Labor Day marks the end of the lazy days of summer but the start of a new opportunity to do something for your ears. Instead of waiting for a new year to make resolutions, here are some to make this fall:
Get a hearing test. If you suspect that your hearing is not as good as it used to be — or perhaps a loved one or coworker has suggested that might be the case — get your hearing tested. You can start with a simple free telephone test, but even better would be to have it tested by a professional at a clinic or any number of other places. Then consider getting hearing aids or a less expensive hearing device, called a PSAP.
Speak up if you're struggling. If you've been struggling to hear at meetings, movies, classes or on the phone, especially if you already wear hearing aids, there are some easy fixes. All you have to do is ask for them. I know that's not as easy to do as it sounds, but in my experience, you may be surprised by the quick and positive response you'll get. Here are some suggestions:
- At the movies, ask for the captioning device now widely available at theaters. Ask the manager to help you set it up and to make sure it's captioning the right movie. Captionfish.com can help you find captioned movies in your area.
- At the theater or at a lecture, ask the manager or the concierge desk what kind of assistive listening devices they have. And then use them. If you love live theater but have trouble understanding the dialogue, there are a number of solutions. If you're in the New York area, check out the Theater Development Fund's captioned productions.
- At the store, ask clerks or cashiers to speak clearly, or to write down the price or other information. If it's a store you use frequently, especially a chain, ask them to install the kind of cash registers that show you what you owe. You can also ask them to install a portable loop system at the information desk, the register and/or the pharmacy counter.
- At a place of worship, ask about installing an assistive listening system. Go armed with this information from the Hearing Loss Association of America.
- At an exercise class, ask the teacher to wear the transmitter for a personal FM system. Your audiologist can suggest the best system for you.
Be prepared when you pack. Have vacation plans? Check out my 10 top tips for traveling with hearing loss. Take advantage of my hard-earned experience to avoid problems with batteries, chargers and hearing aid accidents (yes, I've dealt with them all).
Many of us have had different kinds of successful experiences asking for accommodations. Please share yours in the comments section below.