Technology - Archive

Student makes discovery when it comes to extending hearing aid battery life

May 19, 2015 in Community News, Technology

 

Published: 

ROCHESTER, Minn. – An 8th grade student may have made a discovery that could save people who wear hearing aids significant money.

Ethan Manuell is an audiology patient at Olmsted County Medical Center and wears a hearing aid in his left ear. He began a study, with the help of his audiologist, Mary Meier Au. D, looking into the effect wait time has on hearing aid batteries, which is the time between activating the battery and placing the battery in the hearing aid.

To activate a hearing aid battery, users need to remove a sticker on the battery which allows oxygen to mix with zinc-oxide inside the battery. Manuell did tests to see if waiting a little longer before putting the battery into the device would make a difference. What he found was if users wait 5 minutes after pulling off the sticker, the battery will last 2-3 days longer, which is significant considering batteries usually last anywhere from 2-7 days depending on the model.

“The more energized zinc you have, the longer it lasts. So this discovery I made, if you wait five minutes, it improves the battery life by 80%,” explains Manuell.

Ethan has won several awards and received recognition for his “5 minute rule” discovery, including earning a US Naval Science Award.

Watch captioned video

Improved cochlear implants could be developed based on hearing loss study

May 19, 2015 in Research, Technology

 

 

International Business Times
By Jayalakshmi K

A landmark study that unveils the biological process of how the brain balances the hearing between two ears to localise sound and hear in noisy conditions could help improvise cochlear implants and hearing aids.

University of New South Wales researchers have discovered the crucial role played by a group of auditory nerve fibres in the hearing process.

The “olivocochlear” hearing control reflex links the cochlea of each ear via the brain’s auditory control centre to help discriminate between noise and sound.

When sound intensity increases, the olivocochlear reflex turns down the “cochlear amplifier” to balance the input of each ear for optimal hearing and to protect hearing.

“Our hearing is so sensitive that we can hear a pin drop and that’s because of the ‘cochlear amplifier’ in our inner ear. This stems from outer hair cells in the cochlea which amplify sound vibrations,” says UNSW Professor Gary Housley.

Read More  . . . Improved cochlear implants

A Deafblind Woman Found a Hidden Feature in Her Apple Watch That Changed Her Life

May 18, 2015 in Technology

 

 

News.Mic
By Max Plenke

Using one overlooked feature on her Apple Watch, a blind and deaf woman learned to navigate any city.

This is Molly Watt, a woman living with a genetic disorder called Usher syndrome that affects her sight and hearing. She began experimenting with the functionality of her Apple Watch in April.

There’s been plenty of negative commentary popping up online about Apple Watch. Some reviewers have dismissed it as a luxury item — “an iPhone sales engine” — without any real, game-changing features. But Watt found one crucially important function that’s been overlooked by the press, something most users take for granted.

“I was born deaf and registered blind when I was 14. The condition I have is Usher Syndrome Type 2a. I am severely deaf and have only a very small tunnel of vision in my right eye now,” she explained. She ordered the Apple Watch Sport in the larger size, she said, “so I’d not lose it quite so easily.”

Watt was already accustomed to using an iPhone, so navigating her Apple Watch wasn’t too difficult. She had to tweak a few accessibility features first. She increased the default font size to match the settings on her phone. Then she turned on another accessibility feature, called Prominent Haptic.

Read more  . .  Apple Watch

FCC ANNOUNCES WEBINAR SERIES ON SENIORS AND TECHNOLOGY

May 7, 2015 in Community News, Technology

 

FCC ANNOUNCES WEBINAR SERIES ON SENIORS AND TECHNOLOGY IN RECOGNITION OF OLDER AMERICANS MONTH

Washington, D.C. – In honor of Older Americans Month, the Federal Communications Commission is launching a series of webinars to help seniors fully engage in using broadband-enabled communications technology to improve their quality of life. The first webinar – titled “Get into the Act…Online” – will be held Thursday, May 28, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. (EDT). Upcoming webinars will address digital literacy, broadband adoption and other issues affecting older Americans.
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-333365A1.docx
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-333365A1.pdf

Scottish scientists developing a lip-reading hearing aid

May 7, 2015 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology

 

 

deadline.

SCOTTISH scientists are to create the first hearing aid that can read lips.

The gadget will use a tiny camera to identify the patterns of a speaker’s lip movements.

Cutting edge software will then translate the patterns into speech to be played in the wearer’s ear instantaneously.

The camera could be hidden discreetly in the earpiece itself or even in a pair of glasses or a piece of jewellery.

The camera will beam the words directly to the earpiece using wireless technology, switching between lip-reading and hearing modes depending on the acoustic environment.

Professor Amir Hussain from the University of Stirlingshire is leading the project, which is supported by Sheffield University, the Scottish section of the MRC Institute of Hearing Research at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and a number of manufacturers.

Read more  . . . Lip Reading Hearing Aid

Opportunity for Stakeholder Input on Broadband Access and Adoption

May 7, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Community News, Emergency Preparedness, Technology

 

 

The Broadband Opportunity Council (Council), the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) are requesting public comment to inform the deliberations of the Council. Stakeholders have the opportunity to review the Federal Register Notice and submit written comments by e-mail to BOCrfc2015@ntia.doc.gov on or before 5 p.m. Eastern time on June 10, 2015.

A summary of the Federal Register notice is below, and stakeholders can view the full Federal Register Notice at  https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/04/29/2015-09996/broadband-opportunity-council-notice-and-request-for-comment.

Summary: “In furtherance of the Presidential Memorandum entitled Expanding Broadband Deployment and Adoption by Addressing Regulatory Barriers and Encouraging Investment and Training, which established the Broadband Opportunity Council (Council), the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) are requesting public comment to inform the deliberations of the Council.1 The Council’s objectives are to: (i) Engage with industry and other stakeholders to understand ways the government can better support the needs of communities seeking to expand broadband access and adoption; (ii) identify regulatory barriers unduly impeding broadband deployment, adoption, or competition; (iii) survey and report back on existing programs that currently support or could be modified to support broadband competition, deployment, or adoption; and (iv) take all necessary actions to remove these barriers and realign existing programs to increase broadband competition, deployment, and adoption.2 We welcome input from all interested parties, including the stakeholder groups identified in the Presidential Memorandum.”

 

 

 

After Fan Pressure, Netflix Makes ‘Daredevil’ Accessible To The Blind

April 19, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law, Technology

 

 

National Public Radio
APRIL 18, 2015

Netflix’s original series now have a superhero among them. Comic fans know Daredevil as a crusader. He’s a Marvel character who, in addition to his superhuman abilities, has a very human disability: blindness.

Needless to say, Daredevil has quite a few fans with visual impairments — and they were looking forward to the show.

But until this week, Netflix had no plans to provide the audio assistance that could have helped those fans follow the show.

The FCC requires broadcasters to provide audio descriptions of many programs so blind people can enjoy TV along with everyone else.

But Netflix isn’t a broadcaster — it’s an Internet-based service. And they didn’t plan to provide that audio.

In other words, the superhero would not have been able to enjoy his own program.

Robert Kingett, a journalist and activist in Chicago, is a fan of Daredevil. He’s blind and also lives with cerebral palsy. And when he learned the show wouldn’t have audio descriptions, Kingett recalls, “I said, ‘Well, that’s just utterly insane.’ ”

Read more  . . . Netflix

Transcript 

 

 

ReSound® Develops First Hearing Aid App for Apple Watch

April 17, 2015 in Technology

 

ADDING MULTIMEDIA ReSound® Develops First Hearing Aid App for Apple Watch

Business Wire
April 15, 2015

COPENHAGEN, Denmark–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, ReSound introduced the first hearing aid app designed specifically for Apple Watch. Available immediately to Apple Watch wearers, the ReSound Smart™ app for Apple Watch offers a new, streamlined user experience, allowing users to take advantage of seamless, on-the-go control, right from their wrist. The ReSound Smart app for Apple Watch marks the latest of the company’s efforts to bring forward-looking solutions and greater levels of empowerment to people seeking to take control over their hearing loss.

Through the ReSound Smart app for Apple Watch, users have access to the same level of intuitive Smart Hearing personalization they have come to expect from ReSound, putting the app’s most-used features directly on their wrist. Through the app, users can:

  • Set preferred volume levels
  • Adjust treble and bass settings
  • Change audio profiles as they move though different sound environments
  • View at-a-glance details about their hearing aids, including the sound profile in use

Read more  . . . Hearing Aid App for Apple Watch

 

 

Official FCC Blog – Direct Video Communication . . .

April 17, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Emergency Preparedness, Technology

 

Direct Video Communication: Access for People who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Speech Disabled in an IP World

by: Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman
April 14, 2015 – 02:27 PM

A few months ago, I received a note from a woman in New Mexico, recounting her recent experience in making a 911 call. She had fallen in her home, alone, badly hurt and bleeding.  She dialed 911, reached an emergency center, an ambulance was dispatched and she was taken to a medical facility.

You might be wondering why someone would write to the Chairman of the FCC about a 911 call. The reason is that this was an emergency for someone who is deaf and the call was made through Video Relay Service (VRS), a program administered by the FCC. The woman had never before had a reason to make an emergency call and, when she made the call, she wondered whether the technology would work.

Most of us take for granted that when we make a phone call, the call goes through. You call from any type of device to any phone number. You don’t think about how the call travels – via circuit or packet, time division or code division, copper or fiber, 1.9 GHz or 700 MHz Networks are interconnected. Telecommunications software is increasingly interoperable.

Now, imagine that you hear with your eyes. You contact friends and family by video calling and your native language is American Sign Language (ASL).  And when you call a hearing person who does not speak your language, the call is automatically routed over the Internet through a VRS sign language interpreter who conveys what you want to communicate to the hearing person.  The VRS interpreter voices everything you sign to the hearing person and signs back everything that the hearing person says.

Read more  . . .Direct Video Communication

Sound level meter apps: Do they work?

April 17, 2015 in Technology

 

 

HealthyHearing
Contributed by Lisa Packer, staff writer
April 13, 2015

With the growing popularity of smartphone apps, the newest way to measure sound level might be in your back pocket or purse. The latest statistics show that 71 percent of all people over the age of 18 own a smartphone; that means 171 million people have access to millions of apps. And with so many apps to choose from, it makes sense there would be one to measure noise levels. These apps aren’t just for fun; they are being used increasingly to measure occupational noise levels or noise in the workplace.

Hearing loss as a result of harmful noise in the workplace is a significant issue. More than 22 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to dangerous noise levels each year and there are over 20,000 cases of occupational noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) reported each year alone. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) guidelines for occupational noise exposure, recommended noise levels should be controlled at or below 85 decibels (dB) for eight hours. Many in noisy occupations are turning to sound level meter apps, or SLMs, for noise level information.

Read entire article . . . . Sound level meter apps

 

Needed: TTY users or family/friends of TTY users

April 17, 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 paula.tucker@gallaudet.edu, or by phone (voice or TTY) at 202-651-5049. To call using VP, contact Christian Vogler at 202-250-2795.

 

Mayo, Target among those developing Apple Watch apps

April 14, 2015 in Community News, Technology

 

 

Twin Cities•COM
By Julio Ojeda-Zapata
jojeda@pioneerpress.com
04/11/2015

Someday soon, when workers at Minneapolis advertising agency Space150 leave their key fobs at home, they will have another way to gain office access: the Apple Watch on their wrists.

Apple’s much-publicized smartwatch, due for release later this month, will become a kind of key for unlocking the doors with a screen tap or a wrist flick. (Intoning “Open Sesame” will be optional.)

Space150, like thousands of other companies in Minnesota and around the world, are hard at work on apps for the Apple Watch in the belief that the shiny wrist device .  – – – – –  Read entire Article  – – –

– – – – –  For Eden Prairie-based Starkey Hearing Technologies, developing for the Apple Watch is a no-brainer because a number of the company’s hearing aids already interact closely with the iPhone.

Users of such hearing aids can fine-tune their audio using a Starkey app on the iPhone, and select noise-filter presets for different environments, such as cars and restaurants.

Now they will able to make a number of those adjustments and selections on the Apple Watch as well, said Dave Fabry, Starkey’s vice president of audiology and professional relations.

Additional Apple Watch-related possibilities may exist, Fabry added, but the company won’t know for sure how these will develop until it gets the the watch later this month.

 

More efficient integrated circuits for better hearing aids

April 3, 2015 in Research, Technology

 

phys.org

Electrical engineer to build more efficient integrated circuits for better hearing aids

Herb Booth
March 31st, 2015

A University of Texas at Arlington electrical engineering researcher is developing a more efficient, low-power integrated circuit for directional hearing aids that will lead to a better quality of life for hearing impaired people.

Sungyong Jung, an associate professor of electrical engineering, received a two-year, $144,000 grant from the Korean Electrotechnology Research Institute to build an integrated circuit for a tiny microphone that would mimic the auditory system of a Ornia ochracea – a parasitic fly known for its exceptionally miniscule ear.

The work holds promise for a growing population of people around the world with hearing problems, said Khosrow Behbehani, dean of the UT Arlington College of Engineering, said.

“Dr. Jung’s research is a wonderful example of how UT Arlington engineering faculty and their students are developing solutions that address critical issues in the area of health and the human condition,” Behbehani said. “A very important element in design of implants aimed at improving hearing is miniaturization. Minimizing the size while maintaining the highest level of function is a highly rewarding challenge that Dr. Jung is undertaking.”

Read entire article . . . UofTX

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

 

 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
BY  THOMAS TRACY ,  STEPHEN REX BROWN
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