I Take It All Back!


Well, not all of it. But some of what I said last week — “Coronavirus Concerns for People with Hearing Loss. It’s not just the disease” — is already out of date. This is a very fast-moving story.


Resist isolation. Get outside. Take a walk, I said. Wrong.

A week later, it’s clear that’s not a good idea, especially for older people. Unless you live in a private home, to get outside you have to walk through a public space, a lobby perhaps, and maybe take an elevator. The coronavirus lasts a long time on dry surfaces and so just pushing an elevator button or opening a door can expose you. One solution is to wear gloves and make sure that you don’t touch the palms when you take them off. Nitrile or latex disposable gloves are the best, but they are probably in short supply by now. These are single use gloves and your conscience may rebel at the environmental impact. But it’s your life you’re talking about.

     Have a friend for lunch. Wrong.

“One of you is unlikely to infect the other if you both feel well,” I wrote. That was last week. This week we know that anyone can be an invisible and unaware carrier. It’s not worth it if you’re in a high-risk category. Learn to use FaceTime or Skype to keep in touch with family and friends. Here’s a very good article in The Atlantic on the subject.

     Videoconferencing. I was right about this one. 

Video or audio sessions, sometimes over FaceTime or Skype, quickly became the norm for psychotherapists and for anyone who conducts one on one counseling or informational sessions as part of their work. It happened practically overnight. With doctors, it’s called telemedicine. Telemedicine, incidentally, is a technology that is increasingly useful for people with hearing loss who live in areas where there aren’t many audiologists. Hearing aids can be programmed remotely these days. If coronavirus forces us to use telemedicine, it’s probably for the longterm good for hearing-aid users.

     The telephone. This is still a good choice.

But my recommendation to get a captioned landline from Captel or CaptionCall or one of the other companies may have to be put on hold. If you have a smart phone, definitely try Innocaption+. You can download it for free on the App store. The instructions that come with the app are clear and easy to follow. Innocaption+ support is available by email or by phone. I’ve always found them responsive.

     Chat electronically.

You can do this as email or text, or in various chat and message programs. If you’re not comfortable typing, dictate your messages. Just press the microphone icon below or to the left of the keyboard on either Apple or Android message/phone apps. There will be some garble but it’s much easier to go back and correct than it is to type the whole thing.

     Virtual Chapter meetings.

Most HLAA chapter meetings around the country have been canceled for the foreseeable future. HLAA already has a setup for virtual chapters, including one for veterans. Those of us who are #HLAA chapter leaders (I’m the President of the New York City Chapter) should put our heads together and figure out how to have an interactive meeting virtually. I’m sure HLAA can help us but I’d love suggestions from people with more tech expertise than I have about webinars and web-ex meetings.


For more about living with hearing loss, read my books, available at Amazon.com and maybe at your favorite bookstore or library. If they’re not there, ask for them.






8 thoughts on “I Take It All Back!

  1. Good post “I take it all back” You’re so thorough. I’m in awe of all the time you spend talking to the world. You write SO much. And you walk so much. Way to keep your body and mind in good form. You wrote about hearing fitness—meanwhile you’re keeping up your physical and mental fitness. I want to comment on the landscape of your dream. Tomorrow…

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. Thank you for keeping us up to date. I’ve read both your books, most helpful. So little down-to-earth information is available; your words are greatly appreciated, especially now with so much going on.


  3. Great work, Katherine! Very quick turnaround, to match the virus.

    But I’m still concerned about isolating too much. I was too late to find any gloves round here, which is a pity. Maybe have to resort to gardening gloves, but then there would have to be care about where to put them between use so as to keep hands clear. And hand washing before and after use, to keep the gloves internally okay. How does anyone have enough for single use over weeks?

    I’d be interested in informed advice about how much isolating is too much, too long. We are social creatures, and, much more than we realize, we depend for our wellbeing on picking up the body language signals of folks around us and, in particular, their reactions to ours. We are interactive colonists. And many of us, especially older people, live entirely alone these days. Safer in one sense, but not healthy if we don’t get out.

    So I do think we should try for the open spaces, all of us who can.



  4. HI Ann, I agree with you about trying for open spaces when we can. As I said in the previous post, even waving from a distance is communication. Did you see the pictures of the Milan neighborhood where everyone was leaning out open windows singing? It was so moving.
    Maybe where you live is safer than where I am. New York is totally shut down. I have a dog so I really have to go out several times a day. I carry dog bags for picking up the poop but they’re also handy (when not used of course!) for opening door handles, pushing elevator buttons etc.
    I’ve always worn gloves for cooking and cleaning because my skin is very fragile. So I had a supply on hand. I order them from Amazon. I imagine they’re sold out. I wish I’d bought Clorox wipes when I could.


  5. Hello Katherine,

    We at the Albany NY Chapter of HLAA had our very first and successful online planning committee meeting via ZOOM last evening. Organized by one very devoted and ambitious member, it gave the opportunity for visual and auditory contact among the 11 participants to keep the work and ideas of the chapter alive and moving forward. The password protected event included captioning by OTTER as well. The view of each person allowed me to utilize “face-reading” to compliment the auditory input. Others found the captioning, though not perfect, to be most helpful. Apart from the “business” discussion, the “live” networking contact with other chapter members, now our friends, was heartwarming!!

    Thank you for your diligence in sharing your insights and information via these posts!! May you stay well and happy!!


    • We’re trying a board meeting next week and a chapter meeting the week after.
      Also I’m sure you got the email about HLAA’s zoom meeting with Kevin Frank on Saturday, and maybe you saw Shari Eberts and Kelly Tremblay on Roxana Robinson’s zoom event last Saturday. We’re all getting so sophisticated in our use of technology. That alone helps keep our brains limber.


Please leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s