Protect Your Child’s Hearing

A combination of recurring ear infections (likely caused by a common bacterium, Haemophilus influenzae (NTHI)) that occurred when I was a child and being unaware of the need to protect my hearing led to the “catastrophic hearing loss” I’ve endured since early adulthood. It’s ruined my first career and caused me to require disability assistance to start a new career.

Avoid a similar catastrophe for your children by following three simple steps found at this link:

Woman placing protective earmuffs on preteen boy.
Woman placing protective earmuffs on preteen boy.

Laziness Versus Caring Deeply About Doing a Good Job

Classes in the final semester of my BAS Internet and Web Development degree at ASU began seven days ago. So, I’ve had seven days to get the first assignment turned in. A couple of hours ago, I finally created the rough draft and emailed it to the professor.

Lazy man in blue pajamas.
Lazy man in blue pajamas.

On every one of those days, I heard my mother’s voice yelling at me about being “such a lazy kid”. She loved to pull out a Jehovah’s Witness book and make me read (and re-read) the entry on “laziness”. Read it for yourself if you don’t believe me when I say the JWs have a horrible attitude about this.

I’m a Master Procrastinator Instead of a Lazy Bum

It’s serendipitous that I just happened to receive the article quoted below right after I finally turned in my assignment. And, I feel so much better about myself after reading it. I’m not lazy; I’m a master procrastinator who cares deeply about everything he works on! Here’s a quote from the article that resonates with me more than anything:

“When a person fails to begin a project that they care about, it’s typically due to either a) anxiety about their attempts not being “good enough” or b) confusion about what the first steps of the task are. Not laziness. In fact, procrastination is more likely when the task is meaningful and the individual cares about doing it well.” – Human Parts – “Laziness Does Not Exist” by Devon Price

That describes me to a T; especially in this case with this Senior Project assignment! I was absolutely “…anxi[ous] about [my] attempt not being ‘good enough'” to get a good grade. And, I was absolutely “…confus[ed] about what the first steps of the task were.” This task is the most meaningful thing in my life right now – I want nothing more than to finally get my degree and start my new career! Also, this Senior Project class is all about creating something that showcases what I’ve learned while working toward my degree. I absolutely want to have a portfolio to show to a potential employer when I start hunting for a job!

I Did It On My Own

It’s heartening, too, to have read this article that confirms what I did on my own this week. I realized before I read this article that I haven’t been being lazy! I’ve been fighting against barriers of self-doubt and lack of confidence.

Web Accessibility

The important thing about this is that I feel so much better about myself. And I actually got the work done well before the deadline. And, I think I did a great job, frankly. As you may have seen in some of my other posts on this blog, I’m learning to live life with a variety of disabilities. To do that, I’ve worked on a degree in a new field so that I can start a new career in this field that I think I’ve been meant to do from the start.

I’ve learned about efforts that fellow user experience designers have made to assure that everyone is able to access the content available on the web; including those like me with disabilities. So, this is the topic I’ve chosen for my Senior Project – Web Accessibility. I want my new career to focus on improving websites so that everyone is able to enjoy their content and no one is left out, regardless of their inability to see, hear, use a keyboard or mouse, see colors, and so on.

So, you can imagine (can’t you?) that this topic I’m working on is extremely important to me. I care very deeply about doing a good job with it. After all, it’s only my entire future we’re talking about here! If you ask me, now that I’ve read Devon‘s article, it’s no wonder I’ve had trouble with procrastination (not laziness).

If you’ve ever had trouble with what you thought was “laziness”, I encourage you to read Devon’s excellent article on Medium.

9/2/19 UPDATE: I got 25/25 on the assignment! 😊

Featured on Hearing Health Foundation

My story was recently featured on the Hearing Health Foundation’s (HHF) blog! “Hearing Health Foundation’s mission is to prevent and cure hearing loss and tinnitus through groundbreaking research and to promote hearing health”. Their telling of my story focuses on redefined justice, as they put it. Mayo Clinic could’ve been better in the way they handled the issues I faced there. Their lawyers responded to my EEOC case by claiming that I actually did not have a hearing loss disability. This really hurt. They were wrong, of course. But, I don’t hold any animosity toward them for their choice of how they handled my concerns.

Moving On

Instead, I’ve moved on from it. I imagine you might be thinking that I don’t seem to have “moved on”. After all, I’ve brought it up twice on this blog and it’s the focus of an article on another blog. It just happens to be part – a small part – of my story of learning to deal with a hearing loss.

Redefined Justice with WAI-ARIA

A bigger part of the story is that I’ve chosen to get the education I need to begin a new career that doesn’t require as much emphasis on hearing ability. That education has a focus on User Experience (UX) Design. Within that focus, I’m concentrating on the web-based methods that exist to accommodate all people. The W3C describes WAI-ARIA best on their site:

WAI-ARIA, the Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite, defines a way to make Web content and Web applications more accessible to people with disabilities. It especially helps with dynamic content and advanced user interface controls developed with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript, and related technologies. Currently certain functionality used in Web sites is not available to some users with disabilities, especially people who rely on screen readers and people who cannot use a mouse. WAI-ARIA addresses these accessibility challenges, for example, by defining new ways for functionality to be provided to assistive technology. With WAI-ARIA, developers can make advanced Web applications accessible and usable to people with disabilities.


I’m especially excited to announce that I’m only six classes away from graduating! I should finally have my Bachelor’s degree at the end of the Fall 2019 semester. You’re invited to the graduation ceremony! More on this later.

Update: I graduated on December 16, 2019!

Starting Over (with Audiology)

I have had this blog for a while, but today I decided to wipe the slate clean and start over with a focus on Audiology. New year – new blog. Despite working toward a new career in Web Development and/or User Experience Design, I’ve decided to use my blog here to discuss the whole gamut of issues I deal with. The issues include healthcare, religion (Don’t worry – I’ve learned to limit the frequency with which I discuss this topic.), philosophy, psychology, sociology, education, technology, politics (The caveat for religion applies here too.), horror, movies, books, television, animation, video, audio, and so on. I’ll keep my posts categorized, so you – whoever you are – don’t have to wade through long posts about topics you’d rather not read about here.


The topic of Audiology isn’t going to be the focus of this site as a whole. It just happens to be the topic I’m dealing with the most today.

Costco Hearing Aids

I’ve had hearing aids from Costco, Phonak, Starkey, and now ReSound. I’ve used telecoil-based… uh, call center headset “things” that hooked over my ears so that they (tried) to sit against my hearing aids. I don’t remember what make or model they were, but they were horrible – they were the first piece of technology that I tried to use while still trying to succeed in a call center job. That was back around 2000, when I first realized I needed hearing aids despite being only 30 years old at the time.

Phonak Hearing Aids

After that, I got a pair of Phonak hearing aids from Mayo Clinic – who was also my employer at that time in about 2004. They were far better than the Costco hearing aids I’d gotten in 2000. But, they still didn’t help with call center work very much. I eventually got promoted to a Medical Secretary position and didn’t have to worry so much about being able to hear people over the phone any more. But, I still experienced great difficulty and eventually quit my job at Mayo because of all the strife and misunderstandings surrounding me and my hearing loss.

Starkey Hearing Aids

About ten years later – so, those Phonaks were amazingly long-lasting (but partially due to my extreme level of attention to maintaining my hearing aids) – in 2014, my wife happened to be working for an employer that, to our amazement, paid for hearing aids at 100%!! This, I’d found, was unheard of (no pun intended). So, I upgraded again to Starkey Halo hearing aids.

The Halos were my first hearing aids with Made For iPhone (MFi) capability. I had been a die-hard Android fanboy until then, but got my first iPhone in order to use the bluetooth-based streaming capabilities of the Halos. That dramatically increased my quality of life because I was finally able to hear music in its full richness again. The Halos’ connection to my iPhone also made it possible again for me to understand what people were saying to each other in movies – especially dramatic movies, in which characters often whisper their lines to each other to, I guess, “sound dramatic”.

Unfortunately, I also learned that Halos were the exact opposite of the Phonak HAs when it came to build quality. The Halos broke several times while I had them. I had to do without hearing aids for weeks at a time while Starkey sent new ones to me to replace the broken ones. Understandably, that was quite annoying. And, despite getting new ones repeatedly, they all continued to break after only a short period. I even opted pay an additional $200 or so in order to buy a new one year warranty in order to continue replacing the Halos which would continue to break. I think I went through about five pairs.

ReSound Hearing Aids and Accessories

Now, thanks to AZ DES Voc Rehab, I have two brand new ReSound ENZO 3D hearing aids. I also have a Multi-Mic, a PhoneClip+, and TV Streamer 2. My favorite ReSound accessory is the TV Streamer 2. I have mine plugged into the optical out port on my TV. It streams sound from the TV into my ENZO 3Ds. (ReSound provides several methods to connect the Streamer to your TV; not just fiber optic.) There is a huge difference between sound coming from the TV speakers and sound coming from TV Streamer 2! TV sound via the Streamer is far better.

One quirk I’ve discovered is that the TV’s volume needs to be set to at least “1” (out of 100) in order for any sound at all to be sent from the Streamer to my HAs. So, while the sound coming out of the TV’s speakers is at “1”, I can make the sound within my hearing aids any volume I’d like. Additionally, it’s good that sound can come out of the TV’s speakers at whatever level the other (hearing) people in the room want it at; while I can simultaneously set the volume in my hearing aids for what I need. Further, it’s also good that I get TV sound while also getting sound from the surrounding area via the mics in my hearing aids.

Getting Educated for a New Career

I’ve realized that call center work probably doesn’t hold as much promise for me because of my Audiology issues. So, I’ve gone back to college at Polytechnic School at ASU to get a BAS in Internet and Web Development. ASU’s Disability Resource Center (DRC) has provided me with CART for the on-site classes I’ve taken there. That technology was really amazing to me. The DRC loaned me a microphone that plugged into my laptop. I used Skype on my laptop to dial into an offsite (often in another state!) CART transcriptionist who listened to my professors speaking. The transcriptionist typed what was being said for me to read.

Cochlear Implant Hybrids

I’m really excited (and a little nervous) to see how much better things get – Audiology-wise – with the Cochlear Americas Cochlear Implant Hybrid we’re looking at to work with my Hearing Aids.

Living Well with Hearing Loss

I plan to attend Hearing Loss Association of America’s (HLAA’s) upcoming “Living Well with Hearing Loss” support group, starting on January 16, 2019. Despite all of the great technology that’s available, there are still issues that occur due to my Audiology issues. My hearing loss affects many things. So, I’m excited to learn what I don’t yet know!

Onward to Prosperity!

My healthcare, hearing, and career paths have been quite the undertaking, especially since 2000. I’ve learned a lot since I finished high school many years ago. Most of all, I’ve learned that not being “sure” about things – especially existential, philosophical, religious, and spiritual things – is fine. I’ve learned that it’s okay to not be positive about the “right” or “wrong” way to do things. Having learned this, I’m much more confident about my future. And, I’m so very grateful for the lessons I’ve learned. I’m looking forward to learning more!