Giving Thanks : A challenging year still brings progress
by Envoy Medical Staff Member, on November 30, 2021
The pandemic has brought grief, frustration, fear, and isolation to many over the last 18 months. However, it also brought growth, change, and progress to our lives in record time. Looking back communication changed and access was improved in so many ways making a hard transition easier in some cases.
Almost overnight, everything from doctors’ appointments to 100% of work communication went online. Captioning features such as free captioning by zoom changed the way we work while enabling dignified and free solutions that hadn’t been possible before. This simple and streamlined approach is what accommodations should look like. Captioning is helpful whether you have hearing loss or just want another viewing option and makes our lives less stressful.
Masks made communication for many of us (me for sure!) even harder as we struggled to communicate in the world without seeing faces. For some, self-check-out was the answer to bypassing conversation while others got up the courage to say “I'm sorry, I have hearing loss and can't understand you" at the check-out. Speech to text apps which are getting better also saw more use and there were many media stories which brought attention to the challenges masks caused for people with hearing loss because there are so many of us.
Vaccines brought socializing with friends and loved ones back into our lives and we encountered loud environments once again. My college-aged son was home recently and we went to a favorite local barbeque joint. I knew right when I walked in the busy and celebratory environment was going to be next to impossible for me to hear in. I pulled up a never-used voice to text app on my phone to help me fill in the blanks and was surprised at how fascinated my boys were. We all had fun looking to see how accurate the app was and it did help! How nice to have something to try.
Here is a great list of some of the better options to try.
The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 (signed into law in 2017) finally saw progress after 4 years of inaction with the FDA releasing proposed rules in October of this year. This new category of hearing aids increases access by allowing consumers to purchase hearing aids directly without having to see a hearing professional or purchase through a hearing professional. We should start to see finalized rules soon. More availability and more competition will help drive down costs and barriers for those with hearing loss. Learn more here.
While a cure is still elusive, a tremendous amount of research is taking place around stems cells, pharmaceuticals, and gene therapy. Learn more here.
I look forward to continued progress and self-advocacy for each of us as we use what's available and share what helps!
Meet Esteem Partner Dr. Abraham Jacob, MD
Advocacy: Your Help is Needed!
Envoy Medical Asks You to Urge Your Members of Congress to Support H.R. 1118, the Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act of 2021
Click here to request a letter template!