NVRC Communication Access Fund provides captions at Arlington Expo

October 30, 2014 in Community News



At the recent Beacon 50+ Expo, over 90 attendees had the opportunity to experience real-time captions for the Keynote Speech. This annual event is held at the Ballston Common Mall where the speech is presented in the atrium and the acoustics are extremely challenging.

Thanks to Verbatim Captioning and your donations to the NVRC Communication Access Fund, the feedback from the audience was overwhelmingly positive. Additionally, one frequent exhibitor to the expo responded, “This is the first time I have been able to follow along with the speech without leaving my exhibit booth!”

The topic of the Keynote Speech was “Biomedical engineering for humanity”. Dr. Robert Fishchell, physicist and inventor, spoke about some of his medical patents. If you would like a copy of the transcript, email mdougherty@nvrc.org

Marla Dougherty
Arlington and Alexandria Outreach
Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons
3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA  22030
703-352-9055 x 102 (V)   703-352-9056 (TTY)  703-352-9058 (FAX)

Learn more about NVRC’s Communication Access Fund


Drug to restore hearing loss being developed

October 30, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research



Zeenews India.com
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Original Article

New York: Boosting the production of a key protein, called NT3, could help restore hearing loss caused by noise exposure and normal ageing, a research found.

The protein plays an important role in maintaining communication between the ears and brain, the findings showed, offering scientists a target to develop drugs that might boost NT3 action or production.

“We began this work 15 years ago to answer very basic questions about the inner ear, and now we have been able to restore hearing after partial deafening with noise, a common problem for people,” said lead researcher Gabriel Corfas from the University of Michigan in the US.

NT3 is crucial to the body’s ability to form and maintain connections between hair cells in the ear and nerve cells that carry signal to the brain, the researchers demonstrated.

This special type of connection, called a ribbon synapse, allows extra-rapid communication of signals, which travel back and forth across tiny gaps between the two types of cells.

“It has become apparent that hearing loss due to damaged ribbon synapses is a very common and challenging problem, whether it’s due to noise or normal ageing,” Corfas added.

Using a special genetic technique, the researchers made it possible for some mice to produce additional NT3 in cells of specific areas of the inner ear after they were exposed to noise loud enough to reduce hearing.

Mice with extra NT3 regained their ability to hear much better than the control mice.

The researchers will now explore the role of NT3 in human ears, and seek drugs that might boost NT3 action or production.

The findings appeared online in the journal eLife.




Steve Jobs Pushed for Video Relay Services for the Hearing Impaired in 2010

October 30, 2014 in Community News



Thanks to an Email Request

By Lory | October 27, 2014

Original Article . . .

In 2010, when Apple first provided FaceTime to the world on the iPhone 4 one small company dedicated to bridging the communication gap for hearing people and the deaf and hard of hearing decided that they wanted that for their services.

CSDVRS, dubbed “Z” for short, was recently honored at this year’s Tampa Bay Business 100 awards ceremony. The event highlights the 100 largest private companies in Tampa Bay.

In his speech, CEO Sean Belanger detailed how he went about help from Apple for offering the video relay services (VRS) through Facetime. He was working with the program independently, but was struggling with how to merge the feature with the service.

“I sent an email to Steve Jobs, a very concise email about who I was, what I did and we needed help,” Belanger said. “In four days, I get a call from a guy who said ‘I’ve been told to help you, I don’t know why, I don’t know who you are, I work for Apple and I can’t tell you who told me to call you.’ ”

Shortly thereafter, Apple flew three engineers to the company’s headquarters and helped Z get VRS connected with Facetime so that, for the first time ever, a deaf person could communicate on a mobile phone call.

VRS is a service that connects deaf and hard of hearing persons with a hearing person using video calling. In 2010, video calls were not nearly as common as they are now. Many people did not even have that function on their smartphones. So, VRS would have a middleman, or a relay person, that would communicate with the hearing impaired person via video calling, and transmit the words through a regular phone to the recipient.

Facetime made that possible on mobile devices.

Now, video services like Facetime, Google video hangouts, and Skype are on every smartphone. Communication between the deaf and hard of hearing community and the hearing community is much better than ever before thanks to the work of software engineers who just wanted to bring the future to us.



MotionSavvy – tablet technology takes sign language into audio and spoken word

October 30, 2014 in Community News


Learn more about the development team on the MontionSavvy website

Watch video about the technology here

Watch video  blog

Read Articles about  MotionSavvy:

Washington Post –  October 27 2014

Arstechnica – by  Cyrus Farivar –  Oct 21 2014

Notice of Change: Interpreter Services for 12-Step Programs and Funerals

October 30, 2014 in Community News, Interpreting & Transliterating


Thanks to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Center, Inc.

On October 15, 2014, Governor McAuliffe announced changes in the State budget for Fiscal Year 2015 (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015).  The original budget, approved by the General Assembly and the Governor earlier in 2014, was based on estimates of how much money the state expected to collect (revenue projections) from taxes, fees, etc.  Cuts to the budget are necessary because such revenue collections have been down in the Commonwealth.  When he announced the cuts, the Governor said, “Making these budget reductions has been the most difficult experience of my term so far. In a government as lean and well-run as ours, there are few spending cuts you can make without impacting the lives of Virginians.”

When budget cuts have been made in the past, the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) has been able to maintain a stable level of direct services.  Unfortunately, the cuts announced last week include a reduction in funding for the Interpreter Services Program (ISP) for Fiscal Year 2015.  Specifically, VDDHH will have to reduce the interpreter services provided for 12-step meetings and funerals through June 30, 2015.  We do not know if we will be able to restore these services for Fiscal Year 2016, which starts on July 1, 2015; it will depend upon the budget approved by the 2015 General Assembly. 

About Sign Language Interpreters for 12-Step Meetings (Alcoholics Anonymous/AA; Narcotics Anonymous/NA)
Effective November 1, 2014, VDDHH will not be able to pay for sign language interpreters for 12-Step (AA/NA) meetings.  We are working with Alcoholics Anonymous of Virginia Special Needs Committees to find out how local chapters can support the cost of interpreters for these meetings.

There are some other resources that can support Deaf people with substance abuse issues:

  • If you are a client of a Community Services Board (CSB), you should ask about communication access (and related funding) for your meetings.
  • There are online 12-step meetings available for Deaf people.
  • Deaf Off Drugs and Alcohol (DODA) has a website that includes information and access to online meetings, and a link to DODA’s schedule of meetings. Here is the link: http://www.med.wright.edu/citar/sardi/doda.


About Sign Language Interpreters for Funerals and Memorial Services
Effective November 1, 2014, VDDHH will not be able to pay for sign language interpreters for visitations, funerals or memorial services.  Families should ask the funeral home to provide an interpreter.   The funeral home can contact VDDHH at 804-662-9502 for help in locating an interpreter but VDDHH will not be able to pay for the interpreter.  VDDHH will be working to provide more information to funeral home directors about the need for interpreters. If you have a complaint about a funeral home because it does not provide effective communication, you may be able to file an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complaint.  For more information, you may contact:


If you have any questions about these changes, please contact VDDHH at 804-662-9502.




Open House at Maryland School for the Deaf

October 30, 2014 in Community News



Maryland School for the Deaf welcomes families and professionals to upcoming Open Houses on each campus!

Columbia Campus Fall Open House
8169 Old Montgomery Road & Rt. 108
Ellicott City, MD 21043
Friday, November 14th from 10:00am – 2:00pm

Frederick Campus Fall Open House
101 Clarke Place
Frederick, MD 21701-6529

Friday, November 21st from 10:00am – 2:00pm

Please see the attached flyer for details and how to RSVP.

Erin Rae Buck Skees
Outreach Coordinator
Maryland School for the Deaf
V (301) 360-2054
VP (240) 575-3864

Stay connected with Maryland School for the Deaf!
*Join our Outreach email list by clicking here!
*Like us on Facebook!
*Visit our website!

Download – MSD – Fall Open House flyer

Vote November 4th – Election Information

October 30, 2014 in Community Events, Technology



 Virginia Voting Information

Voter Identification required – All voters casting a ballot in-person will be asked to show one form of identification. Any voter who does not present acceptable identification must vote a provisional ballot.

Click for list of acceptable ID’s
Please note:

    • Your address on your photo ID does not have to match the address on your voter registration
    • You can use an ID that does not have an expiration date, but if your ID does have an expiration date, it cannot be used if it expired more than 12 months before the election

    To be eligible to register and vote in Virgina, you must be:

    • A resident of Virginia (A person who has come to Virginia for temporary purposes and intends to return to another state is not considered a resident for voting purposes)
    • A U.S. Citizen
    • 18 years old (Any person who is 17 years old and will be 18 years of age at the next general election shall be permitted to register in advance and also vote in any intervening primary or special election)
    • Not claiming the right to vote in any other state
    • Not currently be declared mentally incompetent by a court of law
    • Not a convicted felon, unless you have had your right to vote restored

    Polls are open from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm.


    Fairfax County Information

    New Voting Machines for Fairfax County
    Voters with disabilities can request to use the county’s new ExpressVote machines. The ExpressVote is fully compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and enables voters with special needs to use technology similar to touch screen equipment to generate a marked paper ballot. The ballot will then be inserted into the same optical scan machine used by other voters. The technology allows those with special needs to vote independently and privately. Video: learn more about the new voting machines.  Spanish language vide



    Deaf Interpreter Goes Viral

    October 30, 2014 in Interpreting & Transliterating



    The Blog
    Lydia L. Callis
    Sign Language Interpreter, Community Educator, Advocate

    Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the citizens of New York to discuss the city’s first confirmed case of Ebola. During the press conference the mayor’s ASL interpreter, Jonathan Lamberton, gained a bit of attention on the Internet. Most of the commentary centered around Lamberton’s expressiveness, which is actually just part of sign language, but missed the most compelling aspect of this particular interpreter: he is Deaf.

    For hearing people who do not have any experience with Deaf culture, it might be hard to understand how Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDI) are used, and why they are necessary. In this instance, the CDI was working as a team with a hearing interpreter who sat in the audience. The hearing interpreter was signing the message to Lamberton, who was interpreting it on camera. But why have two interpreters?

    New York City is truly a melting pot with people of all ethnic backgrounds, education levels, and ability. In times when peoples’ health or lives might be in danger, communication becomes absolutely critical. There is no room for miscommunication when state officials are addressing the public safety.

    Utilizing an interpreter whose native language is ASL can be a good match when your audience is unknown. While a high quality hearing interpreter may be able to do a great job, a CDI has the ability to reach ASL users on every level. This ensures that the message is conveyed to a broad audience.

    Deaf people who use sign language to communicate may read and write English quite well; or they may not know English at all. Many deaf people have excellent ASL skills, while others only know informal sign languages called “home signs.” Additionally, in a large city like New York there is a whole audience of foreign born deaf people for whom ASL is a second language.

    Read entire article  . . .

    Screening questions fail to identify teens at risk for hearing loss

    October 30, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research



    Penn State – News
    By Jennifer Abbasi
    October 23, 2014

    HERSHEY, Pa. — Subjective screening questions do not reliably identify teenagers who are at risk for hearing loss, according to researchers at Penn State College of Medicine. The results suggest that objective hearing tests should be refined for this age group to replace screening questions.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics, in partnership with the Bright Futures children’s health organization, sets standards for pediatric preventive care. The AAP recommends screening adolescents with subjective questions and then following up with objective hearing tests for those found to be at high risk of hearing loss. However, the screening questions were not specifically developed for children or adolescents. Studies also show that adolescents are poor self-reporters of hearing status.

    “We found that you can’t rely on the Bright Futures questions to select out teenagers at high risk for hearing loss who would warrant an objective screen,” said Deepa Sekhar, M.D., M.Sc., assistant professor of pediatrics.

    A study in 2010 using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that one in five adolescents aged 12 to 19 has hearing loss. Most have high-frequency hearing loss, which may be related to increasing hazardous noise exposures from such things as personal listening devices, concert-going, ATV-riding and hunting with firearms.

    For the study, eleventh grade students at Hershey High School — located in the college’s community — answered the 10 Bright Futures hearing screening questions and additional questions assessing other potential risk factors for adolescent hearing loss. They also took the Pennsylvania state-mandated hearing test — the familiar hearing screening where children raise their hand when they hear a tone — and a hearing test developed by the researchers to better detect high-frequency noise-related hearing loss. Some of the children underwent additional standard hearing testing in a soundproof booth. The researchers report their results in the Journal of Medical Screening.

    Read Entire Article . . .


    United Healthcare Children’s Foundation provides medical grants for kids

    October 30, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness



    Click Orlando
    Author:  Eryka Washington
    Consumer Reporter
    Oct 23 2014

    Local family receives $3K hearing aid for daughter with grant

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Eleven-year-old Adelyn Brault loves playing with her dog and now she can hear him coming from a distance– but that wasn’t always the case.

    In kindergarten, doctors noticed Adelyn suffered from hearing loss. By third grade her mother, Jacquelyn, says it had gotten much worse.

    “Her doctor felt it was time for the hearing aids to help her as well as in school,” Jacquelyn said.

    Adelyn says before the hearing aid, it was tough to concentrate in school.

    “Yeah, because I couldn’t hear the teacher, because if two people are talking at the same time I can’t tell which voice it is,” she said.

    The hearing aid cost $3,000 and Jacquelyn’s insurance didn’t cover it.

    Jacquelyn says she was desperate.

    “It’s a lot of money to come up with in a short amount of time; they wanted half up front to even start making them,” Jacquelyn said. “Honestly I was like I don’t care what i have to do I have to get this money.”

    Out of desperation, Jacquelyn googled “hearing impaired” and saw a link to grants and found United Healthcare Children’s Foundation. They were one of few organizations who help families with insurance.

    “We recognized a need in what we do of families with children who have commercial health insurance that may still have needs,” Glenn Baker of United Healthcare said.

    In order to receive the grant, you must be 16 years of age or younger, live in U.S., have commercial insurance and meet income criteria.

    Since 2007, 7,500 people have received the grant totaling $23 million, 750 of those grantees are in Florida.

    In Orlando, more than 160 families have received grants.

    Read more . . .

    Learn more about the program]

    Captioned Events at the Kennedy Center & D.C. Metropolitan Area

    October 30, 2014 in Community News


    Kennedy Center Captioned Theater Alert

    Click on following links to read more about captioned theater:


    November 8th- NVAD General and Election Meeting 2014

    October 29, 2014 in Community Events

    (Open to Public)

    Saturday – November 8, 2014

    Breakfast Buffet: 8:30AM to 10:00AM
    General Meeting: 10:00AM to 12:00PM

    Download Nov. NVAD_General Election 2014 Flyer

    NVAD website

    Reuben I. Altizer Meeting Room
    Northern Virginia Resource Center (NVRC)
    3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130 Fairfax, VA 22030

    Breakfast (eggs, sausages, bacon, pancakes, etc.) will be served. RSVP by Saturday, November 1, 2014 to Jeanne Lavelle (jalavelle17@gmail.com) or Donna Kay Graff (VP 571-766-0671). Donation is greatly appreciated.

    For more information, contact President Jill Moebus, jmoebus7@gmail.com / VP (757) 892-0324


    You may nominate a NVAD member or yourself.

    A candidate must be member of NVAD for one year.

    For more information re: nominations, please contact
    Pat Beech, pgbeech@aol.com
    Nominations will be announced at the
    NVAD General Meeting / Election on Saturday, November 8, 2014.

    Download Nov. NVAD_General Election 2014 Flyer



    FCC Releases Agenda for National Disability Employment Awareness Month Event

    October 27, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Community Events



    The FCC will host an event on Thursday, October 30, 2014, from 10 a.m. – Noon, in recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  This year’s theme is “Expect.  Employ.  Empower.”


    10:00 am – 10:05 am     Opening Remarks: Tom Wheeler, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

    10:05 am – 10:15 am     Brief Remarks and Introduction of Panel 1:  Karen Peltz Strauss, Deputy Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, FCC

    10:15 am – 11:00 am     Panel 1: The Impact of the FCC ’s Efforts to Implement Laws Requiring Access to Advanced Communications Services On Employment Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities Now and in the Future

    Moderator:  Greg Hlibok, Chief, Disability Rights Office (DRO), FCC

    • Kojo Amissah, Career Consultant, Gallaudet Career Center
    • Brandon Cox, Senior Director of Rehabilitation & Education Services, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind
    • Susan Mazrui, Director, Global Public Policy, AT&T Services, Inc.
    • Mark Richert, Director of Public Policy, American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

    11:00 am – 11:10 am     BREAK

    11:10 am – 11:15 am     Remarks by Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, FCC

    11:15 am – Noon           Panel 2: Promoting and Advancing the Employment of Persons with Disabilities in the Federal Workplace

    Moderator:  Cynthia Bryant, Attorney Advisor, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, FCC

    • Kwaku Agyeman, Division Director, Day, Education and Employment Services, St. John’s Community Services
    • Dexter Brooks, Director, Federal Sector Programs, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
    • Jonathan Lucus, Managing Director, Employment & Transition Services, The Arc
    • Alexandre Mitrouch, Clerk, Imaging Center, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
    • Michael Murray, Principal Advisor, U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s  Government-wide Disability Policies and Programs

    Noon                                 Closing Remarks

    Links to the press release:

    Word:   https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-330142A1.doc

    PDF:      https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-330142A1.pdf


    The event will be held at FCC Headquarters, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC  20554.  The event is free and open to the public.  Sign language interpreters and open captioning will be available on site.  Live, captioned video of the event will be available at www.fcc.gov/live.  For more information about this event, please contact Kelly Jones of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at Kelly.Jones@fcc.gov or call (202) 418-7078.



    Walk4Hearing Event Rocks!

    October 27, 2014 in Community Events, Hearing Loss & Deafness, NVRC

    Washington,DC – Walk4Hearing
    By Cheryl Heppner
    Oct 27, 2014

    Watching the Opening of the Walk

    Watching the Opening of the Walk

    The Hearing Loss Association of America’s annual Walk4Hearing on Saturday, October 25 was definitely the best I’ve ever participated in.  The weather was great, the turnout was awesome, and the camaraderie was terrific. I walked from beginning to end in good company with Kay Ellis and Diane Preece, got to chat a bit with NVRC Board member Eileen McCartin, and relished having the super PAH!  team alongside Team NVRC for much of our walk.

    Team NVRC Walkers - Eileen McCartin, Kay Ellis, Cheryl Heppner with Galaxy, and Diane Preece

    Team NVRC Walkers – Eileen McCartin, Kay Ellis, Cheryl Heppner with Galaxy, and Diane Preece

    Katherine Pawlowski, who lives in Fairfax County is an ambassador for the Walk4Hearing. She also has a team “Friends of Fairfax County” which has raised money, some of which was is being shared with NVRC to provide services and events for children with hearing loss in the Fairfax County schools.

    Team NVRC is very thankful for the generous walk donors who helped us raise $825, some of which will go to support HLAA’s work and the rest to support NVRC’s programs and services.

    My hat is off to the walk chairs, Ronnie Adler and Tony Bartoli.  When setting up Team NVRC, they were quick to answer my questions about the walk and its website by email, and always helpful.




    Sleep Apnea Tied to Hearing Loss

    October 27, 2014 in Research



    Guardian Liberty Voice
    by Janette Verdnik
    October 26, 2014.

    According to the recent study, sleep apnea does not only affect the quality of sleep, it may also cause the hearing loss. The research linked sleep apnea with hearing loss at both low and high frequencies. After the researchers adjusted the data for other possible causes of hearing impairment, the findings of the study held true.

    The study’s findings give further support to the idea that sleep apnea usually does not occur in isolation. However, according to the researchers, it could be a sign of other underlying health conditions. Dr. Neomi Shah, one of the study’s authors, said that sleep apnea is more of a chronic and systematic disease and it is not just something that happens when you are sleeping. Dr. Shah is an associate director of the pulmonary sleep lab at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City and according to her, sleep apnea probably affects multiple different organs. She is urging that people start considering this sleeping disorder as a chronic disease with inflammatory and vascular issues.

    According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep apnea, which is a common disorder, affects about 18 million Americans. Person, who is suffering from it, shows typical signs. He or she develops periodic gasping when snoring or makes some particular snorting noises. Therefore, sleep apnea interrupts sleep and can cause several other symptoms, including excessive daytime fatigue. It has also has been associated with generalized inflammation, endocrine and cardiovascular problems.

    What is the connection between sleep apnea and hearing loss? According to the study, . . . .

    Read more at http://guardianlv.com/2014/10/sleep-apnea-tied-to-hearing-loss/#rmz3rX6W4qOVFTFM.99