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

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sweetheart's Special at the Cottage

With so many of my friends experiencing harsh winters right now, might I suggest you come spend a week along the Southern Oregon Coast? I shared the post below from one of our visits here in 2012 on Facebook today. My friend Annie saw the post and wanted me to share this lovely message with you. Just tell her you're a friend of mine. You, Dear Readers, are friends. :-) Enjoy the photos and links below and contact Annie if you like what you see.

"Thank you, Joyce! February special for any of your friends who read this. $500 (instead of $800) for a WEEK in February. (sorry, Valentine weekend is taken)" Annie of Annie's Cottage.

Special note to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Travelers: Annie is fluent in ASL. You will be able to communicate beautifully with her.

This weekend, Annie's Cottage on the Southern Oregon Coast was mentioned in  business section of the local newspaper as one of the Best of the South Coast choices for vacation rentals. Enjoy the lovely video created by one of their previous guests, along with a few of our own photos we took around the cottage and along the coast.
We spent a lovely couple of weeks along the Southern Oregon Coast this summer. Our stay in the Coos Bay area could not have been more enjoyable! Annie's Cottage is the loveliest place I've ever stayed, and I've stayed in many places in my years of traveling. I do not say this lightly.

  Check out this video created by a previous guest of Annie's Cottage. There are more photos below the video.

Annie's Cottage is pet friendly AND people friendly. If you're looking for a vacation where you can visit the Redwood Forest and the Trees of Mystery, go windsurfing at Floras Lake, whale watching along the Pacific, visiting the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Sea Lion Caves and be able to have a cozy place to come "home" to at the end of the day, Annie's Cottage is the place to be. There is so much to do and see within a scenic drive from the cottage.

This was one of my favorite places to sit in the garden.

This is the loveliest view I've ever seen from a kitchen sink

The upstairs had its own huge bathroom, complete with a six foot Jacuzzi. What a wonderful way to relax after romping on the beach. There is a writing nook off to the side of the sleeping area, and across the room, a lovely nook with a view of the bay, and beyond that, the sea. It was our Bear's favorite place in the house. There was a telescope for watching the birds at play in the yard or flying over the bay, or for watching the stars in the night sky.

Downstairs, there are bunk beds off the main living area and a family table nearby for games or coloring or whatever other projects one may take up. There were games up in a closet in the kitchen, along with a soccer ball that my son and grandson took out into the big back yard and kicked around.

When you enter the cottage, the kitchen is to the left, and the dining area is to the right. The kitchen cupboards had pretty much all of the basic culinary supplies we needed.  There was tea and coffee on the counter waiting to be brewed waiting for us when we arrived early that first morning, some packets of oatmeal and even popcorn for the movies, and basic spices.

Shopping for groceries was easy with everything  within minutes. If you are there on Tuesdays, be sure to catch the Farmer's Market downtown Coos Bay for the freshest veggies at the best prices. There were organic veggies and frozen free range naturally raised poultry available. Artist peddled their wares and an added bonus were the street musicians performing. Now, I've digressed from the kitchen to the market. Let's get back to Annie's Cottage...

In the living area, there was a nice assortment of DVD movies, cable, free WIFI, local travel books and a few books of classic plays. Paul is a thespian and has been involved with the local theater group for many years. I think I read somewhere that Paul and Annie often read from the books with each other. How sweet is that? The coffee table was interesting, it can raise up to the height you prefer. We discovered this near the end of our visit. Of course, the coffee table was barely visible under our laptops, camera equipment and cell phones. It looked more like an office while we were there, but it felt like "home". We watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics while uploading our photos from our cameras and journaling/blogging about the day's festivities. It so happened that was the day we ventured to the county fair with our hosts, Annie and Paul. Here's a post about that  County Fair

Annie and Brody loved those caramel apples at the fair!

Annie's photo won an award at the fair! http://www.blipfoto.com/entry/2174100

Be sure to stop by Annie's blipfoto page: http://www.blipfoto.com/anniescottage
She has many lovely photos and thoughts to share.


What to do while staying at Annie's Cottage? Here's a few places we went and things we did:

We spent a lot of time at Beautiful Bandon By the Sea

We spent time in the Forests along the bluffs near Shore Acres and also the Redwood Forest

Sunset Bay was just a few miles up the road. Fabulous Husband wrote love notes in the sand. Bear simply wrote, "I rock". Check out his rockin' attitude.

We spent an evening in Newport, home of the Oregon Coast Aquarium, The Undersea Gardens, Ripley's Believe It Or Not and of course, world famous Mo's Seafood Restaurant where we enjoyed a lovely dinner with a view of the bay. Here is a huge sea lion that was lounging on the dock below us.

Fabulous Husband commented many times throughout our stay about how friendly everyone is along the coast. Our eight year old son did not want to leave. He enjoyed Annie's Cottage, the wonderful big back yard, the beaches and the marvelous mild weather that allows us to get out and do things without getting too hot or too cold.

But...mostly, it is the people, even the strangers are so courteous, friendly, open and warm that make us feel welcomed.

I enjoyed feeling the fog on my skin, watching the sun set into the surf, the smells of the sea and the woods. I've enjoyed all the lovely shades of greens in the leaves and the forests, as well as all the hues of the blues, greens and grays of the sea. It was so good to be back "home" for a visit in the area I grew up.

More vacation posts and photos here:









Monday, January 26, 2015

"Let it Go" ASL Music Video #WithCaptions

Here is another fabulous ASL music video directed by Jules Dameron (check out one of her other ASL music videos, "Rolling in the Deep" at http://youtu.be/QOUb6PhDBNc). This video, "Let it Go" is performed by Amber Zion and Jason Listman.


Be sure to check out D-PAN Deaf Professional Arts Network here: http://d-pan.com/videos/dpanvideos/let-it-go-frozen/ for other excellent performances available for your viewing entertainment.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Oticon Audiologist Blows the Whistle on Big Game Noise and Hearing Health

This was forwarded to me by Sara Coulter on behalf of Oticon to share with you. Be sure to click on the links below the post and check out the infographics.

Oticon Audiologist Blows the Whistle on Big Game Noise and Hearing Health

Whether you’re catching the Big Game in Phoenix or your hometown, noise levels on and away from the field can sideline your hearing health – and even lead to permanent damage.

“There’s a lot of noise around the game, the teams and the players as football fans gear up for Super Bowl Sunday,” says Dr. Mazevski. “But it’s the actual noise on the field and in the stands that can create challenges for hearing health.” 

Cheering fans can raise noise levels in NFL football stadiums to ear-damaging levels.  The average volume is estimated to be in the mid-90 decibel range – about the level of power tools.  This fall, Kansas City Chiefs fans upset the noise record for the loudest outdoor sports stadium coming in at a roaring 142.2 decibels, about the range of fireworks blast. Dr. Mazevski points out that repeated expose to sounds louder than 85-decibels can cause permanent hearing loss.  

If you didn’t score a ticket to the Big Game, you may still be exposed to unhealthy noise levels watching the game from your local sports bar. Fan excitement can drive up noise levels in off-the-field locations as well.  A group of Oticon audiologists tested noise levels during NFL playoffs at popular sports bars in several cities.  They found that on average, bar noise was in the 80 decibel range, about the noise level of an alarm clock.  During touchdowns, fan noise rose to 110 decibels and during big plays, reached 114.9 decibels - louder than a car horn.

Don’t think players on the field are spared exposure to noise in the stands.  Football helmets are designed to protect players’ heads, not their hearing. Openings on either side of the helmet allow them to hear crowd noise and calls on the field. When Oticon audiologists measured sound levels with a regulation helmet, using KEMAR, an acoustic research mannequin, sound levels were virtually the same with and without the helmet.

How to tackle the noise?  Dr. Mazevski recommends investing in inexpensive ear plugs to protect hearing from big game noise.  At just under $3.50 for a package of ten pairs, it’s about the best bargain fans are likely to see this season.  In recent years, Super Bowl ticket prices have averaged between $500 and $600.

It makes good hearing sense for fans to stay alert to noise damage post-game too. It’s not uncommon for ears to ring for a short period after being in a noisy environment.  If the ringing doesn’t go away after 3 or more days however, Dr. Mazevski recommends a checkup with a hearing care professional.

Check out Oticon’s colorful Sports & Noise Infographic for more hearing health facts and to learn how noise affects crowds, players and referees.  Visit oticonusa.com/infographic.
Learn more here:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hearing Loss, How Hearing Devices Work and Don't Work - Rush Limbaugh Questioned

Questions on the Host's Hearing March 18, 2011  

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT RUSH:  Evan in West Coxsackie, New York, welcome to the EIB Network.  Hello.

CALLER:  Hey.  I'm just wondering, when you listen to music with your hearing aid, how's it sound?

RUSH:  Music?

CALLER:  Yeah, like if you're listening to music on an iPad or something?

RUSH:  Well, not very good.  I cannot listen to music that I've never heard before and identify the melody.


RUSH:  I have a cochlear implant. It doesn't have nearly the sensitivity of the human ear, it's not even close.

CALLER:  I was just wondering.

RUSH:  Like violins or strings sound like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

CALLER:  Oh, well, I was just wondering.

RUSH:  What I have to do, I can still listen to music, but it has to be music that I knew and that I've heard before I lost my hearing.  And what happens is that my brain, fertile mind, provides the melody.  I actually am not hearing the melody, and the way I can prove this to you, sometimes it will take me, even a song that I know, it will take me 30 seconds to identify it if I don't know what it is.  Now, if I'm playing a song off iTunes and the title is there and it starts then I can spot it from the middle, but if I'm listening to a song from the beginning, and I don't know what it is, it sometimes can take me 30 seconds to recognize it, if I knew it before.  But the quality of music that I hear is less than AM radio, in terms of fidelity.  I can turn the bass up on an amplifier and I don't hear any difference at all.  I can feel the floor vibrate, but I don't hear any more bass.  I can turn highs up and I can hear the difference in the highs, but on the low end I actually cannot -- (interruption)  I'm getting a note here that says: "You're not missing anything.  There aren't any melodies in music today."  (laughing)  At any rate, you adapt to it.  I've adapted.  

The worst part of my hearing is being in a crowd.  Like right now, I hear myself as well as I heard myself when I could hear.  If I'm talking to one other person in a quiet room I can comprehend 90-95% of what they say depending on how fast they're speaking.  There are some words that sound alike.  But you add room noise, like if Kathryn and I are watching TV and she wants to talk to me about what we're watching, I have to hit pause or the mute 'cause I cannot hear what she's saying.  Even if she's sitting two feet away I will not hear as long as there are other noises there.  Any room noise when added to other room noise is gonna be louder than the one voice that I'm trying to hear.  I've got the implant on my left side so if we go out in a public place, anybody on my right side, it's hopeless.  I'll have to literally turn to them, and sometimes as I turn to them they turn with me.  They don't know what I'm doing so we'll do pirouettes 'til I finally say, "No, you stay where you are.  I'm trying to position my ear so I can hear you."

The way I look at this, though, because when I tell these stories, "Oh, that's really horrible."  No, it's not.  'Cause if you look at the timeline of humanity, however long it is, 10,000 years, a million, billion, whatever the number is, my little time on it is not much larger than a grain of sand.  And yet I happen to lose my hearing at the same time technology had evolved to the point where cochlear implants had been invented.  If I had lost my hearing 15 years ago, it would have meant the end of my career.  I would not have been able to hear.  And the doctor said you might think that you could speak normally just by virtue of memory and feel, the way voice feels when you speak, but eventually your speech would deteriorate, and it would sound to people as though you had a speech defect.  It would just be automatic no matter how good you are, no matter how professional you are at it.  So that's really fortunate.  It's almost miraculous that my being afflicted with this autoimmune disease happens to coincide with technology.  Some call it divine intervention.  Some call it the age of miracles.  We're all one way or another part of this age of miracles.  Music is the one thing that I miss, but you know what else?  This is another thing.  Compatibility with other people in normal circumstances takes a big hit.  For example, my most comfortable is sheer quiet now.  The ringing of a phone or I'll be sitting in my library and there will be a noise. I remember we had been working on the alarm system, and I hadn't been told we were working on the alarm system and every 30 seconds something in the room would beep. I said, "Oh, my gosh, it that the smoker detector, what the hell?"  I'd have to call somebody in the office and say, "Where is this coming from?" because I couldn't tell where sound was coming from and I had no idea what it was.  One time the phone was left off the hook and there was street noise, it was the phone at the gate.  And it was street noise, but it didn't sound like street noise to me.  I don't even remember what it sounded like, but I couldn't pinpoint what it was.  The phone was still on the hook but the mute button on the speakerphone was off so I had no idea where it was coming from. I had to call somebody in and say, "What is this, where's it coming from?"  'Cause you always worry about something blowing up when there's a sound that you don't know.  

But I crave silence, blessed silence because anything other than speech is just noise.  It is irritating noise.  Well, most people go crazy in quiet environments.  They don't like it.  Most people love having the TV on in the background or some sort of sound or other. It irritates me.  It irritates the heck out of me because it's just noise and I can't identify it.  I know if it's noise on TV, but I can't tell you what somebody's saying.  I have to have closed-captioning to understand everything being said in a TV program, particularly if there's a music soundtrack.  And very few people use closed-captioning.  It distracts them.  Me, I need it. (interruption) No, I'm not just getting old and cranky, Snerdley.  And going in public to a restaurant is, depending on the place, it is impossible. It literally can be impossible to have a conversation except with anybody on the left, and at some places I have to get within an inch of what they're saying to be able to comprehend.  I hear everything, but making sense of it…  

See, the human ear has 35,000 hair cells in each ear.  They're microscopic.  But they still are different sizes and widths, lengths, and they vibrate.  When they sense noise, sound, whatever, they start the whole process of energy through the audial nerve.  Well, the autoimmune system killed all 35,000 hair cells in both ears, so they're laying down.  They're still in there, but they're laying down.  Cochlear implant, I've got eight electrodes, and I'm actually now down to six because two of them were causing facial tics when the volume got too high. My eyes were closing, I looked spastic.  I had to deactivate two of those electrodes, so I'm down to six.  So I've got six manmade bionic electrodes trying to do the job of 35,000 or 70,000 hair cells in terms of frequency response and all that, and there's no way, it just can't be done.  (interruption) No, the technology has not improved.  Now what has improved is, like this Esteem thing that we talk about, if you have residual hearing, that's miraculous.  The hardware hasn't changed.  There are some software improvements.  

For example, with the implant I have there's a program called High Res, which activates 20 electrodes.  But it doesn't work for me.  Everybody is different.  They turn on those 20 electrodes -- I got 'em in there -- you turn on the 20 and everybody sounds like the chipmunks to me. It's worse.  And that's the digital.  I'm using the analog.  Everybody that has one of these things has a different experience.  Everybody says you need to get one on your right side now.  I kept the right side clear because there might have been a cure for these dead hair cells.  Now I've been told there won't be.  So if I get an implant on the right side that would solve some of the spatial stuff and it would enable me to hear people on my right side if I'm in a public place or what have you.  Music, it's amazing what the memory can do when I'm listening to music that I love, that I've known. In fact, I can create the music without evening hearing it.  Your memory, your mind can do that. 


RUSH:  Look, folks, don't get the wrong idea.  Having a cochlear implant has a lot of positives.  I was out playing golf the other day with a bunch of guys, and there was a loudmouth crow in a palm tree right on the tee box, no more than ten feet above us.  The thing was cawing like crazy.  You just wanted to grab something and throw it at the damn bird to shut up, and it was screwing everybody's tee shots off.  I mean, you can't concentrate. The guys would swing and right at the moment of impact, "CAWWW!" and you could just see the effect. 

All I did was take my implant off, gently place it on the ground, and total silence. No distractions whatsoever.  However, I do have tinnitus (some people say tinn-i-tus) in my right ear -- which, in my case, I constantly hear Gregorian chants.  That's the noise in my right ear, but I've got so used to it I don't hear it unless I stop to focus on it, but it's always there.  I always think I'm in touch with God.  Gregorian chants are constantly going off in my right ear.  END TRANSCRIPT *Note: Links to content outside RushLimbaugh.com usually become inactive over time.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Social Challenges of Hearing Loss

"The Social Challenges of Hearing Loss" as seen in ALDA News

Have you ever had an embarrassing moment of miscommunication? I have, numerous times. Here is one of my more memorable moments...

The Social Challenges of Hearing Loss

By Joyce Edmiston

You might think that as a child with a hearing loss, I would have grown up being used to social situations where it is difficult to follow what is being said and what is going on. It wasn’t like that for me. In fact, in many ways, I was socially stunted because of my hearing loss.

Much of what goes on is accessed through the ears. Conversations are happening around us everywhere we go, and people learn about social graces by listening to the comments of others. (This is called incidental learning.) We learn how to use words to convey emotions, social norms, acceptable behavior, and small talk. On more than one occasion, people have mentioned that I don’t waste much time getting to the point, and as a result, I sometimes come across as rude. I’m not actually being rude—I just know that by the time I get to the end of small talk, I’ll be worn out from trying to follow the conversation and be so mentally exhausted that I’ll miss important parts.  I’m sure some of you reading this can relate. It’s so much easier just to get to the point, but that’s not the norm. People talk a lot without saying much before arriving at what they actually want to communicate. The small pleasantries of discussing the weather, asking how the family is, and even a simple “how are you” can turn into a huge discussion.

I’ve noticed through the years that as my hearing deteriorates further, it becomes easier for me to talk a lot about nothing just so I won't have to ask the other person time and again, “I’m sorry?” or “Could you repeat that, please?”  If I do most of the talking, there is less chance that I will answer inappropriately. That is my biggest fear when it comes to socializing, and I spent many years isolating myself because of it. I don’t know the scientific name for this phobia, if there is one. It was never a problem for me until I went to the dinner party that changed that. 

I was married to a military police officer in the early 1980s. This was before I got my first hearing aids. (It was actually this man who set me up with the audiologist that prescribed my first ones, courtesy of the U. S. Army, while we were stationed in Europe, but this happened after the story I’m about to tell you.)

That husband—I’ll call him  M.P. for military policeman—received orders to report to Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. I was 22 at the time. We opted to live off base in a house near Kings Ferry and Ogeechee. The landlord lived on the other side of the watermelon patch behind the rental. He was very friendly, the epitome of Southern hospitality, and invited us to his home for dinner the next day with some of their friends. His wife, he said, made the best barbeque in these parts. Although I was nervous about meeting new people and making new friends, I knew it was important to accept the invitation.

M.P. went through processing the next day.  He had a bad reaction to the typhoid fever vaccination and was sent home early.  He began developing a fever and needed to get into bed. By now, it was late afternoon, and we were expected at Mr. and Mrs. Landlord’s house in just a couple of hours. While I was debating whether I should stay home and be a nurse, M.P. said to just go to the neighbor's for dinner. It wasn’t like I was driving across town—I would be right next door, and he wanted to be left alone and sleep.

I walked past the watermelon patch up to Mr. and Mrs. Landlord’s home. Mr. Landlord introduced to their adult son and their friends, a young couple. The gentleman was an officer from the base where  M.P. was just processed. I don’t remember much about his girlfriend other than she was lovely and so soft spoken that I didn’t hear her well. I let them carry the conversation and I didn’t say too much.

As the hostess prepared each plate, I began to lose my appetite. The meat was a gray stringy concoction with a watery gray sauce. Not wanting to be rude, I began to think about what I could say so she wouldn’t put as much on my plate as she was giving everyone else. When she looked my direction as she picked up a plate, I requested, “Not too much for me, if you don’t mind. My husband and I had a very late lunch today.”

While I was watching the hostess as she began putting a small portion on my plate, the officer sitting across from me asked, “Where is he at?”

 "He’s home in bed,” I replied.

Mrs. Landlord frowned and gave me an odd look. I glanced at her husband, who gave me a very stern look. Then I looked at the officer who had asked me the question. His face was red, and it looked as though he was trying to keep from laughing.

Warning bells went off in my head. Something just wasn’t right. I asked the officer, “You did ask me ‘Where’s he at?,’ didn’t you?”

Still red-faced, he slowly shook his head no. “I asked, ‘What did you have for lunch?’ ”

To say I was greatly embarrassed is an understatement. To this day I don’t remember what the food tasted like, what we talked about, or anything else other than how quickly I left for home with the excuse, “I need to go check on my husband.”

I can laugh about this today, because it really is funny. However, back when I was young, inexperienced, and awkward in social gatherings, this misunderstanding caused me to not go anywhere socially without M.P. I lost many wonderful opportunities by allowing that moment to define my social choices. I missed out on friendships, meeting fascinating new people, and traveling with other military wives when we were stationed in Europe. As a young woman, I didn’t know how to explain my hearing loss or advocate for myself.

This is why I believe it’s so important to have support groups such as ALDA and HLAA (Hearing Loss Association of America) and why I love reading stories about other deafened, hard of hearing, and Deaf people. I also think it’s why blogging is on the rise among us. If you haven’t checked out some of these blogs, I encourage you to do so. You’ll learn, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll understand, and you’ll relate. Here are a few blogs I like to visit:

Amy Sargent aka Deaf Girl Amy is a wonderful writer, advocate, and blogger at http://deafgirlamy.com/thriving-deafie-spotlight.html

Be sure to check the trailer for Amy’s book, A Survival Guide for New Deafies, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qfk0pnt9fDQ

Author Shanna Bartlett Groves, aka Lipreading Mom, blogs at http://lipreadingmom.com

Charlie Swinbourne, a TV screen writer in the UK, publishes an international e-daily, “The Limping Chicken,” athttp://limpingchicken.com

If you’re looking for a place that covers a wide variety of issues regarding deafness from bloggers around the world, check out http://www.deafread.com

For the top blogs that cover deafness, go tohttp://deaf.alltop.com

While you’re at it, stop by my blog athttp://xpressivehandz.blogspot.com , where there is something new each week. I also encourage others to guest post. Do you have something on your mind you would like to share? Email me at xpressivehandz@hotmail.com and put “Blog Post” in the subject line.

from: ALDA News, Summer, 2013 Volume 29, Issue

Monday, January 12, 2015

The First-Ever InterNational Online DeafBlind Conference

 My friend Carol sent this flyer to me regarding this conference. As pointed out, "Through the use of revolutionary technologies, the conference will also be available through speech-to-subtitles software in up to 78 DIFFERENT LANGUAGES! So tell your friends from across the miles!"

"We may use different ways to say something, but the desire to communicate is global!"

It is January 24-25, 2015.

Learn more here: http://www.deafblindtip.com/ 

A shout out of thanks to my friend Carol Mellott for passing this along!

Beach heART

Fabulous Husband designed this in the sand for me last week when the days were sunny. Isn't he FABULOUS?!?