The goal of this session is to discuss the importance of self advocacy, tips for traveling, and preparing for emergencies.
- Follow up on topics and questions from the previous session
- Discuss the importance of self-advocacy
- Share tips for traveling
- Safety and emergency preparedness
The last session covered the signal-to-noise ratio, hearing assistive technology (HAT), and assistive listening devices. Take a few minutes to discuss with group members if they had a chance to try out the dB measurement apps or any assistive technologies, or if they have any other questions from the last session.
Discuss the importance of self-advocacy
It is important for group members to learn to advocate for themselves in order to deal with daily challenges. As discussed later in this session, self-advocacy is also important for people with hearing loss when traveling or preparing for emergency situations.
Most people want to be helpful and supportive of those with hearing loss. This requires that as a person with hearing loss you are about your needs and goals. This means that you need to employ different communication strategies for those needs to be met.
Go around the room and have group members share examples of when they have advocated for themselves. What was the outcome? How can the communication partners in the room support the people with hearing loss as they advocate for themselves?
Put together a list of relevant local, regional, and national patient advocacy/consumer organizations to share with group members so that they can continue to explore information, resources, events, meetings, and news related to hearing loss in your area. These resources can also include information about protections in the workplace, available resources like government-funded programs, and safety standards that need to be met in public spaces and businesses.
Travel can be stressful for all of us, but people with hearing loss may be particularly worried about managing in unfamiliar surroundings. There are, however, numerous ways to make travel easier, regardless of the mode of transport. Take a few minutes to review these options with the group. If any group members have an upcoming trip, you can use that as inspiration to brainstorm further ideas.
- Make sure your hearing aids are in good condition before traveling. If in doubt, have them checked by a hearing care professional. If you are planning a longer stay, ask your hearing care professional for a referral to a hearing care professional in the area you are visiting.
- Pack extra batteries and cleaning supplies for your hearing aids and keep them in your hand luggage where they are easily accessible. Bring a dehumidifying kit if you are traveling to the beach or a lake. If you have an old set of hearing aids, you can bring those along as back up.
- Tell train, airport, plane, hotel, etc. staff that you have difficulty hearing. They can make arrangements for you to be notified in case of announcements or emergencies.
- If you’re traveling on a train or bus that doesn’t have a visual display, ask someone sitting nearby to alert you when your stop is coming up.
- Most airlines offer notifications via app or text message if there’s a change to your gate number or flight times.
- When going through airport security, there’s no need to remove your hearing aids or the external components of a cochlear implant. However, a cochlear implant will set off the security detectors, so carry your cochlear implant identification to show security staff.
- Some travel terminals and lounges provide hearing loops that work with your hearing aid telecoil setting. Look for signs or ask staff if this is available.
- There’s no need to turn off your hearing aids or their wireless features on a plane, they are approved for use during the flight.
Conventional wisdom says that every household should be prepared for emergencies. For people with hearing loss, there are additional considerations to make sure they receive vital information and are able to communicate as easily as possible.
As mentioned in Session Six on HAT, there are alert systems that can notify people with hearing loss of household events like a phone or doorbell ringing, a baby crying, an alarm clock going off, a door or window opening, or if a smoke or carbon monoxide detector goes off.
These alert systems work through a combination of sound, visual, vibration signals and are important tools for ensuring that people with hearing loss remain aware and safe.
In some regions people can get push notifications sent to their phones or sign up for a text massaging service to stay up to date on weather events or other community-specific situations. Many local television stations also share emergency alerts.
Remind group members to keep their hearing aids in a readily-accessible place when not wearing them, such as on a bedside table. It’s also recommend that they put together an emergency hearing kit including:
- Two to four week supply of spare batteries, or a portable battery charger for cochlear implants
- Spare devices, in case the ones they usually use are lost or damaged
- A waterproof container to store your hearing aid or cochlear implant in
- Pen and paper so messages can be written down
- Medical identification tag so emergency services will know you have a hearing loss
- Flashlights both for seeing in general and to aid in reading lips