Hearing Vibes: Hearing Loops and Coping with Hearing Loss

Barb Soderberg

I never felt my hearing loss was a disability until we moved to SaddleBrooke. There are hundreds of wonderful things to do, most of which require me to be able to hear. In a small group, I function fairly well, but not in a classroom, theater, or ballroom if there is no audio loop to send the microphone sound directly to my hearing aids. I went to an author luncheon in the ballroom, my favorite author at the time, and did not understand anything. I wanted to go home and cry that day, because I’d missed it all. People laughed at what he said, while I hadn’t a clue. The ballroom has a loop system. It was not working at that time, apparently because the sound staff was unfamiliar with it. Thankfully, that has changed and now I can go to presentations and not feel like I might as well have stayed home, because I didn’t hear anything. DesertView Theater is also looped.

Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) has been a leader in advocating for looped facilities. They teach those of us who are Hard of Hearing that to use a loop, we first must talk to our audiologist to see if our aids can be programmed for a tele-coil. Juliette Sterkens, a retired audiologist from Wisconsin, is the HLAA loop advocate. She started looping facilities in Wisconsin long before she retired, because it was the right thing to do. Russ and I paid to loop our church in Wisconsin. I had been using the church provided FM system connected to a neck loop. But that required me to remember to take my neck loop with me, and that didn’t always happen. So, we looped the sanctuary. Now all I need are my hearing aids and I never leave home without them.

Russ has been my technology advocate from day one. He provided me with a loop system for the family room in our Wisconsin home and the living room at our cottage, because I need all the help I can get to enjoy TV with the rest of the family. In SaddleBrooke, he bought me a TV FM system, a neck loop with a receiver attached.

Recently, I realized that having surgery when you don’t hear can be very scary. I learned this when I had cataract surgery, since they weren’t putting me to sleep. I was concerned they would say something to me, and I wouldn’t understand them without my hearing aids causing me to  do something that might ruin my eyesight forever. I ended up wearing an old hearing aid in the ear opposite the side that was having surgery, and the doctor talked loudly through the entire surgery. Those of us with hearing losses must learn to adapt in every situation.

HLAA helped me to understand my hearing loss and provided me with all kinds of information on how we can adapt to our situations. It’s good to be able to talk with others who are in similar situations, to learn about new ideas and new technology. At the present time there is no HLAA in this area, but there is the recently formed Discussion Group for Better Hearing for those of us with hearing loss. It’s a good place to bring your questions and concerns about how to deal with your hearing loss and how to get the most out of this wonderful place we call home.

Upcoming meetings are:

Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020: MountainView, Saguaro Room, 1 – 3 p.m.

Thursday, March 12, 2020: MountainView, Saguaro Room, 1 – 3 p.m.

If you have questions or would like more information please contact Jennifer Jefferis, [email protected] or 360-909-6212; or Dick and Judy Kroese at [email protected] or 520-360-5789.