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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Switched at Birth: What the Actors Are Saying

Update 8/3/11: I stand corrected. There are 2 more episodes following Pandora's Box: Paradise Lost which aired 8/1/11 and the season finale which will air 8/8/11. I regret the error. The good news is that Switched at Birth will not be over on the 8th. Additional episodes to complete a full season will be filmed. They will air in early 2012.

In this week's penultimate episode, Pandora's Box or rather guitar case, is opened and a devastating secret is revealed. I'm not going to spoil the suspense for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, so I thought I would share instead some cool quotes I found by the actresses who play Regina and Daphne.

When asked "What do you think is the single most important thing that you want everybody to get from the show?", Constance Marie who plays Regina, said:
I would have to say that the most important thing about this show is, the most number one thing, is that it literally teaches America and merges the hearing world with the deaf community. Since the deaf community is fifteen million strong, the fact that it merges those two seamlessly, I think it's a huge gift to America.
She followed up with this response to the question, "What do you hope people learn from the show?":
Well, I hope they learn, number one, that deaf people are just like everybody else except they speak fabulously with their hands.
You can read her entire question and answer interview here at BuddyTV.

In a separate interview, Katie LeClerc who plays Daphne, was asked, "What do you want viewers to take away from the show?" She replied:
I want people to see that the deaf worlds and the hearing worlds really are not that different. I want people to really feel like family is where you belong, and I hope that this show helps people connect back with their families. I hope that it exposes them to new cultures, and I hope people are less afraid of differences.
You can read Katie's full interview here.

If like me, you can hardly wait to see the show's final episode (airing Monday, August 1 on ABC Family and available online the day after in the U.S.), then maybe this will tide you over. Click here to take a look at ten photos taken from Paradise Lost, the last episode of Switched at Birth and read people's guesses as to what will happen next.

If you've been following the show, what has been your overall impression of Switched at Birth? Do you think there will be a second season?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

EarPeace Product Review

I recently received a sample set of EarPeace earplugs to review for this blog. The timing was perfect as there was a live music event coming up that I wanted to attend. Last night I attended this open air concert and tried out the EarPeace earplugs. I found the EarPeace hearing protection to be comfortable, easy to insert, and effective. The overall volume was reduced and I enjoyed a quality sound experience.

Without EarPeace, I would not have enjoyed the event nearly as much as I would have been concerned about damaging my hearing. I would also have chosen to sit at a much greater distance from the musicians. It was great to be able to relax and enjoy the show.

At one point, a band member questioned if the music was loud, because it's hard to be loud enough when playing outdoors, he said. You can take a look at the amplifiers in this photo and tell that the music was plenty loud. My husband who was unprotected commented that he heard distortion and feedback from where we sat. I didn't have any of that with the EarPeace.

I've used foam earplugs from the drugstore before and I like the EarPeace earplugs much better. They are far more comfortable and much easier to insert. Their open design allows sound through rather than muffling everything. They also come in a sleek container which would be easy to attach to a keychain. As a bonus, an extra earplug is included so you get three with every set.

I am already thinking of other ways I can use my EarPeace hearing protection: in the kitchen when I use the blender, around the house when I use the vacuum cleaner, and outdoors when my neighbors use their leafblowers. These earplugs are quick to insert and easy to remove by simply pulling on a tab. The enclosed directions show exactly what to do.

I recommend them to you. If you are interested in purchasing a pair, as a reader of my blog, you can use this 25% discount code: Music25.

Here are more details on this product provided by the company:
  • Clear Hearing: EarPeace simultaneously protects hearing and provides high-quality sound. When used properly, EarPeace reduces sound pressure by 75 percent while maintaining sound fidelity. Hearing isn't muffled.

  • Comfortable and Safe: EarPeace is comfortable and made out of safe, strong, reusable hypoallergenic silicone.

  • Discreet: EarPeace is a lifestyle brand, so it comes in three different skin tones.

  • Convenient: EarPeace comes in a sleek stylish aluminum case you can conveniently carry on your keychain, purse, etc.

  • Proven: EarPeace was tested by Michael & Associates, the leading independent lab in the country for measuring hearing protection performance.

  • Affordable: EarPeace has an MSRP of $12.95 and offers a money back guarantee.
Visit the EarPeace website for further information or to place an order.

Please refer to my Content Policy for questions concerning product review content on this blog.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Garden Video Part 2: Back Yard

This video shows my back yard and features hostas in bloom, our pond, and my new stack of books garden sculpture. Across the lawn you will see geraniums, petunias,vinca, hydrangea, marigolds, salvia, ferns and more.

My Garden Video Part 1: Front Yard

In the summertime when I'm not working at the library, I'm working at home weeding my yard. If you've ever wondered why I haven't been online as much lately, this video will show you what's been keeping me busy.

This video shows my front yard and features our magnolia tree with vinca underneath, more vinca near the front entrance next to hibiscus which are not yet in bloom, yellow daylilies which have a starring role in our yard right now, and one of our deck boxes filled with geraniums and petunias.

Note: Background sounds on the videos include the steady hum of locusts, the crunching of my footsteps, occasional burst of birdsong, and a distant train whistle.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finally! Says This Switched at Birth Fan

Last night I watched Switched at Birth and finally got the payoff that I'd been waiting for since the beginning of this new television series. In episode 6, Regina points out to Kathryn that her biological daughter who is deaf has had to make ALL the efforts communication wise since meeting her hearing family. I wanted to cheer when I watched that scene. I realized in that moment how much the inequity had bothered me about the Kennish family. You may remember in a previous post that I speculated on who in Daphne's new family would be the first to learn and use ASL.

In this episode titled "The Persistence of Memory" Regina encourages Kathryn to learn Daphne's language and get to know her in a whole new way. A little while later Kathryn knocks on the door and signs to Regina that she wants to learn. Endearingly, she is nervous that she has signed wrong as she explains that she learned how to sign that much off the internet. Regina responds graciously telling her she could understand her and that it will mean a great deal to Daphne.

That was probably my favorite moment of the whole season so far.

If you're watching the show, what do you think of how the story lines have developed?

Monday, July 11, 2011

How Long Do Hearing Aids Last?

How long do hearing aids last?


Photo of my hearing aids, taken in 2008.

I got my first (and only pair of hearing aids so far) in September 2006. As I'm approaching their 5 year anniversary, I'm wondering if I will be needing to purchase a new pair in the near future.

I vaguely remember asking my audiologist this question once and receiving an answer of 7 years. A few months ago when I attended a presentation on "How to Talk to Your Audiologist", I asked presenter Tina Childress the same question and she thought 5 years was more likely.

Tonight I did an Internet search to find information on how long hearing aids generally last. I learned that it depends upon the type of hearing aids, how much they are worn, and other personal variables such as the amount of earwax and perspiration a person produces, how well they are maintained, and even the climate where they are worn. Storing your aids in a dry aid kit at night and having maintenance and cleaning done by your audiologist regularly are two ways to help your aids last longer.

Estimates for how long a hearing aid will last varied from as little as 3 years to as much as 10 years. The most common figure I saw was 5 years. But, it's important to keep in mind how well you are doing with your current aids. As someone wisely pointed out on a Hearing Aid Forum discussion on this topic, "If you are doing perfectly well then it doesn't matter how old they are. They are solving your hearing problem. On the other hand if they are not adequately helping then it makes since to replace them even if they are fairly new."

Advancements in hearing aid technology is another reason to consider replacement. According to the website Audiology Online, "New hearing aids are coming out about once a year and so after 5 years, your hearing aid is 5 generations behind the latest technology." This website suggests that we may want to think about our hearing aids the way we think about our computers. Sure, a five year old computer can still work, but a new model will perform better and have more to offer. I have to admit that's definitely a factor in my thinking and something I will want to discuss with my audiologist.

Some people replace their hearing aids while the old ones are still working, ensuring that they have a backup pair "just in case". That idea appeals to me more than waiting until mine break down completely and I'm forced to deal with the issue. Ideally, I'd like to have time to consider my options, put aside the money, and not deal with the stress of being without working hearing aids.

To conclude, I found this online article to be an excellent summary on this subject.

Now I'd like to hear from you. If you've owned more than one pair of hearing aids, how long did yours last? What made you decide to replace them? Were there any warning signs that your hearing aids needed replacement? Would you like to replace your current hearing aids?

I look forward to hearing your responses. For newcomers, the easiest way to comment is by using the Anonymous option. You can include your name in your comment if you wish. Comments are moderated and there may be a delay before you see it posted here. When writing your comment, you can check mark a box to receive notification of comments by email. I find that's the most convenient way to keep track of discussions on my friends' blogs where I've left comments.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Librarian Guilty Pleasures

Yesterday I had a day off work and the chance to indulge myself. Since the weather was too rainy for yard work and I had absolutely no motivation for cleaning the house, I spent the day relaxing.

When I wasn't napping, I was reading a book from my public library called This Book is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can "Save Us All" by Marilyn Johnson. Why is that a guilty pleasure? Well, you may never have thought about it this way, but librarians are the ones who select the books for the library, and occasionally they choose a book they'd like to read. Gasp! Shocking, isn't it? This book's theme is about the author's experience in writing a book about librarians. Now come on, who is going to pick that one off the shelf, except a librarian? Especially when it features a female librarian in a super hero cape on the cover.

###I'm interrupting the blog post at this point to say I didn't order the book. You picked up on that, right? In case you don't remember or you didn't know, I don't work for a public library. Just checking that we're all clear on that. Now back to the blog post.###

I enjoyed reading the book especially the chapter on blogging librarians. Naturally I looked for a mention of my own blog, but sadly, it wasn't there. Perhaps if the author had extended the chapter for a few more pages... Anyways, she included a few great quotes I savored about librarian bloggers:

"Unedited and unmonitored, blogs represented a kind of free expression that librarians traditionally supported and celebrated, but had rarely taken the opportunity to practice."

"...librarians, as it happens, were cauldrons of previously unexpressed passions."

In another chapter the author, Marilyn Johnson, mentions a classic film about librarians facing the threat of being replaced by computers. I was intrigued. Enough that I stopped reading and went online to check its availability. Where do you think I found it? At a local library, of course. So last night my husband and I enjoyed watching Desk Set, a 1957 film starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.

I highly recommend the film to anyone, librarian or not. So why is watching that film a guilty pleasure? In the film the female librarians are smarter than the computer and the men too. Desk Set shows librarians answering reference questions received through the telephone. Real research questions as opposed to the kind I usually field. The worst one being a request to help someone put her jewelry on the other day. Really?!!! Desk Set is how I pictured a professional librarian's job when I was a naive library school student. Watching it for 103 minutes was a highly satisfying vicarious experience for me. Ahhhh....Like mint chocolate chip ice cream for my librarian soul.