The Human Connection

Teach ‘Em How To Say Goodbye: A Farewell to my Students

To my wonderful, curious, creative speech students,

I cannot believe I’m sitting down to write this letter to you all. By the time you read this, we will have had our last speech session together. I will have already told you that I am working in a different building next year, and that you will have a new speech pathologist in the fall.

It has filled my heart and soul to watch you grow as the wonderful people you are. Some of you have been with me since Kindergarten, and I’ve watched you progress through both grades and skills. Some of you I have known only for this year. All of you have made a lasting impact on how I approach therapeutic techniques, and that the “I” in “IEP” is all about you. I will forever hold in my heart every time you’ve made me laugh, made think, made me question myself. I have learned more from you than you will ever know. Among you there are artists, athletes, bookworms, scientists, diplomats, comedians, philosophers, and each one of you are so full of love and wonder and empathy. Please share all of these sides of yourselves with everyone you meet.

I have taught you skills that you’ve mastered, and skills you continue to work on. Your next speech pathologist will continue to help you, and may have a different therapeutic approach. I know you’ll give them the same patience you gave me when we started working together. If I’m very honest, this is the least important part of my work. The most important was making sure you felt that you could work and grow with me, while being yourselves, and allowing me to be myself. You have each been my greatest teacher. If you forget my name, that’s perfectly fine, because I’ll never forget yours. Please stop me when we’re out and about to say hello. It really is a perk of the job.

I know this was not something you expected to happen. Please know that I made this decision with the best in mind for us both, and that I am not leaving you. It is simply time for me to learn from other children, families, and staff members as well as share with them all that I’ve learned with you. I am always here to support you and you can always feel free to reach out.

My challenge for you for the rest of your speech journey: continue to be yourselves and play with your words.

Forever your speech pathologist,
Stef the StageSLP

The Human Connection · Broadway · Backstage

In Dire Need of Assistance: A Conversation with Kimmie Mark

As much as I love the show I get to see onstage every time I attend a performance, I often wonder about the full production happening backstage. As my passion for theatre has grown, I’ve found myself wanting to know more about choices made in design, how things are timed, how the show gets done by the team behind the performers. When I was explaining to my students that there’s more to a show than what you see, and we discussed this further, I knew I had to talk to someone who lived this lifestyle. Enter Kimmie Mark, who is the dresser for Aaron Burr and George Washington at Hamilton: An American Musical on Broadway. I loved learning about how a show works from the perspective of someone backstage and getting to expose my students to all sides of the creative career paths.

 

Stef the StageSLP: How did you get into theatre?

Kimmie: Actually, quite by accident, I was a sophomore in college, majoring in ‘Early Childhood Education’, in hopes to become a Kindergarten teacher and luckily the school I was attending had sophomores begin student teaching (as opposed to most schools which waited till the students were juniors), so off I went to meet my class at the end of their school day.  I walked into absolute chaos.  There were about 20 children all approximately 5 years old in different sections of the room some groups chasing each other, screaming & screeching, some who must have just finished eating chocolate cupcakes covered in frosting, some crying, some throwing toys at others, and I knew in a matter of seconds that I did NOT want to have a career that involved little children.  I walked out of there and went directly to the main office and explained I needed to switch majors.

My school at the time was predominately a school for future teachers, so I had no option other than to switch schools.  Going into a new school as a junior meant I had to enter already having a major, so I sat down with a fairly chunky book of all my new school’s available majors, starting with ‘A’ and got all the way to the end where there were 2 left, “theater” and “women’s studies”. Not being sure what “women’s studies” were, I choose “theater!”  Obviously, this is not a usual way for people to come across their dream profession, and though I honestly cannot think of any other realistic career I would enjoy more, nor better suited for. I completely lucked into this, but it does prove that the career you think you may want, even half way through college, doesn’t mean that’s the one you will end up having or even that you were meant to have. Search till it feels right for you, even if it takes a while!

S: What made you choose to pursue a creative career behind the curtain instead of onstage?

K: This one’s easy, I’m pretty shy and hate taking center stage in any type of group, even if it’s only 4-5 people, being center of attention or speaking to crowds is not something that I would ever enjoy doing.

S: What exactly does a dresser do?

K: The chain of command goes like this: The Director hires a Costume Designer, who hires a Wardrobe Supervisor, who in turn hires all the dressers to run the show, laundry and stitching people, and dayworkers to come in during the day to prep all the costumes, and eventually swings for all these positions.  The Dresser, once hired, gets assigned an actor, or group of actors and that stays the same for the life of the show. An actor in a starring role can request a dresser that they’ve worked with before, or simply put that dresser in their contract, to ensure they will have that dresser.

Before Tech Week begins, the dresser will be responsible for checking their actor’s costume list and checking them in as they arrive from the costume shops making them.  They help the actor set up their dressing room and set up general ideas of where costume changes will take place during the run of the shows. This is based on the paperwork you receive from your Supervisor with the breakdown of which actors change when, how much time they have, and where they exit and enter the stage. This is the fun part for me, it’s a huge puzzle and everyone’s pieces have to fit together.  Tech week is when you see if your version of how and where the changes will happen gets worked out. The dresser works closely with the other dressers and the crew guys to work out if quick change booths need to be constructed, where hooks need to be hung up, excess lights are needed, shelves built and hung, chairs and mirrors need to be purchased etc.

Once tech week is complete and the show is ‘set’, the Dresser is from then on responsible when they get to the theater each day, one hour before half hour each performance, to unlock the dressing room, bring them show laundry, check all the costumes that need to be in the room, then preset all your actors costumes around the theater, fill all their water bottles, make sure they have sweat and shower towels, load the mics into the mix belts, and be set up by half hour when the actors are required to arrive and then start getting them ready as needed.

During the show the dresser is responsible for all their quick changes, and for making sure their actors are dressed and on time for all their entrances.  At the end of the show, we make sure all costumes are cleared from set and collect show laundry as well as any costumes that may get washed daily to bring to the laundry person. At this point your dressing duties are complete. However, if you are a Star Dresser, your after-show duties may include anything from bringing your actors guests to the dressing room, helping entertain their guests, collecting the actors dinner on a 2-show day or maybe running errands for them between shows.  As Alan Cumming’s long-time dresser, after each evening show my dressing duties change into bar-tending duties and I bar tend to all his guests, mixing drinks and making soda waters! I’ve made and served drinks to many, many famous people, most notably (to me) Paul McCartney and Jessica Lange to Green Day and many TV stars that I watch weekly!

S: You have multiple actors playing the parts you’re dressing. Is it a different process for each actor, or is it all based on character?

K: It’s basically the same for each actor, the timing and location of the changes cannot be changed, as well as the time slot assigned to each character to get into mics and wigs. What they can change are little personal things, like if they want a different temperature water during the show, some like cold, some hot, some a mix.

S: What should audience members know about a dresser’s job?

K: One thing I hear most from people when I say I am a dresser on Broadway is “oh you must get to see all the shows!”  This couldn’t be more inaccurate!  Since most shows play at the same time, Broadway workers hardly ever get to see other shows.  If I wanted to see another show, it would require me to request a night off with no pay, and I would have to purchase a ticket to the other show just like any other person.  We do not get any special discounts to buy tickets to other shows.  In fact, backstage workers never even get to see the show they are working on!  We go to the rehearsal studio the day before the actors move into the theater and watch a run through of the show there, in a plain white room, with no costumes, sets, lighting or band.  It’s just the actors in sweats with one single piano.  We get an idea of the show, and this is the only time we see the show.

S: Do dressers have understudies?

K: Yes!  We call them ‘swings’ and once a show officially Opens, each dresser is required to type up their show track and submit it to the Supervisor which will be given to the dresser swing when they come in to learn our track.  A swing will stay with the dresser for 3 performances, the 1st evening following along with the notes, watching and asking questions, the 2nd evening doing all of the pre-sets and activities that don’t involve the actors directly, and the 3rd evening doing it basically on their own with the dresser following closely and only jumping in when necessary.  After the swing has trained on a track for 3 shows, they are then ‘on call’ for whenever the dresser may need a day off for any reason.

It’s common on a long running show like Hamilton for each dresser to have 2 or more trained swings at any time since we cannot have a vacant dresser slot and run the show.  Most swing dressers learn many tracks on more than one show at a time.  They only get paid when they are physically filling in on or learning a track, so to make ends meet they will learn a few tracks on several different shows.  This cuts down on their availability for any one show at a time, which is why it’s safest for each dresser to have several swings at a time.

S: Is there anything we’d be surprised to know about working backstage?

K: They may be surprised to realize we are usually right off stage, like mere inches out of view. All of the backstage crew is.  There’s usually a stage manager, several crew/prop guys, several wardrobe crew and a hair person.  The backstage staff and choreography is usually just as full and specifically timed as what’s going on onstage.

S: What is the most enjoyable and most challenging parts of the job?

K: I’d say the most enjoyable part of my job is the sense of family that comes from being part of a show, whether between myself and my actor or between the others on the wardrobe crew or the whole company.  It’s very much a team, and even though there may be some people you aren’t especially close with you know everyone in the building has each other’s backs no matter what.  The most challenging part of my job is keeping focus at all times.  It’s easy in a long run to lose focus during the run of the show when you know your cues so well you feel you could do them asleep. However, a dresser or any member of the company who is backstage, must always remain alert because it is a live show, and at any moment your actor, or any of them could come running off stage with a costume malfunction or needing anything from a tissue to a missing prop, or with an injury.  Most of the time the shows run smoothly as planned of course, but this makes it all the harder to remain focused.

S: What is your most memorable theatrical experience either through work or as an audience member?

K: I think my most memorable experience through work must be back when I was on my first show, the 1998 revival of Cabaret, dressing Alan Cumming, and it was his last weekend. He had been with the show for about a year and a half, and everyone was very sad he was leaving, so to keep the mood light and happy (a dresser’s job!) I got permission from the Wardrobe Supervisor to wear one of Alan’s understudy’s costumes, and change along with him as the show progressed, so we were always wearing matching outfits!

While waiting backstage with him for Act 2 to start, (in matching black teddy, short black wig, beret, black tights, and my own matching black boots) all of a sudden when the music started he grabbed my hand and said “don’t look around, just run straight across the stage to the other side” and pushed me out on stage ahead of him!  It was a scene where ‘The Emcee’  (Alan’s part) is dressed identically to the 6 ensemble girls on stage and they all run out and scramble around in circles, so as to hide the fact that ‘The Emcee’ is in the mix, before doing a Rockette style kick line, I ran out, and as instructed ran in a straight line across to exit the other side, however as I got closer to the other side there was a light tree on full power with bright red lights, and I couldn’t see an inch in front of me, so I left the stage like a blind person, slowly inching forward with both hands stretched out in front of me!! It was definitely memorable!

S: What advice would you give to your elementary school self?

K: I would tell myself not to get to upset or caught up in the day to day happenings, I hardly remember anything from elementary school. Just try and be kind to everyone, even the ‘un-cool’ kids, actually especially them, they need it most and to just always be yourself. There’s a quote from Dr. Seuss I enjoy: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” (but don’t use that as an excuse to be mean to anyone!)

S: Would you encourage kids to pursue creative endeavors backstage? How would you recommend they go about it?

K: I would definitely say it’s a worthwhile career to peruse.  Especially to those who, like me, are not morning people or cannot see themselves sitting behind a desk each day.  It’s a very social job, also very physical, so helps keep you in shape, and being Union is a very secure career.  On the other hand, while your specific job at a show is secure, there is no telling how long that particular show will run, so you have to have the proper mindset to accept that at any moment, sometimes with little warning, your entire company may end…. usually with 1-2 weeks’ notice.  You can contact the local Union house for the backstage specialty you are interested in, each has their own (wardrobe, hair + makeup, props/crew, stage management, even house staff and ushers!) and find out their requirements for joining.  They vary greatly!

S: Working backstage as a dresser means you have to be able to work closely with the actors and other dressers. This is clearly a creative and collaborative process among you all–how do you all work together and make sure everyone is doing their part?

This mostly gets worked out during tech week, as far as what everyone’s part is, and that includes everyone in the building, from the dayworkers in wardrobe who must prep the costumes and make them ready for the show, to the backstage crew who are setting costumes, set pieces, checking lights and mics, to the actors who have to show up certain places during the show at very specific times.  Once everyone’s assigned tasks are set, it’s Stage Managements job to make sure everyone is doing their part correctly.  If someone misses a cue or a swing forgets something Stage Management will usually catch it, or at least be told about it, then that person will be called to explain themselves.  As a team member, you never want to be the one who forgot something because everyone will know!

S: Every week I challenge my readers and students to try something outside of their comfort zone. What would you challenge them to do?

K: I would say try something you’ve never done, but don’t think you like, such as an activity or even just eating a new food item.  So many things that I like I never thought I would and if I hadn’t tried it I would be missing out!  You might even find a new hobby you enjoy!

*************************************************************************************

I cannot thank Kimmie enough for answering my students and my questions. This was such a thorough explanation of not only her role as a member of the backstage team of a show, but how her role connects with all of the other backstage roles. It is extremely evident to me that, while Kimmie might not have been cut out for Kindergarten where I feel comfortable with my students, I don’t know how comfortable I’d feel in her role. This was such a fun perspective to view a performance through, and my students and I have learned so much. As if Kimmie’s many responsibilities as a dresser aren’t enough, she also advocates for and helps raise money for the New Jersey Freedom Farm, which you can support here. In addition to supporting the animals and organization, she raffles off one-of-a-kind prizes on her Instagram account, @dunkinscout. I look forward to my students taking on her challenge and hope to see my readers’ responses in comments.

Keep playing with words and see what your message creates!
–Stef the StageSLP

Broadway · Performances · The Human Connection

Give My Regards to Broadway: What I’ve Learned from the 2017-18 Broadway Season

Every time I get to participate in live theatre as an audience member, I walk away with new lessons learned, new perspectives, and new ideas to bring into the speech room. With the Tonys a week away, and knowing the audience is the real winner since we get to experience something so unique, I’ve decided to list what I’ve learned from the shows I’ve seen from the 2017-18 Broadway season.

  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    This show taught me that I need to access joy more in my everyday life. I brought it back into the speech room immediately. Yes, I will always make a plan, no it will not always work, and yes, I can find the joy in the chaos. I was also able to bring back the message of keeping oneself informed and speaking up for what you believe in. Though I always teach this to my students, using the cast album gave both my students and I a new way to access an idea we’ve been working at for some time now.
  • Frozen
    Above all, love, compassion, and empathy. While watching this show, the weight of love in the room–between cast members onstage, parents and children in the audience–was so present. The message of the importance of being you, exactly the way you are. I came back with a lesson ready for my students: “I love the way I am because ____________________.”. This was one of my favorite lessons of the year. I got to see how my kids were proud of themselves and why. Sometimes educators forget that students are people with thoughts and feelings. Just because they’re young does not mean they should be discounted in any capacity. This also allowed them to feel free to ask me what I was proud of myself for and see how similar adults and children can be in this regard.
  • Mean Girls
    The anthem, “I’d Rather Be Me” (though not speech room friendly) rang true. Ironically, it was around this time that some drama was stirring up between some students, and gave me a new plan on how to address some of these issues. No, trust falls were not involved, but honest expression was used. Through collaboration with parents and staff, all issues were resolved and all is well. This also opened the discussion in pragmatics of what is a friend/acquaintance/best friend and how are they similar and different?
  • Carousel
    I’ve written about this in a previous post, but Carousel taught me the value of perspective. To listen for the feedback my kids were giving me about lessons, what they enjoyed, what they didn’t. I got to think about therapy through the mind of a child, and what my effect was on each of them. I reminded them that I’m always here for them regardless of the issue, and that they will always have my support.

This week, I challenge my students and readers to let me know what lessons they’ve learned from a performance they’ve seen or been involved in. What did you learn, and how has it impacted you?

Keep playing with words and see what your message creates!
–Stef the StageSLP

The Human Connection

You Matter To Me: Mental Health Awareness Month

In addition to Better Hearing and Speech Month, May is also Mental Health Awareness Month. Now, I am not, nor do I claim to be, a mental health professional. I am a speech pathologist, but as someone who has her own share of mental health needs and works with children with a variety of needs, this is something I wanted to talk about.

If you are in my life in any capacity, you are wonderful and I don’t want to change anything about you. You’re you, and you are the reason I’ve chosen to hold you in my life and in my heart. I always want to hear you, I want you to know I see you. I want you to know I am accessible to you–my readers, my students, my friends. You matter.

I know it’s easier to say that than to accept that, because I don’t always accept that I matter. Cards on the table, I struggle with anxiety, depression, body image issues, panic attacks. It’s my reality. I know that logic and emotion are two different aspects of my life that I work very hard to balance and maintain. I believe in transparency, and am always honest with my students. They can always tell I’m having a tough day. I don’t hide it from them. I will tell them that “I’m having a hard day today, but let’s see if we can change that.” More often than not, I’m met with a hug or “Maybe you just need more coffee. You really like coffee. I think it will make you feel better.” That last line was said to me by a first grader, as I’m rarely without my travel mug. And with that, you get to laugh.

There are days when nothing seems to go the way I want it to, or when I can’t find what will work for me in my self-care routine and I feel lost. The thing I try to remember is that it will pass and to just ride my emotions out. It does me no good to keep them bottled up. These are the days when I can’t hear anything positive, no matter what amazing thing has just occurred, I can only sit and stew.

I want you to know: I see you. I understand you. I am with you. I want to hear your voice tell your story.

My challenge to you this week is to find some strategies that work for you that help you in these tough moments to actualize your value, validity, and importance. Please share your strategies in comments below.

Keep playing with words and see what your message creates!

–Stef the StageSLP

Better Speech and Hearing Month · Pragmatics and Social Skills

The Things I Never Said: Nonverbal Communication

In the field of communication, it’s easy to suppose that my job is to get someone to use their words, or understand the words of another. This is actually a pretty large portion of my job, but truly there’s so much more. Have you ever thought about what you are communicating when you’re silent? When you’re leaning forward? When you’re drumming your fingers on the table as you’re listening? All of that is communication–and you haven’t spoken a single word. This is why “see what I’m saying?” works as an expression–so much of communication is seen but not heard. Here are some examples:

When all you have to do is give your friend a look.
And they know exactly what you want to say. How does that work? More likely than not, the expression is on your face and in your eyes. Your eyes widen in excitement, maybe you roll them in annoyance, but the other person has received your intended message.

When you cross your arms.
I’m guilty of this actually being my resting posture and am working to stop this one. Crossed arms communicate having some kind of barrier or wall up. You’re protecting yourself from the words your hearing or situation you’re in–you’re literally blocking your torso with your arms in defense-mode. The next time you find yourself in this position for no reason, try dropping them to your sides.

When you lean in.
You are actively engaged in what you’re experiencing. You’re actively listening and genuinely want to know more about what’s being shared with you. More often than not, your communicative partner feels that they’re really being heard, because they are.

When your feet are positioned away from the conversation.
You’ve already checked out. Studies have shown that your attention and focus rely on where your feet are planted. Imagine you’re standing and talking with a group of friends in a circle. If your feet are pointed inward, you’re likely invested and engaged in this conversation. If you have one foot facing outside the circle, you’re likely waiting for your turn to speak or looking for an exit. Think of the student in the classroom at her desk. The one ready to answer all of your questions has her whole body facing you. The one who is ready for recess likely has her feet facing the door.

When you move your eyebrows.
You read that correctly. Your eyebrows communicate more than you realize. When raised, they communicate excitement. When furrowed, they communicate a question or confusion. Eyebrow positioning can actually be crucial in using correct vocabulary in American sign language.

When you’re drumming your fingers.
This action can be a focusing tool, so I wanted to state that first. This action can also indicate boredom or annoyance. To my fidgeters, try this action on the underside of the table, in your desk, or on your knees.

It’s amazing how much we’re saying without speech. My challenge to you is to keep this in mind as you go into your week communicating with your various conversational partners. Let me know what you notice in comments.

Keep playing with words and see what your message creates!
–Stef the StageSLP

Better Speech and Hearing Month · The Human Connection · Wise Words

Mama Will Provide

Happy Mother’s Day! This post is dedicated to all the gifts that mothers give that I’m not certain a child can ever repay. I’m not a parent, so I don’t know if it’s possible. My mother is the most amazing and intelligent and funny woman you’ll ever meet. She’s beautiful and confident and loving. I am fortunate enough to say that she has given me everything I have ever needed and wanted, while teaching me the meaning of the word, “no.” Here are some of the gifts and memories I hold in my heart forever.

  • The gift of gab.
    My mother was never silent around me as a kid. She was always talking. She spoke to me when I was babbling as if it were a true conversation. She took me around our house teaching me the names of everyday objects. As I got older, she taught me how to speak up for myself, and I only asked her for help if I felt I couldn’t handle a situation on my own. Though those instances were present, my mom always taught me to solve my own problems first. She taught me that my words were powerful and so were hers, and for the most part, I always listened to her directions 😉
    I speak for myself now because she taught me to. I speak for a living because she enabled me to do so.
  • The value of a girls’ day.
    There is nothing like a day with your mother to make you happy and feel true joy. Getting her undivided attention during our favorite activities was incredible. Whether we were shopping and getting our nails done or sitting at home with ice cream and a movie, being treated as my mother’s equal was and is the best feeling in the world.
  • The ability to get creative.
    My mother took me to my first show at three years of age. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire show. I was enrolled in dance lessons around the same time, as well as day camps and sleep-away camps where I could dance and act and figure skate. She let me be creative, which I learned from her. How many other moms, in an effort to get children to come in from playing in the snow, actually scoop up snow in metal mixing bowls and tell us to come in so we could decorate them with food coloring? Her kids didn’t miss the chance to play outside OR get sick from being outside for too long–all thanks to her creativity. I hope it carries into my speech therapy activities.
  • Simple comfort.
    I have a very special memory of my mother and I, snuggled together in my twin-size canopy bed. I was around five or six, and we had both had a tough day. In order to make us both feel better, my mom came into my room and slept with me in my bed that night. She sang to me, and read to me, and held me close. Only now can I fully appreciate that night. Now, when I’m upset, I still want those times back when my mom let me crawl into her bed. Nothing mattered beyond the confines of the bed, just the comfort in that space.
  • Life lessons.
    I still tell my mom she “doesn’t get it,” to this day. And I am still wrong. She has lived through this part of her life already and she is always right. She’s taught me so much about so much, and her life lessons always prove true. Trust yourself, do what you know is the right thing, and so many more.
  • Unconditional love.
    My mom loved me through every high and low of my life. She still does. She listens to me cry and stress and laugh and celebrate everything as it happens now. This was just as true when I was under her roof. We fought like all mothers and daughters fight. We’re far from perfect, but we’re perfectly us. And we have always loved each other, and we always will.

My challenge to you is to make a list of your favorite memories with your mother. See what you each remember and value, and take that walk down memory lane. It’s amazing what you’ll unearth as you’re talking.

Keep playing with words and see what your message creates!
–Stef the StageSLP

Better Speech and Hearing Month

Do You Hear The People Sing: Auditory Health and Protection

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, and every year I’m disappointed in the amount of coverage Hearing gets. I have substantial experience with hearing loss, cochlear implants, hearing aids, personal FM systems, and educating people on how these items work. Did you know that hearing loss can be preventable with healthy auditory practices in place?

  • Turn it down!  
    If you’re anything like me, you love your music loud. In your car so you can perform a solo concert, in a studio so you can feel the rhythm you’re dancing to, in your headphones to block out other stimuli. I am completely guilty of all of these, despite being aware that all of this can cause hearing loss. Blasting music in your earbuds is making your tympanic membrane (eardrum) work overtime, as well as all the other bones in your ears. This sets a new standard of normal, causing it to be more difficult to hear in quieter situations. It may also result in you speaking at a louder volume because you don’t believe you’ll be heard.

  • Protect your hearing.
    Depending on your exposure, there are a variety of ways to do this. My friends in bands who perform very loudly tend to pay for custom ear molds to protect their hearing as an occupational hazard. Think of this as a professional-grade earplug. Music isn’t the only sound source of a greater volume. Sporting events are notoriously loud. Consider earplugs or even headphones the next time you go.
  • Self-advocacy.
    Let’s say you have some form of hearing loss. When you’re in loud spaces, advocate for yourself. If you’re at a restaurant, and your table in near someplace noisy, like the kitchen, ask if you can be seated at another table. We all know dining is a communal experience, but it’s hard to take it in if you’re focusing more than usual to take in the conversation.
  • Ask.
    Did you miss something in conversation? Ask your conversational partner to repeat what was said. Some sounds, usually those in higher frequencies (s/th/t/ch/sh) are the easiest to miss and the hardest to see when someone is speaking. I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t remind repeating myself.

  • No more cotton swabs.
    Okay, I know we all use these products. Guess what? Most of us are not using them correctly. Stop and take a look at the packaging, I’ll be right here when you come back. That’s right, the directions state they’re not to be used in your ears! These have caused more injuries than other instruments, simply because we’re not great at reading directions. Believe it or not, the wax in your ears is there to keep germs out and to protect your ears. Removing it may not be the best option for most. If you’re having a hard time with this issue, I recommend consulting with an audiologist.

I hope you’ve found this post helpful and informative. Your hearing is an important part of your communicative experience in all aspects of your life. It’s up to you to do your best to take care of it. My challenge this week is for you to take steps to protect your hearing. Let me know your new habits in comments.

 

Keep playing with words and see what your message creates!

—Stef the StageSLP