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Wish to connect with people - Severe Hearing Loss

PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:53 am
by inspiresuccess
I'm a people person. I can no longer be in a group of even 3 people. I can no longer go to the movies. I can no longer watch things on TV if someone has an accent -- including British accents. I can no longer ride in a car and talk to the other person. I can no longer go to a restaurant or cafe. I can no longer talk on the phone. I have a phone for hearing impaired and it's very limited. My next step is to get a closed caption phone. I cannot talk on a cell phone. Sometimes, texting isn't an option. I can no longer go to church because sitting in the front row, I still can't understand what the priest is saying. I can no longer take classes because I can't understand the teacher or the other students. This hearing loss has taken a nose dive in the past 1-2 years.

I wanted to go to a presidential debate party to watch with others but it's in a restaurant so I can't go. I watched the first two debates in a friend's home. I had to sit 3 feet away from the TV and turn it up so loud that the person in her 90's and the person in her 80's asked me to turn it down.

I get free hearing aids from Medicare. Two years ago they were great. Now, almost useless. I see the audiologist today to increase volume but it doesn't help at all with UNDERSTANDING what people say. All it does is make non-understandable speaking, louder which is painful and useless.

All of this has happened in two years time. It's frightening how fast it's declining and how terrible it is to try to connect with people in any way.

I've found speech reading classes online which I will start. But lip reading is limited to people who are standing directly in front of me. I've found a group that meets once a month in my area. I will go in November. So far, I have not found speech reading classes in my area. I'm hoping someone there might have information for me.

This problem has taken away my ability to communicate with most people in most situations. As a "people person", It's terrible.

I tell people all the time that I'm hearing impaired and need them to speak slowly and loudly. It doesn't help much. I'm hoping that the support group might have suggestions for different ways I can ask for help that might help more than what I do now. I have to get my eyeglass prescription renewed in order to make me see better for lip reading. Eye glasses are expensive. Medical stopped paying for them. I found out recently that there is a center where I can get a free prescription and free glasses. I plan to go soon and sign up at this Crisis Center and then do the paperwork for the glasses.

I'm desperate to continue to connect with people beyond email and texting. If anyone has information, please help me. Perhaps, Wishes and Obstacles is not the right place to post this. If not, I'm sure the moderators will tell me. I'm practically in tears, writing this.

Re: Wish to connect with people - Severe Hearing Loss

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:57 am
by SquarePeg
Dear inspiresuccess, I'm so sorry you feel disconnected from people!

I think I can help with one thing, at least when you get your new glasses. Modern television includes Closed Captioning by Federal law. The "catch" is that the captions are not displayed by default, so someone has to alter the settings on the television. Knowing this could have helped you enjoy the debates. Well, not "enjoy," actually, but you know what I mean. ;)

Also, I had an idea for a smart phone app that would listen with the phone's microphone and filter and amplify human speech which would be delivered to the headphones (earbuds). I have trouble picking out a single person's speech when multiple conversations are taking place, which is one reason why I don't go to parties. (The other reason is that I don't get invited.) So I thought my app could help with that. A more advanced version of the app would perform a speech to text conversion in real time. And in this case, the speech can be from the built-in microphone, or it could be from a caller during a phone call.

Before you get excited about this, please understand that this is just an idea. But it's based on existing technology, and I'd be surprised if someone hasn't already done it. For example, "Siri" can understand most of what her owner says. I also had a "personal assistant extension for Evernote that would understand most if what I told her. I can also dictate to my computer and to my tablet.

So the obstacles are simply:
- Getting new glasses.
- Requesting that your TV friends learn how to display the Closed Caption signal (and set your own TV to do the same).
- Obtaining a smart phone or tablet.
- Obtaining an app to do the above.
- Learning / getting used to reading from a tablet while conversing with someone.

The TV -- closed caption solution is really simple. The smart phone app thingy is more exploratory.

Good luck, Dear One!

Re: Wish to connect with people - Severe Hearing Loss

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:30 pm
by Elaine Glimme
HI, Inspire,

Here's what I wrote on the other thread.

Please keep fighting to learn to read lips. It's totally worth it. And don't give up on your friends who have hearing.

My mother in law is almost completely deaf. Here's what works for her.

Cheapest hearing aids are at Costco. They don't work for her anymore, but they helped at one point. I don't know if there's any help with the cost of hearing aids which are horrendously expensive. ($2000 for two hearing aids at Costco.)
She reads lips. She's really good at telling people what she needs. She asks us to face her when we talk, and she tells us what helps her. She seems to be able to hear low voices a little better than high voices. If it's something important, like medical information, we write it down for her to read. We make sure we have a small note pad and pen or pencil with us at all times.

For her, the hardest part is when there's a group of people talking, and they're having a conversation and forget to include her. Even good, kind people do this. One of us will usually summarize the conversation for her so that she feels included. If I forget, she'll ask what everyone's talking about. For her, being left out of a conversation is very hard because she's always been a people person, and cares a lot about what's happening the lives of her family and friends. If this happens to you, please don't take offense, because sometimes conversations just take off, and there has to be a break in the conversation for someone to repeat it for you.

Sometimes we both use the smile and the hand wave that means, "Forget it. It's not that important." Sometimes, it's truly not worth the trouble.

And I use a lot of signals. I don't know sign language, (Neither does she.) But there are a lot of universally known signs like pointing, shaking/nodding the head, yucky expression on the face, smile, shoulder shrug, and so on.

For her, I think the lip reading is the most helpful. And she's very good about asserting her needs. If you just sit back and feel unhappy, people will assume you're okay and not repeat what they've said, or include you in the conversation.

What I've written is probably worst case scenario. I don't know how bad your hearing loss is.

I hope some of this helps.

Hearing loss is really isolating. I'll say a prayer for you. May overcoming hearing loss be possible for you because you want it badly enough. And may you find a good place to learn to read lips, and maybe an affordable hearing aid if applicable.

Re: Wish to connect with people - Severe Hearing Loss

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 6:02 pm
by Elaine Glimme
More thoughts about hearing loss.

The last pair of hearing aids that my mother in law got ($2000 at Costco) had a setting to filter out background noise. It wasn't perfect. But it helped. And the audiologist spent a great deal of time programming them to help with understanding as well as just making things louder. I think this hearing aid went around the ear instead of inside of it.
At this point, we don't even bother with the hearing aids. My mother in law is really good at reading lips, and she gets most of the things we tell her. I don't know exactly how she does this.

Maybe this post will make people aware how isolating hearing loss can be. It does take an effort to include someone who can't hear well into the conversation. Please don't give up on your friends. They're not unkind. It might help if you have one friend who will take the trouble to let you know what's going on. Even with an advocate, you'll miss a little of the action. It's just that normal conversation moves too fast. My mother in law is a lemons to lemonade kind of person, but I suspect she gets frustrated more often than she lets on.

Square Peg, are you also dealing with hearing loss? I would totally invite you to a party. I would serve oyster drills. :D Just kidding. I have no idea where to find oyster drills and I'm not about to go diving in an oyster bed. (In-joke, people - see the posts a few days ago in "writers and speakers - Searching for Kansas starting pg. 6 Oct. 5th post.)

Inspire, please don't give up. If you get into a lip-reading class, you'll probably get more tips to help you cope. My mother in law doesn't use computers, but maybe I can get her to add something here. Probably the hardest part is letting people know that you're being left out.

Please don't give up. Good friends might need a little training and a little patience. And let us know how it's going.

Re: Wish to connect with people - Severe Hearing Loss

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:04 pm
by inspiresuccess
Hi SquarePeg,

Thanks for joining here. As far as asking my friends to turn the CC on their TV, do you know where that shows up? When they turn the TV on, would there be a CC sign that they click on? I'm going to email them now and ask if they could find out how to do that before the 3rd debate.

I don't have TV cable. What little I watch is online. I don't know where to go on a computer to find the CC option.

Sometimes, when I watch a DVD on my computer, I click on CC and it works. Other times, I click on CC and it tells me I'm supposed to get that from my TV somehow (or computer in my case). DVDs say CC on the cover, but then when I turn them on for a long time I didn't know where to find it. It's under "Subtitles". So, at least I've figured that out.

I have a tiny computer screen and don't have a laptop, so if I want CC have to sit about 2 feet away to read the tiny letters. I've been planning on getting a larger screen, but also thinking about getting TV cable. I'm wondering if I can get a monitor or TV that allows me to watch TV and use as a computer monitor. My apartment is so tiny I can't have both a TV and a computer monitor.

I did see my audiologist today. I told him it's really getting worse so he set up an appointment soon to test my hearing again. He did do some things to my hearing aid that he thinks will help. 2 additional programs -- one to cut down on background sound, one to change the direction of noise coming towards me. He set it so the hearing aid picks up sounds mostly in front of me instead of behind me. I tested it today in a small cafe where I went with a friend recently and couldn't understand anything she said. We went there today and I clicked on the background reduction and it helped. This is a small cafe where there were about 5 other people talking and a noisy espresso machine. Whether this new thing would allow me to go to a restaurant, I don't know.

Thanks for your suggestions, SquarePeg, and for breaking down my steps for me. It has gotten really overwhelming and I've gotten so discouraged I've just sort of given up. I'm trying to pick myself up again and move forward with what I can do.


Thanks for transferring your comments from the other thread. It's good to have them here.

Re: Wish to connect with people - Severe Hearing Loss

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:29 pm
by inspiresuccess
Hi again,

I just got my first iPhone. I haven't figured out how to use it. I tried once but, as usual, I couldn't understand what the person was saying. I know it has ear buds. Is that a way I could listen to someone talking to me? Of course, if I had them in, I wouldn't be able to have my hearing aids in.

My audiologist. I found out this time that I have to be more assertive with him. I've told him about my problems before and all he did was turn up the volume, which didn't help. He had the option of turning on these extra programs and never did it. I don't know why. I've been seeing him for years! He's pretty rushed, working once a week in a county hospital, so maybe that's why. But this time he set them. Now it's time for me to experiment with them. Not to sound cranky about him -- he was the one who told me I could get free hearing aids from Medicare. I wasn't on Medicare and told him so but he put in some request and got the coverage for me. There's no way I could ever pay for them myself, so I'm really grateful to him for that.

iPhone. I was so excited I could get one for free from AAA with a rebate -- just pay the shipping cost. I forgot about state tax so that was added on. I've never had a cell phone so I didn't know there would be a $35 activation fee. Then the monthly cost, plus an extra $3.00 monthly extended warranty to cover me dropping it, which I chose to add. Then after all the choices and added costs, and going over everything, I asked how long the rebate would take. She said I should call customer service, which I did. ONE YEAR BEFORE I GET MY 50 BUCKS REBATED! Oh, well. At least I'll get a $50 credit next year.

I can take it to my local library and get a teenager to show me how to work it. They donate their time to teach old folks like me how to get their gizmos to work.

Re: Wish to connect with people - Severe Hearing Loss

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:31 pm
by inspiresuccess
For anyone reading this who wants to find CC and all they find is subtitles. You click on "English" under subtitles.

Re: Wish to connect with people - Severe Hearing Loss

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:36 pm
by Elaine Glimme
This is really a baby-steps kind of project. You successfully figured out the subtitles- congrats. And you got your audiologist to add the two programs. So that's two bits of success.

You do have to be assertive. It took me quite a while to figure out how to speak so that my MIL could understand me. And of course the lip reading is another step. I still recommend having your friends write those things that you absolutely have to understand.

and I haven't figured out everything on my phone, and I've had it for a couple of years. This stuff ain't easy.

Good luck. Keep steppin'


PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:13 am
by Lynx
Hi everyone, [reproduced from the quotes thread]

IS, such troubling news you shared with us. On top of the other medical concerns you've hinted at from time to time, I know there's a vital part of you both ready to face what needs doing and also very weary.

“A deaf composer's like a cook who's lost his sense of taste. A frog that's lost its webbed feet. A truck driver with his license revoked. That would throw anybody for a loop, don't you think? But Beethoven didn't let it get to him. Sure, he must have been a little depressed at first, but he didn't let misfortune get him down. It was like, Problem? What problem? He composed more than ever and came up with better music than anything he'd ever written. I really admire the guy. Like this Archduke Trio—he was nearly deaf when he wrote it, can you believe it? What I'm trying to say is, … there are things only you can do. That's what you gotta focus on—your strengths.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Re: Wish to connect with people - Severe Hearing Loss

PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:38 pm
by SquarePeg
Yes, DVDs don't have the Closed Caption signal because they feed the TV through an HDMI connection, at least the modern ones do. I'm glad you figured out that the Subtitles function will give you the equivalent result.

To get to the settings menu for a TV, the viewer probably would have to use the remote control. And it's probably wise to consult the manual, I'm afraid. Almost no one will have a printed manual for their TV -- sometimes the TV comes with a CD with all the documentation on it. Fortunately, most manuals can be found online.

All I know about my TV is that it was made by LG and it's 24". Also, I think it's LED and HD -- I would've preferred that technology when I bought it. The manuals can be found here on the LG website:

Well, I downloaded the manuals for a 24" LG HD LED TV, but they describe features that my TV doesn't have. But they all say that the Closed Captioning can be turned on or off just by pressing a button on the remote.

So maybe it's really that easy!

If you play a DVD on your computer, the program that plays the DVD should have a setting to turn on Subtitles. There are also troubleshooting Q&A on the web where an expert might advise someone to download a "codec." Hopefully that won't be necessary in your case: ... layer.html

Re: Wish to connect with people - Severe Hearing Loss

PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 2:22 pm
by inspiresuccess
Hi SquarePeg,

I don't have a TV, just a computer. If I had the money, I'd buy a laptop for a computer and then just have a TV, but I don't. For now, I have to use my computer. Is there any way to get my computer to always have CC on everything I watch online?

The person whose house I went to, to watch the debate isn't going to watching the 3rd one. I did mention the CC option and she said she'd try it for her husband. I'll email her again and let her know that it would be on the remote.

I was planning on going to a watch party but decided not to because of the hearing issue. I have other stuff to deal with right now so I will watch the debate online.

However, I do want to watch the results at a watch party on November 8th and here's my plan.

1. Call the restaurant and set up an appointment with the manager.
2. Go there, tell her/him that I'm hearing impaired and need the CC on. Hopefully, we can figure out how to do that.
3. Walk around the space to find the best location for me to hear the best -- usually in a corner where the only sound comes from the front, not the sides and back.
4. Also, see what area is the best for me to see the CC and read lips.
5. Ask him to put a Reserved sign on the chair for me.

Hopefully, by the time I'm ready to do that, I'll have my new glasses. I'm going to get that in motion on Monday.

My new way of referring to myself is "hearing impaired". Now I say, "I wear hearings aids but I also have to read lips". I think that's not good because once I say I have hearing aids they tend to suppose that's really enough. We'll see if the new phrasing will help.

I'm going to go back and read everything everyone has written here. There's a lot, which I'm so grateful for, but I'm a bit overwhelmed. I'll go back and take it one response at a time so I can cover everything.

I'm so glad I started this thread. Over the last year or two, all I do is add things to the list of things I can no longer do. I need to take a look at the list and not feel hopeless and helpless. Like you said, Elaine, it's one step at a time. I've been more and more overwhelmed and less willing to even try to do anything about this.

With this thread and all the suggestions, maybe I can tackle each challenge, one thing at a time and make some progress.

First step is to get better glasses.

Second step is learning lip reading. I know doing it online, I'm not going to stick to it. If I could find a class it would help. I'll keep looking for one.

Re: Wish to connect with people - Severe Hearing Loss

PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:46 pm
by inspiresuccess
I'm not the kind of person who gives up. But this problem has come on gradually and I haven't really faced it head on.

I rarely go to movies -- maybe once a year. Last time I went, my hearing aids were useless and I missed about half of what was said. It was a movie that was so important to me. I was devastated. I just gave up and stopped going.

I just called the movie theatre and they have 2 things -- both that I can use at the same time. One is a CC device that they hook up for me at whatever seat I sit at so I can read what is in my lap. The other are headphones that I can listen through. I asked if she thought it would be better than my hearing aids and she said she thought so.


I can't give up! I have to face the reality that hearing aids alone are no longer enough. And get creative and assertive about this. I think I gave up because I didn't face the fact that I now fall into a new category -- hearing impaired -- not just someone whose hearing aids allows them to hear perfectly again.

I have been so isolated for the past 14 years for reasons I won't go into. Now that those problems are resolved I was so excited about getting out in the world again, meeting new people, doing new things, making friends. Then I smacked up against the hearing loss and just shut down because of it.


Re: Wish to connect with people - Severe Hearing Loss

PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 4:25 pm
by inspiresuccess
HLAA -- Hearing Loss Association of America. They have a local chapter close to me. I checked the speaker topics for 2016 and the topics were all things I'm interested in. They meet most months starting in January. I'm looking forward not only to the speakers but also meeting other people who are dealing with what I'm dealing with.

This is how this thread came about. I saw a quote that I put in the Quote for the Day thread. Elaine responded with sympathy and support. That made me realize I should start a separate thread about hearing loss. Was going to put it into the General Information forum. Then decided I needed direct information, support, and help, so decided to start a Wishes and Obstacles thread. And here we are. So grateful for B Sher Boards.

Re: Wish to connect with people - Severe Hearing Loss

PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:47 am
by Elaine Glimme
Yes, the Boards are great.

I'm just wishing you luck and support now.

I think most of what you need you'll find from HLAA. Please be patient. The problem won't go away in five easy pieces. But you WILL figure out how to manage it. I'd be interested in anything you learn from HLAA, as would other people reading posts here who are dealing with hearing loss.

And of course if you need any encouragement or cheering, we're here and happy to help.

Re: Wish to connect with people - Severe Hearing Loss

PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:46 am
by inspiresuccess
I just realized that my "first success" has not been confirmed yet. Just because movie theatres offer this stuff, doesn't mean it will definitely work for me. Since I rarely go, I don't know when I will test it.