Red Cross Babysitting Course

IDHHC is partnering with the City of Victoria and the Comox Valley Regional District to offer an accessible Babysitting Course for Deaf and hard of hearing teens ages 11 to 15 years. This Canadian Red Cross Babysitting course covers everything from managing difficult behaviours to essential content on leadership and professional conduct as a babysitter. Babysitting promises to deepen and enhance the responsibility that older youth feel when caring for younger children. The updated curriculum, complete with new science, also provides improved learning when it comes to give the appropriate care in the event of an emergency.

Victoria: Saturday, April 22
We are partnering with Crystal Pool to offer a one-day course on April 22. Please save the date and watch for our next newsletter for all the details or contact for further info.

Comox Valley: To be confirmed
We are partnering with the CVRD and Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (Katelin Miller and Kerry MacLaren) to offer a two-day format of this course. Please watch for our next newsletter for all the details or contact for further information.

Dining Out With a Hearing Loss

For those with a hearing loss, dinning out can be both challenging and exhausting so we have put together some suggestions to improve your experience.

Choose a Quiet Establishment: This may seem like an obvious first step, but it does require you to plan ahead. Ask friends and family for their recommendations of restaurants. Where are they able to hold conversations without competing with background noise? They will also be able to share their knowledge of places to avoid. A quick Internet search can often provide you with a few additional suggestions. If you are considering dining somewhere new, it can be helpful to call or stop by ahead of time to determine if it would be an appropriate location.

Request a Low Traffic/Quiet Table: Many restaurants have sections or tables that have significantly less traffic and noise. Making reservations in advance will help you to avoid being seated by the kitchen, main entrance, or bar.

Select the Best Seat: Choose a seat that allows you to face the person, or people, you will be speaking with. If you are dining with a group of people, sit across from the ones you would like to speak with most.

Good Lighting: When you rely on speechreading (lipreading) to understand what is being said, proper lighting will be essential for you to enjoy your dinner conversation. Request a table that is bright enough for you to do so.

Self-Advocate: Let the server know that you have a hearing loss as well as what you need while you are there. This could be a request to face you directly while speaking or to show you items on the menu rather than mentioning them verbally. Clarify anything you have heard but are not sure of. Improving communication with the staff will improve your dining experience.

Use your Technology: If you have hearing aids, cochlear implants, or any other device to assist you with communication, speak to your hearing health practitioner about the programs and accessories that are available to you in a restaurant setting.

20 Tips for Beating Stress

The last few years have been challenging to say the least, and stress has accumulated for most of us. Whether you have been job searching, working through COVID-19, laid off work or are retired, now, more than ever, it’s time for some self-care.

Here are 20 different ways to help reduce stress:

YOUR ENVIRONMENT: What’s around you, what you see, smell, hear, touch and taste affect how you feel. What makes you drop your shoulders and say, “Ahhhh”? Look for ways to bring beauty to your environment:
1. Create coziness with warm lights
2. Declutter your main living area

YOUR THINKING: How you think about events and information determines your emotional reactions, so dwelling on problems, thinking of the worst-case scenarios, and beating yourself up over mistakes will all increase your levels of stress. On the other hand, allowing yourself to make mistakes and move on, focusing on the best possible outcome will reduce your stress load. Here are some strategies:
3. Meditate on positive words
4. Appreciate the small gifts in the everyday – a beautiful sunset, a sunny day …

YOUR CREATIVITY: Creativity is a great way to channel stress into beauty. Use the arts to relax and process your challenges at the same time. Product is not as important as process. Give these a try:
5. Take an online Painting/Drawing class
6. Learn to Knit/Crochet/Needlework

YOUR PHYSICAL BODY: Often, you will feel stress in your body through tight muscles, nervous movement, and stiffness. To reduce stress, move your body through stretching, aerobic exercise, or rhythmic motion and create better sleep habits. Care for your body by making healthy nutritional decisions. Try the following to reduce stress physically:
7. Create a stretching routine
8. Go to bed earlier

YOUR HUMOUR: Laughter diffuses tension and lowers blood pressure. Try these to chuckle away your stress:
9. Watch a good comedy on Netflix
10. Reminisce with an old pal about fun times you had together

YOUR SPIRITUALITY: We are holistic beings, and the spiritual part of us can help soothe stress too. Try these spiritual strategies as a preventative measure for stress:
11. Meditate
12. Practice gratefulness

MANAGING YOUR LIFE: Some stress is created or increased because of procrastination, disorganization, and inattention to details. By managing time, money, plans, and clutter, you can make a difference in how you feel in as little as 15 minutes. Some management strategies are:
13. Say “no” to too many commitments in your day
14. Set goals for the new year

YOUR RELATIONSHIPS: As long as we interact with people, we will have relational stress. This is even more important in relationships that are meaningful to us. But, just as relationships may create stress, they are also a source for reducing stress. Try these relational strategies to decrease stress:
15. Be kindly assertive
16. Make an extra effort to reach out to friends and family
17. Forgive a hurt

GETTING OUTDOORS: Being outside can adjust our attitude by giving us a new perspective. No matter what the weather or temperature, dress appropriately and enjoy some fresh air for a quick or leisurely stress reliever. Some outdoor strategies that might be helpful are:
18. Star or cloud gaze
19. Take a stroll after dinner
20. Take a walk in the forest (forest-bath!) or by the ocean

References – Seaward, B. L. (2006). Managing stress: Principles and strategies for health and wellbeing (5th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Paint Night with Janet

Paint Night on October 7th, 2022 was a great success with many IDHHC clients bringing out their artistic talents while led by Nanaimo’s Janet McDonald. The original painting was done by Henri Matisse, a French Visual Artist. Janet is preparing her next paint night in May 2023 with another Matisse-like work of art with a choice of cat, dog, or owl.

people laughing

What is the value of a Speechreading course?

The past few years of the pandemic has shown many people how much they rely on seeing the whole face while communicating. This information is not just used by people that are Deaf or hard of hearing but used by hearing individuals as well. While we may or may not be required to wear masks in the foreseeable future, people need strategies and techniques to effectively communicate with a hearing loss.

When hearing changes or declines, there can be a sense of loss associated with it. Fortunately, there are skills that can help us to adapt to this change. Speechreading (also known as lipreading) is about using all the sensory and contextual cues in the immediate environment to assist us to ‘hear’ more effectively. Of course, learning any new skill requires commitment from
ourselves, our friends, and our family.

So, why do people register for a speechreading course?

  1. To learn to understand people again; 2-3 years without a clear view of peoples’ mouths may have depleted our ability to speechread.
  2. To learn to recognize the different English speech movements and how to differentiate between them. Is this easy to learn? No, but it can be fun to learn and practice.
  3. It is another opportunity to retrain the brain.
  4. To develop effective coping skills as taught and shared by other hard of hearing people.
  5. It is empowering.
  6. To learn about standard and new technology.
  7. To reduce feelings of isolation by realizing one is NOT alone with hearing loss. Sharing our communication bloopers and sharing laughter makes us feel lighter.
  8. Communication is a two-way street. It is not “your” problem. It is something everyone around you needs to understand as it becomes “our” need to communicate more effectively together.

Let’s Talk and Let’s Talk Some More were developed by hard of hearing instructors, so these are people ‘in the know’ about the effects of hearing loss and how to speechread. Two Let’s Talk classes will be offered at IDHHC Victoria from February to March on Monday evenings and Tuesday mornings. Please see the IDHHC event calendar for registration information. If there is enough interest, Let’s Talk Some More will be offered in the spring (May – June).