About LipreadingMom

Shanna Groves is an author, speaker and hearing loss awareness advocate. Visit her at http://LipreadingMom.com.

Chapter Meeting January 15

Be sure to join us for our monthly Kansas City HLAA Chapter meeting on January 15th.

The presentation is titled “Looping 101: How FM system technology makes information accessible for those with hearing loss,” presented by Tim Steele, Ph.D., F.A.A.A., vice president of Associated Audiologists, Inc., and Rebecca Rosenthal, director of the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

The free meeting will be held Saturday, Jan. 15, 10:30am, in the Large Meeting Room at the Kansas City Plaza Library, 4801 Main, Kansas City, MO 64112. The meeting will be CART-captioned, and everyone from the community is invited.

For more details, e-mail hlaakc@gmail.com.

6 Reasons to Be Thankful for KC HLAA

It has been a blessing working with the many volunteers of the HLAA Kansas City Chapter. Each have helped make 2010 a strong year for HLAA in Kansas City. Without these helpers, our city wouldn’t have as much support, publicity and advocacy for hearing loss issues. Among the ways countless volunteers have blessed local persons with hearing loss this year:

1. Made the 2010 HLAA spring picnic a successful and exciting experience


2. Helped develop and grow a thriving new blog for the KC HLAA chapter, local community and beyond


3. Raised awareness about cochlear implants and hearing aids by proudly wearing theirs

 4. Brought attention to having weekly movie captions at area theaters

5. Supported the Kansas School for the Deaf by walking and raising funds for its fall walkathon fundraiser


6. Partnered with the Deaf Cultural Center in Olathe and The Whole Person in Prairie Village on outreach and social activities


For all of this, and for being a personal support, I THANK YOU.
Cheers to a wonderful HLAA year and for a prosperous 2011!

Shanna Groves
Steering Committee, Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), Kansas City Chapter

5 Tips for Enjoying the Holidays with a Hearing Loss

By Shanna Groves, LipreadingMom.com

Originally posted at:

http://lipreadingmom.com/2010/12/10/lipreading-moms-5-tips-for-a-happy-holiday-with-hearing-loss/

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. But for the 1 in 10 people with hearing loss, it’s also the most challenging time for communication. Lipreading Mom should know. I’ve had 10 years of holidaytime hearing loss experience.

The whole family is packed around the dinner table, busily chatting about their good fortune and laying food onto their plates. Simultaneous conversations are difficult for us hard of hearing folks to follow. And it’s nearly impossible to lipread the youngster sitting next to me who’s talking with a mouth full of mashed potatoes.

So what’s a person with hearing loss to do at the holidays? Avoid large crowds entirely?

Lipreading Mom offers these suggestions for focusing on happiness, not hearing loss, at the holidays.

Create the right environment. If you haven’t already done so, let the hostess know in advance about your hearing difficulties and for her help in accommodating you. Lipreading Mom suggests good table lighting for easy lipreading and no dinnertime music unless it’s at the lowest volume imaginable. Sorry cousins, but no squeaky clarinet performances. If a TV is playing, ask for the volume to be turned down and for the closed captions to be turned on.

Ask for hearing help. Sit close to someone who can be your hearing helper. Decide on a code word between the two of you that means you need help in a hearing situation. Be sure to sit close enough to the helper and have a pen and paper handy in case you need the details of a tableside joke written down.

Face your guests, not the stove. If you are hosting the get-together, have most of meal and table preparation completed before guests arrive. This will give you time to converse with guests as they arrive instead of standing over a stove. This year, Lipreading Mom prepared all side items for Thanksgiving dinner 24 hours in advance, then put everything into the refrigerator. A half-hour before mealtime, the items warmed in the oven after the turkey came out. So you can spend a few minutes lipreading your chatty niece, take a guest up on his offer to slice the ham.

Play the quiet game. After everyone is done eating or opening presents, excuse yourself into a quiet room, such as a bathroom or porch. Spend the next five minutes giving your ears a break from holiday noise. Clear your head by meditating, praying or replaying a fun holiday song in your mind. This is your time to decompress from having to follow table conversations and also a good excuse not to wash a sink full of dishes.

Find a one-on-one conversation spot. Pick the least noisy place in the house (not counting the bathroom), and grab a loved one for a chat. Just because you’re hard of hearing doesn’t mean you can’t still be part of meaningful conversation. You just have to pick your quiet spot so you can actually hear that conversation. No gum chewing or smoking allowed since you need to see a person’s lips to lipread. And remind your chat buddy to speak at a natural volume level and pace. No shouting aloud (unless it’s part of a good joke).

While it can be challenging for a Lipreading Mom to always hear well with a house full of kids, I have one thing in particular to be thankful for this holiday. My hearing aids come with an on/off switch. I plan to use that switch as needed come December 25.

~*~*~*~*~*~*

Follow Shanna Groves on Facebook, Twitter and LipreadingMom.com.

The Latest on AMC Movie Captions

AMC Entertainment is moving right along with making theater captioning technology compatible with its digital format films.

Melissa Johnson, director of guest services with AMC Entertainment in Kansas City, shared the following information today with our Kansas City HLAA rep, Terri Shirley.

Response from Melissa Johnson, AMC Entertainment
I spoke with our Project Manager again this morning to verify that testing at Mainstreet [in downtown Kansas City] had been completed (per the last email I had sent).  Testing has been completed and was successful.  The next step is sign off from our Technical Group.  Once this has been completed, installations will be scheduled. 
 
Installation is a two-part phase.  First phase is pre-set up which is done by an AMC engineer followed by the second phase of a contractor performing infrastructure work.  The installation process can take up to a week.  Testing on the system to verify it is operational can take up to two weeks following.  We do have all equipment ready to go (pending any faulty items, etc.).
 
Our Project Manager assures me that we are closer than ever, but is hesitant to commit to a specific date.  We would hate to see a delay if there are installation problems.  Studio continues to be high on the list for installation and I am excited to share some news I found out this morning.  It looks as if Studio will have the original theatre (#19) RWC with SIX additional theatres outfitted as well.  I’m told that these six theatres may have high-tech equipment such as Sony glasses that capture the image inside the glasses… we’ll keep our fingers crossed on this one.
 
I’ve attached the below questions with answers (from your email).  As I continue to hear news, I will keep you posted.  Please understand this is a process that does not happen overnight and we’re working to ensure the systems are brought back efficiently and as quickly as possible.  Thank you for your continued passion for the project.
 
Regards,
Melissa      
 
I would appreciate if you could explain what CC/DV code is.  (as told by our Project Manager)
 
“Code” when talking about CC/DV could mean a couple of things, depending on the technology involved:
 
For assisted moviegoing accompanying 35mm film on strips, “code” most likely would refer to what is called “time code” in the A/V production industry.   It’s probably best explained with a diagram:
 
File:35mm film audio macro.jpg                              File:Anamorphic-digital sound.jpg
 
The left image is an extreme closeup of a side section of 35mm film.  The rounded rectangular holes are of course sprocket-holes used to guide the film through the projector head.  The movie’s visual frames would be to the side of this, as you can see in the right image. 
 
In the left photo, there are four distinct “tracks” of information represented that accompany the images that are projected on-screen.  As the film progresses during playback, these tracks are scanned by a special reader that shines a light through them and turns the visual data into audio information. 
 
The blue strip is Sony SDDS (Sony Dynamic Digital Sound), an 8-channel surround mode.  The gray is Dolby Digital (note the tiny “DD” logo in the center of the square) and is a 6-channel surround mode.  These two tracks are, like a CD or DVD, fully digital—this “image” is essentially a bunch of tiny dots that are converted by the projector’s reader into digital sounds. 
 
The next track, the two vertical squiggly white lines, are optical stereo analog audio—just two channels, left and right.  These tracks are literally waveforms of the audio sound, very similar to an LP record, except that instead of a needle reading a groove for playback, it’s a tiny light reading this visual representation of the movie’s soundtrack, which is converted into audio.  Most modern movie houses are digital today, and optical analog audio is pretty rare any more.
 
Finally, to the right of the squiggly waveform lines is a trail of white vertical dashes.  This is the time code I’m talking about.  It’s essentially a stream of numbers that are represented as time (hours:minutes:seconds:frames) and is there to tell the projector exactly where the film is, chronologically.  This is important for 35mm—because the projector is mechanical, two different projectors may operate at slightly different speeds, depending on factors like the age of the machine, the humidity or temperature in the booth, the physical condition of some parts, etc. 
 
A closed captioning or descriptive video hardware component must have this time code information, in order to sync CC/DV content with the feature.  Without the time code, the movie and the captions or descriptive narration audio track will slowly lose sync.  At the beginning of the feature it might not be very noticeable, but as the movie progresses the sync will continue to degrade, and by the end of the film, the sync will be significantly off, which is obviously unacceptable. 
 
So this bring us to the crux of the problem: the digital feature files for digital projectors do not have time code tracks associated with their playback.  Without the time code information, they will not function, thus, when a theatre is converted from 35mm to digital projection, the existing closed captioning and descriptive video hardware components become unusable. 
 
The fix for this requires two things.  A digital feature must have CC and DV information accompanying it in digital files—that is to say, included in distribution of the feature, provided by the movie company.  (For 35mm projector assisted moviegoing, an outside organization, MoPix, provides and distributes CC/DV content to theatres on CD-ROMs.) 
 
This content by itself however, isn’t simply enough to make the existing CC/DV equipment, such as RWC panels or headsets, start functioning again.  Typically a device called an encoder is necessary to gather and broadcast or display the digital data (which could also be called closed captioning “code”). 
 
So to outfit a digital theatre with CC and DV, an encoder and all the accompanying infrastructure (cabling, mounting, networking, etc.) has to be installed and configured to function with the auditorium’s projector. 

Join us for HLAA Holiday Party This Saturday

Only two more days until party time…

The Kansas City chapter of HLAA welcomes you to our holiday party on December 11, 2010! HLAA supports increasing awareness of hearing loss in the Greater Kansas City metro area. We think it’s high time we got everyone together for a social event and the holidays are all about being around friends and family. Join us for some food, fun, games and meet new people!

Saturday, December 11, 2010
2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Where:
The Whole Person office
7301 Mission Rd #135,
Prairie Village, KS
Near 73rd St and Mission Rd

Parking available in the large parking lot in the backEnter building entrance “A,” first floor

Food and beverages will be provided. Just bring yourself and be ready to have a blast!

Going to Court for Captions

By Shanna Groves

Originally posted at: http://lipreadingmom.com

I’m among the thousands of Deaf and hard of hearing moviegoers fed up with not being able to understand movie dialogue. Now a group is sueing Cinemark theatres for lack of captioned movies. This is a theater chain that hasn’t yet embraced captioning technology like other theaters have. For a listing of theaters currently showing captioned films, visit Captionfish.com

Below is a comparison of Cinemark with two other theater chains: AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas. Unlike Cinemark, the latter two show captioned movies at some of their locations.

Cinemark – The Lawsuit

A lawsuit brought on by the Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA) and two individual plaintiffs claims Cinemark discriminates against hard of hearing and Deaf communities by failing to provide any captioned films in its Alameda County, California, theaters. The suit sees this oversight as a direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California’s anti-discrimination statutes, the Unruh Civil Rights Act and Disabled Persons Act.

ConsumerAffairs.com reports that about 85 percent of first-run movies are captioned and compatible with the rear window captioning system when they arrive in theaters. Each individual movie theater has the option of whether or not to install the $10,000 captioning equipment.

Apparently, Cinemark opted to save money at the expense of being accessible to the Deaf and hard of hearing.

AMC Theatres

AMC has nearly 160 theaters equipped with rear window captioning (RWC) units. RWC involves a reflective cupholder device that reflects captions emitted from a LED screen at the back of the theater. Some locations show open captioned (OC) movies, in which each movie has captions printed directly onto the film.

The theater chain provides an online search by zip code service of locations playing movies that are open captioned, closed captioned (rear window captioned) or with descriptive video.

Although AMC has been showing few captioned movies recently in its headquarters of Kansas City, the Kansas City HLAA Chapter is in talks to expedite the return of captioned movie showings. Kansas City HLAA rep Terri Shirley is in twice-weekly contact with AMC to encourage the theater chain to expedite showing captioned digital format movies. AMC’s Olathe, Kansas, theater is expected to be the first AMC location in the U.S. to show digital format films with rear window and open captions.

Regal Entertainment Group

Here is the latest on the theater chain’s captioning efforts as stated on its Web site:

“Regal Entertainment Group, the National Association of Theatre Owners (“NATO”) and the Inter-Society Digital Cinema Forum (ISDCF), film studios, manufacturers and technology designers have agreed and implemented a goal to have all digital standards associated with closed captioning and descriptive audio available for digital servers and projectors in the near future.

“The primary intent behind these efforts is to have 100% of all digital cinema systems being manufactured for theatres contain closed captioning and audio described technology that is accessible to theatre patrons in the near future.

“We also are working directly with manufacturers of closed caption systems that will be able to plug into compliant digital cinema servers.

“While there remains much work to be done, and while we are dependent on third party manufacturers, we are optimistic that acceptable personal captioning system will become available in the near future.”

What the Cinemark Lawsuit Means

While the Cinemark lawsuit has captured media attention and has fired up those of us with hearing loss, what difference will it make in the long term? If Cinemark, the third largest U.S. theater chain, can be sued over captions, how quickly will other theater companies heed the warning and make their films accessible to everyone?

I’d like to imagine theaters packed with people with varying levels of hearing, deafness, vision loss and other (dis)abilities. Here’s hoping that 2011 becomes the Year of Accessible Theater for Everyone.

Walking and Advocating with Kids

By Shanna Groves, KC HLAA Board Member

Originally posted at LipreadingMom.com

Advocacy is always a work in progress… for everyone. That’s why I decided to include my 9-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter in a Deaf and hearing loss awareness 5K walk/run this past weekend.

We walked with leaders from our local Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) Chapter. I use the work “walk” loosely. My son decided to speed walk the entire time while my daughter followed several steps behind her Lipreading Mom. While walking and signing with fellow walkers, many of whom are Deaf and use American Sign Language (ASL), I used my “third eye” to keep track of my precious children.

After the walk, a Deaf and hearing loss resource fair was set up on the park grounds. I was supposed to assist with the HLAA table, but spent most of the time chasing after my curious kids. I first chased them into a tent set up with an ASL storyteller, who signed the words to popular children’s books. My daughter has always been fascinated with sign language, since she was a baby. At age 8 months, she and I attended a baby-mommy sign language class, and since then she’s taken to the language like a kid in a candy store. So the ASL storytelling held her attention. As for my son … Let’s just say I had to keep chasing after him.

Our next stop was an ASL arts and crafts booth, put on by the local school for the Deaf. My kids transformed two foam handprints into clever magnets depicting the sign for “I love you.” I’ll add these magnets to our eclectic collection of refrigerator magnets holding all their artwork at home.

At the next booth, we learned about  a local church starting a ministry program for Deaf and hard of hearing people. Beginning next month, the church’s Sunday night services will be CART captioned (Computer Assisted Realtime Translation) and sign language interpreted. What a Godsend. This would allow Lipreading Mom to attend church with the family and finally understand every word spoken, sung and preached. Hallelujah!

Our favorite stop was the food booth, where we gulped down Sunny D and munched on fruit, donuts and crackers. Entertainment was provided by a very loud guitarist and drummer with a local Christian band. Thank goodness for the ear plugs given away by an audiologist at another booth. Lipreading Mom does everything she can not to expose her little ones to noise that could harm their hearing and turn them into Lipreading Kids.

After 20 minutes of songs and snacks, we ventured to another booth giving away free books and stuffed animals to promote hearing aids. The book “Oliver Gets Hearing Aids” tells about a little hard of hearing elephant getting his first set of behind-the-ear listening devices. Lets just say that Oliver’s hearing aids were bigger than Lipreading Mom’s head. The animated book came with an Oliver the Elephant puppet that storytellers can wear and wiggle their fingers in. Guess who got to wear the puppet and read the book in a silly Oliver voice at storytime that night?

I’m thankful for opportunities, like this walkathon, to share in hearing loss advocacy with my children. Although they always see me wearing hearing aids and sometimes signing to friends, it’s eye-opening for them to see lots of other people in the same boat as Lipreading Mom.

What else can I do to teach them about advocacy?

5K Deaf/Hearing Loss Awareness Walk Photos

On November 20th, the Kansas City HLAA Chapter was represented at the 1st Annual 5K Deaf and Hearing Loss Awareness Walk/Run at Blackbob Park in Olathe. Among those attending from HLAA were Chapter Chairperson Dennis Selznick, Minda Nelson, Kelly Rogel, Alex Vetor, Lisa Ledo and Shanna Groves. The group participated in a walk/run around the park, followed by a hearing loss/deaf awareness resource fair on the park grounds. Other groups participating included the Kansas School for the Deaf, Deaf Cultural Center/Marra Museum, Olathe East High School, Nexus Church-Overland Park, Midwest Ear Institute, Associated Audiologists, and the Kansas/Olathe Clubs for the Deaf. Funds raised from the walk will go toward creating Kansas School for the Deaf’s outdoor athletic area.

HLAA-Kansas City Chapter officers set up a booth to tell more about the chapter (from left): Alex Vetor, Dennis Selznick, Minda Nelson, Kelly Rogel and Shanna Groves.

Minda Nelson (left), Alex Vetor and Morgan Brooks enjoyed snacks after completing the November 20th 5K  Walk/Run.

Fox 4 News provided media coverage of the 5K Walk/Run.

After the Walk/Run, attendees gathered to look at Deaf and hearing loss awareness booths on the Blackbob Park grounds.

Leslie Caldwell with the Kansas School for the Deaf welcomed everyone at the Walk/Run.

5K Walk/Run T-shirts were available for purchase, with proceeds going to the Kansas School for the Deaf.

AMC Corporate’s Response about Theater Captions

As mentioned before on this blog, Terri Shirley with the KC HLAA Chapter has been in regular communication with AMC Studio 30 Management about the lack of captioned movies at its Kansas City Olathe theater. Below is an update from Melissa Johnson, Director of Guest Services for AMC Entertainment Corporate Offices in downtown Kansas City. Also included are previous e-mails from Terri and Dan Glennon, Olathe’s AMC Studio 30 General Manager.

November 22, 2010

Hi Ms. Shirley,

Dan forwarded me your contact information along with some communication and questions that you have recently asked.  I understand your frustrations with the lack of CC/RWC (closed captions/rear-window captions) at Studio and am trying my best to gather as much information as I can to keep you up to date with the new installation.

 I’m not sure how much information Dan has been able to give to you, but I can offer some history to the mix.  Our theatres are progressively transitioning to all digital presentations (Studio went all digital 4/29)  When theatres are converted, the current technology does not allow for CC/DV films due to the complications in the CC/DV code.  There is a new product on the market that AMC is currently testing that will enable digital projectors to read CC/DV code.

 I have spoken with the Project Manager for Studio and he has expedited the work order for Studio and moved the theatre to the top of the list for installation.  Unfortunately the timeline for installation is a two-part phase that may take several weeks (after the parts arrive.)  This week he provided this insight:

 “We are very close – we’ve resolved the configuration problem that was the last major pre-rollout hurdle of the new digital captioning equipment, but still have a couple of approvals to get before we can begin scheduling installations.  Once those are made, the theatre will be receiving a few more minor pieces of equipment that will be necessary for installation.  Unfortunately, until then, I won’t be able to narrow down a date or time that it will happen.  We hope to test Mainstreet’s system next week.  As soon as everything checks out and is approved by our Technical groups and the Digital Team, installations will be scheduled.  Studio is high on the project list.  I understand the urgency, and I apologize for being unable to give you a definite date.  At this point, I do anticipate that it will be sooner than later.”

I know the team at Studio appreciates the business your group brings for the CC/RWC movies and values your loyalty.  Please bear with us as we continue to work towards bringing these features back to Studio.  Hopefully this information is insightful and valuable.  I will be your contact going forward and will continue to press for additional information on this project and keep you updated.  Our project manager has provided some answers to your questions below.

Thank you for reaching out to us!

Regards,

Melissa

 ________________________________________________________________

Melissa J. Johnson | AMC Entertainment, Inc. | Director, Guest Services

920 Main Street | Kansas City, MO 64105 |( Office 816.480.4741 Mobile 816.695.2991 | Fax: 816.480.4618 *:mjohnson@amctheatres.com

From: Terri Sent: Monday, November 15, 2010 9:28 AM
To: Dan Glennon
Cc:
Subject: Fwd: Fork and Screen experience

Hello Dan,

This is Monday and the start of a new week.   I thought perhaps trying to contact you with emails at end of week may not carry over to your next week’s agenda of things to do.

It has been six months since AMC Studio 30 has stopped CC/RWC.   I am looking forward to hearing back from you this week on a detailed update of the questions I mailed last week. I added a few below:

 1.      Did they order equipment?  DAN’S ANSWER: Yes. Additional minor components needed to complete installation will be ordered after test bed sign-off.

 2.      What date did they order the equipment? DAN: 7/13.

 3.      What is expected shipment date? DAN: Delivered 8/13, 1Z1848XW0359656536

 4.      How long does it take to ship from manufacturer? DAN: NO ANSWER

 5.       Where is the equipment being shipped from? DAN: Various; TX, CA, IL.

 6.       Do our AMC 30 employees need additional training to install new equipment?  DAN: No; theatre staff will not be participating in installation procedures.  TSE, QA, and a 3rd party contractor will be handling the installs.

 7.      What is the expected date of captioned movies for the hearing impaired community? DAN: Unknown; awaiting test system approval by S&S and Digital Team.

 DAN: Follow up that some type of captioning, such as RWC, will defiantly be available for every movie all week long.   Studio’s upgraded digital CC/DV system will be installed in-house #19, the same auditorium that their previous assisted moviegoing system inhabited.  Also, as it was with the 35mm system, not every feature includes closed captioning or descriptive narration content.  As with all theatres, Management will be scheduling titles that are CC/DV-compatible in their equipped house.   

 TERRI: As you know, many hearing impaired are boycotting movie theater shows that are not captioned.   I realize we are not AMC’s majority of a selling crowd.   However, it is still important as hearing impaired/deaf individuals that do pay for an un-captioned movie feel we do not get what we pay for.   Since we cannot hear all the words,  we can’t fully understand the entire plot of the movie.   For example, the Social Network, is spoken fast, main actor’s upper lip never moves and scenes switch back and forth in time, makes it difficult to piece enough of the things we can hear together for understanding full plot.  A hearing person understands the entire plot much better than we do.   After viewing such a movie, hearing impaired/deaf individuals wait months for the movie to come out to purchase or rent to see it captioned.   Most movies on iTunes are not even captioned to rent and some movies, sometimes do not come out captioned to purchase on the market.  Then I read Kansas City Star’s Fri, Nov. 12, 2010 article titled  Kansas luring AMC Entertainment from downtown KC http://www.kansascity.com/2010/11/12/2427465/kansas-luring-a-kc-fixture.html. I realized AMC probably has much bigger issues to focus on than captioning movies at AMC 30. Shanna (Groves) and I are speaking for the hearing impaired/deaf community.  We have contacted you with our needs and strong desire for captioned movies.   You are our voice to AMC headquarters.   I urge you to get on the phone and get some answers to the questions and continue calling regularly until we have reached our goal and mission is accomplished.   

 Thank you,

Terri Shirley

AMC Movie Captioning Update

As of today, the captioning issues have not been resolved with AMC Theatres’ digital format films.

Terri Shirley with the Kansas City HLAA Chapter has been diligently communicating with AMC Theatre Management in Olathe about the need for captioned movies at the Studio 30 location. Below are Terri’s last two e-mail correspondences with Dan Glennon, AMC Studio 30 General Manager. We will post any updates we receive from AMC.

November 13, 2010

Hello Dan,

Glad we ran into each other a week ago.   HLAA members are currently going to Ameristar’s Regal 18 Cinema for captioned movies.   Due to not getting any real status of where AMC 30’s equipment is, I ask that you call again and get a real status.   Please ask as many questions as possible so they might actually wear out listening to you because I do not feel the message is getting across to them.    Sometimes a lot of attention to it helps.    So far there is no word of what the status is at all.  Did they order equipment?  What date did they order the equipment?   What is expected shipment date?  How long does it take to ship from manufacturer?    Do we need trained employee sent to site to install?  What is the expected date of captioned movies for the hearing impaired community?   Let the headquarters know the hearing community is driving clear to other side of city for captioned movies and that is how much they want it.   We do want to be taken serious about this.
Thank you,
Terri Shirley
On Nov 4, 2010, at 11:40 PM, Terri wrote:
Hi Dan,

What did they say last Friday when you called to get an update?    Please keep calling them.
Keep me informed and I will inform HLAA.
Thank you,
Terri Shirley

Date: October 30, 2010 9:13:56 AM CDT
To: Dan Glennon <DGlennon@amctheatres.com>
Subject: Fork and Screen experience
Hi Dan,

The experience was overall great.     I am going to be glad when captions return.    Social Network characters talk very fast, the scenes flip back and forth.   I will rent it with captions when it comes out.

I wanted to tell you a snag so that you may be able to find a better communication method for your Guest Services employees.     I prepurchased tickets.    I had some people coming from Lawrence, my husband from his work and a daughter & boyfriend from another direction.  Guest Services had me write down their names on each ticket.    I was told to have them go to the Guest Services desk and ask for the tickets.     I texted everyone in my party to go through main doors and tell the ticket collector that their tickets were at the Guest Services desk.

The person behind the Guest Services counter is not the person I handed them to.     When everyone came, they went to the GS desk and were told they did not have them.   Then told they had to go to the ticket booth and ask for them.   Of course the tickets were not there.   Then they went back to the GS desk and this time the lady said she would not give the tickets to anyone unless she could see the credit card that purchased the tickets on.

I do not understand that because at “will call”  the tickets are paid for and they said they would let my daughter go look for me in the theater.  Well, I had to go out to the GS desk and talk to the counter person and showed her my credit card.  She said she could not find the tickets and sorry.

Just wanted to share with you.    Maybe you want to figure out how or if you will allow tickets to be left at will call in the future.

Did you get any new status yesterday after you called?

Terri

LipreadingMom.com: New Blog from KC HLAA Leader

What happens when you have a hearing loss while raising a house full of young children? Well, that’s my life as a Lipreading Mom. Join me as I share about parenting with a hearing loss on my new blog LipreadingMom.com. Articles include Tips for Hard of Hearing Parents and Grandparents, Keeping the Faith, Surviving the Holidays, and more.
 
Subscribe to my new blog, and receive regular announcements about about everything related to living with hearing loss. Visit LipreadingMom.com to subscribe.
 
Thanks!
Shanna
 
Shanna Groves
Author and Speaker
LIP READER ~ Now available on Amazon.com and both of my blogs
New Blog! http://lipreadingmom.com
Book Info! http://shannagroves.blogspot.com

Hearing Aids in the Great Outdoors: A Mom’s Story

Oh, the joys of owning non-water-resistant hearing aids.

This afternoon, I took the kids to a pumpkin patch for our annual trek through nature. A partly cloudy sky and temps in the low 70s seemed like ideal weather for our country excursion. With a stroller for my littlest tyke and a lunch box in tow, we were all set. My kids frolicked through rows of corn and danced on hay bales. All was bliss.

UNTIL…

A drop of water fell on my head. Then more drops. Suddenly, the partly cloudy sky tranformed into a scene from “Twister” (without the tornado). Rain fell so hard, I couldn’t see straight ahead. Where were my kids? The stroller? Then I swatted at my ears.

MY HEARING AIDS WERE GETTING WET.

Everyone should remember this important fact about hearing aids: they are not water resistant. A plunge in the pool or a rinse in the shower or rain falling from the sky can make $5,000 hearing aids die.

Without an umbrella or hooded jacket to protect my listening investment, I panicked. First, I rounded up my littest tyke who was feeding corn kernels to a pen of goats and oblivious to pouring rain. My older two kids sprinted for our mini-van.

Chasing after them while pushing littest tyke in his stroller, I whisked off my hearing aids from behind my ears. I cupped them in my hand and made the most waterproof fist possible.

While nudging the stroller forward with my legs, I used the other hand to reach in the lunchbox. I pulled out the only waterproof item inside: a Ziploc baggy filled with pretzels. I dumped out the bag’s salty contents. Bye-bye, pretzels. Then I dropped the hearing aids inside and sealed the bag. The lunchbox sat in the bottom of the stroller and appeared to be the driest spot within a quarter-mile of pumpkin patch mudlands.

“Clunk,” went the hearing aid-filled baggy as I tossed it into the dry lunchbox.

Then I ran as fast as I could in muddy flip-flops and pushing a stroller, that lunchbox with my expensive listening device treasures inside going “bumpety-bump” all the way to the car.  Oh, the joy.

While my kids didn’t get their pumpkins, their mommy’s expensive, non-water-resistant hearing aids were kept safe in the great outdoors.

-Shanna Groves, http://shannagroves.blogspot.com

This Week’s Captioned Movie Showings

Two open captioned (OC) movies are playing in Kansas City this week, both at the Regal Cinema at KC North’s Ameristar Casino. “Secretariat” (PG) and “My Soul to Take” (R) are the OC showings.  Read movie details at http://www.captionfish.com/theaters/regal-kansas-city-18-cinemas.

AMC Theatres, however, aren’t showing any captioned movies this week.  HLAA continues to keep in contact with AMC representatives in advocating for weekly captioned film choices.

Be watching this Web site for updates.

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HLAA KC Chapter Announcements

A large crowd attended the October 16th KC HLAA Luncheon at Frontera”s Mexican Restaurant in Olathe. We were excited to welcome such attendees as Kansas City Deaf Pantomime JJ “The Mime” Jones, Kansas City Star columnist and attorney Leonard Hall, and KU Audiologist Student Jessica Stamey. There was face painting for young attendees, a wonderful lunch, and door prizes, which included a $50 Applebee’s Gift Certificate and free hearing aid batteries from Hometown Hearing, a tote bag from the Kansas School for the Deaf, and a complimentary copy of the National HLAA Magazine Hearing Loss.
November HLAA Meeting Announced
Join us Saturday, November 20 at the Kansas City Public Library-Plaza Branch (Large Meeting Room), 10:30am for the next KC Chapter meeting. Cady Lear with Hamilton Relay will discuss the latest innovations with Captel phones. The meeting is free, CART-captioned, and open to the public. For more details and to RSVP, e-mail hlaakc@gmail.com.
The KC HLAA Chapter is All Over the Internet
* Our new Chapter Web site: http://hlaakc.com (Read our new post: “HLAA: A Mom’s Point of View” by Shanna Groves)
* Our new Facebook page: www.facebook.com (“Hearing Loss Association of America-Kansas City Chapter”)
*  Our Twitter page: www.twitter.com/HLAAKC
* New e-mail address: hlaakc@gmail.com
We hope you will attend the November meeting and connect with us on the Internet!

HLAA: A Mom’s Point of View

As a mom of three young children, my hearing loss story may differ from some who belong to the chapter. I am relatively new to the world of hearing loss. My progressive hearing loss diagnosis was made 10 years ago when I was 27 and my first child was two months old.

Every year since the diagnosis, I’ve headed to the audiologist for a hearing test. Ninety-five percent of the time, the result is the same: more hearing decibels lost. Ten years ago when I was first diagnosed, each ear tested at 20 percent hearing loss. The left ear remained stable all these years. The right ear, however, is now at 60 percent loss. This ear hears some sound but can’t distinguish where the sounds come from or interpret the meaning of spoken words.

A few weeks ago, a double-ear infection wrecked havoc on my hearing ability. Sickness destroyed a decibel or two of what I can now hear in the right ear. Voices seem more mumbled, phone conversations more muffled. It’s as if someone turned the volume down a notch inside my “bad” ear.

My kids must repeat themselves more, their questions often met with my blank stares. My youngest child, who at age two is learning new vocabulary every day, screams his words to me. Late-night conversations are especially difficult with my husband since bedtime is when I go hearing aid-free.

Does the strained hearing ability frustrate me and my family? Absolutely. What mom doesn’t want to hear her little boy’s first words crystal clear, or have a heartfelt chat with her husband without the constant refrain of “Huh? Could you repeat that?”

I suppose it’s easier to add up all the stress-induced moments caused by hearing loss since there are so many. I could also count all the sound decibels lost over the past ten years. Or the conversations hindered by hearing loss. Or the increasingly difficult listening situations. I could count all the times I’ve wished and prayed for better ears.

Would life be easier without hearing loss? Without a doubt. Would my life be better? Hmm…

I guess I should count the many people I’ve met who, like myself, struggle with hearing. Neighbors. Parents. Teachers. Artists. Scientists, Teenagers. Children. Babies. Friends. Every week, most notably through my affiliation with the KC HLAA Chapter, I connect with someone living with their own lost decibels.

Would I have taken the time to get to know all these people if I could hear perfectly? Or would I have tuned them out, passing them by without any empathy or concern for their unique experiences?

I’m not deaf, but close to it. Life has handed me more hearing loss. Now I must decide whether to count my blessings… or focus on the lost decibels.

The precious people I’ve connected with who have hearing loss are to be counted as my major gains.