Technology - Archive

Do-it-yourself healthcare is closer than you think

March 24, 2015 in Community News, Technology


Extreme Tech
By Ben Algaze
March 20, 2015

AUSTIN–Healthcare-related innovation was everywhere at South by Southwest Interactive this year. There were sessions on healthcare IT, big data, wearables, and innovative startups that are using technology to upend the status quo. For example, Tim O’Reilly gave a talk about adapting the same experience-focused approach used by companies such as Apple, Google, and Uber to reimagine health care delivery.

And if there is any industry ripe for disruption, it is healthcare. According to federal government statistics, healthcare expenditures in the U.S now exceed $3 trillion and represent 17% of the nation’s GDP. Yet despite consisting of such a huge slice of the economy, and incorporating large amounts of new technology for diagnosis and treatment of diseases in the past 30 years, the industry has failed at delivering cost-effective care. Compare that with the computing industry, where the million-dollar supercomputer of 20 years ago now fits in your pocket and costs $600 unsubsidized.

Read More  . . . Wearables

NYPD agrees to reform policy banning cops from wearing hearing aids

March 20, 2015 in Disability Law, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology



Wednesday, March 18, 2015


The NYPD finally listened to its officers Monday and agreed to reform a policy banning cops from wearing hearing aids.

The change is the result of a settlement reached in Manhattan Federal Court between the city and attorneys for hearing-impaired NYPD cops forced into retirement by the rule.

Disability Rights Advocate lawyer Rebecca Rodgers estimated “several hundred” cops would benefit from the agreement, though the actual number is unclear because many are likely deterred from coming forward due to the policy, she said.

“Cops did not want to disclose that they used hearing aids because they did not want to lose their jobs,” Rodgers said.

Read More  . . . . Police – hearing aids

Related Article – NY Post –  By Rich Calder – March 17, 2015


Stephanie Ulmer named VA Captioned Telephone Outreach Coordinator

March 19, 2015 in Captioning / Relay, Community News, Technology


Stephanie Ulmer Joins Hamilton Relay and VDDHH as Virginia Relay Captioned Telephone Outreach Coordinator

RICHMOND, VA. – The Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) and Hamilton Relay, Virginia’s captioned telephone (CapTel®) service provider, recently announced that Stephanie Ulmer has been hired as Virginia Relay Captioned Telephone Outreach Coordinator. In her new position, Stephanie will provide outreach support and education services for the entire Commonwealth of Virginia to raise awareness of the CapTel services available through Virginia Relay. Virginia Relay is a free public service that enables people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or who have difficulty speaking to place and receive telephone calls.

Ulmer is highly experienced in business and customer service within the health care field. Previously, she worked for the District 19 Community Services Board as administrative associate in Child and Adolescent Services. She currently resides in Prince George, Va.

“I am looking forward to shifting my focus to marketing,” says Ulmer. “I am excited to have the opportunity to travel and meet people throughout Virginia and educate them about the life-changing benefits CapTel provides for individuals who have difficulty hearing over the phone.”

CapTel is designed specifically for people who have difficulty hearing over the telephone. Using a CapTel phone, users speak directly to the other person and are able to listen while reading word-for-word captions of what’s said to them during phone conversations. Behind the scenes, captions are generated by a specially-trained Captioning Assistant using state-of-the-art voice recognition software. Captions appear on the CapTel phone’s display screen nearly simultaneously to the spoken word, adding clarity and confidence in using the phone to communicate with friends, family and businesses.

Virginia residents are eligible to purchase CapTel phones at a special reduced rate of $75 through Virginia Relay. CapTel phones are also available at no cost to people who qualify medically and financially through Virginia’s Technology Assistance Program (TAP). For more information, please visit or contact Stephanie Ulmer at

About Virginia Relay

Virginia Relay and the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) provide the most up-to-date technologies and assistive devices to enable people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind and speech-impaired to communicate via a standard telephone network. Virginia Relay services are easily accessible to anyone by dialing 7-1-1. For more information on Virginia Relay and its services, please visit, or call VDDHH at 804-662-9502 v/t.

About Hamilton Relay

Hamilton Relay provides contracted Traditional Relay and/or Captioned Telephone services to 17 states, the District of Columbia and the Island of Saipan, and is a provider of Internet-based Captioned Telephone services nationwide. More information is available at



Cochlear Implant Symposium-Washington DC – Oct. 15-17

March 19, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology



For more details, visit

The Symposium is being hosted by the American Cochlear Implant Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing access to the gift of hearing provided by cochlear implants through research, advocacy, and awareness. 

TDI Biennial Conference, in Baltimore, Maryland August 19-22, 2015

March 19, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Community News, Technology



Hyatt Regency Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, August 19-22, 2015

Remember to mark your calendars for the 21th TDI Biennial Conference, in Baltimore, Maryland August 19-22, 2015. Hope to see you there!
About Telecommunications for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing (TDI):
TDI is a consumer advocacy organization that provides leadership in achieving equal access to telecommunications, media, and information technologies for 48 million Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing. TDI publishes the TDI World quarterly magazine and the annual TDI National Directory & Resource Guide, also known as the Blue Book. In odd numbered years, TDI hosts a biennial conference where consumers, industry leaders and government officials gather to discuss accessibility trends in technology. For more information about TDI and to support its work, visit TDI’s website at


Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (TDI) | 8630 Fenton Street | Suite #121 | Silver Spring | MD | 20910-3822

Call for Nominations for TDI Board Members in Northeast, Southeast, & West Regions

March 19, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Community News, Technology

Now is your opportunity to shape the future of TDI! 

The TDI Board of Directors is composed of five (5) Regional Representatives and three (3) At-Large members.  Board members serve four-year (4-year) terms, with staggered elections for the Regional Representatives being held every two years.  

The Midwest and Central Regional Representatives were elected in 2013 to serve until 2017.  The Northeast, Southeast and West Regional Representatives are up for re-election this year to serve until 2019.

The Board meets two (2) times in even-numbered years and three (3) times in odd-numbered years.  Board meetings are held in various cities around the country and are always open to the public.

The TDI Elections Committee is soliciting nominations for the three TDI Board seats that are up for election in 2015. The three open Board seats are one each for the Northeast, Southeast and West Regions.

  • The Northeast Region consists of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
  • The Southeast Region consists of Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • The West Region consists of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

Regional Board Representatives are elected by TDI members in their region only and serve for approximately a four-year term (exact term length may vary a month or so depending on when TDI conferences are held), this year the new Board members serve their term immediately when this year’s TDI Conference ends on August 22, 2015.

A Board member’s responsibilities include:

  1. Overseeing TDI’s operations to assure programs are run efficiently and effectively,
  2. Identifying telecommunications and media access needs of persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened and deaf-blind,
  3. Developing organizational policies and procedures,
  4. Evaluating the performance of the TDI Executive Director,
  5. Promoting TDI programs and services, and
  6. Communicating TDI’s mission, goals, and interests to its members, other deafness related organizations, governmental agencies, and persons in the general public.

All nominees for Regional Representatives must be current TDI members and must live in the region that they would represent.  Individuals may nominate themselves or may nominate others. Nomination forms can be found on the TDI website at:

If you prefer to fill out the printed form and send it in to us via US Postal mail, you can find and print the form here:

Completed nomination forms may be:

  • Printed and mailed to TDI, 8630 Fenton Street, Suite 121, Silver Spring, MD 20910
  • Printed, scanned and sent via email to, or
  • Submitted using the online form on the TDI website.

All nominations must be postmarked, e-mailed, or submitted online no later than May 15, 2015.    

The TDI Elections Committee will contact nominees, verify their willingness to serve, and obtain a brief statement of experience and goals. The TDI Elections Committee will then select one or more final candidates from the nominees in each TDI electoral region whose Regional Representative’s term on the Board is ending. The ballots will be mailed out on or before June 18, 2015, and election results will be announced to the TDI membership at the business meeting during the TDI Biennial Conference in Baltimore, Maryland in August 22, 2015.

Please send your nominations to TDI real soon!

Thank you!

Video-on-Demand Children’s TV Programming Now Accessible

March 17, 2015 in Disability Law, Technology



Video-on-Demand Children’s TV Programming Now Accessible for Thousands of Students with Visual or Hearing Disabilities

03/16/2015 10:17 AM EDT
The U.S. Department of Education today announced the availability of free, video-on-demand children’s television programming for thousands of students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing.

FCC Updates List of Nonbroadcast Networks Subject to Video Description Requirements

March 17, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law, Technology



On March 6, 2015, the FCC’s Media Bureau took the following actions in an Order and Public Notice:

(1)    Announced that, beginning July 1, 2015, the top five nonbroadcast networks that will be subject to the FCC’s video description requirements are the Disney Channel, History, TBS, TNT, and USA;

(2)    Granted a request by ESPN to be excluded from the list of networks that must provide video description because ESPN does not air at least 50 hours of prime time programming that is not live or near-live (recorded less than 24 hours before its first airing) per calendar quarter; and

(3)    Reminded broadcast stations affiliated with ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC that the obligation to provide 50 hours of video description per calendar quarter expands from the top 25 television markets to the top 60 television markets on July 1, 2015.


The FCC’s rules require multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) systems (such as cable and satellite providers) that serve 50,000 or more subscribers to provide 50 hours of video description per calendar quarter (about four hours per week) during prime time or children’s programming on each of the top five nonbroadcast networks.  The top five nonbroadcast networks that have been subject to the video description requirements since July 1, 2012 are the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, TBS, TNT and USA.  The FCC updates the list of top five nonbroadcast networks that are subject to the video description requirements every three years to account for changes in ratings.  The new list of networks reflects changes in such ratings.

Links to the Order and Public Notice:


For further information, contact Maria Mullarkey at (202) 418-2120 or

Bluetooth Earpieces Do Battle With the $3,000 Hearing Aid

March 13, 2015 in Technology



Advances in circuitry and Bluetooth have made hearing-aid alternatives cheaper and more powerful

David Gauvey Herbert
March 5, 2015

One night in June 2010, New York composer Richard Einhorn went to bed in a motel feeling stuffy and woke up almost completely deaf. At the time, Einhorn, who wrote the oratorio Voices of Light, had limited ways to deal with his nightmare condition, known as sudden sensorineural hearing loss. He visited an audiologist and bought a hearing aid for $3,000. (His insurance plan, like most, didn’t cover it.) Unhappy with the expense and the limits of the earpiece’s technology, which struggled to adapt to different noise levels, Einhorn began searching for alternative gadgets that could restore more of his hearing for less money.

Today, he has a backpack full of them. To supplement his old-school hearing aid, he favors a $350 iPhone-linked earpiece made by Sound World Solutions, a hearing-hardware maker in Park Ridge, Ill., for whom he’s begun to consult. With the Sound World device on, he can amplify phone calls and streaming music as well as his surroundings. A third, $500 earpiece was custom-made by Ultimate Ears in Irvine, Calif., to help him detect a wider range of musical tones while composing. For restaurants and theaters, he has a $45 directional microphone that pairs with a $5 app to isolate desired voices. And for especially cacophonous places, he has spare $700 microphones, made by Etymotic Research in Elk Grove Village, Ill., that he can strap to companions.

Read More  . . . hearing-aid alternatives

Sennheiser launches RS 195 headphones for hearing loss sufferers

March 13, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology



Technology Tell
by Aaron Kraus
March 13, 2015

Sections: iPodiPod AccessoriesiPod Headphones and EarbudsMacintosh/Apple HardwarePeripheralsSpeakers and Headphones

Hearing loss can mean losing the ability to enjoy your favorite music, movies, and TV shows. Sennheiser’s headphone lineup now includes a model designed to address individual needs of people suffering from hearing loss, and they’re wireless so you can stay portable while listening to your favorite audio. The Sennheiser RS 195 headphones feature unique technical abilities that make it easier to compensate for various types of hearing loss while still enjoying great sound.

Cut the Cord

The RS 195 uses a proprietary wireless transmitter base that also doubles as the headphone charger. This base delivers a 100 meter listening range (that’s 300 feet and some change), and in between listening sessions you simply cradle the headphones on the base to recharge the battery.

Read Entire Head Phone Review  . . .

Disability Advisory Committee Meeting-Live Webcast-March 17th

March 12, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Community News, Technology



The FCC’s Disability Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting on Tuesday, March 17, 2015, at FCC headquarters, located at 445 12th Street, SW, in Washington, DC. 

The Committee meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern Time) and will be open to the public.  At 11:45 a.m., the Committee will break for lunch and subcommittee activities.  The Committee meeting will reconvene and will be open to the public at 3:30 p.m.  The Committee will receive comments from the public at 4:30 p.m.  Comments can be presented in person or by e-mail to  The Committee meeting will adjourn at 5:00 p.m.

The Committee meeting will be webcast with open captioning at

The agenda has been posted on the Committee’s webpage at  Minutes of the Committee meeting will be posted at a later date.

Links to the agenda for March 17, 2015:

Links to the Public Notice announcing the meeting on March 17, 2015:|

Backers claim Nanoplug hearing aid’s campaign was a scam

March 6, 2015 in Technology


Backers claim Nanoplug hearing aid’s $293K Indiegogo campaign was a scam

ON MARCH 5, 2015

Backers of an Indiegogo campaign promising to create “the world’s first invisible hearing aid” have accused the project’s creators of scamming them out of more than $293,000.

The hearing aid, which its creators dubbed the Nanoplug because it was supposed to run off a rechargeable “nanobattery,” was billed as a “100 percent invisible, instant-fit, user programmable hearing aid” and promised to prove that “better hearing can be cool.”

The Nanoplug’s creators wanted $80,000 to bring the product to market. They raised almost four-times that amount from 1,063 backers. Yet the product they promised — the whole reason these people backed this project — might never make its way to backers’ hands.

Read More  . . .


 TECH.CO Original Article  Article Dec. 9th,2014

Slash Gear Article Dec 12, 2014

Indiana helps lead way in implementation of 911 texting

February 24, 2015 in Emergency Preparedness, Technology



The Tribune
The Associated Press
February 22, 2015

 — All but four of Indiana’s 92 counties have signed on a system that allows phone users to send a text to 911 when they need emergency help, putting the state at the forefront of a technology that’s slowly making its way across the country.

Only Vermont and Maine have all counties accepting text messages to 911, the Palladium-Item reported ( ). Fifteen other states have a few counties each that participate in the “Text to 911″ system.

“It will eventually make it across the nation,” said Matthew Cain, deputy director of Wayne County Emergency Communications, which volunteered to be one of five pilot counties to explore the texting option. “It’s mainly geared toward the deaf community and the hard-of-hearing community, but it also benefits others when it’s unsafe to call.”

A federal order required all wireless carriers and text-messaging providers to allow users to send texts to local 911 dispatchers by the end of 2014.

In Indiana, only Lake, Jasper, Marion and Ripley counties have not accepted the system.

Cain said calling is still the best option for contacting 911 because communication is quicker between the dispatcher and the caller. But text messages are useful when a person has a hearing or speech impairment or when it’s unsafe for a person to speak, such as in cases of an abduction or domestic situation.

How Old Is Too Old for Cochlear Implant Reimplantation?

February 20, 2015 in Research, Technology



For people with severe to profound hearing loss, cochlear implants can restore hearing and improve quality of life. Initially FDA-approved in 1985, only individuals with bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss with no open set speech recognition (in other words, some ability to understand speech without visual clues) were considered viable candidates for cochlear implants.  The criteria have become less rigid over time, and more people are eligible including those with more profound residual hearing and pre-implant speech recognition scores. Occasionally, devices fail or medical complications create a need for revision surgery and reimplantation. The incidence of revision surgery is low, but outcomes are variable.

Some studies have suggested that advanced age may be associated with poor post-revision outcomes. Investigators from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have completed a study that asks whether advanced age should be a contraindication for revision cochlear implantation.

Read More  . . . Reimplantation

Petition • Pay Innocaption for +100,000 minutes of captioned phone calls

February 20, 2015 in Community News, Technology




This petition will be delivered to: FCC

Pay Innocaption for +100,000 minutes of captioned phone calls for the deaf!

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is not paying Innocaption for the more than 100,000 minutes of services provided by them to support deaf and hard-of-hearing people to make and receive captioned telephone calls on cell phones.

Innocaption is a brand new company that has engineered new technologies to provide captioning to cell phones. The benefits of this technology has never before been experienced by hearing-impaired people: lightening fast captioning with almost no delay, mobile captioning on the go, captioned voice mail, and the abilty to both make and receive calls.

When this company started, FCC agreed to support them by paying for the minutes of captioning services. This way, deaf and HOH folk using the app don’t have to pay for anything more than what hearing people pay for to use cell phones.  

READ MORE  Sign this petition. . . Innocaption