Cochlear Implant Also Uses Gene Therapy to Improve Hearing

August 1, 2014 in Research, Technology

 

 

MIT Technology Review
By Katherine Bourzac
Article Source

The electrodes in a cochlear implant can be used to direct gene therapy and regrow neurons.

Researchers have demonstrated a new way to restore lost hearing: with a cochlear implant that helps the auditory nerve regenerate by delivering gene therapy.

The researchers behind the work are investigating whether electrode-triggered gene therapy could improve other machine-body connections—for example, the deep-brain stimulation probes that are used to treat Parkinson’s disease, or retinal prosthetics.

More than 300,000 people worldwide have cochlear implants. The devices are implanted in patients who are profoundly deaf, having lost most or all of the ear’s hair cells, which detect sound waves through mechanical vibrations, and convert those vibrations into electrical signals that are picked up by neurons in the auditory nerve and passed along to the brain. Cochlear implants use up to 22 platinum electrodes to stimulate the auditory nerve; the devices make a tremendous difference for people but they restore only a fraction of normal hearing.

“Cochlear implants are very effective for picking up speech, but they struggle to reproduce pitch, spectral range, and dynamics,” says Gary Housley, a neuroscientist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, who led development of the new implant.

Read more . . .

Deaf-Parented Interpreters: We Want YOU!

August 1, 2014 in Community News, Interpreting & Transliterating

 

NCIEC

First of its kind, study of deaf-parented interpreters

If you meet these criteria, please participate in this 20-minute survey.

ASL version: http://youtu.be/0dTLQImr2iM.

  • You have one or more deaf parents
  • You used signed language in your home while growing up
  • You identify as Deaf, Hard of Hearing, hearing, and/or Coda
  • You work as an ASL/English interpreter now OR have ever worked as an ASL/English interpreter

YOU can be a part of a study that aims to contribute to the understanding of training and educational experiences of deaf-parented interpreters.

This survey link will be available for responses until August 30th, 2014.

Principal researcher, Amy Williamson, is the daughter of deaf parents, Mary Ella Scarboro Williamson and Barney Williamson of North Carolina. Amy has worked as an ASL/English interpreter since 1990 and is conducting this research as partial fulfillment for a Masters degree in Interpreting Studies at Western Oregon University under the supervision of Pamela Cancel.

Thank you!

Amy

 

“My hearing loss has never held me back in music.”
Meet Eloise Garland

August 1, 2014 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness

 

 

The Limping Chicken, United Kingdom
Deaf news and deaf blogs from the UK! Lays eggs every weekday
Article Source

Tell us about yourself.
I’m nineteen years old, moderately deaf, and I’m currently studying in London for a music degree.

I like anything creative and arty, and enjoy going to cultural events and exhibitions where historical artifacts are shown (very easy to get to when you live in London!).

I am also highly involved with helping to raise self esteem amongst deaf young people.

Eloise Garland

How did you cope with being deaf and progressing in music?
My hearing loss has never really held me back with my music as it’s something I love doing, though I admit that I wouldn’t be able to it without my hearing aids.

Although I play violin and piano, voice is my primary study at university. By using hearing aids and working with my singing teacher to ‘feel’ where notes are placed, I can really make the most of my hearing.

It was partly determination and partly being told I was capable of doing things by my parents and teachers that got me to where I am now, and I hope to pass that attitude and level of encouragement on to other people.

It’s important to realise that music can be made accessible to anyone as long as they’re given the right opportunities and are encouraged to have an ‘I can’ outlook on life.

You use a device to help you. Tell us what difference it makes?
Yes, I use a new system made by Phonak (a supporter of this site) called Roger. The system consists of a Roger Pen (a transmitter with a microphone which literally looks like a pen), and receivers attached to my hearing aids.

In university, for instance, a lecturer can hang the pen around their neck, and their voice will be sent directly to my hearing aids.

I can also plug it into the computer, my iPod, the TV, or connect it to my iPhone via Bluetooth so that voices or media sources are also directly streamed from the transmitter to the receivers.

I also now use another mic with the system, which is a smaller and more basic clip-on mic.

Two ears are better than one

August 1, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

Medical Press, Australia
by Anne Rahilly
Article Source

Hearing-impaired children fitted with a second cochlear implant (CI) early in life, have significantly better outcomes in aspects of their communication and learning.

A five-year research study from the University of Melbourne shows that bilateral  implantation resulted in improved language, social development, and academic outcomes for children.

Lead researcher, Dr Julia Sarant from the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology said there are improved learning outcomes as well as, community cost benefits and greatly improved quality of life for hearing-impaired children.

“Children in this study with bilateral CIs developed vocabulary and spoken language significantly faster than children with only one CI. This has enormous implications for their long-term future,” she said.

Severe-profound congenital hearing loss is a significant cost to society. In 2005, specialised education cost on average $25,000 per child, loss of productivity cost $6.7 billion, and social security benefits were paid to approximately 129,000 individuals who were unemployed due to hearing loss

The study was conducted across Victoria, NSW, Qld, SA, and New Zealand, involving cochlear implant clinics and early intervention centres with over 160 children.

Recently, the NZ Health Department recommended a change of the current federal funding policy in favour of having all hearing-impaired  under the age of six years fitted with bilateral implants.

“I was asked to consult with policy makers in NZ and I am pleased they have noted these findings and made the appropriate changes,” said Dr Sarant.

 

Inspirational deaf dancer Macy Baez going for hip hop gold in US

August 1, 2014 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness

 

 

Illawarra Mecury, Australia
By LISA WACHSMUTH

July 22, 2014
Article Source

Born profoundly deaf, Albion Park hip hop dancer Macy Baez doesn’t hear the beat of the music the same as the rest of her crew, rather she “feels the music”.

The 14-year-old is part of Crew Illagroovers, a young dance troupe that will jet off to the United States next week to represent Australia in an international hip hop competition.

Macy’s drive and talent has inspired many, including NSW Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka, who on Tuesday presented the crew from Street Beatz Hip Hop studio with a $5000 cheque to help them on their way.

“Macy is one determined little individual. It was my honour to meet her and help her get one step closer to the United States to dance,” he said. “… Macy is a great role model for all young people with disability.”

The Dapto High School student, who has bilateral Cochlear implants, said she was thrilled to be able to compete on a global stage.

The crew of seven, aged from 12 to 14, will compete in the varsity section of the World Hip Hop Championships in Las Vegas from August 4 to 10 and Macy is going for gold.

“I’m going there to win,” she said. “I’m very excited, and a bit nervous, but I love competing because it’s a lot of fun and it has a serious side too.”

Not only has Macy’s dancing improved since she started lessons six years ago, so has her hearing.

“I have to listen hard for the beat,” she said. “I feel it before I hear it.”

Deaf advocacy groups to Verizon: Don’t kill net neutrality on our behalf

July 31, 2014 in Disability Law, Technology

 

 

Verizon claimed Internet fast lanes will help deaf, blind, and disabled.

ars technica
by Jon Brodkin
July 22 2014
Article Source

No company has lobbied more fiercely against network neutrality than Verizon, which filed the lawsuit that overturned the FCC’s rules prohibiting ISPs from blocking and discriminating against Web content. But the absence of net neutrality rules isn’t just good for Verizon—it’s also good for the blind, deaf, and disabled, Verizon claims.

That’s what Verizon lobbyists said in talks with congressional staffers, according to a Mother Jones report last month. “Three Hill sources tell Mother Jones that Verizon lobbyists have cited the needs of blind, deaf, and disabled people to try to convince congressional staffers and their bosses to get on board with the fast lane idea,” the report said. With “fast lanes,” Web services—including those designed for the blind, deaf, and disabled—could be prioritized in exchange for payment.

Now, advocacy groups for deaf people have filed comments with the FCC saying they don’t agree with Verizon’s position.

“We also take this opportunity to express our concern over the reported contentions of at least one broadband provider that the Commission should facilitate ‘fast lanes’—essentially permitting paid prioritization—for the sake of accessibility,” the groups wrote . . .

Read more 

Can Digital Devices Replace Interpreters? by Lydia L. Callis

July 31, 2014 in Interpreting & Transliterating, Technology

 

 

Huffington Post
The Blog

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

Article Source

While walking the streets of New York, nearly every person I see is staring down at a screen, fully engaged with a digital device. Through technology, our world has become incredibly connected; yet disconnected at the same time. There is comfort in being able to communicate without regard to time or distance but somehow all this personal contact seems so impersonal, so two dimensional, so unnatural… Are we all truly eager to replace all human interaction with virtual realities?

Last week, the Internet was buzzing with news of a new device called Google Gesture, a wristband which could reportedly translate sign language into spoken language in real time. The viral clip turned out to be just a concept video released by a group of marketing students in Sweden, but it stirred up some interesting discussions about the role of technology in cross-cultural communication.

Although most deaf/HoH are content with their lives the way they are, it’s nice to imagine a world where everyone is able to communicate seamlessly, and deaf people are not excluded from certain spaces. Over the past 30 years, technology has been viewed as a solution to provide deaf individuals  . . .

Read More

Pit bull saves deaf teen from house fire

July 31, 2014 in Families, Hearing Loss & Deafness

 

 

‘Ace’ licked the face of sleeping teen to alert him to fire

A teen is alive thanks to the family’s pit bull, who woke him up from a nap when his house caught fire.

Nick Lamb, 13, who was born deaf, was home alone and sleeping without his hearing aids when the fire began, reports The Associated Press and WXIN. Indianapolis Fire Department Capt. Rita Reith says Lamb was unable to hear the smoke alarms going off.

Read more 

Energy harvesting from jaw movement to power hearing aids

July 31, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness

 

 

Energy Harvesting Journal
8 Jul 2014  |  Canada
Article Source

On a weekly basis, hundreds of millions of users worldwide must replace the button cell batteries in their hearing aids. Unfortunately, batteries are a source of environmental waste, a financial burden and somewhat time-consuming and requiring good dexterity to change. What if hearing-aids could be self-powered? Researchers at École de Technologie Supérieure are investigating energy harvesting to power hearing aids.

As alternatives to batteries, energy harvesting technologies are increasingly gaining interest. Energy harvesters, which are able to recover small amounts of energy from external sources such as solar power, thermal energy, or human body, are usually suitable for low power portable or wearable devices. Hearing aids are among wearable medical devices which have been substantially modified in recent years and are becoming less energy consuming.

Therefore, energy harvesting could be successfully applied to them. In addition to hearing aids, other types of in-ear devices such as electronic hearing protectors and communication earpieces could also benefit from energy harvesting technologies.

This research project to replace hearing aid batteries by energy harvesting technologies is important for Dr. Aidin Delnavaz, a postdoc researcher working on this project. It reminds him his grandmother who suffers from hearing loss and hardly goes anywhere without her hearing aids. “She always complained about her unit because of problems caused by batteries. Sometimes these hearing aids fail at parties, family evenings or during telephone conversation” explains Dr. Delnavaz.

Energy harvesting technologies for hearing aids The researchers have started by considering different sources of energy. Since the user wears the hearing aid, one possible power source would be the user and another would be the user’s environment. Several innovative ideas have been recently proposed to use energy harvesting to power hearing aids. Light, body heat, electromagnetic waves, speaker vibrations, and radio frequency waves are sources of energy which have been already proposed for this application.
Read more

NDI Report Finds Adults with Disabilities Continue to be Economically Shortchanged

July 31, 2014 in Disability Law, Research

NDI

NDI REPORT FINDS ADULTS WITH DISABILITIES CONTINUE TO BE ECONOMICALLY SHORTCHANGED DESPITE ADA’S GUARANTEE

As the U.S. celebrates the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, a first-of-its-kind report shows people with disabilities are less financially stable than people without disabilities

(Washington, D.C. – July 22, 2014) – A new report released today from National Disability Institute (NDI) shows 24 years after the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law and guaranteed all individuals with disabilities the opportunity to achieve “economic self-sufficiency,”people with disabilities are less financially stable than people without disabilities.

Based on data collected from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation’s 2012 National Financial Capability Study released last year, this groundbreaking report highlights for the first time a nationwide snapshot of the financial capability and financial wellness of adults with disabilities.

National Disability Institute’s report, Financial Capability of Adults with Disabilities – Findings from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation 2012 National Financial Capability Study,analyzed data from 1,363 of the more than 25,000 respondents to the National Financial Capability Study (NFCS) self-identifying as “permanently sick, disabled or unable to work.” While the report analyzes one segment of people with disabilities, the results provide an important lens on the financial capability of many Americans with disabilities. According to U.S. Census data, nearly one in three people with disabilities in the United States live in poverty, a figure nearly double the national poverty rate.

Read the rest of this entry →

Popularity of Sign Language among Hearing Students

July 31, 2014 in Community News

 

 

360translations.com
Blog – Latest News
July 25, 2014
Article Source

Sign language is finding popularity among hearing students as a new way of communicating with each other and with their deaf friends. In some schools where it is offered as a foreign language, the demand is so heavy that they often have to turn down prospective students. According to a Modern Language Association Survey, American Sign Language ranks as the fourth most popular language almost displacing German from third place. In the past 10 years, students taking ASL has risen by more than 50 percent.

The popularity and increasing interest in sign language can be gauged from the fact that Silent Games, involving 200 colleges was held at Federal Way High School. It also involved school students and their parents, some hearing, some deaf. The participants who could not speak all evening except using sign language participated in many games and competitions.

In one school, for one day each semester, a teacher gives all her students including those who can hear a pair of earplugs to wear all day.

“The deaf have been learning the language of the hearing for the past 150 years,” says a teacher. “Now it’s time for the hearing to learn the language of the deaf.”

Ninety-one thousand students opted for an ASL class at 730 U.S. institutions during the Fall of 2009, according to the language association. This figure is expected to rise dramatically in the next survey in early 2014.

Some of the reasons for this popularity are mentioned here

  • Students see a practical use for ASL and as an education for getting  jobs of interpreting, teaching and counseling
  • Students have a difficult time sitting through entire classes all day without much movement. Sign language gives them an active and visual relief. Students are seen signing to one another outside the classroom and, in it, making sign conversations about weekends and boyfriends.

Read More

Deaf Oregonians cry foul in DHS contracting process

July 31, 2014 in Community News, Interpreting & Transliterating

 

 

Saerom Yoo,
Statesman Journal
Article Source

The Oregon Department of Human Services is in the process of hiring a company to coordinate and provide interpretive services for deaf and hard of hearing Oregonians, but the very people who are supposed to benefit from the services are saying they’ve been left out of the process.

The deaf and hard of hearing community is criticizing the state for not soliciting its input when writing the request for proposal and for choosing an out-of-state company. Signing Resources & Interpreters is negotiating a contract with state officials. Some have demanded that the state cease talks with the Vancouver, Wa., company and start over.

DOCUMENT: Signing Resources and Interpreters Redacted
DOCUMENT: Request for Proposal from DHS
DOCUMENT: RFP 3724 Scores – Redacted

For years, there was only one full-time state staffer coordinating and billing for interpretive services across the state, said Nathan Singer, deputy chief operating officer for aging and people with disabilities. But as the job became more demanding, Singer said, it became clear that a contractor was needed to help provide the services.

The program supports hearing impaired Oregonians’ ability to participate in public meetings and take advantage of state provided services. Other government agencies can also request the service from DHS.

According to the request for proposal, the Oregon Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services provides 700 to 1,100 hours of interpreter services statewide per month.

The RFP was issued in April. Seven proposals were submitted and six were scored by three DHS employees and one member of the Oregon Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Advisory Committee. DHS is now in negotiations with the top scoring proposer.

Members of Oregon’s deaf community and advocates packed a meeting room in the Oregon State Library on Wednesday afternoon for an open forum with DHS. With the help of interpreters, people asked questions and expressed their complaints.

Chad Ludwig, president of the Oregon Association of the Deaf, said through an interpreter that DHS did not seek out comments from the ODHHS advisory committee and that it invited members to help score the proposers late in the process. The state also refused to accept the committee’s input in editing the RFP, he said.

The OAD board also has concerns with Signing Resources & Interpreters, he said, because leaders of the local deaf community have never heard of the business.

Singer agreed that DHS could have done a better job engaging with the deaf community, but during the procurement process, the state takes a step back from speaking with stakeholders. The hands off approach is deliberate and used to avoid creating a perception of favoritism, he said.

Read More

Apple Develops Iphone, Ipad Hearing Aid

July 31, 2014 in Community News

 

Saturday, July 26, 2014
Article Source

Technology continues to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, as earlier this year, Resound developed a hearing aid in collaboration with Apple’s products.

Users of compatible hearing aids can talk on the phone, make Facetime calls and listen to music in high quality stereo.

When Steve DeLuca was 28-years-old, he developed a brain tumor.

“It knocked out the hearing in my left ear, and then over the years, my right ear has gotten bad, and then I lost the hearing in my right ear also without the tumor,” DeLuca said.

DeLuca is a firefighter for Northbrook Fire Department and has been there 22 years.

“I drive the engine,” he said.

Hearing aids help him, but he learned from his audiologist about the made-for-iPhone hearing aid.

Laurel Christensen is head of audiology for GN Resound group, a Danish hearing aid manufacturer who partnered with Apple on this product.

“It’s a hearing aid, professionally fitted just like any other hearing aid,” Christensen said. “It’s a premium high-end hearing aid with high-end sound processing. In addition to that, it will connect to an iPhone so everything that’s audible from the iPhone will stream directly to the hearing aid.

“So that can be obviously a telephone call, it can be music, it van be videos, anything that is audible from the phone will go directly into the hearing aid,” she said. 

It is compatible with the iPhone 5 iPad Air and the iTouch.

“It’s priced like a premium hearing aid, so they can be $2,500 to $3,500 depending on where you go,” Christensen said.

“The Apple hearing aid is by far much better than the other hearing aid is, the technology that Apple uses and being able to sync with the phone just opens us to so many things that I’m able to do,” DeLuca said.

“There is a wow effect with the hearing aid alone, and when you connect it to the iPhone, people are able to hear things from an iPhone that they were never able to hear clearly before,” Christensen said. “We are getting a lot of positive feedback and it helps hearing-impaired people in more environments than they were able to hear before.”

For cochlear implants, there is no made-for-i-Phone product. But Christensen believes in the future and that they will have something like this.

For more information, visit Apple’s website.

 

 

ASL Interpreted Meditation Class in Vienna – Sun Aug.3

July 29, 2014 in Community Events

 

 

This meditation class will be ASL interpreted Sunday, August 3, 2014. 9:00am – 10:30 am  This class is open to people either new or experienced with meditation.  Class begins with 30 minutes of guided sitting meditation, followed by discussion and/or Q-A.  Chairs and blankets are provided; feel free to bring your own cushion.

AT: Body Grace
215 Mill St NE, Vienna, VA 22180
www.bodygrace.com

If you would like more information about this sign interpreted class, please contact Trisha Stotler, one of the instructors, at this email address:  trisha@insightlifeservices.com.

Reserve tickets for “NO Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie”

July 29, 2014 in Community Events, Families

 

 

When a deaf actor who plays a superhero on television looks beyond his cape to influence a deaf boy to redefine what “being normal” means, he also finds inspiration to transform himself.

This event will only happen if 49 or more people reserved a ticket.
Reserve Tickets online: http://www.tugg.com/events/10142

NO Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movieno_ordinary_hero

At AMC Tysons Corner 16 on August 14

Director: Troy Kotsur
Starring: John Maucere, Michelle Nunes, Marlee Matlin, Ashley Fiolek, Peter Hulne, Zane Hencker
2014, 78 min.
Drama, Family

SUPERDEAFY must reveal the man behind the cape to find true love and inspire a young deaf boy to believe in himself. The movie follows the evolution of this unique hero. A beloved character and role model, SuperDeafy has a worldwide following. He has been turned into t-shirts, posters and dolls… and now a movie. This film marks the first time in cinematic history that a SAG commercial feature film is being executive produced exclusively by deaf executive producers and directed by a deaf director. The film will be 100% open captioned every screening.

Reserve Tickets online: http://www.tugg.com/events/10142

Learn more in ASL about movie, hosting and Tugg