Technology - Archive

Younger Adults More Likely to Use New Gadgets for Hearing Loss

October 6, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research, Technology



Consumer Reports
by Sue Byrne
October 01, 2015

If you have hearing loss, like one in six adults in the U.S., you probably haven’t done anything about it: Less than half have gone to a doctor or audiologist about the problem in the last five years, perhaps because they don’t want to wear a hearing aid or try a different technology. But that may be changing.

A new report on hearing trouble in adults released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that people age 18 to 39 with hearing loss are more likely than people age 40 and up to use some sort of assistive technology to cope with the problem, such as headsets, FM microphone systems, text messages, amplified telephones, or live video streaming.

Room for Improvement

“There’s a lot of untreated hearing loss in this country,” says Carla Zelaya, Ph.D., a survey statistician for the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics and lead author of the report, which surveyed more than 36,000 U.S. adults.

“We found that people of middle age were the least likely to use assistive technology, perhaps because their hearing loss is not that bad yet and they are uncomfortable with using the newer devices. But the younger adults seem to recognize their hearing limitation and are using new technology to help themselves.”

Read more Younger Adults


Workshop by Tina Childress, C”APP”ITALIZING, ON TECHNOLOGY – Oct 19th

October 6, 2015 in Community News, Technology



Presented by Outreach Services, VSDB VSDB_outreach

Tina Childress, MA,CCC-A,

Is a trainer for the Illinois School for the Deaf Outreach Program and the 2014 winner of the I. King Jordan Award and Phonak’s Cheryl DeConde Johnson Award for outstanding achievement in Educational and Pediatric Audiology.

As a result of this training, participants will be able to describe features of apps that can be used with children with hearing loss (and with adults), list sources for finding apps for no or low cost, and name apps that can be used to work on receptive and expressive language skills for children developing listening and spoken language skills and/or signing skills.

Target Audience: Speech and language pathologists, teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing, audiologists, Part C providers, parents, and consumers.

October 19, 2015      9:30 – 2:00

Register by October 12

(see attached registration form below)

J.F. Fick Conference Center,
1301 Sam Perry Blvd,
Fredericksburg, VA 22401

DOWNLOAD – TinaChildress-Oct_19_2015_flyer

DOWNLOAD – Childress_Registration_Form

Yahoo brings accessibility quest to Boston

October 1, 2015 in Captioning / Relay, Technology



Boston Globe
by Hiawatha Bray

According to the World Health Organization, a billion people worldwide have some form of disability. The giant Internet service Yahoo wants to deliver information and entertainment to every one of them, not just because it’s good business, but also because it’s the right thing to do.

On Tuesday, Yahoo showed off an “accessibility lab” at its Boston facility in Downtown Crossing. Yahoo will use the lab to test the closed captions it attaches to its online video content, to ensure that deaf viewers can enjoy the shows.

Yahoo includes such captions on nearly all its video content, but must carefully tailor the captions for multiple devices. The same video might be viewed on a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone or a videogame console. The Boston accessibility lab will ensure that captions are modified as needed, so they’re correctly rendered on each device.

“The more we can both prove the financial value and the social value, hooray! What a double win that is!” said Larry Goldberg, Yahoo’s director of accessible media and manager of the Boston lab, one of two run by the company. Goldberg spent nearly 30 years at Boston public television station WGBH, where he led the National Center for Accessible Media, a pioneer in the use of closed captions and descriptive audio for people with vision problems.

See original article

Hiawatha Bray is a technology reporter for the Boston Globe.

New Zealand – TV subtitles for the deaf won’t be made mandatory by the Government

September 24, 2015 in Community News, Technology



Any hope of deaf and hard-of-hearing Kiwis getting television subtitles for the remaining Rugby World Cup games have been dashed because broadcasters don’t have the capability.

The Green Party are calling for the Government to make captioning mandatory on New Zealand screens and in time for Kiwis to be able to enjoy some of the remaining games.

But Cabinet Minister Nikki Kaye who fielded questions on the issue in Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams’ absence said technical issues around doing it wouldn’t be resolved within the next few weeks.

“It’s all about how you get that live feed from broadcasters overseas and that’s just not possible.”

She said the Government wouldn’t make television captioning mandatory because it would put a lot of cost on broadcasters.

Read more  . . . TV Captions

Fairfax County – Public launch of Text to 911 – on Tuesday Sept. 22

September 22, 2015 in Emergency Preparedness, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology


September 22, 2015

Fairfax County’s Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC) now accepts text messages to 9-1-1 for reporting police/fire/medical emergencies.

See TEXT-TO-911_Post Card

Was publicly announced at the Board of Supervisors meeting. – September 22

(The following is the text from the DPSC Post Card)

Fairfax County Emergency 9-1-1


Text to 9-1-1 is intended primarily for use in 3 Emergency Scenarios:

  1. For individual who is deaf, hard-of-hearing or has a speech disability.
  2. For someone who is in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call to 9-1-1.
  3. Medical emergency the renders the person incapable of speaking.
Only Text 9-1-1 In An Emergency (English Only)


How do I text to 9-1-1?

  • Enter the numbers “911” in the “TO” or “RECIPIENT” field.
  • The first text to 9-1-1 should be short, include location of the emergency, ask for police, fire or ambulance.
  • Push the “SEND” button
  • Answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
  • Text in simple words. NO abbreviations or Slang.
  • Keep text messages short.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Text to 9-1-1 is not available if you are in a roaming situation.
  • A text or data plan is required to place a text to 9-1-1. Standard text messaging rates apply.
  • Photos and Videos CANNOT be sent to 9-1-1 at this time.
  • Text to 9-1-1 CANNOT include more than one person. Do not copy your emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1. Wait until you are safe to notify others of your situation.
  • Prank-texters can be identified and possibly prosecuted according to local laws/regulations.
  • Text to 9-1-1 is available in Fairfax County beginning Tuesday September 22, 2015

More information can be found at:

(END of the DPSC Post Card Text)

Guidelines for  TEXTING  to 9-1-1

  • Stay calm – dispatchers can’t help you if they can’t understand you. Take a deep breath and think before you text. TEXT slowly and clearly. The first text to 9-1-1 should be short, include location of the emergency, ask for police, fire or ambulance.
  • Know your location and text the dispatcher the exact address (apartment/suite number, intersection, interstate mile markers) where the help is needed.
  • Answer all questions. The call taker will have questions for you and may even ask you to do something to help. It is important that you answer the questions as best as you can. DO NOT STOP TEXTING  unless you are in danger or the dispatcher tells you to do so.
  • TEXT the nature of the emergency. Stay on the line to answer further questions the dispatcher may have.
  • Send someone to meet the emergency equipment if at all possible. It’s hard to find an address on a dimly lit street in the middle of the night.
  • If you Text  9-1-1 even by mistake, do not hang up the phone.  If you call by accident, stay on the line until you can tell the call taker that there is no emergency, so the call taker doesn’t have to waste time sending police trying locate you.
  • Prevent prank Text to 9-1-1.  Prank-Texters  not only waste time; they are illegal in most states and endanger public safety.  If 9-1-1 lines or call takers are busy with prank calls, someone with a real emergency may not be able to get the help they need.  Be sure all members of your household are aware that prank or harassing calls to 9-1-1 will be dealt with by local law enforcement agencies.


TEXT to 911 – Coverage Map as of September 22,2015 


Advanced microscopy helps NIDCD pinpoint key proteins for hearing and balance

September 15, 2015 in Research, Technology




NIH – National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
September 10, 2015

Using powerful microscopy techniques, a research team led by scientists at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has pinpointed in mice the precise cellular location of two proteins known to be important for hearing and balance. The discovery provides additional evidence that the proteins, TMC1 and TMC2, are part of the channel complex that is essential for the inner ear to process sound and the signals that are key to balance.

Read more  . . . key proteins 

Credit: Bechara Kachar and Andrew J. Griffith, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), National Institutes of Health (NIH).

A Technological Godsend to Counter Hearing Loss

September 1, 2015 in Technology



The ‘hearing loop’ is a remarkable advance, but all too hard to find in the U.S.

The Wall Street Journal

The first time I clicked on my hearing aids’ telecoils, it seemed like magic. It was 1999 and my wife and I were sitting in a historic abbey on Scotland’s Isle of Iona. I had gradually become hard of hearing and had gotten my first hearing aid in my 40s, and the abbey wasn’t built with acoustics in mind. The amplified voice of the worship leader caromed off the stone walls, reverberating into a fog by the time it reached my ears.

Then my wife noticed a sign with a capital T and an outline of an ear, which indicated that the abbey was wired with a “hearing loop” that could magnetically transmit sound from the PA system to the telecoils in my hearing aids. When I flipped the switch to turn my T-coils on, the fog instantly dissipated. I could hear a crystal-clear voice speaking seemingly from the center of my head. The experience took me to the verge of tears.

Hearing loops are now ubiquitous in Britain. They’re in churches and auditoriums, at tens of thousands of ticket windows, post offices and pharmacies and in every London taxi. At spacious Westminster Abbey, with my hearing aids’ microphones turned off and my T-coils turned on, I hear better than most in the audience.

After that epiphany on Iona, I became an evangelist: Why not loop America? Theaters and other public venues in the U.S. generally offer “assistive listening” devices. But that typically requires people with

Read More  . . . Loop

FCC Boosting Open Video Platform for the Deaf

August 20, 2015 in Captioning / Relay, Community News, Technology


Initiative to Ease ASL Users’ Communication With Government

Multichannel News
By: John Eggerton
August 20,2015

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler wants to give people with disabilities a hand. Make that two hands, and in the process, a stronger voice.

Wheeler plans to announce today at the TDI Conference in Baltimore that the FCC is making available an open-source video platform to make it easier for the deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind community to communicate with federal agencies and businesses in American Sign Language (ASL).   “It is time for people who speak with their hands and hear with their eyes to enjoy modern advancements in communications technologies,” Wheeler planned to tell the conference, according to the commission, which announced the initiative in tandem with the speech.

“It’s time for you to be able to have your video products work together, so you can call whomever you wish, whenever you wish, from anywhere. The platform we are launching has tremendous potential to ensure that you will be able to do this.”

The FCC already has a direct video system — it was the first federal agency to use interactive video to give the deaf and hard-of-hearing access to ASL consumer support, an agency spokesperson said — as does the Small Business Administration. The Census Bureau, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the City of New York have all announced plans to use such a system.

Read more   . . . 

New Generation Hearing Aids & Technologies Help To Reduce Anxiety & Depression

August 18, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology



Aug 7, 2015 01:00 PM
By  Susan Scutti

About one-third of American adults between the ages of 65 and 75 have some degree of hearing loss, while for those who are even older, that number rises to nearly one in two, the Mayo Clinic notes. A new study suggests hearing loss — or hearing less — is under-treated despite evidence that the latest generation of hearing aids may help to lessen depression and anxiety while also improving mental functioning.

“Anger, frustration, depression and anxiety are all common among people who find themselves hard of hearing,” Dr. David Myers, a psychology professor at Hope College in Michigan, stated in a press release. “Getting people to use the latest in hearing aid technology can help them regain control of their life and achieve emotional stability and even better cognitive functioning.”

Heredity and chronic exposure to loud noises are the main factors that contribute to hearing loss, scientists say. While people commonly fear excessive earwax might contribute to their hearing loss, it usually does so only temporarily. A 2011 study investigated hearing loss and its relationship to dementia and found the risk of all-cause dementia increased with hearing loss severity. Since social isolation has been linked to dementia (and other cognitive disorders), this result makes intuitive sense.

Read More  . . .  New Generation Hearing Aids

The Coming Wave of Bionic Hearing Gadgets

August 18, 2015 in Technology


Startups like Doppler Labs are building earbuds that will let you turn down the volume on crying babies and pump up the bass on live music.

MIT Technology Review
By Rachel Metz
August 14, 2015

In a windowless office on a tiny San Francisco side street, Noah Kraft is making me hear things in a way I’ve never heard them before.

I’m wearing a wireless earbud in each ear. The devices, which are white and look kind of like big Altoids mints, are the latest prototype built by Doppler Labs, a wearable-technology startup of which Kraft is cofounder and CEO. Kraft is sitting diagonally across from me, chatting, and using an iPhone app to manipulate the sound of his voice and the relatively quiet background noise of the office in ways that only I can hear.

He adds an echo to his voice. He raises and lowers the bass, treble, and midrange. Then he stands up and walks several feet away, but he sounds as loud as if he were yapping right in my ear—until I take out the earbuds and confirm that he’s actually speaking pretty quietly.

Read More . . . . Doppler Labs


Captioned Telephone Services Usability Assessment

August 7, 2015 in Community News, Technology



We are seeking referrals of individuals to participate in an important study that The MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit organization, is conducting to assess current Internet Protocol (IP) based Captioned Telephone Services (IP CTS) telecommunications. IP CTS is a combination of CTS and IP Relay that allows a person with hearing loss who can use their own voice and has some residual hearing to speak and listen to another party and simultaneously read captions of what the other party is saying.

We would greatly appreciate your contribution to this important research effort.  Here are three ways you can help:

  • identify potential participant(s)
  • share this request with your network, or
  • sign-up yourself.

This study will assess the IP CTS services and devices from the user’s perspective. Data on the performance of IP CTS and usability feedback from users will be collected to develop a baseline assessment of IP CTS equipment and usability. Follow on studies will test alternative technologies to IP CTS.  Please see the table download PDF for more details. DOWNLOAD – IP CTS Usability Assessment Information

MITRE operates multiple federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs).  MITRE partners with sponsors to provide innovative practical solutions for some of our nation’s most critical challenges in healthcare, defense and intelligence, aviation, civil systems, homeland security, the judiciary, and cybersecurity.

Please feel free to forward this request to individuals who are hard of hearing, and support organizations who might propose qualified candidate(s) for this important assessment.

Thank you for your time, consideration, and support!

Becca Scollan
Human System Integration, Visualization & Decision Support
MITRE Corporation



End of an Era and Materials for new Relay Contractor for Virginia (VDDHH)

August 4, 2015 in Community News, Technology


July 31, 2015

Today marks the end of an era in VDDHH’s 43 year history.  For the past 24 ½ years, the Virginia Relay Center in Norton has been a part of our daily lives at VDDHH and the lifeline for thousands and thousands of deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, and speech disabled individuals in Virginia.

Since its opening in early 1991, Norton served as AT&T’s flagship center and consistently received the highest level of customer satisfaction of any relay center nationwide.  It also served as the development and testing site for countless new relay technologies and calling features that were later mandated by the FCC or adopted by other states.  At its peak, the Norton center provided relay services to 14 other states and employed 273 individuals.  Of that number, there are 52 dedicated CAs and 3 managers who chose to remain in their positions and who will close the center later today, in their words, “with dignity and grace”.

Later today, all relay calls initiated in Virginia will be routed to Hamilton Telecommunications, our new relay services contractor..  Please review the attached Frequently Asked Questions flyer and share this important information with relay users in your area as appropriate.

Also attached is a copy of the Relay Choice Profile that will be used by Hamilton.   A link will be added to the Virginia Relay website later today.

Thank you for your cooperation, and please reply if you have any questions after reviewing the attachments.

Clayton E. Bowen
Relay and Technology Programs Manager
Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
1602 Rolling Hills Drive, Suite 203
Richmond, VA 23229-5012

(804) 662-9704 v/t
(804) 662-9718 fax
(804) 283-5476 cell


Attachments –

DOWNLOAD – VARelay_Hamilton_FAQ

DOWNLOAD – VA_Customer Profile and Guide Combined


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.