ALOHA Looks Forward to a New Normal
Covid 19 pandemic has had a major impact on how ALOHA members meet. Since March of 2020 we have not been meeting at ALOHA Center. We learned how to have our meetings virtually and essentially closed the center except for pick up of supplies and a few ALD demonstrations. We have maintained office hours with phone and email contact.
We put all of our groups into virtual mode, added a Readers Club, a Vet Peer to Peer group, and further brought into the ALOHA program the Tinnitus Peer Discussion Group.
With the advent of vaccinations we began to look forward to opening the center more. We began to figure out how to equip ourselves for hybrid meetings; where patrons are in ALOHA’s conference room and others are on Zoom on the big Smart Screen. On July 20 we had a trial hybrid meeting with the Tuesday Peer Group. Four of us were at ALOHA and fourteen participated online. What was an initial sound problem, was now resolved. We connected the loop system so that what was said in the room could be heard by all on Zoom. The quality of sound was rated excellent by those on Zoom—probably the result of higher quality of the mics and the clarity of the Loop signal.
We had been advised we need a wide area camera to capture the room. We got one and discovered that didn’t work well—It captured the whole room well, but the faces were way to small and lacked sufficient clarity for speech reading. Actually, we don’t need to see the whole room, but we need to see people’s faces when they talk. We have now ordered a video camera which should send the signal to the Zoom program on the computer. This will probably require an additional volunteer to manage the camera. August 10 we will try out the new camera using a small group of four or five at the Center and the rest of the group on Zoom.
As we move to regular hybrid meetings for the Tuesday Peer Group, we will open the Center for one or two ALOHA members—giving priority to those who have not been able, for whatever reason, to attend on Zoom. If you are one of those and would like to come and help in the transition, call or email Terri indicating your interest. These participants must be fully vaccinated and in accordance with the new CDC guidelines wear a mask. The ALOHA Center has disposable clear masks which you can have to use and take-home.
The ALOHA Readers Club will resume in October and remain a virtual meeting only, since so many participants live outside the area.
The Advanced Bionics CI Company held their first group meeting on Wednesday July 28. Dates have not yet been set for the other CI provider groups.
The ALOHA Center remains open during office hours for appointments for demos, to pick up supplies, or drop off donations. Please plan to wear a mask until CDC guidance changes. Watch the website and possible email alerts for updates.
We need volunteers to help with the Finding Your Hearing newsletter. Writing stories, interviews, gathering information, and proof reading are examples of what we need. Please let us know what you would like to do with ALOHA and share your ideas. Tell your friends and service providers about ALOHA. Let them know what ALOHA means to you and how participation has affected your ability to live better with hearing loss.
Connecting With Hearing Loss During COVID-19
Hear and Connect Better On Videoconference Calls with Hearing Loss
Click the link above to connect with someone at the Center for Hearing and Communication! They will walk you through how to use virtual communication step by step! Gain help connecting your technology so you can stream your virtual meetings directly to your devices! This site also offers a variety of other tips for navigating Zoom and other similar platforms. Including captioning options and ways to improve audio quality during calls!
Challenges with Face Masks
Communication Breakdown by Austin Counts: Tucson Weekly Article on the Challenges of Face Masks for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing:
Tips for Improving Audio Quality on Videoconferences
Click here to view a step-by-step guide for improving audio quality during virtual calls! Learn more about accessories and streaming devices that might help you!