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

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Can't Turn the Volume up Loud Enough? Use This Handy Tool

Chances are, you or someone you know will experience hearing loss at some point in life. Now that people are living longer, more are experiencing hearing loss. Many times, we are unaware we are losing our hearing. We just turn up the volume on the t.v. or radio. Many quit socializing with the people that are "too quiet". Even those with hearing aids don't socialize as much because sounds aren't "normal", or EVERYTHING is too loud, or wearing hearing aids too much each day cause recurring ear infections, or they make things louder, but not clearer, or they just aren't loud enough. They aren't perfect, they are just what they are - hearing AIDS.

If you know someone who is no longer hearing as well as they used to and have their t.v. blaring too loudly, there is an option available. All the new sets have a "closed caption" (CC) setting they can turn on. My mother only recently started using hers, wishing now she had turned it on years ago. Most programs are now privately captioned or captioned by the National Captioning Institute. When breaking news comes up live, we are now able to read what the newscaster is saying. It's wonderful.

I am fortunate to have been learning Sign Language through the years, but there are so many people who are in a place where they haven't learned any Sign Language. Yet, they can't hear as they used to. They isolate themselves because they don't fit into any "social category", such as "Hearing" or "Deaf". They are wedged between 2 segments of society, not being able to hear, yet not being able to sign. They are some of the loneliest people in our society. 

I have been in meetings where we had "real time" captioning available along with ASL interpreters. Many who are deafened later in life never learned Sign Language. It is much harder to learn as you get older. For these people, many who are now the generation known as Baby Boomers, closed captioning is a wonderful option to have available. 

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