A Hearing Loss & Late Deafened Blog

Working on the Radio

In Employment, Hearing aids, Hearing Loss on August 17, 2015 at 11:28 pm

By: Sara Lundquist 

I recently applied, interviewed and was offered a job as a radio operator and on air announcer. I was so excited to try something different and completely new so I took the job. 

During my interview I blurted out I was hard of hearing. I immediately thought I had shot myself in the foot. Not that I wanted it hidden the fact I am hard of hearing and and wear hearing aids but I didn’t want the persons interviewing me thinking that I couldn’t do the job. To my amazement I landed the job and it has been a huge learning experience. 

There is so much to learn!!! Learning computer programs and sound boards to tower transmitter logs. Lots of things I had never experienced before. Training was one on one so communication was good. On day 2 of training my hearing loss was brought up. I was asked the severity of my hearing loss. I am at a moderate severe loss. I was asked about my hearing aids. I was shocked. Instead of feeling like I was going to lose a job here is an employer that wants to learn and accommodate. The engineering staff was told and they offered any help with the headphones working with my hearing aids. 

One thing that was shown to me is how much of the radio is visual. Not what you think an audio thing as radio. If someone is at the door a light flashes on the wall. If we get a severe weather alert, which we did when I was training, first an alarm sounds. I was asked if I could hear it, I had to admit no I couldn’t. I was told don’t worry now watch. Right then a large orange strobe light went off in the studio area. Wonderful no stress if I can’t hear the siren watch for an orange flashing light.   Fire alarms are all flashing lights also. 

 One issue I have is monitoring the volume of my voice. My husband often will tell me to lower my voice. I worried when doing the news or weather what if I am to loud or soft. Again visual, there are meters. I know where I am suppose to be at so I can just watch the meters for the right level. 
So stress has been high from learning the business but I feel so relieved that I don’t feel that hearing or lack of hearing will affect my job. 

I just completed my first night on air. I did it with No major incidence. My husband tuned in at one point in the night and heard me and said I sounded professional. Great to hear some feedback. 

It feels good to learn something new.  It feels great to have an employer that is accommodating. 

Now to develop my on air personality, I say just be yourself. 

Road Trip

In ADA, captions on June 6, 2015 at 4:12 pm

By: Sara Lundquist

This past week my family took the all American Road Trip.  My in-laws decided to take my children on a vacation.  They decided on South Dakota because it is the Wild West.  I was excited for them all to go and a little jealous to tell you the truth.  I have never been out to the the Badlands and that area of the country.  My husband got laid off for the summer and I work for the school so I am off so we were invited to tag along.  Six days in a minivan with my husband, children and in-laws was fun but is was very tiring.  It was also a trip of finding accessibility.  I am hard of hearing and my mother in law uses a wheelchair so we were asking for a lot of accessibility during our entire trip.

I won’t go into our whole vacation here but I will highlight the highs and lows of some of the accessibility issues we found.  There are different times I should have pushed more for some things but I let it go and there are some other issues I am still fighting for even at home.

Our first hotel was in Pierre South Dakota which is the capital city.  I was shocked how small it was for a capital but our small hotel was very nice.  I was also very impressed that every room was equipped with a visual strobe light for the fire alarm.  I was so happy to see this since this is my biggest fear in a hotel is not hearing an alarm.  My in-laws were in the handicap accessible room and I was shocked this room had a doorbell with a flasher.  Now I don’t think this had to be put in the handicap room.  That is a great thing to have for someone that is deaf/hard of hearing but that same person may not need a high toilet or a shower chair.  It was like they put every ADA item in one room.  We encountered this twice on our trip.

We stayed in Keystone South Dakota for the next couple days.  My main concern was my mother in-law.  I needed to make sure she had a room she could get around in and a proper bathroom for her.  To tell you the truth I never even asked for a smoke alarm and such at this hotel.  I should have and I know I need to get better with this but I kinda let it slip once we got there.  We could see Mount Rushmore from our hotel and decided that would be our first stop.  I loved seeing the mountain and it was a beautiful park.  My problem was I went into the movie of how the mountain was carved with my family and there were no captions.  I asked a worker that was outside of the theater if they had captions and she looked at me like I was nuts and just shrugged.  I think she was very confused with my request.  I watched the movie with my kids and understood very little of it.  I kept thinking this is a government run national monument and there are no captions.  Again I thought OH WELL on vacation lets just go with the flow.

We then traveled around a couple other mountains and visited Crazy Horse.  Another mountain that is being carved but on a much larger scale.  They ushered us into a theater to watch another movie.  I kinda thought here we go again another movie where I just watch the screen.  WOW was I amazed there on the screen were bold captions.  It was wonderful, I learned so much and I absolutely loved the whole Crazy Horse experience.  I was so excited when we sat in the theater I had to take a picture of the captions.


We ran into a lot of areas that were not wheelchair friendly.  I felt bad when grandma and grandpa had to stay behind and we took the kids to experience something.  They didn’t seem to mind and I took 100’s of pictures.  It was a good thing that we were with it made it a well rounded trip.

One thing that was hard was 6 days in a car and trying to chit chat with each other.  I have a very hard time comprehending what is said in a car.  I think it is the road noise, the music or radio and the simple fact there were 6 people talking in that van. The car is normally a hard place for me.  I do have a program on my hearing aids and it helps when it is just us but it was so much I could not process it all and make sense of it.   I had a horrible headache by each evening just trying to get pieces of this conversation and that conversation.  I finally told my husband by mid vacation I can’t do this anymore.  I am checking out of the chit chat thing.  I told my in-laws I am not being rude but just let me face the window and take pictures to my heart’s delight.  I felt better and if there is something I needed to be included in my husband tapped me on the shoulder and I could get the info from him.


It was a great trip.  The last night we stayed in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  This was another hotel where every ADA item seemed to be in one room.  The front desk worker seemed so pleased that they had everything that ADA requires I am not sure it all had to be in one room but it was all there.  My husband and I left the kids with their grandparents to play games and we went for a drive.  When leaving the hotel I asked if they happen to have an alarm or anything for hard of hearing.  He said he would get something in the room and ready by the time we got back.  My husband and I drove around and we found the South Dakota School for the Deaf and where he used to work when he lived there.  Got back to the hotel and there was a cool alarm that lit up and flashed and there was already a visual strobe light for the fire alarm in the room.

A fun trip with lots of memories.  I am still going back and forth at home with the National Park service with the lack of captions at Mount Rushmore.  According to the Ranger’s emails I have gotten there are captions on that movie automatically and I must have missed them.  How does a whole party of 6 miss the captions.  I am trying to explain the importance of having your workers make sure the captions are on each day when they start the movie but I just get a rude answer back from them.  I will keep going with this and assure if any of you go to Mount Rushmore someday there will be captions on the movie.

We survived 6 days in a van going across a state.  Lots of memories and lots of pictures to remember it all.


Full Access

In ASL, Assistive Listening Devices, CART on April 22, 2015 at 10:12 am


By: Sara Lundquist

My husband and I traveled to a beautiful MN resort this past weekend.  It was a weekend away, around our 15 year wedding anniversary and we were there to learn.  Chad and I went to a conference called 2015 Collaborative Experience for Parents and Professionals of Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing.  This conference was put on by Commission of Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing, MN Hands and Voices and a few other organizations.  We arrived Friday afternoon and headed home Sunday afternoon.  It was a weekend of learning, meeting people, laughing and enjoying each other.

While there we learned so much and probably could write a post on each thing I saw and learned I am going to focus this on one point that was brought up at the very end of the day on Sunday.  One of the keynote speakers we had during the weekend was Susan Elliott.  Susan is a DHH teacher from Colorado.  She was engaging, informative and funny.  Susan slowly lost her hearing as a child and it was a scary and confusing time for her.  I can relate and I am sure many others can relate to  this feeling.  At the end of the conference she had us all come up in the room and form a circle.  She asked us to name things we have learned this weekend.  Things were said like we are not alone, put it in writing when talking about IEP’s, have roots and wings.  When we were done with that she asked us one question, “What does every deaf and hard of hearing individual worry about everywhere they go?” The answer is access.  Of course access would be the answer.  I worry about this, can I hear in this place, what will the accoustics be like? The list and questions go on and on and will vary from person to person.

This simple question made me realize how much I loved this weekend and part of that was because of access.  Every speaker we saw in a large group was voiced, ASL and CART.  This was my first time with CART.  For those who may not know what the heck I am talking about CART is Communication Access Realtime Translation, it is closed captions in real time.  A CART reporters captions everything that is said similar to a court reporter.  We had CART displayed on a couple screens in the room and we also had website they were displayed on so if you had your phone, ipad or something similar you could have the captions right in front of you.

FullSizeRenderI did start out by watching the presenters but as soon as a I was missing every few words my eyes soon shifted to the screen (the white area on the bottom) and stayed there for the whole talk.

I did go to a couple breakout sessions were there was no CART.  I ended up bringing my own streamer like an FM system with me.  I put that on the table and it worked very well picking up the sound from the microphone.

IMG_0206When someone asked a question with no microphone the ASL interpreter was slow enough at those times I could catch the questions that were asked with no problems.  Access was there all around us and at every activity.  From our meals, to the talks to the comedians that we enjoyed each evening.  Access was there.

There was a feeling of belonging, strength in numbers and most of all full access for all.  I went home feeling renewed, informed, and ready to take action.  A weekend of full access is one we won’t forget anytime soon.

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