A Hearing Loss & Late Deafened Blog

Accommodations Equal Confidence

In advocating, CART, hearing loops on May 10, 2014 at 3:51 pm

By Chelle George

CART 2

The final memoir workshop was last Thursday night. It was a two night workshop and thanks to CART (Communication Access Real-time Translation), I was fully able to participate and understand everything being said. Out of habit I found myself looking at people as they spoke only tell myself, “You can’t hear. Go back to CART girl!” At the end of the night Julia (my CART person) was packing things up while some people were talking. One of them asked me a question and because the ventilation system was roaring above I couldn’t hear so with my new habit, I turned to look at the laptop for a translation but she already put away her stenography machine. “Duh,” I thought and started to look back at the person for a repeat but Julia was already typing it out for me on her laptop which was still up. Bless her. I’m convinced CART people have huge hearts. Thank you Julia!

CART 3

Last time when I wrote about CART, I said it gives me courage to participate. That thought rolled around in around in my head this last week and wouldn’t let go because not only does CART give me courage but it also gives me confidence to participate. Without the proper accommodations I’m lost in a sea of noise.

For example, I went to a meeting last month with an FM system in place but with old, omnidirectional microphones in place which picked up every computer keyboard tap, pens and fingers tapping the table, shuffling papers and scrapping sounds as microphones slid back and forth between speakers. It was exhausting trying to pick out speech between it all. I couldn’t place the people speaking in time to lip read fully (I have a hard time locating sound) and I didn’t ask questions in fear of someone else having already asked and slowing the pace of the meeting down. After bout half and hour of this, I found myself tuning out to get away from the excess noise so I hardly participated at all in frustration and lack of confidence. Thank goodness someone there was taking the minutes. A few days later I read what went during the meeting and no one asked the question I wanted to.  Oh well, there’s always email.

Another accommodation that still works great for my moderate, severe hearing loss is the hearing loop. I hear like I remember normal hearing to be like while inside a loop with my hearing aids on. It’s a miracle feeling and I will thoroughly enjoy the loop when I can and as long as I can. Unfortunately there’s not many set up in my end of the world yet but I’m working on it! Life is easier when the proper accommodations are in place and both CART and the loop gives the hard of hearing that extra boost we need to stay in society and stay mentally active.

Without those accommodations, we withdraw from life. We come across shy, awkward, aloof and maybe as not the sharpest tool in the shed but it’s only because we can’t hear/understand what’s going around us. We can’t keep up. I’ve been thinking that many of us must have our true selves locked up inside, hidden within hearing loss and hidden from the world.

We need to break out and stop fearing so much.  There’s too much life to live.  It’s taken me years to break out and advocate for myself and now that I do, I feel a little freer. I share my adventures with you so that you know you aren’t alone, you can learn from my mistakes and make adventures of your own. Ask for accommodations yourself, build your confidence that way too and maybe together we can make the world a better place.

I’ll leave you with wise words:

martin luther king quote

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  1. Oops, accidentally hit send. Sorry.

    …made me able to hear the service. Well, everything was louder. But I still could not track what was being said in the sermon. Someone coughed. One row up a mom was very quietly whispering to her child. (Sssssssssss. Sssssssssssss. Ssssssssssss.). Shoes shuffle, clothing makes noises as I move. Yeah, it was all LOUD, but the words……you know wh…….. The o…….r day. Tractor trail or passes church…..lost three sentences there. What is she talking about? Turn to page 3_ _ and read with me. (What page?). An ambulance races by with emergency cargo. I pray for the soul needing the ambulance and it’s siren, but, what was that? I just missed something. I think it was an announcement. Sigh. Think I will clean out my purse, or just bow my head like I am praying. Whit, why is everyone standing?

    Soooooooo, I don’t know about you, but after all that noise, I am exhausted. I go home and take a nap after church. That was an exercise in pointlessness.

    Maybe I will try again when they install the ALD they promised about a year ago. But the committee is still mulling over what will serve the most people the best…..someday.

    Sooooo, how does one get a CART person? Who is eligible? Who do you call? How much lead time do you need to schedule so the person can come with their doodads?

    Just wondering. I know I am very lucky to hear what I do hear. Maybe someone can clarify what is considered important enough to ask for this.

    Thanks.

    Joann Western Georgia (about 30 mi southeast of Cave Spring)

    • You describe the hearing loss experience very well and I completely agree, noise is exhausting when trying to decipher speech through it all.
      You can read through my progress of requesting CART in these three entries:
      https://ahearingloss.com/2014/02/13/requesting-cart/
      https://ahearingloss.com/2014/04/17/a-request-for-cart-again/
      https://ahearingloss.com/2014/04/21/cart-request-accepted-and-scheduled/
      Julia works at our local Deaf and hard of hearing center which is where I came to know her and from that, I also knew she worked at the community college as well. She doesn’t really follow me ‘around’ but there’s only 3 people who provide CART from the college and there’s another lady I know from prior work at the center. Although she too a sweet person and I believe she has a big heart also but her CART needs improvement to be workable for me so I asked for anyone but her. (Sad face. I don’t like doing that because I like her as a person but right now, her CART is not much better than my hearing. I keep hoping she improves.) I didn’t ask for Julia specifically but I got her anyway and when I heard it was her, I did a little Snoopy dance.
      The writing center is part of the college so I knew they had to provide CART which I pointed out in my first letter (in my requesting CART post above which also lists the other places where reasonable accommodations should be provided). It should have been easy but they had no idea what CART was or how to accommodate me so I had to get a little pushy (letter two in requesting CART again). It all worked out in the end and I’m grateful for that. We all learned something.
      It wasn’t a big battle and it was my first time asking for CART and having to push for it but I knew it was something I would most likely succeed at. Baby steps, right? Now that is behind me, I will have more confidence to move onto something a little more tricky which may be coming up. As I pursue that, I’ll write about it too.
      I’m not sure how to get a church to provide CART. I don’t see churches listed in the ADA listing I provided but maybe someone can step in and help me out here. Here’s a link to find CART providers near you: http://www.ncrasourcebook.com. Maybe you could write the church (and anyone else you see wearing hearing aids in the congregation) to hurry up with their FM system and tell them exactly why you all aren’t coming anymore using the description of hearing you wrote about above. We as consumers have to do a little pushing to get things done. We don’t have to be mean but sometimes serious hints are needed.
      You could provide information about looping (I hope you have a t-coil). Here’s a super website for getting churches looped: http://loopwisconsin.com/Church.aspx. That is my preferred assistive listening technology. Maybe you could write the church (and anyone else you see hearing aids in the congregation) to hurry up with their FM system and tell them exactly why you all aren’t coming anymore. Use the description of hearing you wrote about above. You could provide information about looping (I hope you have a t-coil). We as consumers have to do a little pushing to get things done. We don’t have to be mean but sometimes serious hints are needed.
      Who is eligible? Anyone hard of hearing or D/deaf.
      Thank you for your comment. I’m sue many others relate to your experience.

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