Welcome to Hearing Loss LIVE! In our first podcast meet Michele Linder, Chelle Wyatt, and Julia Stepp. They realized the wealth of knowledge they have with respect to hearing loss and the need for better services for individuals with a hearing loss, their friends, their family. So what do three crazy, adventurous ladies do? Open up shop to help you help yourself. Whether your comfortable in your hearing loss or new to hearing loss, we are here for the journey.
Bring your coffee and your friends and family this Labor day hear our plans for Hearing Loss LIVE!
You can enjoy our blog and see our upcoming events at: hearinglosslive.com
Hello, and welcome to Hearing Loss LIVE! our first podcast where we're going to introduce ourselves. I'd like to introduce you to Michele Linder. Chelle Wyatt and myself, Julia Stepp. We're going to give you a short introduction to ourselves and our lives with hearing loss and a little bit about what Hearing Loss LIVE! means to us and what we hope to bring to you. Michele Linder, can you get us started off?Michele:
Thanks, Julia. I'll get us started. I'm Michele Linder. I currently have a profound hearing loss and I have severe hyperacusis. I don't wear hearing aids. I don't have a cochlear implant. And I don't know sign language. Speechreading is mostly how I communicate. For communication access, I need CART which is real time captioning or live captioning. For the hard of hearing CART is pretty much the same thing as sign language for the cultural Deaf. So captioning speech to text, CART is the way to go for the hard of hearing. I was diagnosed in childhood after failing the hearing screening in public school. And I was sent to the county clinic where I was diagnosed with sensorioneural hearing loss bilateral. That means both ears. I was already hardwired to lipread by the time I was diagnosed, because I remember the doctor telling my mother that I was lipreading everything he had said and he thought I probably had a hearing loss for quite some time. I was pretty much left on my own to figure it out. That diagnosis appointment was the first and last time I saw doctor in childhood. The plus side of that is your brain really kicks in and compensates. I became an even better lipreader and learned a lot of other skills along the way. But that's that's nothing that I would wish on a child. I wish that I would have had an advocate. Someone to teach me how to advocate for myself, or how to even give my hearing loss the attention that it warranted. So that's the flip side, the downside, not really having anyone to model any kind of advocacy for me. So by the time I was an adult, and began trying hearing aids at age 21, I really had no idea what to ask the audiologist.I figured that they would give me all the information I needed to know. And it wasn't until I was in my 40s and joined a hearing loss support group, which was the SayWhatClub that I found out that the most important-- some of the most important things you're going to learn about your hearing loss is not going to come from your audiologist. And after that huge hearing dip, I felt like I was losing my independence. I was leaning on my family too hard. And I decided no one else is going to teach me how to be in a world that's not designed for me, so I'm going to have to teach myself. And part of that was joining the SayWhatClub and finding other people, other peer, peers to share their experiences and teach me things that I needed to know. And that was very valuable. So by the time I reached that point, there was still a lot that I didn't know. And there's always going to be something that you don't know. I'm happy to say the last 20 years I've worked really hard to teach myself how to respond in those situations that really just threw me for a loop back in my early adulthood, and I've been pretty successful at doing that. And so part of my reason for wanting to be part of Hearing Loss LIVE! is to help other people find the tools and the strategies and all of the different things that are out there to help them live well with hearing loss. Now, I get along in the world fairly well, even though I I've tried hearing aids, but my hyperacusis has prevented me from really benefiting from them. And so I've never worn hearing aids. If you add up all the years that I tried them, I've worn them for several years. But so -- you know, you can live a really full meaningful life with hearing loss. And I have very little hearing. I don't hear myself speak anymore. I don't hear other people speak. It's all lip reading and visual for me. And if you would have told me 20 years, 30 years ago that I would be able to function so well, I probably wouldn't have believed you. So I'm really excited about Hearing Loss LIVE! and Julia and Chelle are great to work with. And we've collaborated on a lot of things over the years. So thanks, Julia.Julia:
Thank you, Michele. Chelle Wyatt, can you tell us a little about yourself and your hearing loss journey and Hearing Loss LIVE!? Yeah, I can. I'm Chelle Wyatt and I live in Salt Lake City. I started losing my hearing as a teenager a little bit at a time. When I was 18 I got tinnitus. It turned on suddenly. And by 23 years old, I was wearing hearing aids. I have been wearing hearing aids for 30 years now and I have a severe hearing loss. With 30 years of hearing aids, it took me 18 of those to learn how to live better with hearing loss. I didn't know hearing aids had limits, and I felt ashamed because I thought something was wrong with me. I didn't self advocate because I didn't know how. I had no role models. So I just kind of bumbled along a lot. I didn't know about assistive listening devices and technologies, so that kind of set me back too, and it took me 18 years to experience CART, which is communication access real time translation. fancy word for live captioning. In 2007, I had a big drop in hearing. But I had a great supporting cast in my family and friends. In 2008, I moved to Salt Lake City. And I lost all that support. And I didn't know what I was doing and how I was going to do anything ever again. And I quit doing hair because I just couldn't keep up. So in 2009, I found the local Hearing Loss Association of America chapter in Salt Lake City. And this is where I met Julia who does CART and that was my first experience with CART and I loved it. The HLAA meetings were held at the Division of Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and they had classes and presentations. I came in to the center and to these meetings, very broken. And here is kind of where I relearned to do everything all over again. Later that year, in 2009, I joined the SayWhatClub and that's where I met Michele. And through all these new people that I met many of them were successful with their hearing loss and I borrowed their courage until I had my own. I did a lot of volunteering with the HLAA chapter, and the Say What-- SayWhatClub. I gained a lot of experience through volunteering. And then I started to work part time for the Utah Deaf and Hard of Hearing program. And later they hired me full time as the hard hearing specialist. And now I have moved on to work on Hearing Loss LIVE! I have big dreams for Hearing Loss LIVE! and and I want to help people that have been lost in hearing loss. I've met people who have not learned things until their 40s 50s 60s and even 70s and how to live better with hearing loss. And a lot of times we hear "how come I didn't learn this sooner?" So that's why I'm here. I've seen that difference support and education makes in people's lives. And I've also lived that life. Thank you, Julia. Thank you, Chelle. And I'm Julia Stepp. I am a CART provider by trade. Chelle explained that is communication access real time translation. it's a fancy acronym. It means I live caption events. In the late 90s, my life took a little turn and I went back to school to become a court reporter. About the same time the Americans with Disability Act, the ADA, was starting to shape how captioning would happen in live events. I am lucky enough to be here in Utah, and Utah is lucky enough to house their Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in a community center. So the community center reached out to our program and and we needed intern hours, I needed intern hours anybody a student did. And I did my first CART, Live caption, not real well, keeping in mind, I was still in school, but I was in love. I am the fixer. So come to me with a problem and let's try to fix it. So what better way to fix the world than offer true access and equal access for students, for employees for conventions than with captions, right? And I get paid to go to school? I'm not going to complain. Anyway, so in the in the early 2000s, I was partnering quite regularly with the Sanderson Center. I don't know if I announced the community centers, Robert G. Sanderson Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and doing Advisory Councils and our local HLAA Salt Lake chapter meetings and different events. Shortly thereafter, I started picking up college classes here locally. I, I met Chelle in 2009. She was a great help to our HLAA chapter, She brought in new life she brought in new ideas, she helped them grow exponentially. And I, I I think we hit it off right off the bat. Had a lot of the same thoughts and processes on, on how hearing loss is just left behind. She introduced me to the SayWhatClub where I have been lucky enough to caption for them at the last couple of conferences, and met lots of interesting people, including Michele Linder, who also has come to Salt Lake and and given us travel presentations. What I see in my industry is a real need for CART to be understood by employers, by businesses, by communities by our own disability communities even and what that equal access looks like. I have clients who have struggled to tell their employer I really need this in this business meeting so that I can understand what is being said. They're afraid, they don't understand their, their rights to equal access. And I hope with Hearing Loss LIVE!, we can better educate people on what CART is. That's part of my Hearing Loss LIVE! journey, I hope. The other part is, through my adventures for the past 20 years with captioning and clients, and like Chelle said we have classes here, again, something most states don't have. I have learned how to better be a family member or a friend to a person with a hearing loss. It has changed my communication as a hearing member when I'm talking with a family or a friend or a client. It's allowed me to learn things you don't know until you know. You don't know that there's a six feet circle for hearing aids. You don't know that turning your back to somebody is not going to be better communication, and all of this would-- All of this has been very important for me in helping with our family transition with hearing loss. And I see a lot of people who want their family members to better understand. And they don't know how to talk to those family members, or the family members don't understand why. And they need somebody to say, Hey, listen, this is why and it will make this difference. I found with-- Chelle needed help at the Division of Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. So I said, Hey, I'll come on is a hard hearing assistant. And I learned, I love to teach people. I love to meet those people who have been struggling for help and didn't know where to go. And now they found a way and people to communicate with. I love nonprofits, I love our our Division of Dervices to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing here in Utah. But where we're different is our ability to do outreach. We will not be held back by legislation. We will not be held back by rules on on what we can and can't do as a nonprofit. So I see, the ability to grow and educate is as wide as we want it to be. And as wide as people want. That's what I'm so excited about with Hearing Loss LIVE! I would like Chelle and Michele to talk to you guys about how: One, we came up with Hearing Loss LIVE! And two our logo, which we feel is pretty important to what we have to offer. Who wants to go first. I'll go first because Chelle's not raising her hand. You know the first time I think because Chelle and I both are part of the SayWhatClub and we see new people coming there all the time, and we see the needs. A lot of people have no idea, of accommodations or equipment or anything that's available. Some of them some have no idea there are captioned telephones from places like CaptionCall, Hamilton Captel and some of the others. Also, a lot of people want to learn lipreading, if you weren't fortunate enough, and I guess I'm fortunate that I lost my hearing as a child, because that's how I learned lipreading very subconsciously, I had no idea I was even learning lipreading. But you can learn to lip read, even if you didn't have that experience. And so Chelle and I were always talking about maybe doing a lipreading class or something to help people at the SayWhatClub, but that seemed to never come about. So I think we've been tossing ideas back and forth for quite a few years. And for me personally, I would really like to focus on self advocacy. Because that changed my life when I learned how to really embrace my hearing loss and not be embarrassed by it. Not let it make me panic and take charge and tell people what they need to know about me. It completely changed my life and I want to help other people do that. And again, Chelle and I both have had hearing loss from an young age and we see people still asking the same kinds of questions that we had all those years ago. And I think all of us here can help people wherever they are now. And that's kind of a what Hearing Loss LIVE! is all about, you know, live is now. It's happening now and wherever you are on your hearing loss journey you deserve to be helped and I know that I didn't have the help that I needed when I was younger, all those years ago. So that's that's my main goal with Hearing Loss LIVE!Chelle:
Okay, I'll take my turn now. So I think my goal with Hearing Loss LIVE! is just to get the people the information that they need, as early as possible, because as Michele said, I was just lost for a long time. And I remember back in the 90s, asking others with hearing aids because I was so new to them. You know, "are you doing okay with your hearing?" "Oh, yeah, I'm doing okay, I'm doing better." But we could never really say that we weren't getting what we thought might be the full benefit from hearing aids. And of course, I was working in a very noisy situation, which was not good for those old analog hearing aids, that was a nightmare. Another story another day. So I just want people to get the information. And I think we're going to take more of a holistic approach to Hearing Loss LIVE!, we want to take in all the strategies and, and education because like, you need more tools than just hearing aids, which was all I had for 18 years. You need Self advocacy, and you need to learn about your hearing loss and hearing aids so that you know how to get around certain obstacles for like when they are not gonna work. And sometimes they don't work their best. And I've learned to identify those situations and make the most of it. So these are the kinds of things that I want to share with other people and why I'm reaching out with Hearing Loss LIVE!Julia:
One of my things that I find really important is that family needs to be better educated, They need to know, putting hearing aids on a person is not going to solve your communication problem. Getting a cochlear implant is not going to solve your communication problem. It takes work, it takes dedication, it takes understanding the limitations and what else you might need for communication. So, for me, as a hearing person, I think it's very important that family learn better skills to handle hearing loss. Chelle, can you talk a minute about our logo design? Michele Linder is actually the designer of our logo. But Chelle you have a really in depth thought process on what it can represent and how we feel about it. And I just think it's so cool. So can you can you explain it to us?Chelle:
Thank you, Yes, I can. So the logo has three green leaves. And to me that signifies growth. And that's what we want for everybody with hearing loss, we want everybody to grow. And the three leaves to me equal technology, education, and self advocacy. That's the better approach to hearing loss. And that's what you see in each of the leaves. This spiral in one leaf is the cochlea. And sometimes now with hearing loss, we start to spiral down. Well, we're here to help you kind of ascend the spiral and come back up to go forward and move on.Julia:
Thank you. Michele, you were also the brainchild between hear-- between-- you were the brainchild behind Hearing Loss LIVE! Give us some of your thoughts when you were thinking through how we were going to LIVE and how we were going to be a LIVE. You tell a great story there. Okay, um, you know, I think when we started thinking about names, and we started thinking about our logo, we wanted to convey energy and movement and action and growth. And the way that Hearing Loss LIVE! came about, we were all throwing words back and forth, trying different things and I looked up live in the dictionary and all the associated words just seemed right, I'm going to read some of those, Alive functioning living operational working Effective Employable productive useful dynamic flourishing thriving. And those are all things that you can be with hearing loss, even with a profound hearing loss. I consider myself all of those things. And I've taught myself how to live that way. Doesn't mean that it's easy, it doesn't mean that I don't fail. But I do pretty well. And so I think that Hearing Loss LIVE!, which, you know, when you say, "Saturday Night Live," you get that, that energy. And so when you say Hearing Loss LIVE! you kind of get that same energy, My kids love that. So that's kind of how we came up on the name. And then with the logo, we just wanted something that that, you know, fit with the name, and I think the darker leaf, and then having the two lighter leaves to signify growth or new growth. And we're always growing when you have hearing loss, you never learn everything that there is to know. And that's pretty much what, what we came up with, with our name and our logo. And I think it's pretty cool. I do too, I agree. I hope you join us here at hearinglosslive.com. We'll have fresh blogs and podcasts weekly. We look forward to sharing our content and our knowledge and our years of experience with you. We hope you join us on the journey, no matter where you're at with your hearing loss. Whether it's comfortable, and maybe you have a thought that you want to share with us on something that helped you on your journey. Whether you're not comfortable and you don't know where to go, we hope to be here for you and help you with that journey. You're going to hear us often say we don't have all the answers. But one thing we all three will do. We will walk with you to find the answers. When we say we are here to help you help yourself. That's exactly what we want to do. Like us on our social media. Join us on our web page hearinglosslive.com and we look forward to helping you help yourself. Thank you hearinglosslive.com.