has contained valuable information, much of which has benefited me personally. I especially appreciate your reader’s views and opinions on new assistive listening devices, telephones, and hearing aids. The latter has been particularly helpful as I am in the process of acquiring new aids. “In the ten years since I became profoundly hearing impaired, due to catastrophic illness, I have subscribed to many local and national publications on hearing loss. Your newsletter delivers more helpful information than many national publications. Keep up the good work!”


Enjoyed Convention
Evalyn Sroufe,
“I felt that I just had to write to let you know how impressed Oren and I were with the convention. The planning that went into it showed in every detail and it was fantastic! We can’t thank you enough for all the many many hours and days that you spent putting it together. I guess all of us were concerned for your well being, as you looked very weary, but your enthusiasm never flagged. Incredible! “The exhibits were such that I think everyone must have had plenty of opportunity for one-on-one response to questions and needs to try some of the new items displayed. But most of all it was the over-all spirit that seemed to pervade everything.

People seemed so pleased and happy with what was happening. “The quality of the speakers was outstanding and very impressive. Their message was helpful, and surely no one came away without feeling they had been enriched by the experience. “There is really no adequate way that comes near to expressing our thanks and gratitude for what you and the rest of those who worked with you, accomplished. I know you said you would never attempt it again, but you must have gone home with a warm feeling of accomplishment and pride.”


Captioning On TV
Bernie Swartz,
“What baffles me, after all this time, is only Channel 11 remains the only TV station in this area to have 100% closed captioned news broadcast. “I can’t comprehend why Channel 4, 5, and 7 tapes closed captioned only and leaves those who are hard of hearing and deaf without access to understand any of the news reporting of live broadcast. Inasmuch as events happen frequently, live reporting can make-up a goodly portion of the daily newscasts. “Sonic games have live closed captioning when broadcast either by Channel 11 or 7. As far as I know that is the only cross-over of the use of live closed captioning that exists in this area. “Do you have any up-date what progress, if any, is being made to change the status quo of live closed captioning with TV stations other than Channel 11?”


Enjoys Ameriphone Bell Ringer
Cecelia Roop,
“I wish to congratulate you on the success of the Pacific Northwest Regional SHHH Conference. The whole program was outstanding with excellent speakers, fine facilities, for meeting as well as housing, and very good catering services. Everyone in the Seattle group was happy with the entire conference. “The vendor exhibits were of great interest and we found many things there we thought were helpful. Several of us came home with some new pieces of equipment.

I purchased an Ameriphone bell ringer for the phone which can be heard throughout the house so I miss no calls, even if I do not have my hearing aids on at the time it rings. My grandson arrived Sunday night from New York on the day I returned from the conference and installed it the next morning. It is a great addition for sometimes it is hard to decipher the calls left on the answering machine. “We were all interested in the people at the Conference. It was such a friendly group, a gathering of people with the same problems and all ready to share experiences and ready to help others in any way possible. This was a very satisfactory experience and knowing what a great amount of time and energy you gave to the project, I wanted to thank you.


Wants Newsletter
Reader from Spanaway
“I about died of old age taking so long to type your address.[Editor’s note: Sorry, you do not need to write out the whole name. Just say “SHHH”] “I would appreciate information from you about how to join your group and receive your newsletter. [Editor’s note: Just notify us and we add you to the mailing list.] I am 73, practically completely deaf in my left ear and half-deaf in the right ear with a hole in the right ear-drum. “I was tested for programmable hearing aids not too long ago and they wanted $1200 to $1400 each. I have been retired ten years on $1800 a month fixed pension. No way can I afford that price for the state-of-the-art aids.”


SHHH Group in Wenatchee
Reader in Wenatchee
“Thank you for your last newsletter and Lloyd should join if you have a chapter here. We had to move here to be near our son as both are in poor health. “Please let me know if there is a chapter in Wenatchee and will join it.” [Editor note; At the present time there is not a local SHHH in Wenatchee. It, like so many other communities, is in great need for one. If anyone in Wenatchee or any other area would like to help organize a group, please let the Umbrella know and we will work with you.”]


Veterans Audiology Clinic Packet Includes this Newsletter
Arv Dahl,
“Your newsletter of Summer 1995 was included in an information pamphlet issued by the VA Audiology Clinic. Somehow the information was misplaced until just recently. I read it with much interest and would appreciate receiving future copies of the newsletter.”


Regional Convention “The Best”
Elma Hendrickson,
Custer, S.D.
I have just got to write with a big THANK YOU to the Northwest Planning Committee and all participants and volunteers that made the Northwest SHHH Conference in October a resounding success. I have attended many conventions, and this was “the best”. What a great bunch of people and with the enthusiasm needed to make it easier for all of us SHHHr’s to function in the hearing world. “If there were any glitches, I didn’t see them. The presenters, communications systems, exhibit hall and the Monarch Hotel staff made it an informative and enjoyable three days. “Besides the great information I received, I met many old friends and made some new ones. “It took a team effort with exceptional organizers to pull this off. There were over 450 registered and I am glad I was one of them!”

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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