Dress bright and loud for Loud Shirt Day to show support for hearing impaired children

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Friday October 21, 2016 is Loud Shirt Day – a major annual fundraiser when people are encouraged to wear their brightest and ‘LOUDEST’ clothes to help give the gift of sound and speech to hard-of-hearing and deaf children. Loud Shirt Day was created in South Australia 16 years ago and has now spread across Australia, New Zealand and more recently into the UK and North America.

Hearing loss is the most common congenital birth defect, with 3 out of every 1000 babies born diagnosed with a hearing impairment or deafness. Early intervention is vital and benefits children’s development in speech, language and psycho-social skills.

Everyone who wants to can get involved by making a donation to the Cora Barclay Centre and showing off their best loud outfits – the brighter and more outrageous the better.

“It’s a great excuse to wear your brightest clothes and raise some much needed money”, says Cora Barclay Centre Chief Executive Officer Michael Forwood. “Or just wear something extra loud on the day and encourage others to do the same. Whether you fancy stripes, florals, polka dots or Hawaiian shirts, as long as your outfit has colour and pizzazz, it will be perfect for Loud Shirt Day.”

 

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The idea is to create awareness in a fun way.

And of course –

“DON’T forget to share photos of yourself with the hashtag #LoudShirtDay to let everyone know how easy and fun it is to be involved!” Mr Forwood emphasised.

 

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Read more on the official site: Loud Shirt Day

Lexine’s dress

Lexine and model

Lexine Schumm is an aspiring fashion designer and university student – who this year might have created the coolest dress ever!

Lexine was diagnosed with single-sided deafness at the age of four, and has been using a Baha System since she was 12.

Throughout her life, Lexine says she found herself in an odd space between the deaf community and the hearing community:

“In the deaf community, many don’t consider being deaf a disability at all, and they would never change who they are. I am not fully part of either community, which is a large part of why I consider my hearing loss a disability. I chose to get my Baha sound processor, even if I didn’t fully understand it at the time, to continue to bridge the gap between the two communities in my own way. I have a place in both which I think is really powerful. I don’t really wish that I didn’t have single sided deafness. It is a constant challenge and has affected my life in many ways, but it is not only a part of who I am, it has made me who I am. It has shaped my personality and the way I see the world in ways that I am only just becoming aware of. It has taught me to be creative, confident, empathetic, and strong.”

Lexine just finished her sophomore year in the Apparel Design program at the University of Minnesota. This spring her studio class partnered with the Weisman museum on campus to create designs using non-traditional materials inspired by Andy Warhol’s concepts of self portraiture and how objects can shape a person’s self image. For her self portrait, Lexine, who was just upgrading to the Baha 5 Sound Processor, wanted to explore how her hearing loss has shaped her identity and how that could be represented in a physical way.

“I chose to work with copper wire shaped like sound waves and hearing aid batteries. I created a dress that juxtaposed my place in the hearing world with my place in the deaf community, while projecting a sense of power and strength.”

Lexine's dress in the making

Lexine designed a simple shift dress with copper wire, hand shaped to represent sound waves, wrapping around one shoulder and on the opposite hip, with hearing aid batteries creeping out from around the edges of the wire sections onto the rest of the dress. The materials were purposefully abutted but distinctly separate from one another to represent her split presence. While the shape is simple it projects strength and power in the simplicity of the shapes combined with the ornate surface treatment of wire and batteries.

“The dress also reflects the invisibility of my hearing loss”, explains Lexine. “From far away, you cannot tell that it’s made of batteries and it looks like silver beading, but up close and with some context, it can be seen for what it really is.”

To create this dress she had to get her hands on hearing aid batteries – a lot of batteries. Her audiologist at the University of Iowa set her up with her two largest suppliers who donated over 30 pounds (14 kilos) of batteries. Lexine also called local medical supply stores and hearing aid centers in Minneapolis to make sure she would have enough of material.

“After countless hours in materials testing, concept building, and design, I began the construction of the dress, a process that took over 100 hours. I used size 10, 312, and 13 batteries and created texture and depth by playing with the placement of different size batteries next to each other, and using the flat side next to the raised side. Each piece of wire was bent and attached by hand. After the wire pieces were attached, I individually glued each battery to the dress with industrial adhesive. I finished the dress just a few days before the runway show at the Weisman art museum where I was able to see my vision come together in person.”

Lexine's dress

The dress will be on display in the (dis)Abled Beauty exhibit at Kent State University, July 29th 2016 – March 12 2017 https://www.kent.edu/museum/event/disabled-beauty.

 

Am I a candidate for the Baha System?

Question: I have had hearing loss since birth. I am now 54 years old and I am struggling with my hearing. I cannot hear in one ear at all. I wear a hearing aid in the good ear. I struggle hearing conversations etc. One hearing place that I got a couple of hearing aids said they no longer help me because the hearing aid is not working for me.

So I went to my ENT doctor and after a couple of appointments he felt I would be a good candidate for the Baha device. But the audiologist I see said I wouldn’t be because my good ear doesn’t have a certain decimal for in order for the Baha System to work for me.

My question is if I am not a candidate for this, how can people that are totally deaf from birth have this done? Thank you!!

//Veronica

Answer: Dear Veronica,

There are many causes of hearing loss, and this will dictate which hearing solution that will be the best choice. The Baha System is mainly useful for candidates that are deaf in one ear and hear normally in the other ear – or if you have a problem in the outer or middle ear where bone conduction can bypass this problem. For people that are born deaf the cochlear implant is the solution of choice. This is also a technology that we have developed at Cochlear.

Every hearing loss is unique and your hearing care professional is trained to counsel you on how to treat it. Another option is to seek the opinion of another hearing care professional.

Best of luck!

~ Fredrik Breitholtz, Head of Training and Clinical Communication, Cochlear Bone Anchored Solutions

The special edition of BATOD Magazine is all about bone conduction hearing solutions

BATOD-deaf-bone-conduction-hearing-implants This special PDF edition of BATOD Magazine tries to offer some clarifications of the world of bone conduction hearing solutions. BATOD stands for British Association of Teachers of the Deaf and in this issue they describe the difference between bone conduction solutions, the correct use of the term Baha (without capitals) and features stories from real Baha users. Among them are one of our guest bloggers, Arti Patel and teenager Bethan May Harvey who has written a blog about her struggles with hearing loss and bullying. arti-Baha-userBethan-Baha-user

NOTE: This magazine is market specific and may not reflect current practice in other markets/countries. Cochlear does not take responsibility for the factual content of the articles but respects that they reflect views and experiences of the authors themselves.

Patrick Speaks – how a young boy lived without communication for 15 years

Prepared to be moved by this documentary by Channel 4, Unreported World:

Patrick Otema, 15 was born profoundly deaf. In the remote area of Uganda where he lives there are no schools for deaf children, and he has never had a conversation. Raymond Okkelo, a sign language teacher, hopes to change all this and offer Patrick a way out of the fearful silence he has known his whole life.

A touching story on the importance of communication and how untreated hearing loss can shut people off from society.