My First CHHA Conference

With the kind support of the CHHA Manitoba Chapter, I was absolutely thrilled when the opportunity arose to attend the National Conference of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association held in Halifax, Nova Scotia from May 21-23, 2015. I was joined by Joanne Craig and Gladys Nielsen. Gladys is a veteran of many CHHA conferences and she introduced me to everyone and made sure that I got the most of this opportunity. The chance to attend a variety of presentations was rewarding and a valuable learning experience.

The needs of the hard of hearing community were met quite seamlessly at the hotel where the conference took place – The Westin Nova Scotian, a heritage hotel near the Halifax water front. I had the opportunity to experience a loop system and what t-coils in a hearing aid can do. The front hotel desk, conference registration desk and all of the presentation rooms were looped. As a hearing aid wearer without t-coils, I now know that they will be ordered the next time around. The loop system allows the presentation to be streamed directly to the hearing aid and thus avoids all the extra noise around that is picked up by the hearing aid. There was much discussion on the exhibit floor and there were panel discussions sharing vast amounts of knowledge on the variety and types of technology that is available to the hard of hearing community.

The keynote speaker for the conference was Dr. Steve Aiken, an Associate Professor of Audiology, Surgery, Psychology and Neuroscience at Dalhousie University. His presentation “It’s all in your head: listening to what the brain has to say!” was upbeat and interactive with a discussion of how the brain perceives sound and how to get the most out of our hearing. It really explained how well we hear is effected on how our brain sees/perceives sound. Yes, you do hear better in a well lit room!

I was delighted to assist Gladys Nielsen and Joanne Craig with their presentation on the Manitoba’s Hard of Hearing Hospital Kits project. The opportunity to share the knowledge with the delegates from other provinces and hear their feedback and ideas was very positive. Many new ideas and suggestions were offered.

It was a pleasure to be part of the noisy and boisterous crowd at the events and know that when you asked someone to repeat themselves because of the noise —- not a problem! Many social and large events can be overwhelming, but this adventure was definitely not one of them. Hearing loss may be invisible, but at this conference it was far from that. AMAZING!

Lastly, I need to offer a very warm thank you to the very welcoming city of Halifax. It is a beautiful part of Canada steeped with history and contrast along with friendly and helpful people. Compared to none were the delicious seafood dishes. I miss the chowder the most and it just isn’t the same in our land locked city of Winnipeg!

Kathy Grabowecky