Misconceptions

I’m always so tickled when one of Hearing Elmo’s guest writers offer to post something! This one was really “timely” for me and I needed the reminders about what some common misconceptions are! Thank you to Tywanna, one of Hearing Elmo’s guest writers!

MISCONCEPTIONS

Guest writer: Tywanna

The American Heritage Dictionary defines misconception as “A mistaken thought, idea, or notion; a misunderstanding.”

Prior to the decline of my hearing, I could not explain what it was like to live with a hearing loss. I was incapable of completely explaining something I’ve never experienced. If I had tried to do so, my words would have been awkward, confusing, incorrect, or ignorant.

I’ve cross across some people with “normal” hearing who feel as though they understand but their reality is often a misconception.

Here’s a list of the top misconceptions I’ve heard and experienced throughout my hearing loss journey.

1. All people with hearing loss use American Sign Language

According to Wikipedia, while there has been no reliable survey of the number of people who use ASL as their primary language, estimates range from 500,000 to 2 million in the United States. As of 2009, the United States population was estimated at $307 million people. If these statistics are close to the actual numbers, ASL users are in the minority.

In 2006, Gallaudet University published a study which indicated the estimates need updating.

2. Yelling will make the person with hearing loss hear better

Imagine speaking with someone and hearing but not fully understanding what’s being said. To a person with hearing loss this is a regular encounter. Sometimes we often nod, smile or shake our head out of politeness or because we don’t want to interrupt the speaker with “what” or “can you please repeat that.”

Sometimes when people with a hearing loss find the right moment to intervene with a polite “can you repeat that”, we’re faced with someone yelling so loud that their words become distorted.

I often feel compelled to ask, “will yelling make me hear or understand you?”

3. People with “normal” hearing may not talk with someone who has a hearing loss

A manager at work explained to me that she knows I’m smart but she was afraid people would not talk to me because I could not hear them. Is this the way my co-workers feel or the way she feels? I’m inclined to believe it’s the later due to her ignorance about hearing loss and her lack of being comfortable around someone who is slightly different than herself.

What does being smart have to do with hearing loss? How are the two related?

4. The word “impaired” sounds nicer than hearing loss or deaf

While taking an ASL class for the first time I used the word impaired with our instructor who was born deaf. She politely explained to me impaired means broken. After that experience I looked up the word in the dictionary. Impaired is a synonym for broken, ruined or messed up. Wow, did God make me broken? – of course not. He made me exactly the way he intended. He made me to be unique, different and one of a kind. Since finding out the true definition of the word impaired, I have eliminated the word from my vocabulary when referring to others with hearing loss or myself.

The terms dumb, mute, and handicapped and several others are no longer acceptable. Let’s band together to eliminate the words that may be offensive or degrading to certain members of the population.

Let’s ask people what they would prefer to be called and honor their wishes.

5. All people with hearing loss want to be “fixed”

Have you ever come across people who feel as though they have the answer to everything? Every time a new product or infomercial comes on television, they feel compelled to let you know.  “Oh my, I’ve seen this wonderful new head phone set that will enable you to watch television without using closed captions.” Well, I’m wearing a BTE hearing aid that costs $3000 and you’re telling me a product for $19.99 will enable me to understand the television?

“You’ll never guess what, “I’ve seen a new hearing aid that is suppose to fix all types of hearing loss.” Who told these people there is a cure for deafness?

Who also said deaf people want to be fixed? As a whole, the hearing loss and Deaf community are proud of who they are.

6. Deaf means “No Sound”

Wrong! The term deaf does not mean without sound. According to the Center for Disease Control, deaf is the inability to rely on your hearing to understand and process information without the use of visual cues.

7. Deaf people want sympathy

Recently while interacting with my supervisor at work, I explained to her I would prefer written instructions because I was going deaf. Her reply was “I’m sorry”. I quickly explained there is nothing to be sorry about. People who are Deaf, deaf or hard of hearing want empathy not sympathy. I don’t want people to pity me or feel sorry for me. That’s not the way I see myself. I’m using my hearing loss as a way to help others.

My cousin recently sent me an e-mail with the following quote:

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

–Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

People with “normal” hearing, may never be able to fully understand our journey. Often times true understanding comes from experience. We do not have to live in continued ignorance. There are so many libraries, books, television programs and Internet websites. Let’s educate people one at a time. Let’s band together to wipe out the misconceptions. Let’s continue to share our experiences to help others.

Braille Menus

Kyersten has always loved the outdoors... here she is on Lookout Mtn. in Georgia.

Kyersten, my “going on 20” daughter and I, went to Baltimore yesterday. She had a field trip she had to complete in order to earn some extra credit in her 200 level zoology class that she is taking. This has been a TOUGH class for her and she earnestly reasoned with me why she so desperately needed the car to go the National Aquarium. She can be pretty convincing. I had not been in awhile, so invited myself along so that I could spend some one-on-one time with her. Perhaps since we’ve recently visited some colleges on her “short list” that she will be transferring to next Fall, it was still keenly evident to me how precious little time I have left with her before life really changes! She was very willing to endure my company and cheerfully agreed (even before I promised lunch out!).

The aquarium is a great place to be with a CI and working dog. There is SO much to hear, and it can be a great place to practice using some of my special programs like “BEAM” to hear just Kyersten in a din of NOISE. It is good for Chloe, for we do not frequent really noisy places out of habit. It is good practice for her to stay calm and focused amidst all the “merry mayhem”. Towards the end she was wagging her tail at every squealing group of school children, and even met another service dog. Butch was a HUGE black lab that was built like a tank. He was very “lab-like” and friendly. He and Chloe said a brief hello and went on accompanying their partners. Chloe was much more relaxed after that – smile. A harmless moment of flirtation is enough to put the wag in the tail of my hound dog!

A Dolphin Show can be really noisy and tough to hear at with all the echo! Doesn't keep it from being REALLY FUN!

Lunch at the Cheesecake Factory

I gave Kyersten the option of several places to eat there in the Inner Harbor. She gave me one of those “duh” looks that 19-year-old’s are so good at… She loves cheesecake, so I really didn’t need to ask her! She eats a pretty light lunch there in order to save room for what is important. CHEESECAKE. Smart kid, yes?

Even though it was 12:30, we didn’t have to wait in line at all. Perhaps because it was a weekday? The young man asked us to follow him back through the restaurant. The area he led us to looked out over the promenade and one wall was all glass. I made the mistake of glancing around too much and caught site of the ceiling fans in my peripheral. I sort of “toppled” with a decided lack of GRACE into my chair. Kyersten just grinned at me, as she guessed my problem. I situated Chloe under the table, and turned to look at the young man who seated us.

“May I bring you a Braille menu, ma-am?” he asked politely.

I could see Kyersten’s eyes widen across the table.

Without missing a beat, I pointed to my CI and said, “Oh no thank you! I’m fine with this one” (and then pointed down to the regular novel-length menu on the table).

When the young man walked away, Kyersten rolled her eyes and said, “OH BRUUUTHER!”

I just grinned and said, “Hey! He was polite, and I do have a service dog with me. I toppled into the chair… for all he knows I don’t see well!”

Kyersten just looked at me, and looked at the cochlear implant on my head decorated in gold, red and green jewels for Christmas. She then looked at the opposite ear with the prominent BTE hearing aide and bright red ear mold.

She didn’t say another word, but that 2nd eye roll said it all.

Not the first, won’t be the last!

This was not the first time I’ve ever been offered a Braille menu before. I have friends with low-vision or are legally blind. I appreciate the fact that many restaurants have Braille menus!

I also appreciate it when restaurants train their employees “enough” that they have learned to recognize someone with a special need. Oh sure! They might not identify the need correctly, but I truly believe it is the thought that counts! When I have students in my ASL classes do projects like “go to the mall” without your voice and only sign, (“Deaf for a Day“), many come back to class and tell me that they were offered a Braille menu at the food court at various places. We discuss how they handled this and what this may mean.

Hearing Loss is Unique to Each Individual

Hearing loss itself is unique to every individual. The disability is not a “cookie cutter” change in hearing. I get some responses from people sometimes that do not like that I use the “disability” word. I’m OK with that, and respect their opinion and choice to not identify with that word. Personally, I am OK with admitting that I have a disability. I believe it does not strip away any power, self-esteem or pride to admit that. I am NOT, however, disabled. Yet, my disability may not be anything like that another person with hearing loss experiences.

I have Meniere’s disease. I do not meet many people with hearing loss who have Meniere’s. I am bi-modal (one CI, one hearing aid). I am more likely to meet bi-lateral people if I meet someone with a cochlear implant now! (Which I think is JUST TERRIFIC!) What they experience in their hearing loss is different than what I experience. Some people use a “bit of sign”, while others are culturally Deaf and do not use their voice at all. Some people have hearing aids that they do very well with, while others put their own in a drawer and “fake it” through life. I hear very well in quiet to “medium-noise” environments. I don’t even have to speech read anymore thanks to the wonderful technology of my Nucleus Freedom! However, in really noisy environments I do have to speech read even when using special programs. Other people with cochlear implants may do better in noisy situations.

I have had the privilege of participating in various forums, workshops, conferences and conventions. I have seen people with hearing loss really become defensive with other people with hearing loss. You know? (scratching head and really ponderin’ on that) I just don’t get that! So what if someone hands you a Braille menu! Were they genuinely trying to help? Does it matter that they don’t realize your hearing loss is different than their own? Perhaps they do not understand that what works for them may not work for you. Why come unglued and act defensive?

Here are a few real-life examples I have observed:

1. A person with hearing loss walked up to another person with hearing loss and pointed to their wires connected to their body-worn processor for their cochlear implant. “Why on earth would you wear something like that with all those wires showing?” Oh yeah… that produced a positive response!

2. “Bling” on cochlear implants and hearing aids are often disdained by other people with hearing loss.

3. “Why would you go with THAT company for your CI? The one I went with is so much better and their success rate is much higher!” (Should we just be happy someone is HEARING AGAIN?)

4. “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch the last part of what you said”. “What? You have a cochlear implant now, shouldn’t you be hearing better than I am with two hearing aids?” (Yeah… as long as you aren’t talking while crunching raw broccoli, bozo…)

Let’s face it! We will likely meet someone else with hearing loss who has chosen different techniques, coping mechanisms and technology in order to live life to its fullest. They may hand us a Braille menu. Our response should be positive… and let them know we genuinely appreciate their attempt to be helpful. An angry retort, thrown “menu”, defensive attitude and “hearing loss sermon” will not bring anything positive out of their mistake. Relax. Smile. Educate in a positive way.

Denise Portis

© 2009 Hearing Loss Journal

 

Are you too sensitive?

For curiosities sake, I went to my favorite hearing loss forums and discussion boards and counted the number of topics that had to do with “hurt feelings” and being “too sensitive”.  I knew the subject had come up in one form or another on every site I’ve been too, yet I was surprised to finally give up counting after 75 “finds”!

Just like people with “normal” hearing, people with hearing loss can be too sensitive.  This subject has been discussed a great deal in my household lately, and you’ll note my daughter recently posted on this topic.  What does being “sensitive” even mean?

According to one source, (as it pertains to feelings and people), it can mean:

Of a person, easily offended, upset or hurt.

This is different that being sensitive to the burdens, worries, and problems of others.  That type of sensitivity stems from an empathy that leads you to step in and make a difference.  (Something ALL of us should learn to do better!) When you have this kind of sensitivity, you are in high demand as a friend.  Your sensitivity is towards OTHERS, not self.

But people with hearing loss can be too sensitive to the comments made by others, or even facial expression and body language.  I know this because I AM a person with hearing loss, and I can BE this way sometimes!  In the beginning especially, I found it very hard not to react in a really defensive way towards others.  Through observing the examples of those who modeled genuine acceptance for who they are, I too, have learned to appreciate the good and bad of hearing loss.

How can you know if you are highly sensitive?

Psychologist Kyra Mesich asks the following questions:

Do you feel emotions often and deeply?

Are you keenly aware of other people’s feelings?

Are you easily hurt or upset by insults or unkind remarks?

Do you avoids conflicts and confrontations?

Can you not easily release sad or upset feelings?

Do you feel deeply for others’ suffering and pain?

Are you prone to recurrent depression?

Are you keenly aware of and affected by beauty (art, music, nature)?

Do you feel overwhelmed or depleted by too much stimuli (large crowds, loud noises, hectic environments)?

Were you sensitive as a child?

If you answer “yes” to some or many of these questions, chances are you are very sensitive.  You’ll note that some of things things are POSITIVE!  Some of these are considered to be a strength and add to your character.  Some types of sensitivity create problems, however.  This negative type of sensitivity can alienate the people who love you, and hurt your character.

I believe that many times an acquired disability creates new feelings of sensitivity that perhaps were not there before. Some people feel like their entire world has changed, and nothing is as it was! They become “hyper” sensitive as they re-learn how to interact with their world now that one of their major senses is missing.

What are some things that can help you become less sensitive? (When I say this I do not mean that we should become “hardened” towards the needs of others!  I mean that we become less defensive, and overreact “less”!)

I’d love to hear from some of you!  Feel free to email me your own ideas, or post a comment of some tips of your own! (Check/click “comments” as needed as some will likely post their own ideas in this section instead of emailing.  Emailed comments will be cut/pasted at the end in RED. )  Some things I have thought of…

1.  Learn to give the benefit of the doubt.

This is not easy to adopt, yet we really can change our way of thinking and learn to give the benefit of the doubt to others.  We should start with those close to us, and trust their hearts that they meant no harm in what they said.  Don’t try to tell me that you can’t ignore what your heart and “feeler” is experiencing!  Take it from someone who use to wear their feelings on their sleeves!  You really CAN change the way you think!  Deliberately choose to “believe the best”, time after time.  Eventually it will become a habit, and you will find that you assume the best in a natural way.  At first, however, you may have to consciously CHOOSE to think in a positive manner.  (Phil. 4:8)

2.  If unsure, immediately ask for clarification.

Especially in the beginning, you may need to do a lot of this!  After all, you are trying to break a bad habit of over-reacting to people’s comments or expression! If you are left puzzling (or “smarting”) over something someone said, hold up your hand and ask!  Something as simple as… “Whoa!  Wait a minute!  You ARE teasing, aren’t you?”  Don’t sit around stewing about it if you aren’t sure!

3.  Learn to notice the “silliness” too… and notice it FIRST!

What a revelation it was to me to learn that the tension in a situation could be easily diffused by being the first to notice how silly it was!  If I mishear something, I have learned to stop and parrot what I thought I heard.  Sometimes it is hysterical! I believe this helps others in two very important ways.

1) Others learn HOW you sometimes hear something.  It may cause them to choose their words more carefully in the future.

2) They learn that you are a “safe” person.  You can see the “funny” in life and look at things in a positive light.  If you are comfortable with your disability, chance are they will be too.

4.  Recognize that being “sensitive” is not a positive trait.

I’m always amazed when people brag like it’s a GOOD thing to be a really sensitive person!  Certainly if we are sensitive to the needs of others, we can really be used to make a difference!  But if your sensitivity is in how you respond to others, then it has become all about “SELF”.  We become so intent on how WE feel or were made to feel, we totally miss looking to others.  By realizing what a negative trait it is to be highly sensitive, we can better change a behavior we have developed or inherited.  If you don’t first see how this is hurting who you are and what you can be, it is unlikely you will be stimulated to change!  “Own” that you have a problem and need to change.

5.  Determine if the real issue is SELF-esteem.

It was very liberating for me to realize that one of the reasons I over-reacted to everything was my own poor self-esteem.  A phrase often used to describe me was that she “makes mountains out of mole-hills!”  (I still have my mole-moments!  Smile!)  It may be that you need to work on YOU, before you can get past being overly sensitive to others.  Find some good books or devotionals on self-esteem.  One CAN improve their self-esteem.  If we have a poor opinion of ourselves now that we are deaf, chances are we think everyone else feels the same way.

In the end, what helped me the most was that I wanted to be surprised when someone WAS deliberately trying to hurt me.  I had been living as though people meant something in a mean way, and was surprised to discover they did not.  I desperately wanted to change that around.  I wanted to live and respond in such a way that it was normal for people to mean well.  The only surprise I wanted to experience was when someone WAS intentionally trying to hurt me.  I’ve found that I’m rarely surprised.

Denise Portis

© Hearing Loss Journal

(From LB) I was once told “We only tease those we love”. After I became super sensitive about things, people quit teasing me. I looked around and noticed that there were very few people who loved me enough to trust me with good-natured teasing. That told me a lot. I vowed to change my ways!

(From TTU) Your quote about being a “safe” person reminded me of a great book entitled: “Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t” by Drs. Cloud and Townsend. People who are overly sensitive are not “safe”. I didn’t want to become one of those people after my hearing loss!

(From Vicki) I know that I am sensitive. I am learning in ways how to deal with it. This does not always have anything to do with my hearing loss. Some people tease me in a friendly way and at first I did not take it that way until one person pulled me aside and said that others were just trying to lighten the mood around me as I can be too serious at times. When I started commenting in a friendly teasing way back to them, they were pleased that I was coming around and included me in more things. I am now learning to listen to how the comments are said and who is saying it. This can make a difference into who is stating it. I am also learning to take things one day at a time. I am also learning to be more positive in the way I handle things as the more I do this, the more people has been responsive and truly trying to help me out. This is a step by step process and I was fortunate enough to have a friend who took the time to work with me. I still have a long ways to go.

Thanks for sharing this with us Denise and enlightening us with such a wonderful way of opening us up to how we need to learn to face all this.

Acceptance is…

Have you ever had a time in your life where you realized that accepting the way things are is all you can do right now?

The advocate in me chafes at what acceptance means. There is a part of me that yearns to be instrumental in change; that other late-deafened adults will be encouraged and helped by the things I do. In the public arena I try to be a good example, a positive influence that stimulates change in access, communication strategies, and coping mechanisms.

As a person with a working dog and one who has carefully counted the cost of what that means, I want to be a good role model. I hope to help create an awareness that there are other types of working dogs that are not guide dogs for the blind. I want to be instrumental in other’s acceptance of other types of working dogs.

It is much easier for me to “go to bat” for others. If it means a sacrifice will help someone else, I do so with little thought about whether or not I should. However, exerting emotional, mental and physical efforts in which the end result helps only me? Well… that is much harder!

When I first began losing my hearing, I lived in North Carolina. I had a friend who had a great deal of experience in working with people with hearing loss. Thoroughly exasperated one day, she put her hands on her hips and exclaimed, “Denise! You are the most difficult person to HELP! If and when we can, would you just sit down and LET US?” To this day, it is still something I struggle with each and every day. I want to “help”, but don’t help me!

I hope that I’ve mellowed with age, for in truth it is pride that keeps me from humbly accepting assistance from others. I’ve actually learned to ask for help! That’s GROWTH in my opinion! (grin)

Acceptance can be difficult to embrace. I accept that I have a hearing loss. I have a disability that at times makes communication difficult. I accept that I will need to ask for help at times in order to clarify, and that I will need to clearly communicate my needs.

Sometimes, acceptance means that right now… nothing can be done to improve your situation. My family and I are members of a really wonderful church here in Frederick. Our church is “big” on “small groups”. It is a way for the members to really get to know one another and to become involved in each other’s lives on a more personal level. Without going into a lot of unnecessary detail, there is no place for me in any of the current small groups. I’m encouraged that there are “plans in the works” to create a small group this fall that will be in a quieter setting with no children, etc. For now, however, I accept that there is not a place for me. Acceptance can mean to be brave and smile right through the feelings of loneliness. Acceptance does not mean that you “give up” emotionally and wrongly convince yourself that “this is the way it will always be”.

I am in a tough situation with my assistance dog, Chloe right now. A new person in my life has a very severe allergy to animals with fur. It is actually a life-threatening asthmatic reaction to pet dander, and she is unable to be near me if Chloe is with me.

Chloe isn’t a pet. As an assistance dog, her job is to be with me even if I do not immediately need her ears to hear or her “steady stance” to balance. To leave her at home in her kennel on occasion is not a problem. But to do so regularly, affects our bond in a negative way. It’s tough when a “new person” enters your life that you want to get to know better, but you must limit getting together with them because you cannot leave your assistance dog at home a great deal. I must accept that sometimes I can’t get to know someone like I would hope, as I cannot undo all the work and training I have gone through in order to live a more independent life.

Acceptance isn’t always an easy, “feel good” choice. At times, one must courageously determine that you can “accept” the way things are for the present. Right now, “acceptance” has actually caused a lot of heart break in my life… it has caused many a heated argument, frustration and sleepless nights. I can, umm… (BIG SMILE) accept that!

Denise Portis
©2008 Hearing Loss Diary

Passion

kivak.jpg My family and I had the privilege of meeting a young author this past week. As we sat talking with this young man, it struck me how quickly a demeanor could change when talking about something you have a passion for and have researched thoroughly.

This young man is an “expert” on wolves and pack mentality due to the fact that a great amount of time went into investigating his subject matter prior to writing about it. His face lit up and his eyes danced with appreciation for any discussion that had to do with his “passion“. I look forward to talking to him more about canines and “packs” as I have an interest in it myself.

Later, I had to stop and think about that… or as we say in the South, “I pondered on it some!” Do I exude confidence and enthusiasm for those things of which I am passionate? Am I contagious?

I have a passion for people with hearing loss, obviously because I self-identify myself with this population. However, there are times I know that I advocate poorly and end up being a very poor testimony on behalf of those who are late-deafened.

I want to be the type of advocate who sits down with “someone new” to discuss my passion, and we get up from the table “like-minded”. Or at the very least, I have adequately and passionately discussed issues of hearing loss that will at least give them something to think about… they go home “ponderin’ on it!”

May all we do and all that we stand for… may everything we feel passionately about… be displayed in such a way that our passion becomes their passion!

Denise Portis
©2008 Hearing Loss Diary

Get to the Forest!

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”trail-to-graveyard.jpg

This picture was taken at Harper’s Ferry in 2006. It doesn’t exactly show a forest that is isolated like I believe this riddle alludes too, but it is “Kodak evidence” of how fond I am of forests.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Don’t you love a great riddle? This has always been one of my favorites as it causes me to “wax philosophical”. Is sound only sound if a person is around to hear it?

My first reaction is that OF COURSE a falling tree makes a noise when it falls, irregardless of whether or not a person is around when it happens! In a forest, trees are usually densely packed with only the occasional trail towards a water source, created by “forest dwelling mammals”. Can you picture a large tree in a forest suddenly beginning its descent towards earth? No one is around to holler, “TIMMM-BERRRR!” (I had to scratch my head and ponder on that awhile! Why shout “Timber!” when a falling “timber” begins to fall? Why not yell, “Look out! Move back! HEADS UP! Sorry I digress…)

It very likely snaps and pops, creating echoes of noise that reverberate through the forest. Nearby trees lose their own branches and twigs as the tree makes it way down, Down, DOWN. They shudder and groan as the descending tree makes contact with them, and seem to almost respond to the original noise by snapping and popping as well. The tree picks up speed as it nears its resting place, and the ground shakes in percussion as final contact is made. A great deal of noise was made in this process. Had I been standing there watching it happen, the noise would have been no different had I been at home in my recliner watching FOX news. I could have even set up a camera to catch all the action and noise. Yet no more or less noise was made when it fell.

Things That Make Me Go, “Hmmmm… ”

I think that this is important. If NO ONE IS THERE TO HEAR THE NOISE, then NO SOUND WAS HEARD. Many things can make a noise, but only ears hear sound. Therefore, if no one was around when that tree fell in the forest, no sound was heard! (Are you scratching your head in confusion yet?)

Stick with me here!

Do you know that when people with hearing loss advocate for themselves or others, they can make NOISE or they can make SOUND? Noise is usually made by people who have simply “had it” with the hearing world. These folks are angry, bitter, and believe change cannot and will not happen. Their noise is ignored by people with normal hearing, or worse yet… it is only acknowledged if that person decides they need to step out of the way of that NOISY, FALLING tree!

These noisy people refuse to call their Congressman when HLAA, ALDA or other organizations put out a plea to “make yourself heard”. Cell phone compatibility, accurate captioning, and hearing aid tax credits are just a few things that I have been urged to voice my opinion about to my own government officials in recent years. They belly-ache and groan about how hard life is when you have a hearing loss. They don’t really like to be with groups of others with hearing loss as they may find people who are coping just fine. They don’t want to reach out to someone new with hearing loss, because THEY want to make noise… not listen to others! They grumble, gripe, groan and belly-ache… keeping Pepto-Bismol in business.

They choose to criticize hearing loss organizations who are busy trying to get them to “make themselves heard”. They act as if the power of combined sound is in the Board of Trustees instead of the members who make up the organization. They completely miss the point that if they join others who step up to advocate in a positive way, their combined “noise” swells into an orchestra of purposeful sound that crescendos and echoes it’s way across America.

When we advocate in a positive way we do more than make noise. Our sound is heard. It may still be ignored, or it may be that they think it is only the sound of ONE tree. That’s why it’s important to be around other trees; to be around others with hearing loss. We observe, we learn, we support and educate. We learn to be pro-active, and learn to do more than make noise. We learn to make a sound that is HEARD.

Get to the forest! Let’s make some sound!

Denise Portis
©2008 Hearing Loss Diary