Technology - Archive

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
By DAVID G. MYERS

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

 

 

Medical Daily.com
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
rscollan@mitre.org

 

 

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
clayton.bowen@vddhh.virginia.gov

(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
J

…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

 

 

BUSINESS TECH
Written by 
CORRESPONDENT

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  – http://whatisvatrp.com/survey.html

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

 

 

 

MASHABLE
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

 

 

McKnights
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

 

 

TechnoBuffalo
BY ERIC FREDERIKSEN
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

 

 

engagdget
by
 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