Why This Musical Isn’t Just for Deaf People — It’s for Everyone

May 22, 2015 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



By Julie Zeilinger
May 22, 2015

Some may think a good musical theater experience requires the audience to hear every note performed, but groundbreaking theater company Deaf West is challenging this notion with its adaptation of Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening.

The Los Angeles-based company — reportedly the first professional resident Sign Language Theater in the western U.S. — has been staging shows featuring hearing and deaf actors since it was founded in 1991. While all of their productions have certainly been innovative, the theater’s current production of Spring Awakening, directed by Michael Arden and currently in its second run at the Wallis Annenberg Performing Arts Center, is being hailed as something truly special — especially for its largely unprecedented approach to incorporating deafness into the production.

Deafness isn’t just accommodated, it’s incorporated. Most well-intentioned efforts to welcome individuals with disabilities involve making mainstream institutions, spaces and/or experiences accessible. Often, individuals with disabilities can exist in these spaces, but they’re not truly integrated into them, as evidenced, for example, by the addition of a sign language interpreter or, in theater, separate performance communities for the disabled.

Read more  . . . It’s for Everyone

Future Treatments For Hearing Loss

May 22, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research



by Sara Adaes, PhD (c)
May 20, 2015

Hearing disorders are among the most common health problems. The World Health Organization estimated in 2012 that over 5.3% of the world’s population has disabling hearing loss, and the overall aging of the population will most likely keep increasing this number. In the older population, hearing impairment is also associated with the onset and progression of dementia. Hearing impairment in children can lead to communication disorders that affect the development of language having lifelong consequences.

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common form of hearing impairment and typically occurs as a result of the loss of functional sensory hair cells within the cochlea. The sensory hair cells are responsible for converting sound vibrations into electrical stimuli that are them conveyed to the central nervous system via the auditory neurons, better known as spiral ganglion neurons.

The sensory hair cells are highly sensitive to ototoxic drugs, over-exposure to noise, and viral and bacterial infections. Sensorineural hearing loss can have a hereditary cause, but age-related hearing loss gradually occurs in most individuals as they grow older, with approximately 30% of adults between the ages of 65–74 years having some degree of hearing deficits.

Cochlear implants are a common solution to hearing impairment, allowing speech  . . .

Read more  . . . Future Treatments

How does the brain respond to hearing loss?

May 22, 2015 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research



May 19, 2015
Researchers at the University of Colorado suggest that the portion of the brain devoted to hearing can become reorganized—reassigned to other functions—even with early-stage hearing loss, and may play a role in cognitive decline.Anu Sharma, of the Department of Speech Language and Hearing Science at University of Colorado, has applied fundamental principles of neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to forge new connections, to determine the ways it adapts to hearing loss, as well as the consequences of those changes. She will present her findings during the 169th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), being held May 18-22, 2015 in Pittsburgh.

The work of Sharma’s group centers on electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings of adults and children with deafness and lesser hearing loss, to gain insights into the ways their brains respond differently from those of people with normal hearing. EEG recordings involve placing multiple tiny sensors—as many as 128—on the scalp, which allows researchers to measure brain activity in response to sound simulation, Sharma said.

Love Theater But Can’t Hear It? Four Showstopping Solutions

May 22, 2015 in Community News



AARP Bulletin
by Katherine Bouton
May 20,2015

Do you love the theater but rarely go because you can’t understand the dialogue or lyrics?

Fortunately there are several solutions to this problem beyond the familiar infrared headphones that many theaters offer. And those with hearing loss can even get discount tickets to many shows.

First, about infrared. Theaters that seat more than 50 people are required, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to provide hearing assistance. Most offer infrared systems. If you have mild to moderate hearing loss and can manage without a hearing aid, you use a headset with earbuds provided by the theater. Earbuds are more effective than over-the-ear headphones — though some people are squeamish about using earbuds that others have used.

If you need to wear your hearing aid, you can use over-the-ear headphones. If you need to turn the sound up, however, the noise may seep out and bother your neighbors. Also, as activist Janice Schacter Lintz points out in an article about theater access, they also may not work if you have behind-the-ear hearing aids.

If you have hearing aids with a telecoil, you can use an infrared receiver worn around the neck,  . . .

Read more  .AARP . . Theater

Senator Markey Applauds FCC Extension of iCanConnect

May 22, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law




CONTACT: Giselle Barry (Markey) 202-224-2742

Markey Applauds FCC Extension of iCanConnect

Program brings free 21st century communications technologies to low income Americans with combined vision and hearing loss

Washington (May 21, 2015) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today praised the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) for extending iCanConnect, a pilot program that provides free access to 21st century communication technologies to low-income Americans with significant combined hearing and vision loss. Senator Markey is the House author of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) that established the iCanConnect program.

“Today’s decision by the FCC is an important step forward so that all Americans can participate in our increasingly interconnected world,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “Deaf-blind Americans face unique communications challenges, and iCanConnect ensures that they are able to utilize communications services and equipment fully. I look forward to working with the FCC to make iCanConnect permanent so that all Americans can access the opportunities that come from 21st century communications technologies.”

iCanConnect ensures access to tools such as specialized keyboards and computer monitors, braille devices, phones with amplified speakers and software that enables screen readers and braille displays.

Passed in 2010, the CVAA mandates accessibility of devices and services for the 54 million Americans with disabilities and enabled the use of a wide range of devices and services needed in the digital era, including smart phones for accessing the Internet, closed captioning for online video, audio descriptions of television programming, audible emergency alerts and other technologies.


Deaf doctor makes patients feel heard

May 21, 2015 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



Ann Arbor, Michigan (CNN) When I was 4 years old, my mother and father received devastating news — I was deaf.

It was the 1950s, a time when people with disabilities received few accommodations or support. A time long before any legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act was conceived, let alone passed.

I am the first and, to date, only person in my family with a profound hearing loss. While I will never know what caused my hearing loss, my mother didn’t have a normal pregnancy.

I was born five weeks past my expected due date. I was “floppy” and very sickly from the beginning. Today, my mother would have been induced much earlier and I would have been placed in a neonatal intensive care unit. My parents, both physicians, watched me 24/7 for two weeks, shaking me every time I stopped breathing until I started again. Gradually, I became healthy and thrived like any other child.

Read more see pictures  . . .watch un-captioned video . . . Dr. Philip Zazove

Kenya: Nonini Records Song With Hearing Impaired Singer

May 21, 2015 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



May 20, 2015
By Elly Gitau

Rapper Nonini has hit the booth to record a collabo track with a hearing and speech impaired rapper. Describing how it all happened, Nonini says that the “mystery” project has really changed his perspective on life.

“I have done lots of projects in my life but this one really showed me a new perspective to life and it’s a mystery to me how I connected with the project on so many different levels. So one Saturday I am chilling and I get a call from producer Bruce Odhiambo to come to his studio Johari Cleff. Once I got there he gave me a story of how a rapper came to the Youth Fund offices not to ask for money but request for an opportunity to get into the booth and realise his dream and passion of becoming a musician,” he says.

He continues, “The rapper’s name is called Lal Daggy and he described me as the best guy he would love to work with. Then Bruce broke the news that Lal Daggy had a hearing and speach impairment. So how was the song going to work? Apparently, Lal Daggy can feel the beat/metronome although he can’t hear the sounds. So I had to be his voice in a song he had written in English which I had to take, consume and translate it in a genge manner without losing the meaning. Basically, I was just a vessel passing through Lal Daggy’s message to the world. Never experienced anything like that. Humbled and thank both Bruce and Lal Daggy for giving me the opportunity!”

See original article . . . hearing and speech challenged rapper



Audree Norton, Who Paved Way for Deaf Actors, Dies at 88

May 21, 2015 in Community News



Audree Norton, a deaf actress whose fight to be cast on a television show in the late 1970s effectively ended her career in the medium but greatly helped the careers of deaf actors who followed her, died on April 22 at her home in Fremont, Calif. She was 88.

Her death was announced by her alma mater, Gallaudet University, in Washington. At her death, Ms. Norton was an emeritus professor at Ohlone College in Fremont, where she taught English, psychology and drama.

Ms. Norton was a founding member, in 1967, of the National Theater of the Deaf. The company’s formation was a watershed moment in the employment of deaf actors, who had enjoyed steady work in the silent-film era but had been marginalized with the coming of talkies.

Rea More . . . Audree Norton

Celebrate Communication 2015 was a Great Event!

May 21, 2015 in Community News



We celebrated communication and it was a wonderful day thanks to all of you who came to make it so successful.  The weather held, there was plenty of parking, lots of terrific exhibitors, a tasty snack bar, and fun for the kids with Yellow Dog, the face painter and the ASL Treasure Hunt.

For those of you who could not attend, we missed you and hope you will be with us next time.

Congratulations to our three Raffle winners:

  • The quilt – Beth Goss
  • $50 Visa card – Mary Mercer
  • $50 Mastercard – Lindsey Nelson

See Picture from event and see Sponsor and Exhibitor List.

Biology Professor’s Calling: Teach Deaf Students They Can Do Anything

May 21, 2015 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



MAY 20, 2015

To get a really good sense of why Caroline Solomon is a great teacher, you have to go into the field with her. On this particular morning, that means a boat on the Anacostia River.

We’re about 4 miles from the campus of Gallaudet University, where Solomon is a professor of biology. She and a student — Anna McCall — are heading in a small boat to take water samples.

The Anacostia is no more than 8 miles long, but it meanders through and around Washington, D.C., past a naval yard, a golf course and I-95, the busiest interstate highway on the Eastern Seaboard.

For months now, Solomon and her students have been dropping probes testing for oxygen, salinity and chlorophyll. It’s data that help gauge the river’s health, which is not very good right now, Solomon says.

“I know what’s in this river,” she says, laughing. Her voice is audible as she speaks with us, but she communicates with students in sign language.

Read more  . . . See Pictures  . . . Caroline Solomon

THANKS! to the Celebrate Communication 2015 Sponsors + Exhibitors

May 20, 2015 in Community News




See Celebrate Communication Pictures here:
 Link to Facebook Picture Gallery 


Celebrate Communication is an information Fair for Hard of Hearing and Deaf people and their families. Many Organizations, Businesses Educational Institutions and Community groups will share information to support better communication and understanding for people with hearing loss. All are welcome to learn, share, and meet other people with hearing loss.

Celebrate Communication 2015 Sponsors

NVRC extends its appreciation to its sponsors
for their generosity to make this event a success. 

( ** Not Exhibiting )   Our List of 2015 –  Exhibitors

vddhh_webVirginia Department for the
Deaf and Hard of

Hearing (VDDHH) 
Virginia Relay
The foundation of all programs at the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) is COMMUNICATION, both as a service through sign language interpreters and assistive technology, and as a means of sharing information through training and education by a team of qualified Outreach Specialists. VDDHH also serves as the oversight agency for Virginia Relay, the federally mandated telecommunications service for persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, and speech disabled. Contact or visit us to learn more about iCanConnect Virginia, a new program offering assistive technology to persons who are deaf-blind, and the TAP Veterans Program providing telecommunications equipment to veterans and returning servicemen and women who have a hearing loss. VDDHH is located at 1602 Rolling Hills Drive, Suite 203, Henrico, VA 23229 with local Outreach offices around the state. For more information, contact us at 1-800-552-7917 v/t or frontdsk@vddhh.virginia.gov, and visit us at  www.vddhh.org www.varelay.org, www.icanconnectvirginia.org or on our VDDHH and Virginia Relay Facebook pages.
advanced bionics Advanced Bionics is a global leader in developing the most advanced cochlear implant systems in the world. Founded in 1993 and a subsidiary of the Sonova Group since 2009, AB develops cutting-edge cochlear implant technology that allows recipients to hear their best. AB offers the most sophisticated cochlear implant system on the market, the HiResolution™ Bionic Ear System, with five times more sound resolution than its competitors, designed to help recipients hear in noisy settings and enjoy the full dimensions of music. Tolearn more about AB and its innovative cochlear implant technology, please visit www.advancedbionics.com.


ALDA (Association of Late-Deafened Adults) Potomac Chapter – ALDA was formed in Chicago in 1987 after a meeting where most of the attendees were total strangers who had never met or talked to another deafened person. They found themselves wonderfully comfortable with one another’s unspoken feeling of understanding and patience with communication difficulties. Their social and self-help gatherings evolved into an international organization working to meet the needs of late-deafened adults. The Potomac Chapter serves Virginia, Maryland and D.C., following the founders’ tradition of parties and social gatherings mixed with educational programs and advocacy activities. A warm welcome is extended to everyone, late-deafened or not, who supports ALDA’s goals. Anne Bryant, President annetbryant@comcast.netwww.alda.org


Boston Properties

Boston Properties, a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust (REIT), is one of the largest owners, acquirers and developers of office properties in the United States.  Founded in 1970, the firm owns and manages 151 properties containing more than 43.5 million square feet.  Its portfolio reflects a commitment to architectural excellence, innovative technologies and attention to the highest possible standards of service. Boston Properties maintains regional offices in Boston, New Jersey, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Contact: 202-585-0800 or www.bostonproperties.com.
cochler_Logo Cochlear Americas
Hear now. And always As the global leader in hearing solutions, Cochlear is dedicated to bringing the gift of sound to people all over the world. With our hearing solutions, Cochlear has reconnected over 250,000 people to their families, friends and communities in more than 100 countries.Along with the industry’s largest investment in research and development, we continue to partner with leading international researchers and hearing professionals, ensuring that we are at the forefront in the science of hearing.For the hearing impaired receiving any one of Cochlear’s hearing solutions, our commitment is that for the rest of their life they will Hear now. And always www.cochlear.com
Duartek Logo Duartek, Inc. was founded in June 1987 by Joseph C. Duarte. For more than 20 years, Duartek has taken the lead in providing assistive technology solutions for deaf and hard of hearing people. Duartek specializes in custom engineered systems to provide communications access solutions for deaf and hard of hearing people using Hearing Loops and other assistive technology platforms. Our services include: consulting, engineering, design, and installations of audio systems, hearing assistance systems, home entertainment systems, security systems, and visual notification systems.http://www.duartek.com
euro_cafe_v2 EuroCafe
Lions_International Lions International
MEDELsq MED-EL – Since its founders developed the world’s first microelectronic, multichannel cochlear implant in 1977, MED-EL has set new standards in hearing implant technologies, developing and manufacturing technologically advanced hearing solutions for people with varying degrees of hearing loss. MED-EL hearing implant systems, currently used in over 100 countries, combines the latest scientific advances, engineering and manufacturing techniques for performance, safety and reliability. Products available in the United States include the MAESTRO cochlear implant system and the VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE®, the first FDA-approved implantable middle ear prosthesis. Contact us: implants-usa@medel.com ; www.medel.com
 www.NVRC.org NVRC Outreach
www.NVRC.org NVRC Technology Assistive Devices 
 PAH_Logo PAH, Inc. – Providing Access to Healthcare and Community Resources for Deaf and Hard of Hearing – PAH offers individualized advocacy services and community trainings to Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf Blind that live in Prince William County. These services include: assistance applying for community services including Medicaid, advocating for interpreters, and referrals to additional services. PAH also offers informational workshops to the community and training sessions for the medical community interested in improving services to the Deaf Community.  For more information please contact CW Tillman at  info@pahdeaf.org.
 Purple Logo PURPLE – At Purple, we’re dedicated to developing fast, easy and convenient communications solutions and services for Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and businesses using a variety of different platforms. As a leading provider of on-site interpreting services, video relay services (VRS), and video remote interpreting (VRI), Purple has built an excellent reputation for developing products and services that open communications between all people, regardless of differences in abilities, languages and locations. http://www.purple.us
  Sorenson Communications  – Mission: Sorenson Communications is committed to providing the highest-quality communication products and services to all deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. http://www.sorenson.com
cart_reporter  Verbatim Captioning
Beverly Early, CSR, is a proud sponsor of Celebrate Communication. Beverly Early, a licensed Certified Shorthand Reporter for 28 years, has been providing Verbatim Captioning Services across the United States since 2000.  Contact: 703-628-7789 or CAsomer@aol.com  for more information about closed-captioning, webcasting or CART services.



 header_NewMLogo Washington Metro Area Transit (WMATA)Metro Reduced Fare SmarTrip card offers discount rides to people with disabilities.  To automatically qualify, please bring proof of Medicare card, audiogram tested by an audiologist within the last 5 years, Veterans with 60% or greater VA disability letter.  If documentation is not available, applicants must submit application (See link below) signed by Physician, Physician’s Assistant, Nurse Practitioner, Audiologist (hearing loss only), Optometrist (visual disabilities only), Podiatrist (foot and ankle disabilities only), Licensed Clinical Psychologist (psychiatric disabilities only) or Certified SchoolPsychologist. wmata.com/accessibility/doc/Reduced_Fare_Application.pdf
  ZVRS – The Z® offers the best videophone technology, providing equipment and application options to meet customers’ individual needs and offering features not available through other VRS providers. Professional, nationally certified interpreters follow standards of service excellence above and beyond Federal Communications Commission requirements. Dedicated to a spirit of innovation and commitment to excellence, The Z continues to set the standard as the nation’s premier VRS provider, particularly in the field of mobile VRS. For more information, go to www.zvrs.com. Don’t have a Z phone? You can still join The Z Life by calling 888.888.1116 to connect to ZVRS from any videophone!


 Our List of 2015 –  Sponsors  &  Exhibitors

Longtime Maryland School for the Deaf Foundation board member stepping down

May 19, 2015 in Community News



The Frederick News Post
Friday, May 15, 2015 10:00 am

After his long stint on the board, which manages fundraising for the school, Fred Weiner is resigning to focus on his commitments at Gallaudet University, a specialty institution for the deaf and hard of hearing, where he serves as assistant vice president of administration.

Weiner joined the MSD board in 1997 and was appointed president in 1999. His tenure leading the board lasted six or seven years, he said.

“I was honored to be part of the school’s success,” he said.

Gallaudet, where Weiner has worked for 15 years or so, is developing a large mixed-use property that he said will “change the face of campus” and occupies quite of bit of Weiner’s time.

His children graduated from the Maryland School for the Deaf and have attended Gallaudet, with one graduating Friday.

“From a personal standpoint, it made sense for me because I was going up to Frederick quite a bit,” he said.

Board President Denise Phelps lauded Weiner for his service. She said Weiner was instrumental in increasing the endowment of the school to nearly $1.2 million, through the annual golf tournament the school sponsors, and other fundraising opportunities.


Read article  . . .Fred Weiner

Deaf New Yorkers demands NYPD learn how to treat those with hearing challenges

May 19, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Four letters, scrawled in the dust of an NYPD patrol car, became a terrified woman’s only hope of survival: H-O-S-P.

Diana Williams, a deaf New Yorker who’s also unable to speak, traced the cryptic message with her index finger after contorting her body so her cuffed hands reached the side of the car.

“Hospital,” she then mouthed as tears spilled in soundless sobs. “Help. Help. Please. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”

When a police officer nodded that he understood, she cried even harder — with relief. But the deaf woman’s ordeal was far from over.

Williams, 48, says she was an upbeat, confident woman before her still-stunning arrest after calling the police for help on Sept. 11, 2011. Now she’s in the third year of a bitter legal fight with the NYPD, still racked by the lingering terror from her 24 hours in police custody. “I have never been so terrified in my life,” Williams told the Daily News, through an interpreter.

Read article and …. watch signed video

Student makes discovery when it comes to extending hearing aid battery life

May 19, 2015 in Community News, Technology



ROCHESTER, Minn. – An 8th grade student may have made a discovery that could save people who wear hearing aids significant money.

Ethan Manuell is an audiology patient at Olmsted County Medical Center and wears a hearing aid in his left ear. He began a study, with the help of his audiologist, Mary Meier Au. D, looking into the effect wait time has on hearing aid batteries, which is the time between activating the battery and placing the battery in the hearing aid.

To activate a hearing aid battery, users need to remove a sticker on the battery which allows oxygen to mix with zinc-oxide inside the battery. Manuell did tests to see if waiting a little longer before putting the battery into the device would make a difference. What he found was if users wait 5 minutes after pulling off the sticker, the battery will last 2-3 days longer, which is significant considering batteries usually last anywhere from 2-7 days depending on the model.

“The more energized zinc you have, the longer it lasts. So this discovery I made, if you wait five minutes, it improves the battery life by 80%,” explains Manuell.

Ethan has won several awards and received recognition for his “5 minute rule” discovery, including earning a US Naval Science Award.

Watch captioned video

Improved cochlear implants could be developed based on hearing loss study

May 19, 2015 in Research, Technology



International Business Times
By Jayalakshmi K

A landmark study that unveils the biological process of how the brain balances the hearing between two ears to localise sound and hear in noisy conditions could help improvise cochlear implants and hearing aids.

University of New South Wales researchers have discovered the crucial role played by a group of auditory nerve fibres in the hearing process.

The “olivocochlear” hearing control reflex links the cochlea of each ear via the brain’s auditory control centre to help discriminate between noise and sound.

When sound intensity increases, the olivocochlear reflex turns down the “cochlear amplifier” to balance the input of each ear for optimal hearing and to protect hearing.

“Our hearing is so sensitive that we can hear a pin drop and that’s because of the ‘cochlear amplifier’ in our inner ear. This stems from outer hair cells in the cochlea which amplify sound vibrations,” says UNSW Professor Gary Housley.

Read More  . . . Improved cochlear implants