Technology - Archive

Wireless and Pacemakers: A Need for Caution

September 19, 2014 in Technology



Hearing Health

Let me start by saying that my writing is evolving and becoming more polished, but, I am NOT a technical writer by any means. So, if any of you readers want to add technical information in the comment section, I am all for it! That being said, here we go!

As the world of fitting hearing aids moves toward completely wireless, I wonder how many of us have notes in charts, on programmers, etc., telling us not to use wireless programing and streamers around the necks of patients with pacemakers. A few years ago when streamers and wireless programmers were first coming onto the market we all wondered, how does the signal work?

Yes, it is Bluetooth, but that is only part of the equation with many of the manufacturers. HIMSA reported that the Noah Link had a 15-mm safety margin. A cell phone test conducted at the University of Oklahoma found the emission from the NOAH Link well within the required 6-inch (15 cm) area and less than most cell phones. The NOAH link uses 2400 MHz.

Read More  . . . 

Nation’s highest court gets “looped,” joining many other prominent institutions

September 19, 2014 in Community News, Technology



Hearing News Watch

WASHINGTON, DC—Following ancient custom, the United States Supreme Court will begin its next term on the first Monday in October. However, when the nine justices hear their first case on October 6, there will be something new in the courtroom that will assist hearing aid wearers present in following the proceedings: a hearing loop system, installed this summer.

The new induction listening system, which is in addition to the High Court’s existing FM and infra-red listening devices, transmits sound through an electromagnetic signal that can be picked up by the telecoil of a hearing aid or cochlear implant.

Who will take advantage of the hearing loop? According to Kathy Arberg, the Supreme Court’s public information officer, the new system is intended for use by court visitors. But, she added, it will also be available to attorneys appearing before the court.

Will any of the justices be availing themselves of the hearing loop. Arberg did not say, a reticence in keeping with the tradition of the justices to keep their personal lives private. However, given that the average age of the nine current justices is 68.4 years and that four are over 75, it’s a good bet that some of them are—or, at least, should be—wearing hearing aids. So, they too will take advantage of the new system.


The looping installation at the Supreme Court didn’t just happen; it was the product of active advocacy. Last December, Richard Williams, a retired attorney who serves on the board of theSarasota, Florida, chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), contacted the management of the Supreme Court, urging that a hearing loop be installed.

Read More  . . .


ASL Classes online – via web By Communications Consulting Group

September 8, 2014 in Education & Outreach, Families, Technology



Language AlleyASL

By Communications Consulting Group, LLC,

Drop in and pick up a few signs!

Themed ASL Classes

New Topics and Dates
Our themed ASL classes are the drop-in kind where you only need to join us for one hour on a Saturday. Classes begin at 12:00 pm and end at 1:00 pm.

  • October 4: Falling into Sign The fall season welcomes several holidays, each with a few different ways to sign them. (This class will also have a Wednesday evening session on October 8, from 7 to 8 pm ET)
  • November 4: Mommy, Daddy, and Me Introducing basic signs for you to teach your babies and toddlers
  • November 22: Sports Signs It’s football and basketball season! Includes a variety of sports and positions.
  • December 13: ASL Idioms Idioms in English often don’t translate well into ASL, but ASL has its own idioms.

Classes are one hour long and will be $10 per person. You must have a webcam to participate.

Click here to register!

View Communications Consulting Group Original email posting

We will connect on video using the Adobe Connect platform. Make sure that you have the most recent version of Flash installed.Click here to download Flash.

We also have Beginner ASL 2, which covers the second part of Signing Naturally’s Units 1-6 textbook!

Beginner ASL 2: Meets online every Tuesday from October 14 to December 2, from 5:00 to 8:00 pm CT


Hotel Introduces New Technology to Help Hearing-Impaired Guests

September 8, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Technology, Transportation



SOURCE: Marriott International
September 05, 2014

The Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel Introduces New Technology to Help Hearing-Impaired Guests

State-of-the-Art System Is a First Among Arlington, VA Luxury Hotels

ARLINGTON, VA–(Marketwired – Sep 5, 2014) –  One of the key components to great travel is good communication. Whether a person is reviewing directions to a museum, getting tips for the best local restaurants or understanding all the amenities available on property, making memories starts with inspired conversation. And at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, new T-Loop technology ensures that hearing-impaired guests don’t miss a word of it.

Developed by Ampetronic, the new technology was specially designed for counters and reception desks like the one at this hotel in downtown Arlington, VA. But the T-Loop driver’s discreet proportions (it measures just 128-by-74-by-35-mm big) belie its significant amplification capabilities. Metal-loss correction ensures a superior audio quality for the listener, while the features — choice of microphone, integral power supply and free technical support — guarantee it’s as easy for hotel associates to use as it is helpful for the hearing-impaired guests they chat with.

When a hearing-impaired guest arrives at the hotel, signage directs him/her to the specially designated area of the reception desk where s/he can indicate a preference to use the T-Loop technology. The hotel associate then furnishes the guest with a special headset, before s/he speaks into a connected microphone to communicate clearly and effectively.

The T-Loop technology represents exciting possibilities for hearing-impaired travelers and further distinguishes this property from other hotels in Arlington, VA. Now hearing-impaired guests can enjoy enhanced communication as well as the property’s extensive repertoire of amenities. Sleek architecture, boutique styling and a location in the heart of Crystal City’s business and dining district promise a one-of-a-kind stay that hearing-impaired guests can now experience to the fullest.

While T-Loop technology may be a rarity among downtown hotels in Arlington, VA, the difference it makes for hearing-impaired guests cannot be overemphasized. Not only does it help facilitate the sort of conversations that lead to great travel experiences, but it demonstrates that the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel is a place that strives to understand and attend sensitively to all of its guests’ needs. And that’s one message that consistently comes across.

About the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel
Travelers looking for a stylish fusion of originality and luxury will appreciate the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel. The boutique property welcomes guests with 300 guest rooms and suites outfitted with plush Revive bedding, organic Aveda bath products, mini-refrigerators, Plug-in Technology Panels and 37-inch, flat-panel HD televisions. But there’s plenty more to find outside one’s guest room. SOCCi, for example, wins over palates with its modern Italian dishes that feature local produce, while Espressamente illy serves as SOCCi’s ideal café counterpart. A new lobby, fitness center, heated indoor pool and bicycle rentals are just a few more ways the property stands out from other Arlington, VA hotels, while corporate guests will appreciate the hotel’s 16 flexible meeting rooms. Much like the property itself, the hotel’s location caters to every sort of traveler. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, IBM, the Pentagon and countless other businesses and government agencies are close by for business guests. And local attractions like Mount Vernon Trail and the National Mall make for sightseeing that’s as inspired as the hotel.


Technology and Disability Policy Highlights – August 2014

September 8, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Technology


Technology and Disability Policy Highlights

August 2014


This August, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced requirements and compliance deadlines that impact communications and technology accesses for people with hearing loss. The first was the order requiring closed captioning of internet video clips [MB Docket No. 11-154] which establishes an effective date of September 4, 2014. They also adopted rules that complement previous commitments made by wireless carriers to support text-to-911 by May 2014. Now, in addition to the four largest wireless carriers in the U.S. (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon), certain IP-based text applications and the remaining wireless carriers are expected to support text-to-911 by the end of the year. The FCC also released a Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [PS Docket No.s 11-153 and 10-255] seeking comment related to technical issues regarding enhanced location provision, text-to-911 roaming support, and potential text service capabilities.

Lastly, the FCC’s Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) is accepting comments on the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Seeks Comment on Its Tentative Findings About the Accessibility of Communications Technologies for the 2014 Biennial Report Under the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). The FCC requests that comments address their reported finings regarding CVAA compliance with accessibility requirements for telecommunications and advanced communications services and equipment, the effect of related recordkeeping and enforcement obligations, and existing accessibility barriers that may still exist with respect to new communications technologies. The deadline for public comment is September 11, 2014.

  • Regulatory Activities
    • FCC Seeks Input on the Accessibility of Communications technologies
    • All Wireless Providers Required to Support Text-to-911
  • Publications & Reports
    • The Accessibility of Cloud Computing
  • Other Items of Interest
    • CSUN Call for Papers: Technology & Persons with Disabilities
    • Anvato Complies with Accessibility Requirements almost 2 Years Early
    • NFB Calls for Accessible Voting: Online Ballot Marking
    • Google Awards Funds for the Expansion of SMART SignDictionary
  • Wireless RERC Updates
    • New App Increases Access for People with Print Disabilities
    • Wireless RERC Makes EAS Accessibility Standards Recommendations
    • Survey: Defining Current Practices in Teaching Universal Design
    • Ease of Use & Wireless Device Modifications by Adults with Disabilities
    • Shepherd Center and Wireless RERC Awarded Google Grant
    • Discover Wireless Accessibility! Tips for Consumers with Disabilities
    • University System of Georgia Names Helena Mitchell Regents’ Researcher
  • Upcoming Events

Read more . . . →

Learn More about Hearing Assistive Technology-Sept 14

September 8, 2014 in Community Events, Technology



Learn More about Hearing Assistive Technology

Are you having difficulty fully participating in conversations with friends and colleagues? Are noisy restaurants (aren’t they all?), group discussions, telephone calls and formal presentations especially difficult and exhausting? Do you or family members worry that you won’t hear the smoke alarm, the phone or the alarm clock? Technology from hearing aids and cochlear implants to captioned and amplified telephones, loop systems, and other listening and alerting systems can make a world of difference.

Come and learn more. HLA-DC will host a presentation and discussion on hearing assistive systems by Dr. Zachary La Fratta, a locally-based audiologist who knows this rapidly evolving field well.

Date and Time: Sunday, September 14, 2014, 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Place: DC Public Library at Tenleytown (large meeting room), 4450 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016 (less than a block from the Tenleytown Station on Metro’s Red Line)

CART and a looping system will be available for all attendees.

All are welcome.

Sonova’s microphone disguised as a pen offers “super normal hearing”

September 4, 2014 in Technology



ZURICH, Sept 3
Source Article

(Reuters) – A wireless microphone in the shape of a pen, made by Switzerland’s Sonova, can help people with  understand speech better than those with normal hearing at certain noise levels, a study has shown.

As the population ages, the hearing aid industry has become fiercely competitive as manufacturers rush to launch devices packed with newer technologies that will increase the appeal of wearing one.

Sonova is banking on new products to maintain its lead as the world’s biggest hearing aid maker. Around 70 percent of its hearing aid revenue comes from products that have been on the market for less than two years.

The company’s microphone, called “Roger” after the term used in radio communications to say a message has been received, wirelessly transmits a speaker’s voice over a 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) frequency to a tiny receiver that clips onto the aid.

Read more  . . .

CEA Foundation Awards Grant to Gallaudet University for Video Series on Effective Technologies for Consumers with Hearing Loss

August 26, 2014 in Technology



Arlington, VA – 08/25/2014 – The CEA Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, announced its support for the Technology Access Program at Gallaudet University, in a grant to teach consumers with hearing loss about the effective use of their hearing devices with telecommunications technologies. With this CEA Foundation grant, Gallaudet plans to produce eight instructional videos during the course of the upcoming year-long project. This program will support the CEA Foundation’s mission of linking seniors and people with disabilities with technology to enhance their lives.

Read more . . . →

Deaf viewers fight for on-screen movie captions

August 21, 2014 in Captioning / Relay, Community News, Technology



Democrat & Chronicle, Rochester , NY
David Riley, Staff writer
August 18, 2014

A loose-knit group of deaf and hard-of-hearing people wants movie theaters in the Rochester area to more readily provide captions on-screen if patrons ask for them.

About 40 advocates took their cause to the Regal Henrietta Stadium 18 theater earlier this month, said Dean DeRusso, a Gates resident who is deaf and participated in the protest. Many people had difficulty using special captioning glasses provided by the theater or thought the devices were uncomfortable, while others found that there were not enough for everyone to use, he said.

DeRusso said he asked theater employees to activate on-screen captions instead, but was told that only upper management could do so.

In DeRusso’s view, that means that the region’s large deaf population is not getting equal access to the theater. An estimate by the National Technical Institute for the Deafin 2012 said that more than 40,000 people who are deaf or hard of hearing live in greater Rochester — among the largest per capita populations with hearing difficulties in the U.S.

DeRusso said the theater should turn on captions for any movie when at least one deaf or hard-of-hearing person attends.

Read More . . .

Broadcast captioner explanation of work in humorous GIFs

August 21, 2014 in Captioning / Relay, Interpreting & Transliterating, Technology




A broadcast captioner has created a hysterically funny account of what it’s like to do what she does – sure to go viral if it hasn’t already:

Definitely something to pass on !


Coverage For Bone-Anchored Hearing Devices To End ?

August 21, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology


AG Bell Learn

Thursday, August 21, 2014 /

On July 11, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a new rule that would reclassify bone-anchored implants (i.e., osseointegrated hearing implants) from a prosthetic device to a hearing aid. This would effectively end Medicare reimbursement, since hearing aids are not covered under Medicare.

If the rule is adopted, it will affect thousands of people who do not benefit from hearing aids and people who need to replace or update their bone-anchored implant. The proposed changes threaten to eliminate what may be the best—and only—option for individuals with microtia, atresia, conductive hearing losses and single-sided deafness. Click here and here for more background and information.

There are only 10 days left to submit comments to CMS on the proposed rule! The comment period ends on September 2, and the final ruling by CMS is expected sometime around November 1. Click here to submit comments. Click here for guidance on comment submission for professionals, candidates, recipients, caregivers and supporters.


Petition to have Medicare cover hearing aids under HR 3150

August 14, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Community News, Disability Law, Technology



Petition To Pass HR 3150

We need Congress to pass HR 3150 so that hearing aids are covered by Medicare.

To be delivered to The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate

We need Congress to pass HR 3150 so that hearing aids are covered by Medicare.


Hearing aids should not be the new status symbol for the rich. The right to hear is a civil or human right.

Thanks to Janice Schacter Lintz, Chair, Hearing Access Program

How to enable subtitles and captioning for audio accessibility on iPhone or iPad

August 11, 2014 in Technology



How to turn on subtitles and closed captions in iOS

By Allyson Kazmucha,
Friday, Aug 8, 2014

There are lots of accessibility options available in iOS that makes using an iPhone or iPad easier for those with visual and hearing impairments. If you or someone you know suffers from auditory issues, one of those features is subtitles and closed captioning while watching videos. To use them, you’ve just got to enable them first.

Click Here to learn how

Live subtitles: How smart technology could help deaf people

August 7, 2014 in Captioning / Relay, Technology



BBC News
By William Mager
Original Article 

There are many new technologies that can help people with disabilities, like live subtitling 24/7 for deaf people, but how well do they work?

Deaf people always remember the first time a new technology came on the scene, and made life just that little bit easier in a hearing world.

I’ve had many firsts. Television subtitles, text phones, the advent of the internet and texting all opened up opportunities for me to connect with the wider world and communicate more easily.

After a while tiredness overtakes excitement and I take the headset off”

So when I first heard about Google Glass – wearable technology that positions a small computer screen above your right eye – I was excited. Live subtitling 24/7 and calling up an in-vision interpreter at the touch of a button. Remarkably both seemed possible.

That was a year ago. Since then, Tina Lannin of 121 Captions and Tim Scannell of Microlink have been working to make Google Glass for deaf people a reality. They agreed to let me test out their headset for the day.

First impressions are that it feels quite light, but it is difficult to position so that the glass lens is directly in front of your eye.

Once you get it in the “sweet spot” you can see a small transparent screen, it feels as though it is positioned somewhere in the distance, and is in sharp focus. The moment you get the screen into that position feels like another first – another moment when the possibilities feel real.

But switching your focus from the screen to what’s going on around you can be a bit of a strain on the eyes. Looking “up” at the screen also makes me look like I’m a bad actor trying to show that I’ve had an idea, or that I’m deep in thought.

The menu system is accessed in two ways. There is a touch screen on the side which can be swiped back and forth, up and down, and you tap to select the option you want.

Cochlear Implant Also Uses Gene Therapy to Improve Hearing

August 1, 2014 in Research, Technology



MIT Technology Review
By Katherine Bourzac
Article Source

The electrodes in a cochlear implant can be used to direct gene therapy and regrow neurons.

Researchers have demonstrated a new way to restore lost hearing: with a cochlear implant that helps the auditory nerve regenerate by delivering gene therapy.

The researchers behind the work are investigating whether electrode-triggered gene therapy could improve other machine-body connections—for example, the deep-brain stimulation probes that are used to treat Parkinson’s disease, or retinal prosthetics.

More than 300,000 people worldwide have cochlear implants. The devices are implanted in patients who are profoundly deaf, having lost most or all of the ear’s hair cells, which detect sound waves through mechanical vibrations, and convert those vibrations into electrical signals that are picked up by neurons in the auditory nerve and passed along to the brain. Cochlear implants use up to 22 platinum electrodes to stimulate the auditory nerve; the devices make a tremendous difference for people but they restore only a fraction of normal hearing.

“Cochlear implants are very effective for picking up speech, but they struggle to reproduce pitch, spectral range, and dynamics,” says Gary Housley, a neuroscientist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, who led development of the new implant.

Read more . . .