Hearing Loss is a Mission Field for Evangelism

Hearing loss is a mission field for evangelism.

What will it take for the church family to realize that people with hearing loss comprise one of these largest untapped mission fields in America?

More than 50 million Americans suffer mild to moderate hearing loss. This number is rapidly moving up to 100 million due to self-inflicted hearing loss. Only 2% of these people are full deaf and speak sign language.

90% of the hearing loss population may not attend church for one reason. The church is not hearing accessible for them to hear the Word of God clearly.

Some pastors will exclaim, “We have assistive listening devices in our church but no one uses them.” Great! How much advertising do you do to promote the listening system? Does the public know about it? Do visitors know where to go to get a listening unit? Is the listening system active and functioning?

Are your Bible study and prayer groups hearing accessible? These are critical issues to consider if you want to reach the friends with hearing loss with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Becoming a hearing accessible church is the most cost effective way to create a revival spirit of evangelism in the community.

You do not have to learn a new language; just make a few adjustment in attitude and willingness to minister to those with hearing loss. A number of them are already members of your church who have dropped out because of hearing loss.

There are many friends with hearing loss outside your church door waiting to be invited in to hear the Gospel. They will listen, believe and be saved if they can hear with the assistive listening devices. This is a massive untapped mission field waiting to be harvested. Let us begin the work while it is still day.

Until the Trumpet Sounds: LET MY PEOPLE HEAR!

David M. Harrison, Advocate for Hearing Accessibility

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My Search for Hearing led me to a Cochlear Implant



My search for personal hearing led me to a Cochlear Implant (CI).   Hearing for the first time with my new Advance Bionic Naida CI Q90 cochlear implant felt overwhelming to me. This new technology has definitely improved my life.

Along with the implant, I received a Phonak companion hearing aid in the left ear. This is called bimodal technology for streaming media simultaneously to both ears. I hear in stereo when talking on the phone.

The AB manual states, “Using state-of –the-art technology, a cochlear implant bypasses the damaged part of an ear and sends electrical signals directly to the brain via the hearing nerve. Cochlear implants are currently the only medical technology able to functionally restore one of the five senses, which is why many physicians refer to cochlear implants as ‘technological miracles.’”

You can watch how this operation was performed. Warning! This video is graphic. Please be advised. The surgery was done in a couple of hours.

The healing process made me sleep a lot. On January 5, 2017 I was hooked up with the processor after several hours of programing the unit for me. Adapting to and identifying sounds I never heard before presented an exciting challenge. Beeps of all kinds, turn signals, water running, birds chirping, and the hum of the refrigerator just to name a few sounds I heard.

The cochlear implant is for people who can’t hear well enough with hearing aids. There are three companies that produce these implants and processors. Insurance may pay for the surgery and an implant, depending on the type of health insurance you carry.

If you are suffering from hearing loss and need greater help, check with your ENT doctor for an evaluation.

Until the Trumpet Sounds: LET MY PEOPLE HEAR!

David M. Harrison, Advocate for Hearing Accessibility

 

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The Desire to Hear In Church

Your dream as a hard of hearing person is to hear and understand the message in church. You get tired of asking people to repeat facts that you missed.

In church you can’t understand much of the message, so you move toward the back of the congregation. You struggle to hear, and your hearing aids are not picking up the sound.

You feel frustrated and discouraged with sadness in your heart. You want to enjoy the sermon, but how can that happen? Where do I find a solution for my disability?

Complaining to your spouse or family members just leads to arguments and put downs. You need help to solve this problem. Should I purchase another hearing aid at a higher price? You don’t know where to go for help to find a solution for your hearing dilemma.

It hurts when you can’t hear what’s going on. You want to laugh with the audience when a joke is told without asking someone to interpret or repeat the punch line.

You ponder the thought of dropping out church and watching a service on TV. That is not the same as a live service with friendly people. Isolation is not a solution for any hard of hearing person. You deserve better than that: A hearing accessible ministry which offers assistive listening devices for anyone in need. There are other options that work for you.

Don’t let your dream die or give up hope. You will be able to hear the word of God.

Imagine yourself being able to hear and understand everything with confidence. Let My People Hear is in the ministry of establishing hearing centers in local churches for hard of hearing people.

We are working on a series of blog posts that deal specifically with making the church hearing accessible. There is hope for you. Stay tuned and learn.

Make hearing accessibility a matter of prayer for the millions who are hard of hearing. It is a vast mission field that needs help to hear.

Until the Trumpet Sounds: LET MY PEOPLE HEAR!

David M. Harrison, Advocate for Hearing Accessibility

HEARING LOSS AMONG YOUTH IS RAMPANT

Young people with hearing loss are the fastest growing disability group today. Self-inflicted hearing loss is now rampant among our youth. What was a handicap among seniors has now invaded all ages. The main cause is the I-pod, the MP3, and concerts at high volume.

WHAT IS CAUSING HEARING LOSS?

One in five adolescents has a mild or greater hearing loss. It is a problem of epidemic portion and has serious ramifications. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that fifty million Americans have mild to severe hearing loss. It can never be reversed or brought back to normal by some technical or medical fix.

It is hard for anyone to admit they have a hearing loss no matter how severe it is. They resist getting a hearing test and certainly they do not want to consider a hearing aid. Any plan for help gets blocked by denial. They make statements like, “I’m OK, or I can hear just fine.”

A RECENT STUDY

A study also found that several symptoms of hearing loss were present in many of the study participants. More than 60% had concentration problems and also often needed people to repeat themselves, while 44% indicated that they often felt a need to turn up the volume on the TV. In addition, nearly two out of five study participants indicated that they felt bothered by tinnitus.

More than one out of three (36.6%) young people had concerns about hearing loss related to the use of personal stereos. Regarding preventive aspects, it was found that 81% of respondents find it important to reduce noise pollution in society.

According to the World Health Organization a volume above 85 dB for eight hours or 100 dB for 15 minutes is considered unsafe. To counter the risk, the (WHO) recommends that young people keep the volume down on their personal listening devices.

Mild hearing loss registers on the audiology chart means they cannot hear pure tone sounds in the 26 to 40 decibel range. It means that they are missing most high frequency sounds or the major consonants such as: T, K, SH, S, & P. Simply translated; youth are missing about 40% of normal conversation.

Without these consonants you hear the vowel sounds but can’t distinguish the words. This can impact every area of our daily lives from sun up to sundown. As a blind person has to grope and feel his way around so a hard of hearing person must constantly prepare to meet communication challenges.

HEARING LOSS IS INVISIBLE

You can’t tell who has a hearing loss because it is invisible. Yet they are constantly seeking new ways to meet the challenges of communication. If they misunderstand something, they may be ridiculed and made fun of. This brings shame, stress and low self’ esteem. Many go into social isolation.

It becomes stressful when you can’t hear normal conversation and feel fearful of what others may say about you. We dread being called names such as retarded, slow learner or low IQ. We feel lonely, ignored or rejected and often fall behind in school.

How do we deal with such a massive problem? Scientists are in research for new technology, medicine, surgery, and therapy, yet the problem continues to rise. Our world is going deaf right under our nose.

We are on a crusade to alert the public of the need to protect your ears. Our mission is to help those who have lost hearing to deal with hearing loss.

Until the Trumpet Sounds: LET MY PEOPLE HEAR!

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I can hear again, with my cochlear implant!

Greetings,

I can hear again, with my cochlear implant! Yes, it’s true, says elementary school teacher, Marilyn Fisher. After the surgical staples were removed (OUCH!), the audiologist programmed my processor, and we spent the next three hours going over the instructions and doing some initial testing.

I am thrilled to report that I nearly aced all four levels of preliminary evaluation! I was able to repeat back what she had said – without the advantage of lip reading and with an ear plug in my “good” ear – almost perfectly.

I have a bag the size of a carry-on full of manuals and attachments for my gizmos. Today, I will begin using the training DVD that will help my brain remember words and sounds. But I have already tried to watch TV without the close-captioning and am able to grasp enough of the dialogue to follow the plot…and THAT hasn’t happened for quite a while.

And I know it’s going to sound cheesy/lame/overly sentimental, but I can’t begin to tell you what a thrill I got just hearing the turn signal in Gary’s truck on the way back to Chattanooga. And when I heard birds chirping in the backyard last night for the first time in a LONG time, it was really cool!

What does it sound like? Well, I’m happy to report that people do not sound like aquatic cartoon characters as originally warned and expected. The best way I can describe the sound is this: imagine listening to people who sound like they have been sucking helium out of party balloons but with a slightly mechanical sound on top of that! Everyone’s voice has the same pitch and quality–even my bass-voiced husband sounds like he has been inhaling helium. But I am told that in time that too will pass and I will begin to recognize voices a bit more as I remember them.

It will be extremely important for me to wear a MedicAlert necklace from now on in case I am in an accident or require medical attention: MRI’s and monopolar cautery (the paddles) are BIG no-no’s. I put my application and fee for this in the mail just now. And I am also applying for a handicapped tag for my car.

The CI allows me to hear but does not provide the directional clarity that normal hearing does. The LAST thing I want is to get run over in a WalMart parking lot by a hot-rod teenage driver or a mom with a van load of kids who doesn’t watch out for me and whom I can’t hear coming. So parking closer to the door will help me avoid becoming somebody’s hood ornament!

I also plan to be back into wearing contacts by the fall. With my processor
hanging off my ear, I don’t need another piece of plastic or metal from
eyeglass frames resting there, too.

So, that’s the latest for now. I’ve probably given you, as teens would say,
“TMI! (Too much information!). I will keep you updated on the progress I
make throughout the summer.

Blessings on you both! I look forward to seeing…and hearing you…soon! And I hope your HEAR NOW CAFÉ event goes well. Signed, Marilyn.

Until the Trumpet Sounds: LET MY PEOPLE HEAR!

David M. Harrison, Advocate for hearing accessibility

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A Christmas Miracle for deaf and Hard of Hearing Children

In 2015, the Lord laid on my heart to conduct a Christmas party for deaf and hard of hearing children as a mission project. We picked a date, but how will we fund it? Where will get toys and food for such an event? Where will this event take place?

In 2006 we began reaching out to hard of hearing people by organizing a non-profit mission (Let My People Hear). We opened up a Lip Reading Academy for helping hard of hearing people deal with hearing loss. Classes have been small due to expense for advertising. Our training extended into assistive living homes and senior gatherings. Later on we began a monthly support group for hard of hearing (Hear Now Café).

Our small group was meeting in a fellowship hall of a small congregation. Our meetings were on the second Monday of each month. We sent letters and made visits to find children we could invite.

We met on the second Monday of November to finalize our plans. We were shocked to see that the fellowship hall was stripped of all the things needed to have a party: tables, chairs, dishes, utensils, etc.  All I could say, “Praise the Lord, God is up to something big! He is in control.”

The buildings were handed over to a new congregation who were not told about our meeting. After locating the office of this group, I went to talk with the associate pastor, I shared my passion of preparing a Christmas party for the deaf and hard of hearing children.

The associate pastor was moved with my plea to find a solution for our mission outreach. Before the meeting was over, he said: 1) We will decorate the hall for your party, 2) we will set up the tables. 3) Tell us what you want on the menu, we will cook it at home and serve it to you.

We were strangers to them and they took us in. The miracle does not stop there. Where am I going to get toys on a very small shoe-string budget, without any shoestring?  While visiting a Christmas sale at the convention center, the Lord impressed me to ask venders to donate gifts for the children. We left the place with six shopping bags full of gifts one week before the party. Several bakeries pledged to donate cakes and cookies. God is up to something big.

People responded with gift cards to give to each family.

That is not the end of the story. There was a mission group close by who collected toys to forgotten children. As a non-profit mission we were qualified to receive toys. All they needed was a list of each child by name, age, and gender. We were overwhelmed with God’s goodness and love.

This blessing was repeated even greater in another church hall in 2016. Next year 2017, we want to organize and raise funds to help more families with deaf and hard of hearing children.

Our goal is to plan a banquet to raise funds to serve needy families of handicap children. Our theme for the last two years was, “Hearing Loss is a lonely life, and we love you because we understand.”

David M. Harrison, Advocate for Hearing Accessibility

Letmypeoplehear@yahoo.com

 

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