How to Make the Holidays More Hearing-Friendly

I love the five weeks that begin with Thanksgiving and end with New Year’s, but a part of me also thinks, “Bah, humbug.” That’s the part that knows I’ll struggle to follow conversations at family dinners, holiday parties, concerts and pageants. It’s also the part of me that will want to leave early, or maybe even just stay home. If you feel the same way, here are a few tips and strategies for making the holidays more hearing-friendly. Some of them …

The Skype Solution for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The other day I was sitting in my neighborhood Starbucks surrounded by the chatter of conversation and people hunched over their laptops or newspapers. At one table, however, something remarkable was going on. A woman was sitting in an armchair, her laptop perched on a table in front of her. She was having an exuberant conversation — in sign language. Not a sound came from her except for an occasional guffaw, but her conversation was so animated you almost felt you …

Adult Children: Put the Phone Away and Let’s Talk

As a college professor, I made a radical decision about a year ago: I banned smartphones and laptops during class. Honestly, I can’t compete with Facebook or an Internet flash sale or texts from friends. My students now take their notes the old-fashioned way with pen on paper. And it turns out that students who take notes by hand learn better. Now I’d like to do the same with cellphones at home and social gatherings. The biggest generation gap is …

How to Enjoy the Party — Even With Hearing Loss

Summertime offers the opportunity for a kind of social encounter that those with significant hearing loss don’t get often enough — an outdoor party. Being outside, without air conditioners humming or loud music blaring, makes it easier to hear in a crowd. As long as the light is good enough to read lips — and there aren’t too many mustaches in the group — parties can be fun, even with hearing loss. Most parties are indoors, however, and even the …

Are We People or Are We PPL?

Am I the only person left on earth who prefers hearing someone laugh instead of reading LOL? The 40-year-old man I’ve started dating must think I’m pretty funny because he texts me LOL a lot. In fact, he texts me all the time. His hearts and smiley faces look sweet on my cellphone, but the acronyms he uses often send me searching on the Internet for what the heck he is saying to me. It can be confusing. For example, CYA …

Why Phoning Your Children Just Isn’t Enough

The medium is the message, Marshall McLuhan famously noted. And in a touch screen world, our relationships with our adult children improve with the more communications media we use. While millennials enjoy chatting on the phone or Skype, they also want parents to “lurk” on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media so we can follow (not intrusively, though) their lives. That’s the finding of a study by University of Kansas doctoral student Jennifer Schon. “We found that young adults …