Hear Haiti: The Gift of Hearing

Open Ears is following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Haiti with the Hear The World Foundation. Michael Lumunsad is a Strategic Marketer at Advanced Bionics

Day 5

“Oh man, we’re stuck!” I yelled as our mighty little Toyota HiAce hit a gigantic puddle on the dirt road.

The rear wheels were spinning and our vehicle was sliding around in the mud. I looked out of the side window and it looked like we landed in a lake.

“Do we have a tow winch?” I asked John our fixer/translator/security guy.

“We don’t need a winch.” he said as he looked at me with a smile.Apparently, getting stuck in mud is a common thing for these guys. Our driver started rocking the car back and forth but wasn’t getting anywhere. The 2nd van stopped and started to assess our situation. The driver of the second van got into our van through the window opening like he were one of the Duke Brothers and took over driving duties. John was piling rocks underneath our rear tires while the rest of us in the van were enjoying the impromptu carnival ride. Continue reading

Listening to music with hearing aids (or, why I choose Adele over TSwift)

A common misconception for people with hearing loss is that we can’t hear music.

Being a deaf teenager – I love my music! In fact, most of my deaf friends do too. Music has this element to it that allows us to connect. Just like anyone else, we can relate to the lyrics and the mood of different songs. Soothing tunes sound nice in our ears after a busy day full of background commotion, while other songs really have energy injected to them, which give us a confidence boost. I think music defines our personality and emotions – and for those who struggle to communicate due to their hearing loss, music is a great way to for them to express themselves.

If you’re thinking, ‘How can she hear the music?’ Well… there’s a few possibilities. Continue reading

Hear Haiti: It Takes A Team

Open Ears is following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Haiti with the Hear The World Foundation. Michael Lumunsad is a Strategic Marketer at Advanced Bionics LLC. 

Day 4

“I hope this van makes it up the hill,” Mohamed Khaldi excitedly said as our van went uphill on the extremely steep dirt road. Personally, I didn’t think the van would make it up with all our gear and passengers, but it proved me wrong. Who needs a 4X4 when you have a little Toyota HiAce with a faulty A/C system?

We finally arrived to the top of the hill. Wow! The school had a stunning view of the both the ocean and nearby forest covered rolling hills. The kids at this school were very lucky to be enrolled there. The school focused on encouraging, educating and empowering restaveks, orphans, and vulnerable children. Another organization was doing great things in Haiti. It was amazing. Continue reading

Hear Haiti: The Future of Haiti

Open Ears is following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Haiti with the Hear The World Foundation. Michael Lumunsad is a Strategic Marketer at Advanced Bionics LLC. He enjoys talking about the most random topics with his AB coworkers, Brendan, Jiselle, and Jessica.

Day 3:

Written on the sign was “12 JANVYE 2010 – AYITI PAP BLIYE” which means, “12 January 2010 – Haiti Will Not Forget”.

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The Haiti Earthquake Memorial

As we passed the 2010 earthquake memorial, we were reminded of why our Hear the World team and many other humanitarian teams were in Haiti. We came to help the people who were victims of the tremendous tragedy. Three million people were affected and more than 250,000 people died. The new memorial was built on the mass grave of these people and it’s supposed to remind the world of how many innocent lives were lost in this wonderful country.

Our two vans made the hour drive to a coastal school near Port-au-Prince. We were greeted by energetic and laughing children who wanted hugs from each and every one of us. These kids and their families were the survivors of the earthquake and they will be the future of the country. Continue reading

Can multi-tasking cause momentary deafness?

Have you ever been accused of having ‘selective hearing’ or ‘selective deafness’ – people saying that you can hear them when you want to, but not when you don’t? Well, there could be a scientific explanation for this, apparently and it’s called ‘inattentional deafness’.

According to a recent article published by Huffpostscience, “A new study has found that focusing really hard can cause momentary deafness.”  The article went on to say, “A small study from University College London, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, found that focusing on a visual task can make you momentarily deaf to normal-level sounds around you.”

During the study, participants were asked to take part in a visual task involving deciphering ambiguous-looking letters whilst the researchers conducted brain scans on them.

“The scientists found that the brain’s response to sound was significantly reduced and the volunteers could not hear sounds that were clearly audible. […] The researchers believe this shows that humans’ sense of hearing and vision relies on the same neural resources, which are limited and may only be available to one type of task at a time.”

How does this then impact on those of us with hearing loss? Continue reading

Hear Haiti: a vibrant start

Open Ears is following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Haiti with the Hear The World Foundation. Haley B. Kurzawa is a Hearing Instrument Specialist at Connect Hearing USA. She is originally from Chicago and moved to Austin, Texas last year.

Day 2.

Hearing the rooster crow was such an unusual sound for a Chicago girl. I woke up to the beautiful sunshine, feeling surprisingly rested after a long day of travel. I was very eager to start the day with my awesome team.

“Breakfast is at 8 AM. Be ready to leave for Cite Soleil after eating,” said Cathy Jones.

I prepared for a day of many detours and potentially unplanned activities. I got excited for the busy day ahead. We planned to visit a school in Cite Soleil, the skilled artisans of the Metal Works community, and the non-profit Apparent Project.

We were all excited to get to see the Port-au-Prince that’s not shown on mainstream news. We piled into two vans and headed on our way.

“The roads in Haiti have potholes just as big as Chicago,” I excitedly exclaimed. I realized driving in Haiti wasn’t like driving in the USA. There are huge pot holes, lack of asphalt, no visible lanes, no traffic lights, and lots of pedestrians. People either walk, ride motorcycles, or take “tap-tap” which are colorful trucks.  Think of vibrant Uber rides. Continue reading

Sing in the Shower: 6 Ways to Enhance Your Hearing Experience

I’ve previously talked about the importance of being mindful about your hearing. I’ve found that taking the time to pay attention to how your hearing changes in different environments and after different activities can make you more aware of your hearing health in general. Once you have a good grasp on how your ears are functioning, you could move on to activities to re-train your hearing. While I’m not a doctor or hearing professional – and do not encourage any of my blog posts to be taken as medical advice – here are some activities that I’ve found have “enhanced” my hearing experience. 

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Depending on your hearing loss and ability, you may benefit from hearing rehab, listening exercises and/or ear training.

Before 2013 I had no idea what aural rehabilitation was. Then, a musician friend suggested I visit the Hearing Rehabilitation Foundation in Boston, which works with those with hearing aids and cochlear implants to strengthen their hearing experience through a variety of techniques and exercises. Continue reading