Open Ears is now HearingLikeMe

We published out first blog post on Open Ears in February 2014, with the hopes of creating a community for people with various levels of hearing loss, who would be supported by the brand that they depend on for their hearing technologies.

Since then, we’ve heard personal stories of how to better communicate with someone with hearing loss, inspirational memoirs of people overcoming  their hearing loss to rediscover their passions,  cool hearing aid decorating ideas, field notes from Phonak volunteers fitting children with hearing aids around the world, advice on how to understand your audiogram, and much more.

We’ve laughed, we’ve shed a tear or two, and (most importantly) we’ve been immensely inspired by those of you who are being open about hearing loss, breaking down stigmas and being proud of using hearing technology.

As our community has grown, so have we, and in the process have decided to build a stronger platform for you.

That’s why as of today, Open Ears will be HearingLikeMe.

You’ll still be able to find the same personal stories from your favorite bloggers and continue to follow their journeys with hearing loss, but now you’ll also get the latest industry news, lifestyle trends, hearing aid tips, and have the opportunity to further personal connections and discussions on the Hearing Like Me forum.

We look forward to growing our community and continue to inspire – and be inspired by – those of you touched by the hearing loss community. We hope you grow, learn and discover ways to hear better than ever before.

See you soon on HearingLikeMe.com and make sure to let us know what you think.

Community Spotlight: Gabby’s first hearing aids

We love it when people share their hearing loss stories with us on social media. Our community often provides comfort, encouragement, inspiration and support for others in similar situations.

Recently we connected with one of our Instagram friends who we think has a wonderful story to share. I had the opportunity to chat with Kellie, the mom of 7-month-old Gabby, about a video she shared with us. This is their story:

Jill: Thanks for connecting with us on Instagram! Can you tell us a bit more about Gabby’s hearing loss?

Kellie: While we were in the hospital when Gabriella was born, she failed both hearing screenings. After that we took her to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital for another screening and two Baer tests, all of which came back showing that she was profoundly deaf in both ears.

Jill: What did you expect going into her first hearing aid appointment? Continue reading

The Minefield of Hearing-Related Terminology

“Deaf,” “deaf,” “hard of hearing,” “hearing impaired”…

There are many words that describe someone with hearing loss. Some of them are used to describe how much you can hear, others elicit positive feelings, and other more negative. Other terms are viewed as politically correct, while unfortunately in some places it’s still common to use words like “deaf and dumb.”

Thankfully, we’ve come a long way from terms that belittle people with hearing loss, but there are still situations that we run into that make us think, wow, we still have a long way to go.

So, what do you think? How do you describe hearing loss to your friends, family or people you aren’t that close with? Does it matter?

“The idea behind “hearing impaired” is that we are lesser human beings and must be fixed to function.

Those who suffer (dare I use “suffer”?) from mild to moderate hearing loss do not necessarily identify with the term deaf—a word that is historically loaded and also carries a distinction between capitalized and lowercase “d”. Uppercase “Deaf” reflects a community and a culture of identity, and carries pride similar to that of ethnic and religious groups. Lowercase “deaf” can reflect only severe to profound hearing loss, or hearing loss on the whole, depending who you ask.” – Christina The Name I Call Myself 

Join the discussion about this topic in the comments section, or on the Hearing Like Me forum!

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Hear Armenia: A diary of our visit

Open Ears is following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Armenia with the Hear The World Foundation. Nazan Yakar and Christiane Schubert, who volunteered for the project, are both Audiologists with Phonak Germany.  This is their account of the Hear Armenia 2015 project visit. 

Our journey to Armenia began in May 2015, when Nazan and I first talked with the Hear the World Foundation staff about the option to volunteer for a project. Although there was no clear opportunity at the time, just a few weeks later we were lucky enough to be presented with a chance to support the Hear the World project in Armenia. We decided very quickly to accept the offer, as we’re excited about the opportunities to gain practical experiences in the pediatric field, aside from our daily business.

Slowly, we started to learn more about our tasks and about the Hear the World program in Armenia. We had several calls with former volunteers and staff who visited the Arabkir Hospital, where we would work. Together we brainstormed we would support the hospital best this year.

Before we left, Nazan and I collected several items from our pediatric products to bring along, such as Leo plush toys and books, Junior kit clips, cleaning tools and battery testers. Hear the World Foundation, as part of their yearly grant, also provided a variety of hearing instruments and Roger devices.

In a few months, we were ready to split the supplies, pack up our bags and head to Armenia!

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Cool Halloween Hearing Aids Prove that Technology Isn’t Scary

Hearing aids can be scary to someone who doesn’t know how they work. So with Halloween just around the corner, we think it’s the perfect opportunity to show kids and their friends that hearing aids are cool!

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Broadway show with deaf actors is ‘enlightening in its diversity’

Theater goers can attest, when one leaves a musical they often walk away with the show tunes stuck in their heads. But a new Broadway revival is leaving the opposite impression, with most of the focus solely on the actors; half of whom are deaf.

Deaf West Theater’s production of Spring Awakening, which opened in New York in September, stars eight deaf actors, eight hearing actors and seven onstage musicians, including Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Marelee Matlin.

Photo: Kevin Perry, courtesy Spring Awakening

Photo: Kevin Perry, courtesy Spring Awakening

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