Pocket Talker Amplifies Family Connection

- News Story

The Trahey family hadn’t had much experience with hearing loss until 88-year-old patriarch Robert had a hard time hearing his family on the phone from his seniors’ residence. Robert had used hearing aids, but they weren’t a great fit for his needs. After an ill-fated footstep during the COVID-19 lockdowns, the family had to explore other options. Enter the Pocket Talker!

Conversational Lifeline

Robert Trahey had been living at Ruby Manor and was struggling with communicating on the phone. That’s when his daughter Sharon first reached out to the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association – Newfoundland and Labrador (CHHA-NL).

“I live in Nova Scotia and I would call him three times a day. It was frustrating for us and it was more frustrating for him,” Sharon says, explaining how her father hated the phone the family bought for his room at Christmas time.

She got in touch with CHHA-NL and the staff suggested a more advanced phone with an amplified earpiece.

Learning Curve

“We didn’t understand the different decibels or anything,” Sharon says. “The perk was they didn’t push you into buying it; they allowed you to try it to see if it would work. They were there for any questions that we had. They were so friendly and helpful and it all happened at the best of times (because) shortly after, COVID-19 struck. During COVID that (phone) was a saviour for us.”

It was around the same time Robert’s hearing aids met an unfortunate end. Someone had stepped on them.

“At the end of the day, they were not for my Dad. He didn’t have the dexterity to be able to put them in and out, or change the wax guards, or change the batteries,” Sharon says “My parents, financially they couldn’t afford another pair.”

Enter the Pocket Talker

Once in-person visiting was allowed again at long-term care facilities, and the Atlantic Bubble opened, Sharon came home to Mount Pearl to visit her father and again got in touch with CHHA-NL for a solution. They suggested the Pocket Talker.

“I didn’t know what a Pocket Talker was,” she says. “I never really understood what it could do for us … I wasn’t ready to give up on that. I could not accept that my dad would not hear us anymore.”

A Pocket Talker is a small piece of equipment which looks like a transistor radio with a microphone on one end. It amplifies the sounds around the person wearing headphones or earbuds and allows them to better hear and understand what’s being said.

“The other good thing about it was, yes, it was good for family, but it’s even more significant when it comes to doctors appointments – or any other professional, a social worker, or any other people outside the family – that gave him an avenue to be able to hear what was going on,” she says.  “He could hear us! He had no problem.”

Community Connections

Sharon says she never would have found these solutions for her family if not for getting in touch with the CHHA-NL.

“I wish I had been more aware of the Canadian Hard of Hearing three years ago. My dad didn’t need something fancy. The hearing aids were too complicated for him,” she says. “We had a number to text (the association), they would meet us at the door, they returned our phone calls promptly.”

Resistance is Futile

And even though her family resisted at first, she says they’ve all come around since seeing how the phone, and now the Pocket Talker, have worked for her father.

“I leaned on (the CHHA-NL) to say yea or nay would this work for my father,” she says “They’re the experts. If that didn’t work for him, they were quite willing to suggest something else as an option.”

For now, Sharon is going to spend as much time talking with her dad as she can.

“I’m a daddy’s little girl,” she says. “Every trip home was so I could spend as much time as possible, to provide every comfort I can give him.”

Reaching Out

If you’re interested in looking at other options for you or your family members with hearing loss, reach out to our office for more information, to test products, or purchase equipment. The team of hearing loss support specialists at the CHHA-NL are here to help.

 

Technology Lending Program

This program offers the opportunity for individuals to try hearing assistive devices, such as amplified telephones, for a short term, to find a suitable device before making a purchase.

 

TO ARRANGE TO BORROW A PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY

Loans can be arranged using one of the following contact methods:

  1. Toll Free Phone in Newfoundland and Labrador 1-888-753-322 or (709) 753-3224 in the St. John’s region – please leave a message and someone will return your call within 24-48 hours.
  2. E-mail Andrea Augot at aaugot@chha-nl.ca
  3. Via Facebook Messenger
  4. By sending a text message to 709-725-3224

HOW TO GET YOUR BORROWED TECHNOLOGY

Curb side pick up of devices to limit contact at the CHHA-NL Provincial office OR devices can be mailed anywhere in Newfoundland and Labrador. All curb side pick up must be pre-arranged and is by appointment only.  No walk-ins are permitted at this time.

 

Hearing Assistive Technology Sales

As a social enterprise to support CHHA-NL’s technology lending program, we offer the purchase of select hearing assistive devices. These devices include:

  1. pocket talkers (personal amplification device)
  2. cordless and corded amplified telephones and
  3. a fire alert system.

HOW TO PURCHASE A PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY

Please contact our coordinator Andrea Augot to arrange to purchase a piece of technology

  1. Toll Free Phone in Newfoundland and Labrador 1-888-753-322 or (709) 753-3224 in the St. John’s region – please leave a message and someone will return your call within 24-48 hours.
  2. E-mail Andrea Augot at aaugot@chha-nl.ca
  3. Via Facebook Messenger
  4. By sending a text message to 709-725-3224

Sales will primarily be done over the phone with payment through credit card.
The device can be mailed anywhere in Newfoundland and Labrador or received through curb side pick up at CHHA-NL’s Provincial office in Mount Pearl.
All curb side pick up must be pre-arranged and is by appointment only.  No walk-ins are permitted at this time. 

 

 

 

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