Hard-of-hearing veterans will have a special chance to tell their stories of war and civilian life.
The National Court Reporters Foundation and Hearing Loss Association of America have partnered to tell the stories of hard-of-hearing veterans for the Library of Congress’s Veterans History Project. Interested veterans will be interviewed at the HLAA Headquarters in Bethesda Feb. 18.
The National Court Reporters Foundation has worked with the Library of Congress’s Veterans History Project for the past 14 years by transcribing oral interviews of veterans and figured an alliance with the Hearing Loss Association of America just made sense.
“We came up with this idea because we have this subset of court reporters who work for the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities. We imagined that there would be a large number of veterans who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, and then in our research we found that it is one of the most common service-related injuries,” NCRF Manager April Weiner, said. “It seemed like a perfect way to combine our captioner skills and to include veterans with hearing loss in the Veterans History Project.”
The Feb. 18 event will be comprised of three separate hour and a half sessions for veterans to be interviewed. The first session runs from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., while the second sessions run from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The third and final session will run from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Weiner said an estimated 12 veterans will be interviewed during the event. The interviews will be comprised of an interviewer, a court reporter and communication access real-time translation (CART) captioning if needed by the veteran. Weiner also said that a few veterans have already signed up to be interviewed, but the organizations are looking for more interested veterans.
“The Library of Congress provides a sample set of questions that interviewers can use so it basically is getting a sense of the veteran’s whole life – where they were born, how they came to serve, whether they enlisted or were drafted, what inspired them to want to serve and where they served,” Weiner said. (The interviewers will also ask about) their transition to civilian life and the difficulties. Of course, for those who are willing to talk about it, (the interviewers will ask) about how they suffered the hearing loss or any other injuries they may have sustained. That is something we would be interested in hearing about as well.”
While the organizations were originally looking to interview those with “profound” hearing loss, Weiner noted that any veterans will “any degree” of hearing loss are qualified to be a part of the special event. Weiner also mentioned that while there is a bit more urgency to interview older veterans from the WWII era, project officials are hoping they can reach the nation’s most recent veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts as well because of the rate of hearing loss within the population.
Weiner said she and other organization members are looking forward to meeting all the veterans who will attend the event and mentioned this is not the first group of veterans the NCRF has interviewed for the Veterans History Project. Just last August, the group interviewed Vietnam veterans.
Through a grant, the NCRF will also conduct more veteran interviews later in the year at the Hearing Loss Association of America’s convention in Salt Lake City, Utah in June and The Association of Late-Deafened Adults convention in October in Orlando, Fla.
“Our hope is that we will have all of these experiences preserved that researchers and legislators can use to learn from (veterans’) experiences and learn what would benefit the veterans and help them in their transition to civilian life,” Weiner said. “(We can better understand) what they’ve been through and how we as a society can help ease that process.”
Veterans interested in being a part of the hard-of-hearing Veterans History Project event should email April Weiner at firstname.lastname@example.org.