Posts filed under ‘Deaf/HoH — Vlog’

Late-Deafened Adults

I think it is important for us to educate ourselves about late-deafened adults and be sensitive to their great losses:

For many late deafened adults, they grow up hearing and functioning well. Once, they lose their hearing, they feel that they are cut off from their normal communication as well as their own identities. They go through their grief processing in different levels, and learn how to cope and adapt to this loss on an individual basis.

They also need to learn to be “deaf”. They, normally at the very beginning, are not willing to associate with Culturally Deaf people. They would rather be connected to people who are experiencing what they are going through.

Fortunately, there is an organization called ‘Hearing Loss Association of America’ (HLAA). Their mission is to support the Empowerment of Deafened People. They are able to share experiences of growing up hearing and becoming deaf adults and they also have similar communication issues. At the same time, they learn to confront and accept their deafness. They have various degrees of hearing loss. Some wear hearing aids or cochlear implants.

The forms of communications are visual, oral, aural, speech reading, live captioning (CART), closed captioning, sign language or American Sign Language. There are unique challenges for this population. I once taught a late-deafened lady how to use American Sign Language, but I had to sign everything really slowly. She is not a Culturally Deaf person. I also listened to her experience adjusting and managing her hearing loss.

I am sensitive and patient with those with hearing loss because I have a family member who lost some of her hearing when she was a teen. She went through many phases at the beginning. She had to wear hearing aids but always had her hair cover them; she did not want anyone to know about it. She functions pretty well in the hearing society, but she leans on lip reading or sits close to a person talking. It was a big struggle for her and there was no school counselor providing some support. She felt her whole life collapsed and did not know where to turn. To this day, I still do not know how she coped.

I, personally, did not have to cope with my hearing loss because I was born deaf. My parents were deaf so everything was pretty easy for me. When you see late-deafened adults, please try to be patient with them. They sometimes do not speak clearly because they cannot hear their own speech. You need to ask them to repeat nicely and sit close to this person. They will feel you show a lot of respect and acceptance.

By Doreen Solar, ECNV Deaf Peer Counselor

January 6, 2012 at 11:21 am 6 comments

My Cochlear Implant (CI, Part 7) – Haven’t I done this before?

Tony and ECNV Executive Director David Burds
At my appointment on December 1 at Johns Hopkins, there were times when I was thinking I’ve done this same type of testing a bunch of times, why am I doing it again? The answer is, very simply, because things change! It, kind of, seems odd that one can have such a vastly different level of hearing after such a relatively short period of time (in this case, about six months); but then I think about my disability, Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA), and it does not seem so odd.

FA is a progressive disability and in my case the hearing issues get worse at a much quicker rate than the physical issues. That is certainly not to say that my physical issues are not a problem (I do use a wheelchair or scooter for mobility), but my hearing can change on an almost daily basis whereas changes in my physical disability may not be noticeable for several months. Heck, I could take the exact same audiology test for a week and I’d probably get about five different results.

So since that is the case, and I know it well, I took an active and honest role in various audiology tests. I have no doubt that sometimes the results from those tests are confounding to my audiologist, but she does her best to help me (thanks, Courtney!).

The bottom line is that after getting a cochlear implant I am able to hear and understand what is being said to me. I still have better and worse hearing days but they are not as often as they used to be, and the fact is I can hear and understand much of what is said to me; and that is not something that I have done before or at least not for many years!

December 5, 2011 at 9:10 pm 8 comments

How has Deaf President Now (DPN) at Gallaudet University affected our lives?

For many years, Deaf people were under the power line and controlled and defined by hearing people. We were often misled by them and under the impression that we could not do anything because we have the inability to hear.

We, Deaf People, know that we can do anything hearing people do except hear. Unfortunately, many hearing people did not agree with us.

Until DPN, we finally got our request to have a Deaf President. And schools for the Deaf around the country were finally able to have superintendents; senior administers, teachers, etc. who are Deaf.

Also, many bills were passed which promoted the rights of Deaf and other disabled people. In 1993, Senator Tom Harkin, whose brother is Deaf and is a long time advocator for Gallaudet University, admitted that the Congress passed more bills in the five years between DPN and 1993.

The door is now open to many opportunities for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in the country as well as other countries. We have Deaf people holding Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees as well as Doctorates. Also, there are many professionals, business-people, lawyers, doctors, and entertainers who are Deaf.

When I think about the past, my Deaf parents and most of their friends worked in the factories because hearing people always said, “You can’t because you can not hear”.

My hearing Aunt, my father’s sister was furious that the Deaf Students at Gallaudet protested for a Deaf President Now because we embarrassed the entire population. I looked at her and said that Deaf people have been oppressed too long and we feel it is time to show them what we can do; not what we cannot do.  She was stunned because she had never thought of it this way. I also mentioned that her brother, my dad, could have become a doctor or scientist, but his dream was banned. Now, we know all children are able to have their dreams without any struggles or barriers what they want to become when they are young adults.

Deaf President Now protest at the US CapitolDPN delivered a powerful message in 1988 to hearing people, and its underlying motivation of self-determination and empowerment. We, Deaf people, also taught them that it is better to look at what Deaf people can do than what they cannot.

Now, many hearing people are taking sign language classes and many hearing babies are encouraged to use sign language to stimulate early language and communication development.

We, Deaf people, have advanced techniques to help us be equal to hearing people now. We are able to see that we all are treated equally and respectfully.

By Doreen Solar, ECNV Deaf Peer Counselor

November 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm Leave a comment

Laurent Clerc

Can you imagine where deaf and hard of hearing people would be if we never had Laurent Clerc?

In 1816, Clerc traveled to America with his friend and interpreter, Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet from Paris on a ship for 52 days. During that time, Gallaudet tutored Clerc in English. And, Clerc also showed him how to use the method of signs for abstract ideas.

They arrived in Harford, Connecticut, on August 22, 1816. On the very same day, Clerc met Alice Cogswell who was deaf. She also was the daughter of Gallaudet’s neighbor and friend, Mason Fitch Cogswell.

Alice signed and showed a lot of hunger for knowledge without any language. It was then when Clerc decided to carry out his mission that he came to do.

Thomas Gallaudet and Alice Cogswell Clerc, Gallaudet and Dr. Cogswell delivered many speeches and demonstrations of their teaching methods to deaf children in order to get public, legislative and financial support for their goals. From October 1816 to April 1817, they traveled to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and other places. They continued informing the public, interviewing parents of deaf children, and prospective students. They raised about $12,000 from the public. The Connecticut General Assembly made history by voting an additional of $5,000 for the school.

On April 15, 1817, the first School for the Deaf in America was opened in Harford, Conn. with seven students. Of course, Alice Cogswell was the first student to enroll this program. At first, it was called the Connecticut Asylum at Hartford for the Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons and now it is the American School for the Deaf.

Gallaudet was the principal and Clerc was the head teacher. One year following, poor and uneducated students enrolled. Their ages ranged from 10 to 51 years old.

Clerc’s influence had thirty residential schools established during his lifetime. In June 1864, he was a guest of honor at the inauguration of the National Deaf-Mute College, now Gallaudet University.

If it was not for Clerc, deaf and hard of hearing people of all ages would be considered mentally retarded and live in institutions without any form of communication. We need to bow to him with our great appreciation and a lot of applause for what he did for us.

I cannot imagine myself without my education. I also can visualize that others feel the same way as I do.

By Doreen Solar, ECNV Deaf Peer Counselor

October 26, 2011 at 7:38 pm Leave a comment

My Cochlear Implant (CI, Part 6) – One Year Later

Tony and SheriIt really is hard to believe that it has been a year (OK, technically a year and a day) since I had my cochlear implant surgery. It has definitely been a year of excitement and anticipation as well as one described by many other adjectives. 

Thinking back to the actual day of the surgery, I remember seeing my surgeon, Dr. Charles Limb, before the operation, being prepped for surgery, seeing my Mother and my wife as I was being taken to the OR, and then arriving in the OR which was probably the cleanest most sparkling room in which I have ever been! I remember a nurse telling me that the anesthetic was about to be applied and then the next thing I knew I was in the recovery room with a bandage around my head. 

There was, thankfully, little pain (that would come later, when the anesthesia wore off) and I was able to leave Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore about five hours after the surgery.  The ride home took about an hour and a half (I think, I was still pretty hazy) and then I got home, and went straight for my favorite chair and stayed there until it was time to go to bed. 

The bandage around my head included a semi-circular piece of plastic over my ear to protect the actual area where the incision had been made, so I had to get used to not rolling over on it! I had taken a pain pill and, trust me, I fell right to sleep. But it was great to be home and not in the hospital even for one night! 

The next few days were spent recovering from the surgery and getting my stomach back in shape (anesthesia can really mess things up down there!). After several days, the bandage came off and I went back and saw the surgeon who said everything looked fine and my next appointment at Johns Hopkins would be in the middle of November for the initial activation of the implant. 

I’ll write about that anniversary next month, but today I’m just remembering the actual surgery.

By Tony Trott, ECNV Peer Mentor & Editor

October 20, 2011 at 8:06 pm Leave a comment

My Cochlear Implant (CI, Part 5) – Replacement

Tony listening to the conversation through his CI

I had an appointment at Johns Hopkins earlier this summer, but things have been so busy I haven’t had a chance to write it up yet.  The Internet here at ECNV is down this morning, so I have some time to put things into writing.

Truly, there is not that much exciting to tell about the appointment.  First of all, traffic was pretty miserable getting from Washington to Baltimore.  The Baltimore-Washington Parkway is a much nicer ride than is Interstate 95, however when you’re sitting in stopped traffic knowing that you’ll be late for an appointment, the trees are less attractive!

Eventually, we got there and got to the Listening Center.  We were about 40 minutes late but my audiologist, thankfully, still was able to see me (I think she worked into her lunch break…what a nice audiologist I have!).

As I said, it was not particularly exciting.  We didn’t really make any significant changes to the processor.  Well, actually, we did make one change that will likely be significant.  As I think I’ve explained in previous posts about my CI, it has three distinct programs which can be set up differently.  We decided to change Program 2 to act as a telecoil (t-coil) which means it will pick up a signal from a loop when there is one.  Before I got the CI, I could really only understand spoken language if there was a loop present.  So it will be interesting to me to see how it works now.

While the t-coil was the only real change we made at the appointment, I did have to make a few changes on my own after that.  When I was attending the National Council on Independent Living Conference about a month later, I was making the rounds on Capital Hill visiting Congressional offices to advocate for disability issues and when I got home that evening, I realized I lost the extra battery I was carrying and the little case that holds it!  I did order replacements, but they’re crazy-expensive and we don‘t know yet if insurance will cover them.

I guess the lesson to be learned here is to be careful with batteries!

By Tony Trott, ECNV Peer Mentor & Editor

August 9, 2011 at 4:09 pm Leave a comment

Cooking Class for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

VegetableI have agreed to provide some basic cooking lessons this coming fall for 6 to 10 deaf and hard of hearing clients with mental illness once weekly from 4 to 6 p.m. However, the day is not yet determined. Mostly live on their own without any cooking skills and the rest live in the group homes.

The lessons will be held at PRS, 1761 Old Meadow Road, McLean, VA 22101. ECNV has a partnership with PRSand it is convenient that they provide us their facilities including their cooking tools such as pots, pans, etc. They also stated that they could not provide the storage, so it means I will need to store things at ECNV.

SpiceHowever, we need to provide food ourselves. I would very much appreciate if you could help by donating some food for this class. I also will try to contact Food Bank to see their willingness in donating some food.

Lastly, I need 2 volunteers with sign language knowledge to work with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me for further information.

By Doreen Solar, ECNV Deaf Peer Counselor

June 16, 2011 at 4:34 pm Leave a comment

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