Tag Archives: Assisted Listening Devices

ATIA Video Contest Results

Hello Everyone

The results came in for the ATIA (Assistive Technology Industry Association) video contest.  I am happy to say that ATIA was very very happy with their contest.  They were able to accomplish their goal of increasing awareness of Assistive Technology for those of us that utilize them in our daily lives, through the youtube video contest.

I was delighted and honored that my video received an “honorable mention” award.  Furthermore, I was glad to do my small part in creating awareness of using Assistive Listening Technology as a hard of hearing person.

Please do not be ashamed to use Assistive Listening Technology.  They only enhance our listening experience and make our life  a little easier. 

The following link is the “The LifeSaver”  the award winning “honorable mention” video about using my Fm Listening System, to compete with at Horse shows.  Share with anyone that needs more information.




Congratulations on your award winning video entry!

The ATIA AT Video YouTube Contest closed on 8/31/09. There were 29 videos posted in the ATIA Group Contest area with over 95 members joining the group.  The goal of the contest was to Broadcast AT and raise awareness around the world of the power of assistive technology.  With over 20,000 views recorded the contest achieved its goal!  The videos show a broad range of assistive technologies and feature individuals of different ages from toddlers to adults.  Each video tells a story of how an individual with a disability uses assistive technology to communicate, learn, work, play and live independently. 

ATIA congratulates everyone who participated in the contest.  Their inspiring stories are seen and told in the videos.  

 Your video, The Life Saver, was given the ATIA AT Video YouTube Contest Honorable Mention.  

We will be posting your award winning video with the following short description on the main ATIA web site with a link from the YouTube Contest area: The Life Saver video – featuring Suzanna who was born with Profound Hearing Loss and recently became a bilateral cochlear implant wearer. Suzanna is able to compete in the highly competitive world of Arabian Horse Shows with a Personal Fin System.

All of the award-winning videos will be showcased at the upcoming ATIA 2009 Chicago Conference (October 28-31, 2009) held at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center. ATIA and Easter Seals are hosting special Halloween activities for kids with disabilities and their families on Saturday, October 31 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.  If you are able to visit with us at the conference, please let us know ahead of time so we can meet with you and give you our personal congratulations.

 Thank you once again for participating in this contest and for helping ATIA Broadcast AT around the world.


As Always, Have a Sunny Day Susanna

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“The LifeSaver”


Hello Everyone!

I can not believe Summer is almost over.  Where did the summer go? I guess that what happens when you keep yourself busy.

Well, the above is yet another video that I created for another video contest.  This contest was presented by ATIA – Assistive Technology Industry Association. www.ATIA.org   This organization is all about creating awareness of Assistive Devices for those that have physical disabilities.

Many people  are not aware that their are all kinds of awesome devices to make one’s life a little easier, no matter what kind of physical disability one has.

As most of you know, I was born deaf and now I wear cochlear implants.  I love using Assistive Listening Devices, they come in all shapes and forms.

In this video, I share my personal favorite Assistive Listening Device and how it helps me to compete at horse shows.

I hope you enjoy the video, even if you don’t have a physical disability.   I encourage you to watch it, because you will be learning some great information, that perhaps you could share with someone in your life!

Here’s a little more information about ATIA direct from their website.

About ATIA
The Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) is a not-for-profit membership organization of manufacturers, sellers and providers of technology-based assistive devices and/or services. ATIA represents the interests of its members to business, government, education, and the many agencies that serve people with disabilities. Its mission is to serve as the collective voice of the Assistive Technology industry so that the best products and services are delivered to people with disabilities. For more information about ATIA’s educational opportunities and conferences, visit www.atia.org.
Since 1999, ATIA has held an annual conference that provides a forum for education and communication to professional practitioners serving those with disabilities. In conjunction with its conferences, ATIA holds a Leadership Forum and Workshop on Accessibility which provides corporations, government agencies, and higher educational institutions with the information needed to expand their accessibility efforts. In addition to the Chicago conference, ATIA Orlando will be held January 27-30, 2010.
Goals of ATIA
ATIA’s goals include:
  • Establish and manage an annual Assistive Technology (AT) conference. The conference provides a forum for education and communication to professional practitioners serving those with disabilities (teachers, occupational therapists, rehabilitation counselors, physicians, psychologists, etc.), with the overarching goal of providing enhanced benefits and opportunities to people with disabilities. The ATIA Conference has been held every year since 1999 and is now established as the largest, broad-based AT conference in North America.  In 2009, ATIA added a second AT conference to be held in the Midwest in the fall, (October 28-31), at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois. The ATIA 2009 Orlando Conference had over 2,300 attendees, more than 300 educational sessions and 125 exhibitors.
  • To “speak with a common voice” for the AT industry, and work closely with Electronics & Information Technology (EIT) companies and government, on matters of common interest such as Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and comparable continuing issues.
  • Support publications of itself and in conjunction with non-profit partners.
What is Assistive Technology?
·         Assistive Technology (or AT) is any item, piece of equipment, product or system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities.

As always, Have a sunny day!  Susanna

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Filed under Cochlear implants, Hearing loss, inspiration, Physical Handicaps, Uncategorized

Assistive Listening Devices

ellowAssistive Listening Devices?  Do you wonder what these devices do?  There are so many of these on the market, unfortunately many hard of hearing people and hearing people are not aware that these devices even exist.  First off, let me tell me you what an Assistive Listening Device (ALD’s) is.  These are electronic marvels that enable people who wear hearing aids and/or cochlear implants with telecoil switches to hear better in noisy situations.  Most of us with hearing aids and/or cochlear implants do really well in a quiet situation; however the biggest challenge for us HA/CI user is the ability to hear in noisy situations, i.e. restaurants, bars, airports, etc.  For us, our devices, pick up every noise, therefore amplifying all sounds including the ones we don’t want to hear! Therefore, this is the biggest problem! that audiologists, HA dispensers, etc. encounter when fitting their clients.  So, what’s one to do? I highly recommend that the patient ask their “audie” for a compatible ALD’s for their needs.

To break it down even further, the ALD works by enabling the client to put their HA or CI on Telecoil switch, by doing this, this cuts out all the background noise and the only thing that HA/CI user hears is the voice of the immediate person using the microphone of the transmitter.  I know this is pretty technical and I really don’t know how to explain this better except to tell you of my personal experiences with ALDs.   I also suggest, you contact Teri Wathen if you live in Houston,Texas at  HLRS6A@dars.state.tx.us
or go to this page and find a Hearing Resource Specialist in Texas that lives near you at http://www.dars.state.tx.us/dhhs/specialistlist.shtml .  All these hearing loss specialists are a really great group of people, they are passionate about helping those with hearing loss.  Most of them, also have their own personal hearing challenges, therefore, they are extremely sympathetic about helping others with hearing loss.  These specialists also have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to ALD’s. 

For instance, several years ago, when I lost all the remainder of my hearing in my left ear, my mom discovered Teri Wathen of CAAG through many phone calls.  Here, I made it easier for you, click the above link.  CAAG in Houston is a treasure cove.  My parents and I made the trip to CAAG and I was in awe of all the ALD’s they have.  It seems like hundreds! Okay, I am exaggerating, but still they have lots and you can try them all out while you are there! Furthermore, they will even loan out a system for you to try in the real world!  There are gizmos that do everything but clean the toilet bowl!  There are telephones, neckloop, room systems, personal systems, devices to help you with the tv, mp3 player, at work, at church, the list is endless!  Folks, you must check it out!  Truly, these devices help me to live my life fully in the hearing world.

What inspired me to write this article.   Well, I have a horse show coming up,  I use an ALD to compete.  I use an FM system called “the Comtek. ”  http://comtek.com  This device has literally saved my life in the show ring. 

The challenge for me was that I had a hard time hearing my instructors when they were giving me lessons at home, or away at a horse show.  In addition, another challenge was hearing the announcer during my class at a horse show.  Horse shows are tough and competitive!

In the early days, I remember looking at my instructors for hand signals.  We came up with a series of hand signals, similiar to a baseball pitcher and umpire.  It worked okay.  However, the problem was that by looking at the instructor, it took my focus off the horse I was riding, thus creating another problem.  You have to be in tandem with your horse at all times, creating the perfect picture of unity, so this gap caused me to lose my connection with the horse, even if it was momentarily.  This is not good. 

Luckily, Max McCarthy  of Hearing Systems, at www.hearingsystemsinc.com came to the rescue, he is another great source with Les Calloway with ALD’s.  They also have a gold mine of devices for you to try and they will educate you as well for the right device for you.   I told him about my horse showing challenges and how I needed help hearing at meetings at work, so he told me about the Comtek.  This device has been a godsend.  It enabled me to hear at meetings at work and for the horse show ring.

All my horse trainers absolutely love this device.  They loved how they didn’t have to shout at me anymore, or use hand signals no longer.  I love it because I do not lose my concentration anymore, I can focus on the horse and ride.  All my trainers want one for their hearing clients! It doesn’t work for them; however, that is how much they really like it.

I am able to use this device at horse shows too!  Now, I no longer miss calls from the announcers and I able to concentrate on my ride.  Yes, I had to get approval with a letter from the governing body of horse showing at USEF.  There is a process to go through with USEF.  It is worth every step.

I also use many other assistive listening devices, I will explore those, in another blog.

I really hope this helps everyone!  Once again, I realize this is not an easy concept to grasp, therefore, I highly urge everyone to seek help with the above mentioned resources or check out my links on my blog roll, they will give you more information.

By the way, I will be giving a presentation on “How I use ALD’s in the Show Ring”  at the monthly Houston HLA meeting in March 2009.  All are welcome, even hearing people!  I will include more details later on, 2nd Saturday am in March in Houston.

Assisted Listening Devices! Can’t live without them!

As Always, Have a sunny day! Susanna

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Filed under Cochlear implants, Hearing loss, Horses, Physical Handicaps