Overcoming barriers associated with hearing loss: RJHLP (RJ Hearing Loss Program, Akron Ohio)

There are many barriers that hearing loss may cause in communicating with others. Hearing loss creates negative affects in hearing others, family members, loved ones, and fellow co-workers. Hearing loss can also create problem hearing in noisy areas, work settings, and within social settings. We observe limitations in the educational settings such as school, college, and in group settings. Limitations can be real and quality of life affecting. It is the goal of the RJ Hearing Loss Program to serve as a resource to educate people to overcome these barriers that hearing loss creates.

The RJ Hearing Loss Program is the only vocational program in the Northeast Ohio area that offers individuals a safe place to gain extensive knowledge of their hearing loss, which is crucial to maintain, or secure, successful employment. The goal of our program is to educate our community on hearing loss, how to use effective communication strategies and how we can move beyond the barriers that hearing loss can often cause in our lives.

Greenleaf Family Center and Family Hearing & Balance Center, Inc. have joined together to provide people with a well balanced and comprehensive program. The RJ Hearing Loss Program concentrates on individual hearing loss using group discussions while focusing on the social, medical and emotional aspects of hearing loss.  Participants will have an opportunity to learn and experiment with different assistive devices, which will help them manage conversations while learning how to take charge of their communication.

Joanna Paxos, of the Greenleaf Family Center and Dr. Richard Reikowski, Au.D present this program with the assistance of Real time Captioning.

Dr. Richard Reikowski, Au.D

Doctor of Audiology

Clinical Audiologist

Family Hearing and Balance Center

Cardinal Hearing Centers

Akron, Barberton, Northfield, Brunswick, Parma, Ohio

*Hearing aids, Balance, Vertigo, Dizziness, Tinnitus, Ear Ringing

Provider with Summa Care

RJ Hearing Loss Program

Persons with hearing loss represent one of the largest disability groups in the United States, yet services and education are lacking. The US Census declares hearing loss as a communication disorder which affects the speaker as well as the listener. This is important, it impacts our lives,  influences everything about who we are, and how others relate to us. Many think if you just learn sign language everything will change; although, issues are quite different, Hearing loss and deafness may share some of the same characteristics and struggles. However, with the proper vocational services, both populations adjust well to their hearing loss.

The RJ Hearing Loss Program is the only vocational program in this area that offers individuals a safe place to gain extensive knowledge of their hearing loss, which is crucial to maintain, or secure, successful employment.

The goal of the R J Hearing Loss Program is to educate our community on hearing loss, how to use effective communication strategies and how we can move beyond the barriers that hearing loss can often cause in our lives.

Our program would not be possible without the support of our consumers who asked for additional services; resources and training from the Hearing Loss Association of America, additional funding from RSC to assist with outreach for people with a hearing loss, our local BVR for referring their consumers to the workshop, and the wisdom, materials and advice from Dr. Samuel Trychin.

1.      Information

U.S. population 270 + million, 2 million Deaf, 26 million Hard of Hearing, that is 28 million Americans with a hearing loss or 1 of every 10 people.

2.      Services to hard of hearing persons in this area are very limited.

Once the person is fitted with hearing aids, there is no place for them to go to understand, or deal with, the ramifications of the loss.

3.      Social Learning Theory…General principles of social learning theory follows:

People can learn by observing the behavior of others and the outcomes of those behaviors.

Modeling behavior increases the frequency of similar behaviors. For example a consumer might see another participant excel in communicating with an ALD because their hearing aid did not work in that situation. People are more likely to engage in certain behaviors when they believe they are capable of executing those behaviors successfully.

The most common (and pervasive) examples of social learning situations are television commercials. Commercials suggest that drinking a certain beverage or using a particular hair shampoo will make us popular and win the admiration of attractive people. Depending upon the component processes involved (such as attention or motivation), we may model the behavior shown in the commercial and buy the product being advertised. ref:  Ormrod, J.E. (1999). Human learning

4.      Attendees of the RJ Hearing loss workshop will experience a kinship with other participants and will leave with the understanding that they are not alone. Once they have attended the workshop they will be added to our growing list of consumers in order for us to provide follow up services.  Follow up services consist of email updates access to either center with just a phone call.

5.      The program covers topics such as:

Types of hearing aids

Types of hearing loss

Acceptance

o   Anger

o   Anxiety

o   Depression

o   Self esteem

o   Stress

Hearing Loss Association of America

Communication

o   Rules

o   Complexity

o   Style

o   Challenges in the workplace or home

o   Effective relationships

o   Effective learning and listening strategies

o   Changing behavior

o  Control your listening environment

Technology Assistive Listening Devices

o   ALD’s

o   Hands on experience

ADA and employment

o   Hearing loss in the work place

o   Noise in the workplace

o   Challenges in the workplace

o   Information on our Follow Up Services

6.    Family members will experience their loved ones hearing loss through a simulation of the hearing loss

Here are some statistics accumulated over the past 12 months of offering the program.

100% of the attendees reported the program as excellent or satisfactory.

100% of the attendees reported the facilities are comfortable/appropriate.

97% of the attendees reported the materials handed out were appropriate and helpful.

100% of the attendees reported the presenters as knowledgeable in subject area.

97% of the attendees reported there were just the right number of attendees.

98% of the attendees reported the length of the workshop session was just right.

100% of the attendees reported that the quality of the information presented was excellent or satisfactory

100% of the attendees reported the overall quality of the session was excellent or satisfactory

100% of the attendees reported that they would recommend the session to a friend or colleague.

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