Category: hearing loss

Meeting Your Tribe

Couple weeks ago was the Annual Say What Club Convention.  This yes is an annual event but it is my first time attending.  I should back up, The Say What Club is an online group where everyone has a hearing loss or their life is affected by hearing loss by a spouse or a close family member.  I have been a member for 6 years maybe?

A couple years ago there was an email to try and pitch and sell us your city and we will hold the 2018 convention there.  I wrote a proposal for St Paul.  Now Benson is where I live now but we don’t have an airport, heck we don’t have a Wal-mart for 40 miles.  St Paul had everything we needed and it was right next door to my hometown so easy access to family (watching our kids).  This past year has been busy, stressful, exciting and a growing experience helping plan a convention for people coming from all over the USA.

Attending an event like this was really, really hard for me.  I knew a couple of these people in person.  A large amount of them I knew from Facebook and email.  That didn’t help the fact I have social anxiety and I thank God that Chad was willing to come with me.  Be my anchor, be the one that I could go back to if need be.  First meeting was a meeting where we assembled bags to give to each person and talk about the convention, loose ends and such.  It was great.  I left that meeting with a huge smile.  This is what we planned a year for.  This was my tribe.  They understand hearing loss because they live with it everyday.  It is amazing the ease of a meeting when some listen, some lip read, and combinations in between.  The next day we met and a group of us walked to Tin Whiskers.  It is a small brewery that was just a couple blocks from our hotel.  Chad and I have always enjoyed a brewery tour and have done many through our years together.  I am not a beer drinker but enjoy it.  It was a fun outing that was an easy way to meet some people, talk one on one with some people and meet some new people.

Wednesday night our welcome party. We had a theme as every good party should have, a speakeasy, a roaring 20’s, a Great Gatsby theme. It was fun. We had feathers in our hair, pearls, some had long gloves a few men donned a fedora. We had welcome prizes, MN themed food. We had cheese curds, deviled eggs, wild rice sliders. Something for everyone. It was a time to meet lots of people. A time to meet wonderful friends who you have felt you knew for years but meeting in person for the very first time.

After this welcome party I knew I was hooked. Everyone was just so nice. It really was like meeting long lost family. Thursday was a great day, they were all great days. A dynamic speaker, visiting with the vendors and putting our bids on the silent auction items. Our last workshop of the morning was visiting Starkey Labs and getting a tour. Once our bus got to the CORRECT hotel we were off. A little late but you just role with it. We had a great tour, a lunch we ate in the bus since our bus was late to start with and then a tour of St Paul.

Friday- what a fun day. We had great workshops from clear speech to an artist, which I found fascinating. To the last workshop of the morning and that was mine. My workshop was titled, “Designed to Stand Out” I talked a little about my idea showed some pictures of examples and then let creativity take over. I had been gathering supplies for near a year. I had jewels, washi tape, nail wraps and tube wraps. It was fun.

Friday afternoon was a St Paul Gangster Tour. I think this was a highlight for Chad. We toured all over St Paul and saw so many sights.

House was home to the famous Ma Barker and the Barker Gang

This is the South St Paul post office the Barker Gang held up for the cash that came for paydays.

John Dillinger lived here and had a shoot out with the FBI in the stairwell. I wonder if current residents know the story.

At Swede Hallow Hearing the story of the Hamm kidnapping.

We even passed where F Scott Fitzgerald lived and wrote his first novel.

It had been a very full day but we weren’t done. We went to the St Paul Saints game. My parents joined us and brought the kids. That was fun and special. To bad the weather had to interrupt.

Saturday was the end. We had a banquet and keynote speaker. There were lots of hugs and pictures taken. Greta joined us for this last event. I wish the night never ended.

If you read through this whole blog- bless you. I really just wanted to stress the importance of finding your tribe. Find people that can understand, they get it. I got back to my moms on Saturday night and I just cried. I couldn’t stop myself. I wish I could live around all these people all the time. Chad and I agree this was just a fun week, one we will never forget.

*I need to give a shout out to Andre Binns who took fabulous pictures throughout the convention. Many of them are featured in this blog.

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Favorite movies

My son posed a question to me tonight,”Mom, what is your favorite movie?” I am not sure I have a favorite but I have a short list of movies that I can watch all the time. I could watch these movies over and over. As sad as it was to my son Captain Underpants did not make my short list. Movies can do something to your soul. All of the movies on my list do touch my soul. Now they are not all huge blockbusters and I am sure some people will see this list and say WHAT they liked that movie. We all have our likes and dislikes and that is what is so wonderful but mankind. We are all different and there is something for everyone. I will say there is a big theme that runs through my movie choices and that is music. I love music. I am terrible of knowing song lyrics. My husband will poke fun at me that I work on the radio with music but have no idea what songs are “about.” It is true. I don’t think I ever have been able to hear lyrics enough even as a youth to get what a song is about but I love the melody and I love the beats. I personally love that there is technology now on my iPhone that scrolls the lyrics when I listen to the music.

I feel so much emotion with music. It brings me to tears. I can’t explain it but I can hear a song and it fills me. I feel it with the beat, I feel it with emotion that causes goosebumps. It can cause my lungs to fill with air and tears escape. It isn’t tears of sadness just emotions. At church certain songs cause the hairs on my neck to stand up. Raise hands to surrender. I need Gods help and there is a pull to raise hands to God and admit full surrender to him. Music can cause these feelings in me. Not every song does this to me. In fact days go by at work and I listen to music my whole day at work and I don’t feel anything but then Indigo Girls come on and yes the emotions. Eva Cassidy is another one that can bring on goosebumps.

I thank God I still can get this reaction from music. Since my hearing has dropped in past years music doesn’t sound the same. So much music sounds horribly off tune to me. Maybe that is why it is so special when I have those songs that still “get” me.

So my favorite movies are:

1- Mr Holland’s Opus

2- August Rush

3- Mary Poppins

4- Greatest Showman

5- Saving Mr Banks

Probably not movies that would be on most people’s list but that is the beauty of being an individual. I can have my favorites and you can have yours. What are your favorite movies?

A Mother’s Worry

My son and his ears… these two things bring me worry and concern. My son has a fluctuating conductive loss and it is frustrating beyond belief. Henry is 9 years old and this has been ongoing since he was 2. So 7 years of doctors, ENT’s and our audiologist. My son loves going to the audiologist and he does about 3 plus times a year. 

Let me go way back. Henry didn’t talk when he was a toddler. He also didn’t babble. He was quiet and reserved. I started getting concerned he didn’t talk and the doctor jingled his keys and Henry turned so I was told, “He can hear but maybe speech therapy would be good”. Henry started speech therapy at 2.5. I still wasn’t convinced he could hear well but was told not to worry. I had tons of ear issues as a child and it turned into a moderate severe hearing loss so I was no dummy on this subject. I also happen to have a B.S. in Communicative Disorders so I have taken many audiology classes so pretty well versed. Finally a public nurse in our small town said to me, “your son can’t hear”. She referred us to an educational audiologist and sure enough a conductive loss. Tubes were put in and his tongue was also clipped at that time. Glue ear was discovered and his ears were cleaned out. His hearing did improve but it is this roller coaster we are riding. 

A few years ago we noticed Henry was saying what all the time. Took him back in and the cycle continued. His hearing has dropped to a moderate loss. This time T tubes were recommended. These are a long term tube that are surgically removed when done. They don’t fall out and can cause a lot of damage so we really had to weigh the pros and the cons. This worked well for about 3 years. 

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Henry’s hearing has now dropped to a moderate loss again with the T tubes in. This loss is comparable to having foam earplugs in your ears all day. This was concerning and I could tell the audiologist was much more concerned this time and something had to be done and quickly. We saw the ENT and it was decided surgery would be done the following week. Henry had the old T tubes removed his middle ear scrapped out and new T tubes inserted. It was a simple and quick surgery. He was put under so there is still that risk of surgery. As simple as it is I have to admit I cried when he was taken back. Everything went well,and now we wait and heal. We will find out in a couple weeks if his hearing has improved and how much.


It is really hard for me to see my son go through this. I know there are much bigger trials in life but to him these are big. He comes home from school exhausted. Have you heard of listening fatigue? It is real and it is tough. Trying to hear and make since of conversation all day is taxing on the brain. He comes home crabby many days and I get the brunt of his frustrations. He loves school but it is hard and exhausting. 

Now if Henry was found with a sensorineural hearing loss he would be given hearing aids and we could learn to deal and go on from there but instead I feel we are on this hamster wheel that just never seems to end. I pray that his hearing improved with these new T tubes but if not I would love to go to the next step and address the issue and go on. 

I am a mother with hearing loss. I feel I can help him with these issues but I also know what it is like. I hate that he may have some of these feelings I have had. I have felt embarrassed, left out, not fitting in. I sure hope I can help him through these things. 

School conferences were last week and we heard he needs to learn to self advocate for himself with his hearing. That is so hard to learn but will try to teach him every step of the way. 

A mom can worry and there are always things that can worry you. This is just one thing that consumes my mind, but I am also consumed with pride for both of my children. They are kind, creative and loving. They are my heart. 

The Feel of a Concert 

A week ago or so I got to take my daughter away for a little get away. We have never done anything overnight alone together so this was something we were both looking forward to. 

A perk of a radio job is tickets. I was able to get tickets for myself and Greta to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. We got a hotel room and made it a night away in Fargo North Dakota. 

We shopped, we dined at a Hibachi restaurant. That is always a fun place to eat and it is an experience also. We ended up eating with a woman who was so full of herself and couldn’t seem to read a menu. It made for an interesting and memorable dinner experience. 


Off to the FargoDome for a great concert. We had great seats. I loved seeing the people around us where listeners I was able to give tickets away to. Everyone looked like they were having a great time. 


One thing I learned with music and a hearing loss it doesn’t sound like music I remember. It is muffled, and out of tune. It is very cringeworthy in my mind. In saying that this concert was loud. The bass was cranked. I am not saying I am advocating loud concerts but I loved it. When the music sounded muffled and lousy to me the bass that vibrated our seats, made the hair on your arms stand up made up for it. Lasers, and pictures projected and just watching my daughter completely made this a great night. 

The next day we went to see a couple Fargo sites, some shopping and again find a place to eat. 


Greta picked the Pita Pit and running through Caribou Coffee then the ride back to Minnesota. 


It was a couple days of making memories. I loved our time together and I love my job for giving me the experience. 

Flasher, amplifiers, and levels oh my

When I started my new job at the radio as the program director and a morning show host I didn’t ask for any accommodations. I had this feeling I had it all under control and I can make it work. The more I worked the more I loved my job but the more I hated the phone. 

I don’t spend much time on the phone but each day I have a trivia question on-air so I have callers call in with their quesses. I have asked these poor callers WHAT a few to many times, and I can’t hear the phone ring. It was time I ask for what I need. 

It took some real courage even though I know the law backs me asking but it is still is unnerving. I was met with an immediate positive response. I wasn’t shocked just overly excited. To have an employer who understands and I can have an open dialog with is priceless. 

The next day the flasher was installed. What a great little gadget. The flash gets my attention and I don’t have the need to worry I am missing calls. 


Well now I can get the calls but had to address the volume of the phone issue. Again I was met with if it will help we will get it.  Now the phone is amplified! 


So between the flasher, amplifier and watching the meters I can be successful in a job I absolutely love everyday. 


Getting accommodations and allowing one to succeed in a career is a very freeing feeling. One so much that I decided to come out of the “hearing loss closet”. The other day when I was about to do my segment called “timetravel” I talk about what has happened on that day in history. On a day last week I noticed that the first event was the first electric hearing aid was patented. I decided this was a sign. I did disclose my hearing loss on-air. I hope it reached even just one listener. Just one that maybe can relate, maybe one that needs a hearing test and have been putting it off.  I have been urged to be myself and that is exactly what I was, it feels good. It feels good to love what you do everyday. 

Back on the Air

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I am back on the airwaves of radio and I couldn’t be happier.  It has been a crazy few weeks, I have to share what has transpired.  I received a phone call a few weeks ago from a friend of mine who has a radio show that I happened to be a guest on and talked about my hearing loss.  She asked what I was doing for a job and then let me know that there was an opening at our local radio station.  Now I have done radio before at a top 40 station.  I really enjoyed the vibe a radio station has.  People are real I have noticed.  I enjoyed radio but at that time it wasn’t a good fit.  I drove 40 minutes one way to work overnights Friday-Sunday.  It just wasn’t good for a family and I couldn’t physically do it anymore.  This phone call I received really threw me for a loop.  I wasn’t looking and I was asked.  I decided this was a sign and I needed to follow through.  After a couple interviews, going on air and a few emails, I was offered the job of morning show host and program director at the station.

I was in shock and frankly I felt like I was floating on a cloud.  So much to learn and give notices.  I cried the morning I gave my notice with the family I PCA with.  I love their family and I didn’t want to put them in a bind but I really knew I needed to do this.  I needed a career.  As I trained the past couple weeks I realized how happy I am.  I don’t remember being this happy and completely elated thinking of work and my work life.  I absolutely know I made the right choice.

Today was my first day doing MY show.  I named it Sunrise with Sara.  I think it went pretty well.  I had a couple times the flow wasn’t how I would like it but that will come.  Again I just can’t explain how happy I am.

Friday my hearing loss came up in the office.  It is something I will talk about but hard to bring up.  We had a great talk about my loss and hearing loss in general.  It was like that big elephant has been addressed and I can go on just fine now.  I have learned that radio is very visual and I depend a lot more on my eyes than my ears.  Levels and what is being broadcast is all visual.  It is just a very good fit for me.

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I am trying to take this career change as a total change.  I want a change in job, body and mind.  This week is my new show and I take the bull by the horns.  Changes are coming for this girl.

Please feel free to tune in to the radio station anywhere in the world.  Listen live on-line.  We have a diverse mix of music which I love.  We might have some Garth Brooks which goes into Indigo Girls which goes to Bruce Springsteen maybe some Ozzy Osbourne and round it out with the Beetles.  Where else can you get that kind of mix.  www.935kscr.com 

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