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      Technology for your ears

      Those who are hard of hearing often rely on hearing aids, but there are many other products on the market that can help. The Superior Alliance for Independent Living and the Hearing Loss Association of Michigan held a demonstration earlier this month of some of the most modern technology available.

      Twenty-eight-year-old Morgana Penglase of Marquette is hard of hearing but can't afford hearing aids.

      "At this point I don't have the finances to get the things I need, so I have to adapt in other ways," said Penglase.

      So she came to the HLA of Michigan and SAIL's tech demo to find a smoke detector that she can hear in the event of an emergency. Morgana has been hard of hearing most of her life, so she uses all kinds of tools to compensate, like her Livescribe Pen.

      The demo is not a sale but rather an introduction to new technology. Some of the items on display are normal alarm clocks, but they have special capabilities to help a hard of hearing person wake up.

      Carol Rose of Grand Marais is also hard of hearing. She is one of three hearing technology resource specialists in Upper Michigan. She travels the U.P. with the HLA and even makes house calls.

      "I want to help other hard of hearing people, to help make their lives easier for them," said Rose.

      Morgana says it can be very difficult to suffer from hearing loss.

      "A lot of the time, people are walking away and talking, and that really frustrates me. I have to have them turn around so I can read their lips and hear what they're saying at the same time," Penglase said.

      Using tools like the ones she learns about in the demo help her compensate until she can afford hearing aides.

      More information can be found at . Rose can be reached for information and in-home visits at or (906) 369-4313.