This past weekend, I joined more than 100 people with hearing loss or deafness at Kansas City’s first-ever Hearing Loss Summit. The crowd included fellow lipreading moms, individuals who were born with hearing loss, those who are culturally Deaf, and adults who are late-deafened. I saw several young children wearing cochlear implants or hearing aids. Sign language conversations in the hallways abounded. Communication Aided Realtime Translation (CART) flashed across screens in multiple workshop rooms. The hands of sign language interpreters kept busy as they interpreted each presentation’s message.
The event included three tracks: employment and education, living with hearing loss, and technology. My presentation was titled “Thriving with a Hearing Loss” and included tips for good communication and advocacy with loved ones this holiday season. As part of the presentation, I asked my family members to talk about the impact of my hearing loss on our communication. My 14-year-old daughter poignantly said, “It is natural to communicate with you. (Hearing loss) has always been part of our lives.”
Among the communication tips I shared:
Create the right listening environment.
Ask a loved one to be your hearing helper.
Find a one-on-one conversation spot, if possible.
Speak one at a time by using what I called the “Hearing Stick.”
Read more about these communication tips in my blog post Five Survival Tips for Surviving the Holidays with a Hearing Loss.
A special thank you to the Kansas Commission for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing for making this event possible, and hopefully we will have many more in future years.