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Delaware Families for Hands & Voices
May Newsletter


 Welcome Back Summer!

swim gear

I have been waiting anxiously for hiking, canoeing, camping, swimming, picnicking, and gardening weather, and so have my children. Over Memorial Day weekend we managed to find time to drag out the hose and sprinkler for a cool down. We had a blast soaking each other and getting soaked, drying in the sun while breaking for popsicles, and jumping back in the spray to wash off the aforementioned popsicles. When you are only three years old, your tongue is just not big enough to keep up with a melting cherry mess in eighty degree weather. 

While I enjoyed watching the kids play, laugh, shriek, and run, I was also getting back in touch with the perennial issue of communication troubles, more specifically how water play necessitates hearing aids left in the kitchen. As any veteran mom can tell you, it is vitally important to exercise and cultivate a sense of humor while raising kids of your very own. Once, several years ago, when asked how a then unilateral hearing loss would limit my son’s life, I responded with the tragedy that he will never be very good at the game Marco Polo. I could not keep a straight face on that one, but the truth is, he does rely on his hearing aids for sound localization along with better hearing. It is a simple fact, when the aids are off, the kids hear less. They miss things. 

In researching pediatric hearing aids currently on the market, I am perplexed at the gaping hole in most product lines concerning water proofing. Don’t get me wrong, I am tremendously grateful for the advances in technology that allow my children to hear as well as they do with those aids, but in an age where the list of features on a cell phone is several pages long, and does not get to anything about making phone calls until item #10, my American consumer sensibilities have me outraged at a staggering lack of features that would be so obviously helpful. What do you mean "there's no app for that?"

I did run across one truly water and dust proof aid, capable of withstanding 1 meter deep water for quite a long time: Siemans’ Aquarius, marketed for adults. Many others claim water and dust resistance, but do not recommend a swim. I contacted Siemans to find out if this aid could be used for children, and why it was not recommended for children on their web site. They responded very respectfully that it would be "appropriate for young adults."  While they offer that my "input regarding expectations and listening environments" should be considered by our audiologist, they maintain “it is up to your children's audiologist to determine what instrument may be best for them.”  They did not offer any additional information on why my audiologist would not recommend this product line.  

This is not my first go around trying to get information from a hearing aid company, so I am aware that relax and rely on your audiologist is the industry standard party line, but I am not convinced that it is in the best interest of families. Why should a parent be discouraged from taking an active role in researching the available technology in a device that will be an everyday part of their child’s life?  Certainly there are many technical and complex factors our audiologist considers, but would I really need to have a degree in audiology to know that I prefer a hearing aid I can rinse off after I pull it out of a plate of spaghetti?  We are the end consumers in this equation.  I am not proposing that parents ought to be expected or able to pick out an aid on our own, rather that audiologists should not have to on their own in a case where the parent is ready and willing to research and contribute.  I am offended that so little value has been placed in parent and patient observations, experience, and questions. That leaves the onus of demanding innovation and of allowing or disallowing parent/patient input case by case on the audiologist. 

I would like to submit “waterproof” as the beginning of a list of features that should already be standard equipment on any hearing aid intended for a kid. I have zero hands on experience with cochlear implant equipment, but I imagine some of you have a similar feature wish list for those. I would also add a tamper resistant battery door that is actually more difficult for them to open than for me, unbreakable ear hooks, and some sort of beacon triggered by a remote for finding them when they are lost. I would love to read and publish what you all want, and I know we have audiologists and other professionals as well as parents on our mailing list that would also be interested to read a compiled list. Send 'em in!  Meanwhile, I will be working out an undetectable method for cheating at Marco Polo. 


In This Issue:
  • Upcoming Events
  • Lyme Disease Reminder
  • Editorial


Our next chapter meeting will be June 26 at 6PM at TLK Academy in Peoples Plaza, Glasgow.  Child care can be provided on request!  We have the complete meeting schedule for 2012 on our website.

Come roller skating with us on Sunday, June 24 at 1:30 pm at the Christiana Skating Rink! Please RSVP by June 21 so that we can get an accurate count. 

Parents' Night Out August 4, 7pm. Details coming soon! 

Saturday, Oct. 20 8am-10am Flapjack Fundraiser at Applebee's in Middletown to benefit our chapter. Tickets will be for sale soon.

The following events are not sponsored by Hands & Voices, but may be of interest to our members. 

June 2, 2012 Deaf Awareness Day at King's Dominion in Richmond, Virginia 

June 9, 2012 Deaf Awareness Day at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey 

June 25 - July 6, 2012 Camp Overbrook: In Sign, a Catholic summer camp, Wynnewood, PA, Registration is due June 10.

Just a friendly early summer reminder from the Delaware Department of Health Lyme Disease FAQ Sheet:&a

"Prevention measures should be aimed at personal protection. Wear light-colored clothing and tuck pants legs into socks so ticks cannot crawl up the inside of the pants. Apply repellants to discourage tick attachment. Mow grass frequently in yards and outside fences to reduce tick populations."

deer tick 3

And of course, don't forget to check yourselves, your kids, and your pets!

For more information:

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Delaware Families for Hands and Voices
TLK, Peoples Plaza
Newark, Delaware 19708

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