"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin


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Friday, August 15, 2014

Xpressive Handz Joyce Edmiston wins Oticon's Focus on People Award for Advocacy

Thank you so very much for supporting me and helping me win this NATIONAL award! 

It is a great honor to not only be nominated and selected as a candidate, but to have been voted by you and so many others, not just in the US, but around the world as Oticon's 2014 Focus on People award winner for "Advocate of the Year".  

Please share this press release with as many people as you can. Oticon is truly a company that puts "People First", just as their motto claims. This non-profit based company gave the winners in each category a brand new pair of state of the art hearing aids, Bluetooth accessories to go with them, $1,000.00 donated to their charities of choice, as well as a $1,000.00 prize money. They covered all the travel expenses, meals and hotel costs of our stay for the national convention.

During our tour of the company, we learned that many of their employees stay for decades because they are extremely well cared for and they enjoy the mission behind the company and the president of the company Peer Lauritsen to put "People First".

Too many companies today put money and numbers first. It is a wonderful thing to find a company that sincerely cares about people!   


    

Joyce Edmiston and Oticon President Peer Lauritsen

2014 OTICON FOCUS ON PEOPLE AWARDS HONOR  
JOYCE EDMISTON OF MOUNT JOY, PA 

Growing up with hearing loss, Joyce Edmiston lost many opportunities to interact with others, make friends and advocate for herself.  Over time, she gained the courage and wisdom to make her voice heard. Today, she freely shares her hard-won knowledge as a vocal advocate for people with all degrees of hearing loss through her popular blog Xpressive Handz.  Edmiston is among the outstanding individuals with hearing loss honored by the 2014 Oticon Focus on People Awards, a national competition that celebrates individuals who are helping to eliminate negative stereotypes of what it means to have a hearing loss.   

This is the third year that Oticon, Inc., sponsor of the national awards program, has invited the public to cast their votes to help determine who among the 12 finalists would be first, second and third place winners in the Adult, Student, Practitioner and Advocacy categories. More than 10,000 votes were cast by people from across the country and around the world. 

As the first place winner in the Advocacy Category, Edmiston was recognized on August 14 at a special awards ceremony at Oticon, Inc.’s US headquarters that was attended by hearing care professionals from across the US. As part of her award, Edmiston has designated Hearing Loss of America Association, Lancaster Countas her choice for a $1,000 donation from Oticon, Inc. 

Edmiston is passionate about the teaching of American Sign Language (ASL) in schools and has also formed a committee to educate local churches the need to provide captioned services for those who do not communicate by sign language. She volunteers with the Telecommunications Relay Service Advisory Board for the Pennsylvania PUC, the Collaborative for Communication via Captioning, and with HLAA at both local and state levels. 

“Individuals like Joyce Edmiston are inspiring role models for people living with hearing loss,” states Oticon President Peer Lauritsen. “The remarkable people who are honored in this year’s Oticon Focus on People Awards program have taken their unique circumstances and transformed their lives with a positive outlook that has enabled them to overcome challenges and accomplish goals well beyond what many thought possible.”  

The Oticon Focus on People Awards program was created in 1997 by Oticon, Inc., one of the world’s oldest and most respected hearing instrument manufacturers.  By celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of individuals with hearing loss, Oticon, Inc. aims to call attention to common misconceptions about hearing loss  
and motivate people with hearing loss to take advantage of the help that is available to them.   The company’s goal is to reach out to the 80 percent of an estimated 28 million Americans who could benefit from hearing solutions, but who fail to seek professional help.   


Oticon Winners: L-R Deputy Susie Cambre, Vako Gevelesiani, Joyce Edmiston, Susie Ternes Aud. CCC-A

Read the inspirational stories of all 12 winners of the Oticon Focus on People Awards at www.oticonusa.com. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Revisited: It's a Deaf Sentence

*republished from an earlier post:
I had a friend many years ago who lost his hearing when he fell down his back porch steps. He hit his head in the fall and his hearing was gone in an instant. He was only 5 years old.

I've been losing my hearing over the course of many, many years slowly, not even at a noticeable rate. We often play the "What if" game or "Would you rather be this, or be that". We tend to compare which is worse, and which we would rather have.

Life situations many times are not a matter of choice, they are thrust on us in unexpected ways. Then, there are times we are allowed glimpses of what is coming. Either way, we can either stop and just brace ourselves for the worst, or we can accept and prepare and find out what we can do with the situation. In other words, we can stop living altogether, or we can find out how to live with the unexpected situation the best way we possibly can.

I was asked this week by Sarah, whom I follow on Twitter, how I felt about the discovery that my hearing loss is no longer termed so much as "hearing impaired" but "deaf". In many ways it's a relief that I no longer have to play the "Can you hear this?" game as people ask if I can hear the little bell on the counter at the register in the store or the cell phone ringing, etc. They tend to ask Fabulous Husband, "Can Joyce hear this..that..and the other". We understand the curiosity, we're curious, too, but there are so many other things we could be discussing. By simply stating I'm deaf, the understanding that I can't hear those sounds is already there, and people will communicate more clearly and bypass the hearing test and questions and get on with discussing other interesting things.

So how do I feel about using the term "deaf" over "hearing impaired"? Life is the same, we continue to adjust and modify things where sound and communication are involved. We continue to  learn, adapt and live. I am deaf. It's not a death sentence, just a deaf sentence.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Longer I Live...

THE LONGER I LIVE,

the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude,

to me is more important than facts. It is more important than

the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than

failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.

It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will

make or break a company ... a church ... a home. The remarkable

thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will 

embrace for that day. We cannot change our past ... we cannot 

change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot

change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the 

one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that

life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. 

And so it is with you ... we are in charge of our Attitudes.

 ~~~~~ Charles R, Swindoll ~~~~~

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Amazing Resonance Experiment - the Sacred Geometry of Sound

"If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration." ~ Nicola Tesla.

This is a stunning visual of what sound looks like at different frequencies.. Even though some of us may not be able to hear some or all of these, our bodies and minds are affected by the vibration, the energy and the frequencies of the world around us. AND, because our bodies are made of up 70% + water, these vibrations move through us. Even though I don't hear music as I once did, I often turn pandora on the tv and tune into a soothing Reiki or healing station because it's good for my health. I may not hear it, but my body and mind can feel it.

This video is CAPTIONED.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvJAgrUBF4w

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"Let it Go" ASL music video interpreted by Ren and Keely

I was delighted to stumble across this fabulous ASL music video by Ren and Keely. I absolutely love the passion and the background of this video. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. CAPTIONED!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veGYZ6CE0UA

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hit the Delete Button

This lovely post found its way to my inbox this morning.
Hit the Delete Button
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”
(Isaiah 43:18, NIV)
TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
Our minds work a lot like a computer. The way we program our thinking will determine how our lives are going to function. You can have the most expensive, powerful computer you can find, but if you load the wrong software, it’s not going to perform at its best. In the same way, many people are not living a victorious life not because there is something wrong with them, but because of what has been programmed in their thinking. They start believing the lies, “I’m not talented. I don’t have a good personality. I’ve made too many mistakes. I’ve reached my limits.” Just like a virus can slow down a perfectly good computer, our wrong thinking can keep us from our destiny. If you’re going to live in victory, you’ve got to know how to hit the delete button.
When that thought comes that says, “You’re just average. You’re ordinary.” Hit delete and say, “I’m a masterpiece. I’m one of a kind.” When you hear, “You’ve seen your best days. It’s all downhill from here.” Hit delete and say, “My future will be brighter than my past.” If you will start hitting the delete button on those negative thoughts, your life will go to a new level, and you’ll experience the blessing and increase He has in store for you!
A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, thank You for loving me and making me in Your image. Today I choose to hit the delete button on negative thinking. I declare what You say about me so I can walk and live the life that You have prepared for me in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen

Friday, August 1, 2014

Part 4: Mastery of Change by Sean Morgan

Hello, this is guest blogger Sean Morgan. I have been sharing installments of my book "The Mastery of Change, Choosing Mental and Emotional Wellness" on Joyce's wonderful site. For the past few posts I've been focusing on letting emotions flow through our bodies and examining the underlying beliefs that cause them. The most powerful practice I have used in my years on this earth has been inquiry. Specifically the work of Byron Katie has been extremely helpful to me as I've worked through many arguments with reality. Over the years, using this technique, I've found a way to explain why it works. This is very useful to people with curious minds who may not the practice without a thorough explanation. I hope you experiment with the practice and that it brings you peace.
Using Inquiry To UnRoot A Belief
An Interpretation of the Mechanics of Byron Katie's Inquiry Method
This technique, when applied, can drastically eliminate suffering from
your life. Before I discovered it, I had no idea that my thoughts
were so filled with resistance to reality. Even so-called "positive
beliefs" about how "people should be kind" or "no one should go
hungry" were causing the opposite of their intentions. At first it
seemed that I had an unlimited supply of beliefs to deconstruct.
Indeed, I've spent years at this practice and I have not run out, but
I sure don't suffer as much anymore. This technique can be used in
the middle of the moment of suffering with great success. The process
is both relieving and humbling, and I am honored to share it with you.
1. Identify that you have a negative emotion by noticing the feeling
of stress in your body.
2. Entertain the idea that your perceptions are causing it, and you
have a choice to do something about it.
3. Be willing to explore the choice to let go of your beliefs in
order to avoid repeating negative emotions.
4. Identify the belief that causes the negative emotion by listening
non-judgmentally to the story of your inner voice.
5. Identify any other primary beliefs which are causing the secondary
belief (this is a broad, overarching system of beliefs or a mentality that causes all related thoughts and beliefs.)
6. Determine what the exact opposite of your belief is. If your
belief causes negativity, its opposite will cause positivity. Now you know the belief that will work better for you to be a happy and positive person. You'll find that the belief is always more loving, empathetic, allowing, empowering, and mature. The negative belief is always more petty, self-serving, unallowing, resistant, fearful, and unloving.
7. If you're willing, your mind will start to realize all the ways
that the new belief is true.
8. Think of specific ways that the new belief has always been true
for you in your life.
Reflect:
What does this stressful emotion feel like in your body? (ex: Nausea
in my stomach.)

________________________________
________________________________
Could your perceptions be causing this emotion?

________________________________
Do you have a choice to do something about this situation?

________________________________
Write down the story that the voice tells in your mind while you feel
this emotion.

________________________________
________________________________
________________________________
________________________________
What is the main belief that the story is based on?

________________________________
________________________________

________________________________
What is the exact opposite of the negative emotion-causing belief?

________________________________
________________________________
List three specific ways the opposite of the negative belief is true
in your life.

________________________________
________________________________
________________________________
Once your mind starts to explore a new way of interpreting reality in
a way that makes sense to itself through these references, a new
pathway is being engrained: one that causes positivity.
Are you willing to take responsibility for your emotions?
Can you recognize that you are poisoning your own being with negative
emotion-causing beliefs?
Can you recognize that you are affecting the world and everyone around
you in a negative way for the rest of your life if you hold onto this
belief?
Do you have the humility to let go of your most engrained patterns?
Are you willing to practice the new belief and recognize when the old
one rears its head again?
People identify with their beliefs and are afraid of loss or ego death
when they start to let go of them. Hang in there. You are not going
to die. This process is about proving to your rational yet fearful
mind that negative beliefs will not serve its survival. For more
information about Bryon Katie and inquiry go to TheWork.com.



-- 
Love Is The Answer To All Great Questions
http://www.MasteryOfChange.com
Sean O'Donoghue Morgan

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why Churches and Synagogues Need to Caption

Over 20%  of new hearing aids are being purchased for our returning veterans who have lost their hearing while serving our country. While hearing aids help, they aren't a cure, nor are they perfect. Even with hearing aids, many words and phrases are difficult to decipher. When this happens, isolation happens. Social situations are avoided all together, and for many, this means they no longer have access to a community that was once available to them when they could previously hear. Sadly, the most important communities that are no longer attended are the spiritual communities. This can be easily solved. 

While many churches and synagogues are thoughtful enough to offer ASL interpreters for the deaf, they overlook having Captions for the largest growing group of Disabled Americans - people with hearing loss. Many don't know Sign Language because their culture is the hearing culture. Their friends, family, social groups and communities do not use ASL. BUT Deaf and hard of hearing and people with hearing loss, as well as people learning English as a second language ALL benefit from having captions. 

We depend on captions for television, movies, relay phone calls, live theater and meetings, etc. However, captions are lacking at churches at synagogues. As a result we no longer attend. We feel excluded from the spiritual communities. (See more about this in the video at the bottom of this post.)

Churches would greatly benefit higher attendance and more donations if they provided captions for the most over looked Disabled community of citizens - the people with hearing loss and deafness.

We would not want to burden a small, struggling church with costs for captioning. However for multi-million dollar churches to continue to say "No" when asked year after year for captions, something isn't right - especially if they provide ASL for the small Deaf community.

Churches and synagogues CAN be inclusive and provide Access to Language. It is easy to provide CART,  real time captioning, if they took time to be educated and learn why this is so important.

There are wonderful professionals available to provide the service remotely over the internet. The technology to do this is amazing and worth the investment. It is heartbreaking to see churches and synagogues that are incredibly "financially healthy" sending thousands of dollars overseas to connect people with God, but denying the very people in their neighborhood the very same opportunity by not providing captions.

People are asking their spiritual communities everywhere to provide this service. How wonderful that some churches have jumped immediately to meet this need.

God is inclusive. If God is inclusive, so should spiritual communities.

Providing captions is such a small thing to do for your neighbor, and it is an incredibly huge action of love.

Encourage your church or synagogue to provide this service, and PUBLICIZE that it is available in your literature, in your announcements, your websites, put signs on your doors and everywhere else. People are looking for God and a place to "see" the word and love of God acted upon with intention, in word, and in deed, 

Watch this short 3 minute video to understand the need for captions more fully:


Want to know more? Here are a few places with more information:

CCAC provides information and support for "Community" access via captioning, such as this webpage on our site: http://ccacaptioning.org/cart-community-clubs-religious-organizations-social-groups/

Need Captions? Just ask here: CaptionMatch.com

Great video and info here: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/disability_issues&id=7997085

http://www.broadcastcc.com/

http://remotecaptioners.com/

http://www.mcdhh.mo.gov/resources/CaptioningServices.htm

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Harrisburg, PA Captured on Camera - beyondsecond

One of the things I loved about the city of Harrisburg, PA is that it is a mecca for artists. For decades,  Artsfest has been one of the most attended venues along the waterfront of the Susquehanna River, downtown Harrisburg. The wonderful thing about the city is that artists can display their work not only at the festivals and museums, but online as well.

Fabulous Husband has been displaying his photography on this website for several years along with other talented artists. Take a peek:     http://www.beyondsecond.com

A word of caution... you may lose track of time browsing the fabulous photos and scenes of the city.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Part 3: Mastery of Change by Sean Morgan


Hello, this is guest blogger Sean Morgan. Previously, I was able to
share the second installment of a book I wrote called "The Mastery Of
Change, Choosing Mental and Emotional Wellness". We are getting into
the realm of emotions and beliefs. If we are programmed by our genes
and culture to believe things that cause us suffering, we have to
deprogram ourselves of this "outdated software". I was extremely
influenced by the work of author Byron Katie. She helped me realize
that we have the choice in what we believe and in turn, how we feel.
This is very liberating. Next week I will discuss how Byron Katie's
system of inquiry works on a practical and biological level. First we
need to learn how to put out the fires of emotion before they cause so
much chaos that we do not have the opportunity to deconstruct beliefs
at all.
Releasing An Emotion
Emotions can be very strong and seductive. You can feel out of
control when you experience a potent emotion. An emotion can grip you
at light speed and you may have little awareness of the successive
steps that led to your thoughtless words and actions. With repeated
emotional experiences in relationships, workplace dynamics, and your
daily life, you will have more awareness, and the experience will seem
to slow down. You will have more free will to be conscious of your
actions. That is when a pattern can be broken. I used to get very
angry and yell at my girlfriend when we disagreed. I always felt very
justified in expressing myself this way. I felt that I had a valid
emotion to express. Recently, after lot of reflection on taking
responsibility for my emotions, the energy of anger appeared in a
disagreement with her. This time, I used breathing techniques instead
of yelling at her. Also, my ability to use positive words in that
moment helped douse the flames of our argument. A pattern that had
been in place for years had been broken by taking responsibility for
my emotions and responses.


Follow these steps during a negative emotional experience:


Identify that the emotion does not feel good.

Take responsibility to do something about it.

Breathe into the area of your body where there is contraction.

Ask yourself if you are willing to let go of the emotion. (See Sedona
Method(tm))

Emotions are very temporary. According to neuroanatomist Jill
Bolte-Taylor, author of My Stroke Of Insight, the chemicals of an
emotion are flushed from our system after 90 seconds (2008). However,
we experience a cascade of additional negative emotions if we choose
to continue to feed the stories in our minds that are causing them.
Starve the negative emotion of fuel and it will die. If the inner
dialogue continues, choose to watch it instead of identifying with it.
Notice the petty tone of the internal voice and recognize that it is
ego and not love. Continue to breathe into the area and ask the
question "Am I Willing To Let This Go?" until the emotion subsides.

Laughing, crying, sighing, yelling (preferably not at someone),
moaning, and singing also physically expel emotions like a reflex.
There are formal practices using these techniques in the companion
workbook. Releasing emotions starts with subtle work. Throughout the
day, many kinds of experiences could cause you to hold your breath
slightly and constrict. Just notice, relax into it and breathe. For
the heavy duty emotions, the physical reflexes can be used
intuitively. Remember not to feed the stories in your mind, as you
don't want to train yourself to be a releaser and not a solver.



Reflect:

What stories do you tell yourself in your head that refuel negative emotions?

(ex: I know better than he does what I should be doing with my life,
how dare he tell me how to live my life.)

________________________________
________________________________

What could you tell yourself to end the internal dialogue during an
emotional cycle?

(ex: I am responsible for my own emotions. Blaming others won't help me.)

________________________________
________________________________




Deconstructing Beliefs And Creating New Ones

If you have a disempowering belief, it will keep causing negative emotions for the rest of your life until it is cleared. You could consider it a disease or a virus. It is like a weed in the garden of your mind.

Example: If you notice that you experience a negative emotion when you
see a luxury car, try to find the root belief that causes the emotion.
At first you might think you have a belief that:


"Rich people are evil"...but that could be a secondary belief.


The primary belief behind it could be... "There aren't enough
resources in the world for everyone to be taken care of."


Or the belief that... "The world/society or human nature is not the
way it should be."


You can root out the secondary beliefs to destroy the medium-sized
roadways. If you change the big beliefs, you will destroy the highway
of negativity and leave a yellow brick road in its wake. Your new
belief might be that every person deserves to have their dreams
fulfilled. This new path could make you feel wonderful when you see a
luxury car. Your new belief will allow you to feel joy for others'
achievements. The same situation that caused a negative emotion in
one instance can cause a positive one once the belief is rooted out.
Therefore, the circumstance is not the problem... the problem is
actually your interpretation of it. Beliefs are not permanently gone
when you deconstruct them. Your new belief must be practiced, and
that pathway must become a highway bigger than the old one.




-- Love Is The Answer To All Great Questions
 http://www.MasteryOfChange.com


Monday, July 21, 2014

Testimonial by Kay Tyberg Regarding Deafness and Hearing Loss

This excellent letter is written by my friend, Kay I had the pleasure of serving with Kay on the Pennsylvania Advisory Council for Hearing Loss Association of America. She is a joy to know and to work with. Though this is written as a letter, it was actually from her speech when she appeared before PA Governor Tom Corbett and Commissioners regarding long term care and hearing loss.

Kay kindly granted me permission to share this with you. She aptly demonstrated to the audience what it feels like to experience hearing loss and not have access to language, or what is going on. Kay goes on to articulately describe the challenges MILLIONS of us with deafness and hearing loss face each day.


May 31, 2014

Governor Tom Corbett
ATTN:  OLTL Policy
Long Term Care Commissioners
PO Box 8025
Harrisburg, PA  17105

RE:  Testimonial-HLA/LC, Tyberg
Ra-LTCCommission@pa.gov
Dear Governor Corbett & Commissioners:

I represent the thousands of elderly Pennsylvanians on behalf of the Hearing Loss Association of America as a deaf advocate, an educator, a peer mentor, and human services professional.

I am at the podium with the microphone.  Think about this scenario.  I am standing at the podium with the microphone without using my voice, but moving my lips saying the following…”Thank you Governor Corbett for funding the Long Term Care policy for Pennsylvanians, and I thank the commissioners for being present today to hear the voices of elderly individuals with diverse ability issues.”  The people in the audience and the commissioners are listening and moving forward trying to hear what I am saying but are stumped because they are not hearing anything.  People are thinking there is something wrong with the microphone system.  However, I begin to use my voice repeating what I just said in quotes.  People realized there was nothing wrong with the microphone system at all, but the fear and facial gestures of concern has gone away.  Everyone has now witnessed firsthand the world of silence, and the unknown whether you are young, middle-aged, or an elderly later-in-life individual with a hearing loss.  Think about how it felt when there was no communication.

Let me ask these “How would you feel” questions:
  • If as a grandparent attending your grandchild’s school play, orchestra or chorus concert, or graduation and you are unable to hear anything being said.
  • If you attend a Board of Education meeting unable to follow the dialogue or participate because of the seating arrangements and no accommodations.
  • If you participate in a training session or educational presentation in your community and unable to comprehend anyone as they speak.
  • If you attend a social event unable to hear or follow the conversations and dialogue, because you are unable to hear them.
  • If you are driving at night in a vehicle, and it is pitch black outside and you cannot see nor hear the person trying to have a conversation with you in the vehicle.
  • If you attend a township meeting as a taxpayer to know what is going on and provide community input and you cannot participate.
  • If you are unable to participate on a Board of Directors meeting because you are unable to hear because they officers decide at the last minute to use the speaker phone which you cannot understand, although your expertise would be a valuable resource.
  • If you decide not to apply for a job you are highly qualified for but you are unable to purchase a hearing aid or cochlear implant to hear over the telephone, but the company refuses to modify the job description for you to work there.
  • You stop attending church services which has been a major part of your life because you no longer can hear the pastor or lay people speaking during services.
  • If you are unable to go to movie theaters and enjoy the feature films or community plays being performed because you cannot afford to purchase hearing aids.
  • If family members and children live out of state and communication with the stops completely because you cannot purchase hearing aids to be able to hear them on the telephone or have no access to a computer.
  • If you are unable to go through a drive-thru window at any fast food restaurant like everyone else because you are unable to hear the person on the speaker.
  • If you are unable to communicate effectively with family members at home without continuous aggravation and frustration due to misunderstanding or repeating themselves.
  • If you are at a doctor’s office and unable to understand what the nurses and doctors is explaining to you about your medical condition.
  • If in an emergency or disaster situation in a shopping area where flooding has almost reached the top of the levy and an unmarked police car with a police officer inside the car announces on his speaker to evacuate the area immediately.  You do not hear this or see anything out of the norm except you observe people are rushing out of stores and not sure what’s happening.  This causing fear and panic on your part because you did not hear this audio announcement.
  • If a person cannot hear someone knocking on their front door because they cannot hear.
These are only a handful of examples people with hearing loss face almost daily.  This also illustrates how our technology audio savvy society overlooks the needs of individuals with hearing loss.  Grant you technology has done wonders for hearing loss with advanced assistive technology devices, e-mail access, cell phone access through text messaging, and relay services.  Hearing aids, and all specialized assistive technology devices are paid by the consumer.  Insurances are not there to help us.  The exception to the rule is the use of PATF, veterans getting assistance through the VA, and if a person is working getting assistances from the vocational rehabilitation program.

I emphasize medical health insurance and durable medical equipment under Social Security does not cover the cost of hearing aid(s) ranging from $800 to $4,000 each.  There are 39 million Americans accounted for by CDC with hearing loss.  I know this figure does not really touch on the reality of the true statistics, because so many go without hearing aids due to financial hardship.  In our area alone, 17% of the elderly have a hearing loss.  This has become quite an issue where I work as an AmeriCorp member at the Office of Aging where resources are not available for people with hearing loss.  I see this all the time!!!!  There is not a day I am out in the community where I don’t meet an individual with a hearing loss or wears a hearing aid.  I am meeting more elderly on fixed incomes and no family members at all with hearing loss.

There are two words I am “hearing” consistently in this meeting today…”communication and safety”.  Our inability to hear creates communication barriers.  Once an individual realizes they have a hearing loss and doesn’t know where to go or who to turn to for resources and financial assistance the enormous challenge is just beginning in their lives.  What do I mean?  It is not just about the hearing loss itself, but the person begins to withdraw from social events or family interactions.  What is worse is the frustration, aggravation, anger, anxiety, and onset of depression.  This obvious leads to more medical issues than the hearing loss alone and becomes a costly problem.

Hearing loss like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and other major illnesses our elderly Pennsylvania residents endure need adequate medical attention.  However, I have witnessed firsthand sadly at meetings such as this one how hearing loss tends to take a back seat when it is just as important as the diseases we mentioned.  Are nursing home and other facilities adequate for elderly with hearing loss – no?  Hearing loss research shows these individuals suffer from dementia.  Americans have worked all their lives to survive and raise their family for future generations.  These same Pennsylvanians have paid their taxes and helped the community they lived in.  As an individual in the human services field with a hearing loss our state needs to assist those with hearing loss for elderly assistive living quarters and medical devices.  The baby boomer generation is not willing to sit back in their rocking chair - - - we are doers beyond retirement age.

As a peer mentor for individuals with hearing loss, individuals share their frustrations and discontent with agencies and services.  For example, many fliers and brochures from agencies have no other alternative contact to the agency except by phone number.  How does the deaf elderly person participate or get help?  People are asking for help and HLAA directs people to the right resources whether it is about coping and adjusting with hearing loss or how to purchase a hearing aid.  The HLAA can guide individuals with resources, education, support, and information so people can sustain a better quality of life.

Our Hearing Loss Association of America-Pennsylvania Advisory Council is willing to provide staff/personnel training about hearing loss to agencies and interested businesses.  We also work closely with the ODHH.  This will break down the myths and communication barriers.  It is my hope the Long Term Care Commission will “hear” our voices which has been neglected for so long.

I thank the commissioners for being here at Pennsylvania College of Technology and allowing me to provide this testimony about a critical problem.
Respectfully,


Kay Tyberg
President of HLAA-LCC
Advisory Council Member of HLAA-PA
Certified Peer Mentor for Hearing Loss
Sign Language Instructor
Deaf Advocate



Friday, July 18, 2014

ANNOUNCEMENT: Our Transcontinental Move is Happening!

I can FINALLY share with everyone our BIG news! It's official - we are leaving Eastern US in SEPTEMBER and moving West to the Oregon Coast!

My Fabulous Husband officially retires from the Pennsylvania State Office of Attorney General as their Communications Specialist. He had the awesome opportunity of working with special agents these past years who are, in my eyes, heroes. His office tracked down child predators, scammers who bilked senior citizens out of their money, unethical medical practitioners who committed fraud, and organizations in PA that are guilty of human trafficking. The PA Office of Attorney General has had a 100% conviction rate due to their impeccable detective work and diligence. His co-workers have been good to him, and to us. We are appreciative to everyone he's worked with and he will miss them very much, but a new adventure awaits us on the West Coast.

Fabulous Husband has been offered a partnership with a franchise doing what he loves - photography! The region he and his new partner have are the Central Southern Oregon Coast, Eugene and Roseburg areas. He's been wanting to see more of the Oregon, and this provides him to travel and   take photos of the beautiful and varied scenery that Oregon is known for. Fabulous husband has a daughter and granddaughter in Montana, and it will be a pleasure to be closer to them. We can skip the plane flights and opt for road trips to see our families. I only wish my mother was still alive to see this and share in the joy of our return. I sorely miss her each day...

I'm looking forward to seeing more of my daughter and watching my grandson grow up. I've missed that while being so far away.

I've already been in contact with the Oregon Hearing Loss Association of America to find out where my local chapter will be. We aren't yet sure exactly which city we will be settling in at this point, and there are a few places that have no active HLAA chapters. I may have to start one up with the help of the Oregon HLAA. Having said that, I won't be doing that this autumn or winter. My number one priority is finding a home, getting our 10 year old registered with school, settling in and helping Fabulous Husband get his business underway.

We've already shipped many things out to Oregon, and we have a few more to ship yet, but the moving process has begun. There won't be much room in the motor home to take much with us, and we are taking a 3 week vacation to drive across the U.S.

I'm looking forward to revisiting some of the sights along the way that I saw with my mom when we took family road trips throughout the Southwest as I was growing up. My parents closed their business a few weeks each summer and we spent a lot of time traveling, visiting Native American dwellings, museums and national parks. It's going to be wonderful sharing these places with Fabulous Husband and Bear (our son).  We'll also be touring a few places I've not been to as yet, such as Sedona, AZ and for Bear, Roswell, New Mexico. He was all over that when we started planning together the places we want to see. Fabulous Husband wants to get photos of Antelope Canyon. Those are just a few stops on our agenda.

Through this blog, I've connected with many new friends, and we plan to meet some of them in person for the first time. I can't wait!!

The only difficulty in all of this is saying goodbye to the many wonderful friends we have connected with here in Pennsylvania. My time these past 7 years has been filled with inspiring and amazing people, and they have enriched my life spiritually, artistically, and lovingly. I have been blessed with a huge number of encouragers and supporters from various walks of life and backgrounds. My heart is full of gratitude for all of them, and to God for bringing each soul across my path. My friends have contributed to my personal growth, healing and balance. I hope that I have been as much a blessing to them as they have been to me.

I will continue to blog, and as we journey toward the next phase of our life and post photos of the places we visit. There may be fewer blog posts while we continue to pack and prepare. I have the luxury of taking time to thoroughly sort and pack in an organized manner with this move and I like that.

Fabulous Husband preparing to capture a sunset over the Pacific Ocean at Shore Acres State Park, Oregon. I took this during our visit in July 2012