PLEASE NOTE THAT THE MORNING TEAS AT GLADESVILLE HAVE BEEN CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
More advice will be provided in due course.
May 2020 CBC News
Masks, plexiglass barriers, and reliance on virtual meetings can make communication difficult.
For Kim Scott, dealing with feelings of isolation is nothing new. Scott grew up with progressive hearing loss, and over the years she got used to spending a lot of time alone, because of the challenges of communicating with others. But as the world has shifted to virtual communication amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Scott says feelings of isolation for herself and others with hearing loss are "compounded." "There's a lot of challenges people are facing, you know, in terms of just staying in touch with work or loved ones," said Scott, who is the executive director of the Sudbury branch of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association. "This is just increasing our isolation even further."
One of the key challenges for people with hearing loss, Scott says, is the ability to participate in phone calls, particularly with multiple people, rather than in-person meetings. "Conference calling, you don't have any visual cues. And you don't get the clarity of sound through a telephone that you get with a face to face."
Kim Scott is the executive director of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, Sudbury Branch
Scott has had a cochlear implant for three decades, and while it helps her communicate, she says it is important to remember that cochlear implants and hearing aids "don't restore hearing to normal.” "And as a result, you know, everything you know that other just take for granted, it's still a real challenge," Scott said.
While video-calls have the benefit of visual cues, Scott says the audio quality is often poor, and those kinds of calls are inaccessible without computerised note-taking or captioning.
While many people are relishing the ability to get out into the community a bit more, as the province begins to reopen, Scott says people with hearing loss are now facing new barriers. In particular, the face masks and plexiglass barriers that are becoming more and more common.
"It's making it extremely challenging for us to get back out there on any level and be able to communicate and function."
As more people wear face masks, communicating can be more difficult for people with hearing loss
Particularly in noisy environments, Scott says it was already often a challenge to clearly discern what someone was saying. Now, voices are more muffled, and there's no longer the benefit of mouths and facial expressions to aid understanding. "The masks obviously are needed for everybody's safety at this point in time. And we don't want to compromise that. But you know it really increases the stress level, the sense of loneliness, and you know being on the outside of everything when you can't communicate," Scott said.
Scott says concerns around communication and understanding are more than "just a matter of convenience.” "If you're going to visit your doctor, you know already it was very difficult, and now they're wearing masks, you know, and you need to understand, this is important for your health to understand what is being said to you," Scott said. She said she has learned to speak up about her hearing difficulties, and is encouraging others to do the same. She says cashiers will often pull their mask down for a moment, from behind their barrier, so she can better understand them. She also suggests travelling with a pen and paper.
As everyone adjusts to new realities, and new ways of communicating, Scott hopes people's pandemic experiences might give them a better understanding of the isolation that many people experience regularly. "You're getting a little glimpse into what life is like. Not just for a few months, but for your entire life when you live with hearing loss.”
April 2020 Healthy Hearing
Telecommute, remote work, work-from-home: Whatever you call it, setting up a home office presents unique challenges when you've got hearing loss. Especially if it's something you're having to do unexpectedly, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. You may not only be learning to adapt to new ways of working, you may find that technology isn't as adaptive as you would like. Add a heavy dose of stress and social isolation, and it can even feel overwhelming.
CICADA provides support to hearing impaired Australians through information, education and social events:
Here at last is our 2018 revision of the "Hearing Loss and Hearing Solutions - A Guide" that we have published in PDF format for the enjoyment of users. Our original version was reviewed very favourably and attracted a lot of viewers. We now have this Guide in two formats: Desktop or Tablet version; iPhone/Android version.
You can view/download it from these links:
For desktop or tablet - Hearing Loss and Hearing Resources - A Guide (91 pages, 2.4 MB size).
For smartphones - iPhone or Android - Hearing Loss and Hearing Resources - smartphone version (101 pages, 1.6 MB size)
Here are some of the professional comments about our new 2018 version.
Overall Reactions to Second Edition:
Monica Bray (Cochlear): I’ve just discovered the wonderful Hearing Guide. It's an awesome resource.
Jade Parr (Advanced Bionics): What a great resource.
Roberta Marino (Fiona Stanley Hospital) with permission:
I really enjoyed reading the guide! It's brilliant. So comprehensive, easy to read and relatable. I'm really impressed with the level of detail and can only imagine the hours you've spent researching new updates. The guide will positively impact so many people including professionals. I can see it being so useful for instance, at our hospital when new medicos have a rotation in the Ear, Nose and Throat Department or when we have new Audiology students in our Department who are new to implant devices. Again - well done! It's fantastic there's people like you who are so pro-active and care enough to put in the hundreds of hours required to develop such a useful and thorough guide.
Overall Reactions to First Edition:
Margaret Anderson: It's going to be a great resource for consumers and all sorts of people. Well done for tackling it!
Marie-Louise Hekel: Congratulations on this most thorough publication. You have done a splendid job. It would be a very valuable resource, not only for hearing impaired people, but professional audiologists in particular.
Roberta Marino: I think you’ve done a brilliant job. You really have a great understanding of how the different devices can be applied. If you don’t mind, when the product is finished, I’d like to pass it on to training ENT’s at the major teaching hospitals here in Perth and also the upcoming Audiology students.
Sarah McCullough (Advanced Bionics): Well done on all your hard work
Linda Ballam-Davies (Cochlear): It looks great and you've done a top job.