The first Hear Now Café for hard of hearing people got off to a good start. It was a beautiful and festive event. Our desire is to form a support group for hard of hearing where they can gather for information, peer group counseling, fellowship, inspiration, and encouragement.
The café was put together by our wonderful volunteers, Don and Sally Peterson, who baked the cake, Ray and Phyllis Ivey, who served refreshments, Carl and Delores Ellis, who decorated the tables with flowers, and Cathy Harrison and Debbie Thompson who hosted the event.
David Harrison gave a power-point presentation on how to communicate to hard of hearing. He said that we need to practice these guidelines at every meeting and in our homes for better communication.
Carl Ellis, a pharmacist, gave a testimonial on how the Lip Reading Academy has impacted his life. He had been hard of hearing for many years, worn two hearing aids, but no one told him about where to find help or other equipment what would enhance his hearing.
Marilyn Fisher, a school teacher, shared with us her adventure of almost going deaf and fearing that she would have to give up teaching. She told how she planned to get a "cochlear implant" on June 16th and be ready to go back to teaching in the fall. It was an inspiring testimony how God worked in her life.
When the meeting ended and the people were dismissed, they
stayed and met one another and talked for more than an hour after the session.
Names were drawn and door prizes were given out. Delores Ellis won the vibrating alarm clock. Adrienne McMillan won the $99.00 TV ears. Jean Rothstein won a set of placemats. There was a drawing for the five bouquets.
The next HEAR NOW CAFÉ will meet on Friday, August 12, 2011 at 7 p.m. at Ridgeview Baptist Church 6 N. Moore Road at Brainerd Road in Chattanooga, TN. Plan to be there
by RSVP. The dessert event is free. More door prizes will be given away.
Future HEAR NOW CAFE dates are September 9, October 14, November 11, December 9
RSVP 423-624-1669 or e-mail: email@example.com
Until the Trumpet Sounds: LET MY PEOPLE HEAR!
David M. Harrison
THE LAW OF T.H.A.C.
David M. Harrison © 2011
The Law of T.H.A.C., developed for hard of hearing people, means total Hearing Accessible Communication. When you enter a HEAR NOW room the dynamics of communication changes dramatically. These guidelines were designed for when hard of hearing people are present in a meeting or group situation, in a church situation. Our intention is to establish order and inclusion for all hard of hearing to be part of a group discussion.
1. Be conscious of your own ability to hear and understand the speaker. If you can’t hear what is being said, interrupt the speaker and change course. The FM system may not be turned on or the speaker may not be using the microphone properly. Check the FM unit to see if the recipient is hooked up properly.
2. Befriend everyone. Hard of hearing feel isolated from the hearing world and desire to be included in fellowship with others. Hard of hearing people have few friends and less places to visit where they can see, hear and understand everything spoken. Do not attend these meeting just to get a blessing, but to be a blessing to everyone in the group. Every hard of hearing friend is a member of the HEAR NOW family. Make them feel welcome.
3. Be Compassionate. Show that you care by trying to understand the challenges of hearing loss. Listen to their stories of hardship and struggle to communicate. Hearing people do not seem to care or understand our hearing needs. In this group, we care about everyone personally.
4. Get permission first. When the meeting is in progress get permission to speak. Wait until you have full attention everyone before you speak. Avoid speaking up or interjecting a thought or joke randomly.
5. One person speaks at a time. It becomes confusing when two or more people are speaking at the same time. We can only focus on one speaker at a time. We must hear and see who is speaking and be able to read their lips as well.
6. Never assume that you are being heard. Just because you are talking does not mean everyone can hear you. Speaking before you have full attention means you will only have to repeat yourself. Ask questions like: Can you hear me? Can you see me? Can you understand me? Always use the microphone.
7. Do ridicule or put others down. Hard of hearing make mistakes in communication. They do not have “selective hearing” or hear what they want to hear. Be sensitive and help them get on track.
8. Include everyone at the meeting place. Avoid snubbing anyone. You were a stranger when you first came here. Help all hard of hearing feel like part of the group. Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
9. Speak in a normal tone of voice. Never raise your voice or shout. Yelling distorts words and can be painful even to the hard of hearing.
10. Make adjustments with others in speaking. Change your tone of voice or raise or lower your volume as needed. Check to see if everyone can understand you.
11. Use equipment when available. Take advantage of assistive listening devices (ALD’s) when available. Handle these devices carefully as they are expensive. Try different ear pieces and ways of using the FM units or other systems that are available.
12. Avoid stigmatization. Hard of hearing may stop attending meetings if they face name calling or put downs.
13. Be an encourager and advocate for hearing accessibility. Peer mentoring will be the main focus for this ministry. Hear Now is a unique support group of people who care for one another. “Together Everyone Accomplishes More” for the glory of God. We must band together as missionary Ambassadors to the Hard of Hearing.
14. We need to teach, practice and advocate the LAW of T.H.A.C. at all times in every meeting. We need to be committed to the cause of hearing accessibility in every area of the church.
LET MY PEOPLE HEAR!
P.O. 3021 Chattanooga TN 37404 423-624-1669 firstname.lastname@example.org
Proper communication strategy with hard of hearing people is very important. You can avoid a lot of misunderstanding if you follow these eight simple guidelines. These eight “A’s” are a part of a larger treatise called “The Law of T.H.A.C.” for hard of hearing people. The letters stand for Total Hearing Accessible Communication. This strategy can be used for individuals or group communication.
1. ATTENTION PLEASE
Get their attention first. Never even think of talking to the hard of hearing without letting them know that you want to speak to them. Don’t even start until you have their full and undivided attention first. Consider how you use a telephone, when calling someone you don’t start talking until they answer the phone.
2. ALWAYS STAY FOCUSED
Once you get their attention you must keep it. Make sure they have eye contact with you at all times. If contact is broken for any reason wait until contact is re-established. Do not keep on talking.
3. ACTIVATE YOUR FACE
Lip reading is difficult if you don’t move your mouth or show verbal expression on your face. A deadpan facial expression does not convey a message clearly. We must see some visual form of the spoken word. This is one reason why I don’t enjoy puppets because the expression is the same for every word. Make your speech distinctly visible.
4. Stop ACTING like hearing people
This may sound like a strange request, but hard of hearing people cannot act or talk like a bunch of hearing people in a group situation. You just can’t blurt out jokes, or cut in, or make a comment whenever you feel like without letting everyone know that you are speaking. It is too difficult to follow a conversation when people are randomly speaking back and forth.
Just because you are speaking, does not mean that anyone is listening or can understand you. If you do not have their complete attention you are not getting through. Hello, is anyone listening? I am speaking.
5. AVAIL YOURSELF OF TECHNOLOGY
Use whatever technology is available to help you hear and communicate better. Learn to use a pocket talker or other assistive devices to enhance your communication skills. If there is an FM or a Tele-coil system in the building use it. Don’t pretend that you can get along without it. Pick that receiver unit and head phone and plug into the system. You will be glad you did.
When in the classroom situation always use the microphone while speaking. Hold the mike under your chin so others can read your lips. This means that only one person can speak at a time so everyone can focus on the speaker.
6. ALLOW PLENTY OF TIME FOR EVERYONE TO TALK
Allow only one person speak at a time. Point out the one who is speaking so everyone can focus. Please do not talk or chatter with others in a group situation. If a joke or a punch line is missed, the moderator should repeat it for clarity. Keep all discussions in a normal tone of voice unless you are asked to speak louder.
7. CLEAR YOUR FACE OFF
Remove all objects that would hinder us from reading your lips. Keep your hands away from your mouth.
8. AVOID TURNING AWAY WHILE TALKING
This happens when the speaker turns to point something out and he continues speaking while his back is toward the listener. This is done unconsciously without realizing that the hard of hearing can’t read your lips. There is a law at the University of Georgia which says, no teacher should talk while writing on the board. He must write without talking and then resume talking facing the audience.
The best advice I can give you is to stop talking when you disconnect or break focus with any hard of hearing person. Remember, when you hang up the phone, it doesn’t do any good to keep on talking.
This process must be put into practice every moment of the day with the hard of hearing.
Until the trumpet sounds, LET MY PEOPLE HEAR!
David M. Harrison (C) 2011
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