Hearing Dog “Speaks” at Hearing Loss Association Meeting February 12

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Emergency Preparedness

Camille Jenkins and her hearing dog, Rico will be speakers (Rico barks at loud noises)  at the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) Long Beach/Lakewood Chapter on Thursday, February 12, 2015, 6:30 p.m., Weingart Center, 5220 Oliva Avenue, Lakewood, CA 90712.  Jenkins received Rico from the Sam Simon Foundation, a rescue dog training program for people with hearing loss. Rico will show the audience how he helps Jenkins to “hear” the door bell ringing, phone ringing, tea kettle boiling and much more.

Camille Jenkins grew up with normal hearing, but lived in a hearing impaired world as her mother, an aunt and an uncle were severely hearing impaired and wore hearing aids.  They all had children who had normal hearing.  A year after graduate school Camille’s hearing began to drop. She began wearing one hearing aid at age 28 and two at 35.  She was a very successful hearing aid user for 20+ years working in sales and corporate recruiting.

In 2007 Camille and her husband’s beloved dog, Molly, died at the age of 15 ½.  Later that year they began to consider having another dog.  Camille had heard of “hearing dogs” so she started exploring the option of having a dog that could help her.  Her search led to The Sam Simon Foundation in Malibu who rescues dogs from shelters and trains them for people with hearing loss, traumatic brain injury, moderate physical limitations due to injury, or veterans diagnosed with PTSD.

Rico came to his “forever home” with Camille May 1, 2008.  You can see/hear/read captioned video about Camille and Rico on www.samsimonfoundation.com… go to hearing dog section, video part 2.  Rico is specially trained to alert Camille to sounds such as door knocks, telephones, alarms, etc.  As a Certified Hearing Dog Rico goes almost everywhere with Camille.  Rico has traveled to 17 states including Hawaii.  He is a big hit wherever he goes…TSA and flight attendants love him.

By 2009 Camille’s hearing had dropped substantially.  She bought state of the art powerful hearing aids, but still was not hearing as well as she needed for her personal and professional life.  Thus it was time for Camille to consider a Cochlear Implant (CI).  CIs were not new to Camille because in 1992 her aunt was implanted and in 1993 her mother was implanted.  After months of heavy research Camille chose MED-EL’s implant, and her left ear was implanted in July 2010.  She continued to use a hearing aid in her right ear until January 2014 when she was implanted in her right ear.  Camille is very excited about now being bi-lateral implanted as she hears better than she has in 30+ years!  BUT, she still needs Rico for all the time she isn’t wearing her CIs.  Besides, now he is a member of the family!!

No reservations are necessary and admission is free. All meetings are Captioned with CART (Communication  Access Realtime Translation) and the hearing induction loop.  For more information, please call 562-438-0597 or visit www.hlalongbeachlakewood.org.  Light refreshments are served.

Hearing Loss Association, Long Beach/Lakewood Chapter is a support group offering education on coping skills and resources to people with hearing loss to help survive in a hearing world. HLAA meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Weingart Center, 5220 Oliva Avenue, Lakewood, CA.

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