Technology - Archive

When I Say I Want Telecoils…

July 27, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology




Hearing Health Matters
By Gael Hannan

…I mean it.

It wasn’t just an opening line to my hearing aid provider, so that she could come back with, “That’s old tech. Your hearing aid manufacturer has a great in-home kit, and a streamer, and lots of other neat stuff for just a few hundred dollars extra.”  Although, that’s pretty much what we said to each other.

I said I wanted telecoils so that I could use them with the phone and in looped environments. I had seen how much my friends benefited from the system and I wanted what they had—and I got it.

It’s only been five years since embracing telecoils and hearing loops. In those new (and soon to be retired) hearing aids, I had to choose between telecoils and Bluetooth. I couldn’t have both (which apparently I can in my upcoming set) so I opted for telecoils.

In The Way I Hear Itmy book on living with hearing loss, I talk about the wonder of it all.

But today, for the first time, I have telecoils in my hearing aids and I know how to use them. When I use the phone, I push a little button (which may look as if I’m poking myself in the head) and BOOM! I can talk on the phone without feedback. I use a neckloop that attaches to my cell phone or iPad, and when I activate it, POW! The music comes directly into my ears. Listening to a speaker in a room that has a hearing loop around the perimeter of the room, I just hit those T-switches and KABAM! The speaker’s voice fills my head. (Page 75, soft cover version)

It’s a simple system that delivers sound directly to my hearing aids. Let me define ‘simple’. It’s scientifically simple if you are scientifically minded—which I am not.  But it’s simple to use.  All I do is poke myself in the side of the head and voilà!  I hear voices directly . . . . .

Read more  . . . T- coils

Uber adds feature to allow Kenyan deaf drivers earn income

July 27, 2015 in Technology



Written by 

Deaf and hard-of-hearing Kenyans are the first in Africa to benefit from a ground-breaking innovation that will help them earn an income as drivers. The development follows a collaboration between Uber, the innovative smartphone app that seamlessly connects riders to drivers, and the Kenya National Association of the Deaf (KNAD).

Jambu Palaniappan, Regional General Manager for Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa, says the Association has helped Uber understand the challenges deaf and hard-of-hearing people overcome every day.

“As a result we’re introducing new features on the Uber app which are designed to make it easier for deaf and hard-of-hearing Kenyans to become partner-drivers and earn an income. The new settings we’re announcing today are a first step but we’re already thinking about how else we can help, through education and awareness, remove the barrier between deaf and hearing people in our cities,” says Palaniappan

Read more . . .  Deaf Kenyan

Participate in an Online Survey about VRS Phones and Software

July 27, 2015 in Research, Technology



Deaf and Hard of Hearing Video Relay Service (VRS) Users Invited to participate in an Online Survey about VRS Phones and Software

Your opinion counts: The Technology Access Program at Gallaudet University, in partnership with the Video Access Technology Reference Platform (VATRP) team is conducting an online survey to learn about your wishes and needs for video relay service (VRS) software.The VATRP project is a contract awarded by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to develop new VRS software. It is a partnership among VTCSecure, TCS Associates, Gallaudet University, and RIT/NTID.Our goal is to understand what features you would like to see in the new VRS software. To do the best job possible, we also want to understand what you currently like about your videophones, and what you currently dislike.

To take this survey you:
1. must be an adult (18 years or older)
2. must be deaf, hard of hearing, or have another form of hearing loss
3. must use video relay services; and
4. must have access to the Internet in order to complete the survey.

Completing the survey will take up to 20 minutes by reading, and up to 40 minutes by using the available videos, depending on how much you use relay services. If you would like to participate in this online survey, please go to  –

Project Manager Shahzad “Shah” Merchant explains why it is important for you to take this voluntary & anonymous survey.

This study has been approved by the Gallaudet University Institutional Review Board.





3 lessons from developers who have embraced assistive technology

July 26, 2015 in Technology




July 26, 2105
By Karissa Bell

When the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law 25 years ago, few could have imagined just how much would change as a result of the legislation.
Fewer still could have imagined a world where almost anyone has access to pocket-sized computers that would open so many doors to people with disabilities.

Today, we have apps that can help the blind see, give words to those who can’t speak and enable independence for people who would otherwise be forced to rely on others. To celebrate these advancements, Apple debuted a new collection in iTunes Thursday, highlighting apps that take advantage of accessibility features on iOS devices. The selection includes apps that help people with hearing and visual impairments interact with the world around them, those that enable communication for people with autism and apps that encourage learning at all levels.

We talked to some of the developers on the front lines of accessibility about what they’ve learned while creating these powerful apps, here’s what they told us.

1. Design matters — even if your users can’t see your app

Design is a fundamental part of any app. But even the most seasoned software makers find they need to rethink many aspects of design and user experience they would otherwise take for granted. While Apple makes its accessibility tools, like VoiceOver, readily available, developers often find making their app truly accessible requires a much more nuanced approach than what they’re used to.

Read More  . . . assistive technology

Apps help with pain, hearing, supplies

July 9, 2015 in Technology



By Elizabeth Leis Newman, Senior Editor
July 06, 2015

A flurry of apps released or updated this spring may help long-term care providers improve care.

The company ManagingLife, based out of Toronto, said it created the app Manage My Pain with the hope of improving physician-patient communication, but will be feeding data to York University for a psychology study.

“Most chronic pain studies involve hundreds of participants, but thanks to this app, we have several thousands of patients’ data to work with, including hundreds of thousands of data points,” said Joel Katz, Ph.D., Canada Research Chair in Health Psychology at York University.

The analysis will be at York University’s Human Pain Mechanisms Lab, where Katz is principal investigator.

For residents with hearing challenges, mobile applications company Bxtel LLC has released Enhanced Ears, an app that lets an Apple iPhone to function like a hearing aid.

The Enhanced Ears iPhone app is an affordable, discreet and effective alternative to hearing aids for those with mild to moderate hearing loss, the company said.

Read more . . . APPS

Technology breaking down barriers between deaf and hearing communities

July 7, 2015 in Technology



DesertNews – National
Mandy Morgan
July 6, 2015

When Laurence Whitworth went out to play or to school as a child, his mother couldn’t enjoy the peace of mind knowing that her son could pick up a phone and call if something was wrong.

That would have been more than just a convenience, considering Whitworth is deaf

“My mom would have to let me go and basically pray that nothing happens to me,” Whitworth recalled in an interview using Google Chat.

Whitworth doesn’t experience that anxiety as a parent today. Whitworth and his wife Elise, who is also deaf, have two boys who can hear, and communication is the least of their challenges in the home. In fact, for the boys, ages 11 and 13, speaking into a cellphone is foreign. Texting and video messages are how they communicate with their parents most frequently.

Communication has always been key to opportunity for the deaf community. But technological advances, which have changed the way everyone communicates, and a growing popularity among college students to learn American Sign Language have removed even more obstacles to the deaf community and the hearing community connecting.
Read more  . . .Tech

Turtle Beach’s HyperSound is for hearing loss, but has endless potential

June 26, 2015 in Technology



JUNE 22, 2015

Turtle Beach asked us to check out its products at E3 this year. We knew we’d be seeing headsets, but the audio developer had a neat surprise in store for us as well.
There were definitely headsets. Lots of headsets for Xbox, PlayStation 4, and PC– everything from simple chat audio gear for Xbox One up through multiplatform headsets with “super hearing” settings that let you hear silenced footsteps.

What really piqued our interest, though, was Turtle Beach’s HyperSound Clear technology and the potential future it presents for audio delivery.

Here’s Turtle Beach on how the technology works:

HyperSound technology is a fundamentally new approach to sound delivery that utilizes thin panels to generate an ultrasound beam that carries audio through the air. The panels direct sound in a narrow, controlled beam; much the way a flashlight directs a beam of light. When an individual enters the beam, they hear immersive 3D audio, similar to wearing a surround sound headset.

Read More  . . . Turtle Beach

One day, you’ll fine-tune hearing aids yourself

June 25, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research, Technology



 Jon Fingas
June 23, 2015

Hearing aids are supposed to help you resume a normal life, but they sometimes make things worse — and when most clinics aren’t prepared to calibrate the devices, it’s tempting to ditch them altogether. Norwegian scientists might give you an incentive to keep those earpieces in place, though. They’ve developed a touchscreen-based tuning system that lets you customize hearing aids largely by yourself. The technology asks you to pick a typical sound scenario (such as a busy office) and introduce extra effects until it replicates the situations where you have problems. After that, an audiometrist only has to adjust the hearing aid based on your feedback.

You may not have to wait long to see (or rather, hear) how well this works. AudioPlus Concept AS plans to use the system in one or two clinics in the very near future. You won’t have to rely solely on canned sound samples, either. The team has developed a mobile app that records problematic audio wherever you find it, so it should be easier to sort out your hearing aids even if you have unique challenges.

See picture  . . . research


The Internet Opens a Window to the Deaf World

June 25, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Technology



The Huffington Post
By Lydia L. Callis
June 24,2015

While mainstream media still struggles to integrate diversity into programming, the internet offers a vastly different experience. People around the globe, of all backgrounds and abilities, are uploading original new content every day, smashing boring stereotypes and changing the way we view different cultures. With a larger number of deaf and hard of hearing people sharing their opinions, ideas, and even their jokes, wider audiences are opening up to the real experience of deafness and deaf communication.

Thanks to the web, the lines between deaf and hearing entertainment are beginning to blur. Because it is so easy to add captioning now, deaf video creators are sharing their blogs, their art, and their lives with audiences who they may not have been able to reach in the past. By making their videos accessible, deaf people have the opportunity to frame their own experiences and creatively express themselves without being filtered by hearing editors and producers.

Read more  . . . Internet



FCC Announces 2015-2016 Funding for the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program

June 23, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology


On June 22, 2015, the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau released a Public Notice announcing the funding allocations for the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) for the 2015-2016 Fund year.  The NDBEDP is a program mandated by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) that provides up to $10 million annually for the distribution of communications equipment to low-income individuals who are deaf-blind.

Links to the Public Notice:

For further information, contact the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Disability Rights Office:  Jackie Ellington at 202-418-1153; or Rosaline Crawford at 202-418-2075 or

Needed: TTY users or family/friends of TTY users

June 15, 2015 in Community News, Research, Technology



The Technology Access Program (TAP) at Gallaudet University is looking for individuals to participate in a study that will allow TTY users to communicate with friends and family members who do not use TTYs.  The study will last for up to 8 weeks, with participants making at least one call per week.

Participants who do not have TTYs will be given software to use to call their friends and family members who have TTYs, and each other.  Participants will be instructed how to use the software, and will be contacted periodically by TAP staff to answer any questions you may have.  At the end of the study, you will be interviewed about your experiences by TAP staff.

If you are interested in participating, or have questions about the study, please contact Paula Tucker by email at, or by phone (voice or TTY) at 202-651-5049. To call using VP, contact Christian Vogler at 202-250-2795.


Gadget lets you hear music without wrecking your ears

June 11, 2015 in Technology



Cult of Mac
By David Pierini
June 9,2015

The best Beats headphones can’t help you if your ears are unable to hear certain subtle sounds. You can crank up the volume, but that only puts your hearing in peril.

The creators of Aumeo want to change the way you listen to music with an audio device that profiles your hearing – testing it with a smartphone app to find the frequency suited for each level – and offers sound-rich audio that lets you take your thumb off the volume button.

A person’s hearing is as unique as their fingerprints, but electronic audio devices provide more of a “one-size-fits-all” range of volume, according to Aumeo co-founder Paul Lee.

“We all hear differently and are sensitive to different sounds,” Lee said in written statement Tuesday. “With today’s . . . devices, consumers turn up the volume to hear more clearly.”

The result is widespread hearing loss, according to the Center for Disease Control, which estimated 5.2 million children and adolescents (aged 6-19) and 26 million adults (aged 20-69) suffer permanent damage from excessive exposure to noise. The CDC urges volume control on music to reduce risk.

Aumeo, which launched Tuesday on the crowd-funding site Indiegogo, claims its device can provide sound clarity without sacrificing hearing or audio quality. In the first five hours, Aumeo raised more than $30,000 en route to well exceeding a goal of $40,000.

The brushed-metal, pocket-sized square gadget connects with any audio device by either cable or a Bluetooth wireless connection and can work with Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, Netflix and other media services, not just your personal audio files.

Read more . .see pictures  . Gadget

Botswana company develops solar-powered hearing aid

June 3, 2015 in Technology



Posted by:  APA
May 28, 2015

Deaftronics, a Botswana -owned company has developed the first solar-powered hearing aid, Yarona FM radio station reported here Thursday.
Speaking to Yarona FM, the co-founder Tendekayi Katsiga said the hearing aid which is called Solar Ear has a solar-powered battery charger meant to improve the lives of those with hearing loss in the developing world.

Katsiga said the company, which is a client of the Botswana Innovation Hub’s technology entrepreneurship development programme, is helping train a workforce of hearing-impaired people across three continents to assemble and distribute the device.

“The company came up with the device after they realised that the devices used in Africa only last for a month due to the fact that the batteries would die and they are not available in Africa”

Read More . . . solar-powered

Uber Adds New Features To Driver-Side App For Hearing Impaired Drivers

June 3, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology




Uber is making changes to its driver-side app to provide better functionality for deaf and hard of hearing driver partners.

For years now, Uber’s driver-side app has used audio alerts to notify the driver when a passenger is waiting to be picked up. This put Uber’s deaf and hard of hearing drivers in the position of having to text their intended passenger to let them know that all communication would need to be text-based.

Today, however, the company is rolling out an update to the app that uses a visual alert (flashing lights) to notify drivers of the waiting passenger. The feature is opt-in, so hearing drivers can stick with the audio alert if they prefer.

The update also changes some of the functionality for passengers being picked up by deaf or hard-of-hearing drivers, removing the option to call your driver and prompting the user to input their final destination before the car arrives.

Read more  . . . driver-side app

Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities

June 1, 2015 in Technology is looking for your biggest and best ideas for how technology can expand opportunity and independence for people with disabilities.  Google is committing USD 20 million in grant funding toward this goal, some of which may be awarded to organizations identified through this call for ideas.  Ideas will be evaluated on a rolling basis, so you are encouraged to submit whenever you are ready.  Ideas will be accepted until September 30, 2015 at 2:00 pm, Pacific Daylight Time.  For more information visit the link: