Audiologist Dr. Sarah Sparks (Twitter: @saralovesears) was born typically hearing and initially resisted cochlear implants. This blog post by Med El describes her journey with hearing loss and the reason for her initial skepticism.
Dr.. Sparks communicates with oral and signed language. She once related to me that her most impactful moment was not when she received her cochlear implant, but when she learned signed language. Her experiences underscores that there are many ways to be d/Deaf. One can use signed or oral and spoken language. And within each method, there are various ways to implement it. For example, oral language can be augmented with cued speech. Signed communication has a few different flavors. Signing Exact English and Simultaneous Communication are based on English. American Sign Language (ASL) an independent language with its own syntax and grammatical structure.
As an audiologist who personally uses CIs, she is very aware of the shortcomings of cochlear implants. Ms. Sparks joined Gallaudet to work with the entire range of communication options. Gallaudet is an institution where Deafness and Deafhood are cultures to be celebrated. American Sign Language is the dominant language and communication mode on campus.
As an aside, I (Dr. Ruffin) have chatted extensively with Ms. Sparks about bridging the d/Deaf worlds. She absolutely rocks, and we approach patient care in very similar ways: Medical science cannot currently cure profound hearing loss. So we take a more holistic view by helping people overcome communication deficits. I am so excited to see where her career takes her!
Cochlear implants can cost over $100,000. Read more to learn how to understand insurance, minimize your costs, and start your journey to hearing better.Read Full article
”Oh, I don’t need a microphone, I’ll speak louder,” is the bane of those with hearing loss attending lectures, conferences, or simply being out with friends in a louder setting. Dr. Jessie Ramey does a great job advocating for use of hearing assistive technology in higher education. This article takes Dr. Ramey’s advice further and discusses how to ask for accommodations.Read Full article
Have a plan in place before you get sick. Being prepared ahead of time is key. In an epidemic, the hospital can be overwhelming. You may be in a temporary isolation tent or placed in a hallway. You may not have access to communication tools that you usually get. Again, being prepared ahead of time is key. Make a plan with your family if you’re not ready.Read Full article
In the hospital, COVID-19 creates unique challenges for those with hearing loss. COVID-19 patients are separated from other other patients into “respiratory isolation.” This means that masks and noisy air purifiers are widely used. Masks that muffle the voice and prevent lipreading. Unlike other medical settings, masks will not be lowered so that you can lipread.Read Full article
Like other technology, cochlear implants (CI) are continually improved. Dr. Ruffin has been a scientist involved in cochlear implant research for 15 years. He provides a birds-eye view of CI research in the HLAA Washington State Fall 2019 issue of Soundwaves.Read Full article
There are several different forms of chronic sinusitis. One form that is particularly difficult to treat is “chronic sinusitis with nasal polyps,” or CRSwNP. This form of chronic sinusitis is a different disease than straightforward chronic sinusitis.Read Full article