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"deaf & hard of hearing"

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Why Are Glasses Perceived Differently Than Hearing Aids?


All bodies are getting assistance from technology all the time, yet some are stigmatized.Abler is one woman's quest to rectify this.

Without technology, the human body is a pretty limited instrument. We cannot write without a pen or pencil, nor eat hot soup without a bowl and, perhaps, a spoon.

And yet, only certain technologies are labeled "assistive technologies": hearing aids, prostheses, wheelchairs. But surely our pens and pencils, bowls and spoons assist us as well. The human body is not very able all on its own. 

My curiosity about how we think about these camps of "normal" and "assistive" technologies brought me to Sara Hendren, a leading thinker and writer on adaptive technologies and prosthetics. Her wonderful site, Abler, was recently syndicated by Gizmodo. I talked to her about why crutches don't look cool, where the idea of "normal" comes from, and whether the 21st century might bring greater understanding of human diversity.

Read the full article at the Atlantic 

(http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/12/why-are-glasses-perceived-differently-than-hearing-aids/282005/)

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Has An Identity Crisis Immobilized The Field of Sign Language Interpreting?


 | December 3, 2013
During my attendance at the 2012 Region IV RID Conference in Denver and the 2013 National RID Conference in Indianapolis I found myself in tears more than once. While it is not uncommon for me to become emotional when I am with colleagues discussing the very serious, real and important issues that impact our work as interpreters, the tears I felt at these conferences were different. It was not until a moment of clarity during the business meeting in Indianapolis that I realized the difference.
It was not long after the start of the Business meeting in Indianapolis when I experienced a shift in my awareness about my emotional response during both conferences. It occurred as I was witnessing discussion and decisions regarding the use of spoken English via open microphone. As I was sitting there, feeling helpless, looking around the room feeling the heavy and volatile energy – I realized I felt as if I was witnessing a war. A battle waged between two perspectives, the deaf and hearing world, both fighting for recognition.
As a person who has grown up in both worlds, I have struggled with my own identity and place in each world since I can remember. Sitting there, I found myself relating with perspectives from both “sides.” As I type this, it strikes me that it may not seem such a powerful realization. After all, this struggle between the two worlds has been going on for years.
By framing this struggle through the lens of war and making the connection between my internal struggle and the mirror reflecting around me I found clarity that I have not yet experienced.
Read the full article at Street Leverage 
(http://www.streetleverage.com/2013/12/has-an-identity-crisis-immobilized-the-field-of-sign-language-interpreting/)

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Parenting A Deaf Child


Finding Out

My husband and I found out that our youngest son was deaf when he was around 3 months old. This news came after he spent a month in theNICU fighting for his life. He had passed the newborn hearing test that was given prior to him leaving the hospital, so when we were told the news, the shock was almost overwhelming.
The first thing that lead us to be concerned was the fact that our son would not turn his head to loud noises. He wouldn't get startled by the barking dog or a large truck that would go by the house. Babies have a natural reflex when they are startled. He never got startled. People could in and out of the door, there could be a lot of commotion, but the noises never seemed to bother him. Even his older brother running and hollering around the house didn't phase him.
At his 3 month check-up we brought our concerns to the doctor. At the time, we didn't actually believe that he was deaf but we felt that something was not quite right. The doctor set up a hearing test with the audiology department at the hospital. We went to the test and after, the doctor met with us to give us the news: Our son had profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. That meant that he had profound hearing loss in both ears. The damage was permanent and hearing aids may or may not help...
Read the full article at Christinascibona 
(http://christinascibona.hubpages.com/hub/Parenting-A-Deaf-Child)

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3 Things You Should Never Do When Communicating with the Hearing Impaired



I’ve lived with hearing loss for close to 15 years.  In that time, I’ve had a lot of interesting interactions with folks who learn about my disability. Here are three things that you shouldn’t do to a deaf or hard-of-hearing (HOH) individual.

Shout.  Just because someone has difficulty hearing, does not mean it justifies shouting. Do you want to speak a little louder, slower and clearer than when you interact with others? Yes.  But there is no need to shout.  Clearly communicate what you want to say and be sure to make eye contact with them.

Read the full article at Xpressive Handz

(http://xpressivehandz.blogspot.com/2013/11/3-things-you-should-never-do-when.html?spref=fb)

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15 Sign Language Interpreters Going Ham At Concerts! Can You Hand-le It?

We all lost our minds for Lydia Callis last year when she delivered animated sign language interpretations for New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg during super-storm Sandy. When it comes to actual entertainment, however, it makes sense that concert sign language interpreters would really give it their all too.
A hearing impaired concert-goer is of course present to see their favorite artists perform, but they’re also spending a good portion of their time watching and being entertained by the person signing. They may not be able to listen to music in the same way that other folks can, but between the vibrations from the bass and a good sign language interpreter, concerts can still be highly enjoyable. Here’s a look at the people who really COMMIT when they interpret an artist’s lyrics, and in some cases, even provide some funky dance moves.
CONCERT: Kendrick Lamar
Confidently evoking Kendrick’s swag during “F—in’ Problems,” the enthusiasm from this interpreter is top notch!


http://www.vh1.com/music/tuner/2013-09-15/kick-ass-sign-language-interpreters/

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Deaf News: Motion calling for recognition of BSL as an official UK language passed at Liberal Democrat party conference

Posted on September 17, 2013



Greg Judge speaks at the Liberal Democrat conferenceFollowing a debate this morning at the Liberal Democrat party conference, the Liberal Democrats today passed the policy Recognising a Legal Status for British Sign Language,which calls for better access to information and services for Deaf people.
The Liberal Democrats say they are committed to the principle that Deaf people are entitled to identify with their own language and to have this respected, regardless of minority or majority language status.
The key proposals include:
· The recognition of British Sign Language (BSL) as one of the UK’s official languages
· Achieving better awareness of information needs and services for BSL users, particularly in health, education and employment
· The protection of the linguistic integrity of British Sign Language
Read full article via Limping Chicken 
http://limpingchicken.com/2013/09/17/deaf-news-motion-calling-for-recognition-of-bsl-as-an-official-uk-language-passed-at-liberal-democrat-party-conference/

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Richard Turner: My review of the film ‘A life without words’

Posted on October 7, 2013

I recently watched one of the most moving films I have ever seen. It was called A Life Without Words and it raised a lot of questions in my mind. It made me realise just how much we take for granted in this country and how hard it really is for many Deaf people living in the developing world with no access to basic healthcare services, audiology, education and even language.
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I went to see the documentary at the Royal College of Medicine in Central London. After the showing, there was a panel discussion with the film’s director, Adam Isenberg, and three other people. Dr Michael York, an anthropologist from University College London (UCL) chaired the panel discussion.
http://limpingchicken.com/2013/10/07/richard-turner-my-review-of-the-film-a-life-without-words/

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Indigenous sign languages protected in online dictionary

Sep 12, 2013

A University of Melbourne researcher has helped develop the first online dictionary of sign languages used by Indigenous communities across central Australia.

The dictionary includes several hundred videos of hand-signs and other sign-actions used by Anmatyerr speakers from Ti Tree in the Northern Territory, and by the Ngaanyatjarra people in the Western Desert of Western Australia.
Dr Jenny Green—from the University of Melbourne's Research Unit for Indigenous Language —said signing was a crucial but endangered style of communication in Indigenous communities...
via Phys.org

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A Breakthrough for Treating Hearing Loss

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Eric Healy
Eric Healy, professor of speech and hearing science and director of Ohio State’s Speech Psychoacoustics Laboratory, and DeLiang Wang, professor of computer science and engineering, have provided the first demonstration of a processing algorithm capable of improving speech understanding in noise for hearing-impaired listeners.
"It's an important problem because poor speech understanding in background noise is the number one complaint of hearing-impaired listeners," said Healy, the study's lead author. "People with hearing loss are simply not good at pulling speech from background noise—because this algorithm does that job for them, their limitations are rendered moot." 
http://artsandsciences.osu.edu/news/a-breakthrough-for-treating-hearing-loss

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Deaf News: Deaf people can now use sign language to get advice from the Financial Ombudsman



Posted on October 16, 2013


Nine out of ten people say they have no complaints about their bank, insurer or finance firm.  In fact,  most financial transactions take place without any problems. But sometimes things do go wrong. And when they do it is up to the business to try and sort it out.
For the Deaf community this can be problematic. They are often trying to deal with bureaucracy in their second language. British Sign Language is the first language of around 130,000 Deaf people, with one in 6 people experiencing some hearing loss. Signed languages are visual languages with their own syntax and grammar.
The majority of businesses and their websites are not accessible in sign language and they are unlikely to help arrange and pay for a sign language interpreter to deal with a complaint.
http://limpingchicken.com/2013/10/16/deaf-news-deaf-people-can-now-use-sign-language-to-get-advice-from-the-financial-ombudsman/

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On Life Without a Jaw



Ray827: "What questions do you always get?" 
ScribbleScribe: "From kids: Why can't she talk? [While pointing at me.] Then their parents try to explain that I can talk, but with my hands."

"From adults: Silence."
ScribbleScribe is a 24-year-old predoctoral psychology student who fielded questions yesterday, based on her life with congenital aplasia of the mandible and hearing loss. She did soanonymously on Reddit.

Her lower jaw, tongue, and the bones of her inner ear did not fully form in utero. She breathes through a tracheostomy (tube in her neck), and has since birth. She is able to hear, with aids, but she still has to get all of her nutrition through a feeding tube. She's never eaten solid food.

She drew a massive, curious, and generally effusively compassionate audience yesterday. Her writing is earnest and insightful. For example, she talks about keenly watching the progress of 3-D printing, as a potential for one day creating a mandible. And why she doesn't use assistive speech technology.
I rejected the assistive speech devices I was offered in elementary. I hated them. Why? Because the voice sounds so much different than the normal human voice. It cannot get pronunciation right. It cannot express emotion. Technology isn't advanced enough to give me the voice that I need/want. Imagine having a voice that couldn't express your intonation, your emotion, your beat ... rhythm ...
It was just monotone. Sound fun? It wasn't for me. Science needs to give me an EKG headset to monitor my brain waves and incorporate it into any assistive speech device. It would understand my intonation and my nuances of expression better than just pictures on a box.
Sign language offers me my mode of communication.

Read the full article at the Atlantic 

(http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/08/on-life-without-a-jaw/278794/)

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IT, Deaf Professional Gives Advice for Job Seekers with Disabilities

Submitted by DTN on June 19, 2013
Todd Morrison
Todd Morrison is a busy IT administrator showing off his skills in email migration, PC repairs and troubleshooting.  He also happens to be deaf, but he is leading with his work, not his disability.

Morrison landed his job through Big Tent Jobs, LLC, a national IT Executive Search firm that provides top talent to companies, including people with disabilities like Todd.  Big Tent Jobs helps employers understand the benefits of hiring professionals with disabilities, and the increased collaboration, flexibility and innovation they demonstrate, having learned to navigate physical and social challenges throughout their lives.

“Big Tent Jobs eased my employer’s uncertainty about me, and I don’t have to spend time convincing anyone to give me a chance. Instead, I’ve demonstrated that I, like many people with disabilities, can take care of myself, and employers should embrace us.”

Todd says he loves technology because it is a field that offers tremendous tools and technical advancements for all people, including those with disabilities.

Todd’s advice for disabled job seekers is to continue to demonstrate your skills and knowledge.


Read more at Disability Today Network 

(http://www.disabilitytodaynetwork.com/big-tent-jobs/blog/it-deaf-professional-gives-advice-job-seekers-disabilities)

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KINECT-POWERED SIGN LANGUAGE CONVERTER HELPS THE DEAF CONVERSE

Ross Brooks on September 10, 2013.


Researchers in Japan are starting to develop a system that recognizes sign language and automatically converts it into Japanese characters – only requiring a commercial motion sensor such as the “Microsoft Kinect.”
Mizuho Information & Research Institute Inc and Chiba University aim to improve communications between hearing-impaired people and normal listeners, with plans for a prototype to be available in October 2013, and a full-fledged version in 2014.
The system uses four steps to achieve its goal:
  1. Senses the movements of the signer’s forearm (wrists, elbows, etc)
  2. Compares the movements with motion data for each word
  3. Automatically estimates the meanings of the movements
  4. Displays Japanese characters on a monitor in real time.
kinect-japanese-sign-language-2
Mizuho Information & Research Institute will be responsible for the application of the system, while Chiba University will offer a technique to recognize sign languages and prepare motion data for each word.
If the system reaches fruition, it could provide an ingenious new way for hearing-impaired people and normal listeners to interact, without having to spend months, or possible years, learning sign language. This is especially true when any kind of web-based communication is involved, making the use of microphones highly improbable.
kinect-japanese-sign-language-3
Read more at PSFK
(http://www.psfk.com/2013/09/kinect-sign-language-converter.html)

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Deaf and blind artist wins award


Minerva Hussain with his award-winning work.Minerva Hussain with his award-winning work.
  • Minerva Hussain with his award-winning work.
  • A close-up shot of the detail Minerva put into his Chester Zoo piece with the monorail, safari truck and a host of animals cheekily peeping from behind the shrubs and trees in their enclosures.
  • Minerva created this textured representation of Tutankhamun when studying at Mid Cheshire College.


A DEAF artist has been commended for his intricate work based on Chester Zoo – made all the more remarkable because he has been blind since he was a teenager.
Minerva Hussain has Usher syndrome, which started to affect his sight when he was 18, gradually getting worse until he was left with just peripheral vision.
But the 44-year-old uses photographs, a magnifying glass and his memory to create vivid, incredibly detailed and tactile work that the viewer can see with their fingers as well as their eyes.
His Chester Zoo collage is full of different animals hiding and peeping from behind thick paper foliage and stiff cardboard fences, the enclosures are covered in glassy plastic, and he has included safari trucks, a ticket office and the zoo’s much-loved monorail.
“It was hard work, especially with my sight, to do everything myself,” he said.
“I cut out everything – there was a lot of sweat involved when I was sat down cutting things out and I had to make sure there was plenty of light so I could see everything.
“It took five weeks to do.”
Read the full article and view the video at Northwich Guardian 

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Deaf News: Deaf swimmer “kicked off lifeguard course for being deaf”


Posted on September 3, 2013

Unbelievably, a champion Deaf swimmer, who represented the UK at the World Deaf Swimming Champtionships,  has been kicked off a lifeguard course in the third week of training for being deaf.
A champion swimmer and Commonwealth Games hopeful has been kicked off a lifeguard training course because he is deaf.
James Webster, 21, of Rossiter Road, Tooting, is a deaf competitor for Great Britain.
The rising star has dreams to compete in the Commonwealth Games and was hoping to fund his training by working as a lifeguard.
He enrolled on a National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) course at Tooting Leisure Centre last month, passing level one of the course within a few weeks.
But as he entered the third week of the course he was told by his tutor he could not continue, because he is deaf.
Instructors told him he would not be able to do the job as he would not be able to hear people breathing and would struggle to communicate with colleagues.
The Institute of Qualified Lifeguards said they cannot always accept candidates who have poor vision or hearing.
A publication by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also states lifeguards must have good hearing.
Mr Webster, who communicates using sign language and lip reading, is now seeking legal advice.
Update: We have found a deaf lifeguard
Read the full article at the Limping Chicken 
(http://limpingchicken.com/2013/09/03/deaf-news-deaf-swimmer-kicked-off-lifeguard-course-for-being-deaf/)

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MLK’s “I Have a Dream” Speech, in ASL


Boston University BU, Martin Luther King Jr I have a dream speech 50th anniversary in American Sign Language ASL, Richard Bailey graduate studies, BU disability services, College of Arts and Sciences CAS, John Thornton professor of history and African American Studies program director of graduate studies, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra
Richard Bailey (GRS’13) (right) with John Thornton, a CAS professor of history and African American Studies program director of graduate studies, at Commencement weekend 2013. Photo by Christopher Robinson
By Leslie Friday


Earlier this year, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra was searching for an American Sign Language interpreter to translate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The orchestra was planning a concert commemorating the speech’s 50th anniversary and approached Christopher Robinson, a staff interpreter at BU’s Disability Services, about the job. But Robinson had a better idea: why not place native ASL users on stage and base their interpretations on an official ASL translation of the speech?
The BLO liked the idea—the only problem was that no official translation existed. Robinson had a solution for that as well: he suggested Richard Bailey, for whom he regularly interpreted African American studies courses.
Bailey (GRS’13), a native ASL user who is biracial, was studying the writings and speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59) as part of his master’s level research on identity and representation. He was willing to create an official translation, but there was a catch: it would have to be recorded, and Bailey was camera-shy.

Read the full article at BU Today

(http://www.bu.edu/today/2013/martin-luther-king-i-have-a-dream-speech-in-asl/) 

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Priest helps create sign language for Cambodian deaf


Chris Kenning, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal11:39 a.m. EDT August 28, 2013

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — With a hot sun drying a monsoon rain last month, Catholic priest Charles Dittmeier jumped into a motorcycle-pulled "tuk-tuk" taxi and zipped through loud, diesel-choked streets — toward a cause this country has largely ignored.
Passing a sprawling market, tin-roofed food stalls and a cockfighting lot, Dittmeier entered a center behind high walls where deaf Cambodians communicate using the country's first sign language, which Dittmeier is helping to develop and teach.
It's been more than 12 years since the soft-spoken priest from Louisville, Ky., arrived to aid the deaf in a nation still emerging from years of war, genocide, poverty and corruption — and one that before 1997 had no sign language, no deaf schools and no deaf organizations offering services.
Read the full article at USA Today 

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New Findings On How Cochlea Amplifies Sound Could Lead To Better Hearing Aids


Posted: 

Using sensors tucked inside the ears of live gerbils, researchers from Columbia University are providing critical insights into how the ear processes sound. In particular, the researchers have uncovered new evidence on how the cochlea, a coiled portion of the inner ear, processes and amplifies sound. The findings could lay the initial building blocks for better hearing aids and implants.
The research could also help settle a long-simmering debate: Do the inner workings of the ear function somewhat passively with sound waves traveling into the cochlea, bouncing along sensory tissue, and slowing as they encounter resistance until they are boosted and processed into sound? Or does the cochlea actively amplify sound waves? The study, published in Biophysical Journal, suggests the latter is the case.
The team, led by Elizabeth Olson, a biomedical engineer of Columbia University, used sensors that simultaneously measured small pressure fluctuations and cell-generated voltages within the ear. The sensors allowed the researchers to pick up phase shifts—a change in the alignment of the vibrations of the sound waves within the ear—suggesting that some part of the ear was amplifying sound. What causes that phase shift is still unclear although the researchers think the power behind the phase shift comes from the outer hair cells. Apparently the hair cells’ movement serves to localize and sharpen the frequency region of amplification.
Read more at the Huffington Post 

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13 Things to Never Say to a Deaf Person

POSTED ON JUL 19, 2013 IN ASL, FLANNERY


Never Do or Say These Things



photo source: Mark Mulligan
Girl signing “no.” photo source: Mark Mulligan

1.  Don’t shout.  They can’t hear, right?  So why would you speaking louder make them suddenly be able to hear?

megaphone
2.  Don’t over-enunciate or speak slower.  ”Helllloooo, mmyyyy naaaaammme iiiiisssss Iiiiidiiioooot.”  Nice to meet you idiot.

shout 3

3.  Don’t talk to the interpreter or hearing person that may be with them.  ”What’s your friend’s name?”  My reply, “how about you ask them yourself?” “Tell them my name is Rude-Face.” Consider it done.

deaf conversation

Read the full list at Rochelle Barlow

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Hotels urged to add facilities for the deaf and learn sign language


Tuesday, 13 August 2013




UK: A deaf awareness tutor has urged hoteliers to undertake deaf awareness and sign language classes.
Consultant Ruthy Fletcher, who is deaf herself, says: "For many deaf or hard of hearing people, communication with hearing people can be frustrating and stressful. This is because of the huge communication barrier between speaking and signing. Some deaf people may feel unsettled to ask for help, or ask for some paper and a pen. As a deaf awareness tutor, I know that there are problems with communication barriers between hearing and deaf people within the workplace. I urge all hoteliers and accommodation providers to undertake deaf awareness training and basic sign language (BSL) classes to help to make deaf and hearing people have equally enjoyable experiences. "

Fletcher says that most hotels and tourism facilities have insuffcient facilities for deaf travellers. She says: "I have noticed that all the UK brochures and Tourism For All Open Britain 2011 Guide Book show very little information about facilities for deaf/hard of hearing people and we have to go through page after page to find a suitable hotel or accommodation provider that provides facilities and/or equipment for deaf and hard of hearing people. I have been going through thousands of brochures, and I continually find that there is very little support provided, which I felt was a bit unfair."

Read more at Boutique Hotel News

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