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Thread: How to do a talk on hearing loss for work?

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  1. Default How to do a talk on hearing loss for work?

    I need some urgent help. I'm going on a retreat for work, and everyone has to give a 5-minute presentation on a topic of their choice. I'm choosing to do mine on my hearing loss. I haven't been upfront about it as much as I'd like to, and it's caused me a bit of stress. Presenting about it would put it out there in the open and alleviate that stress for me, as well as make everyone more aware of it.

    The problem is, I don't know exactly how to present it. I don't want to come across as trying to seek "pity" or emotionally heavy. I want it to be inspiring and informative.

    My hearing loss just isn't that interesting, I'm afraid. The facts:

    - Mild-to-moderate sensorineural
    - Diagnosed when I was 6, I have no memory of "normal" hearing. The cause is a mystery
    - Wore analog BTEs, with ear molds for most of my life.
    - Got digitals, open fit, when in 2008. Still deciding if I like them.
    - Adjustments I make: close captions for TV (although I can make it without them, having them on means I don't have to work as hard to understand the TV), needing to see people face-to-face to understand what they're saying, sometimes miss words (it's touch and go, depending on my mood and the nature of the situation), having trouble understanding people in large auditoriums without microphones, not able to hear tiny detail sounds without my hearing aids (rain, fans, leaves, typing, etc).
    - I struggled with self-inflicted insecurity about my hearing aids and hearing loss beginning around 8th grade and lasting until 12th grade. In the process of undoing the damage. The only issue I have now is being upfront with people about my hearing loss. I never know when to tell someone, or if I should, because my loss is so mild that many people may not even know I have it. I don't want them to feel like they have to speak louder, or feel sorry for me, etc.

    Aside from those adjustments, my life is pretty normal. If you were going to give a 5-minute talk about hearing loss, which areas would you focus on? I don't have anything interesting angles, so that's why I'm struggling with this so much. Thanks for any insights!

  2. #2


    My son has a moderately severe to severe bilateral loss and has been wearing hearing aids since he was 18 months old. He is 14 now and did a science fair project on hearing loss last year. What he did was to simulate hearing loss by having people wear earplugs and then take a hearing test and a word recognition test and then compare it to their results without earplugs. His introduction in both the poster and to his participants explained noise induced hearing loss and described an audiogram and how it is read. His results showed the decreased word recognition in every single participant with their simulated loss.
    This site gives a nice overview.
    Perhaps take this type of approach - that people should protect their hearing because anyone can suffer from noise induced hearing loss. Then explain a bit about what it is like to have a hearing loss so they can see what they might loose if they aren't careful.
    Good luck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Atlanta, Ga


    I like Maureen's angle on the subject. Don't make it about you, make it about them. After all there are many people with untreated hearing loss who are scared to get it treated due to the stigma attached to wearing a hearing aid. As a hearing aid wearer you are encouraging them to get past the negative feelings and get the help they need, not seeking pity for your condition. But, by educating them on ways they can help their own hearing loss, you are also helping yourself.

    With a 5 minute presentation you would not be able to do the hearing test comparison for everyone the way Maureen's son did. But you might be able to get a volunteer to come up front and be the test subject for everyone. Use foam ear plugs and a tuning fork for the sound source. Or, test your subject before the meeting then ask them to testify on the results during your talk. Then use those results as encouragement for everyone else present to take their hearing health serious and to get tested.

    (With a tuning fork you could also demonstrate the differences between Conductive and Sensorineural hearing loss.)

    Maybe get some pamphlets from a hearing testing center close to the office and give them out after your presentation. I am sure the hearing center would be appreciative of the business opportunities.
    My Audiogram 9/23/2010
    Hz...250..0500.1000.1500.2000.3000.4000.600 0.8000

    Bone Conduction are all 20 Db or less

    Diagnosis from Au = Moderately Severe rising to Mild CHL

    Speech disc:
    L: 100% at 85 dB SRT 45
    R: 100% at 85 dB SRT 40

    I am on my First Set of Hearing Aids, which are Beltone True 17's Purchased in February of 2011.

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