Hearing Loss & Deafness - Archive

New Interactive Studio Allows Deaf Children to ‘Hear’

July 29, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research, Technology



by Osvaldo Nunez , Design & Trend Contributor
Article Source

In a spectacular merging of engineering and acoustics, The Cooper Union in New York City has created a unique learning environment for deaf and hearing-impaired children.

By installing an interactive light studio at the American Sign Language and English Lower School in New York City, the studio displayed entertaining images and graphics on an interactive screen. The pre-kindergarten children using the 270-square-foot space get to learn through their interactions with the moving images and light pulses and the displays allow them to actually understand the intricacies of sound, despite the fact that they can’t actually hear.

“We are creating a learning environment in which deaf and hearing-impaired children can explore and appreciate the various qualities of music and sound through the interplay of light and vibration,” said Melody Baglione, a professor at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. “We have developed technologies enabling the children to visualize sound.”

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New Treatment for Deaf Children

July 29, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research



Reno, NV
Source URL

Two months ago, a drumbeat would not have gotten a reaction from Auguste Majkowski. The 3-year-old was born deaf.
“Learning your child is deaf is difficult. You just have to sink it in, cry it out and you have to move on for the sake of the child.”
When cochlear implants didn’t work, Auguste’s family traveled from Canada to Los Angeles to have an experimental surgery. Dr. Mark Krieger and his team at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles placed a tiny device deep in Auguste’s brain called an auditory brain stem implant.
“It basically brings sound waves from the outside world, converts them into electrical impulses and transmits them directly into the brain.”
August is one of ten children under the age of five who is taking part in the U.S. experiment.
His therapist, Dr. Laurie Eisenberg says he’s already responding to sound, but will need years of therapy.
“He has to go through the same steps that an infant would go through to learn how to hear and process speech.”
Auguste’s mom says therapy is the hardest part of his day, but it’s worth it if he can communicate better.
“If he ends up hearing really well or speaking, that’s a bonus.”

Watch Captioned Video  . . .

Can Denying Hearing Loss Affect Your Job?

July 29, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research


90.5 WESA Pittsburgh’s NPR News Station
Article Source

A new research survey by EPIC Hearing Healthcare finds that 30 percent of U.S. employees suspect they have hearing loss, but have not sought treatment.

Of those, almost 95 percent say it impacts them on the job yet many go out of their way to hide their hearing loss for fear of losing their job.

Pittsburgh audiologist, Dr. Suzanne Yoder says preconceived notions about hearing loss is what hinders most people from getting the help they need.

“Hearing loss unfortunately has that bad reputation where people feel like if they admit they have a hearing problem, they’re going to be seen as being old, which is something that they don’t want. Or, they’ll be seen as less capable, that their employer will think less of them, or treat them differently, maybe not give them that promotion. The sad thing is, it’s actually the reverse. You treat your hearing loss and you deal with the issues, you’re more likely to earn a better living. There’s research to back that up, that shows there’s a loss of salary for those with untreated hearing loss. It’s extremely important to go out and start dealing with it and not bluffing your way through conversations. The reality is, when you bluff, when you pretend, you end up looking worse.”

Dr. Yoder, herself born with hearing loss that wasn’t diagnosed until she was school-aged, tells listeners that it is never too early in life to get your hearing checked, especially if your profession involves loud or even repetitive noises. She also recommends hearing protection, especially for musicians, to whom she recommends special headphones.

“Many people put it off until it’s a big problem, and that’s exactly the wrong thing to do. You want to get evaluated before it becomes a really big problem.”

Speak up about hearing loss

July 24, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness


Better Living

Article Source

Imagine what life would be like if everyone, every day, sounded like the adults in a Charlie Brown TV special, making trombone-generated “wha-wha-wha-wha-wha-wah” noises all the time instead of saying actual words.s


For those with even moderate hearing loss, such a scenario is no joke, and it can be confusing and frustrating.

“There’s a lot of denial when it comes to hearing loss,” said Dr. Mary Maddock, a Wilmington audiologist who formed Wilmington Hearing Specialists in 2005. “People don’t want to be told they have a hearing loss. A lot of people will have normal hearing for some sounds like the bass sounds and then their hearing will drop in the higher pitches or treble sounds. Everything sounds loud enough to them but things aren’t as clear.”

While not a cure, hearing aids can help if people know the source of the problem and keep in mind what they need to lead the lifestyle they want.

Signs and symptoms of hearing loss may include:

  • Muffling of speech and other sounds
  • Difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise or in a crowd of people
  • Frequently asking others to speak more slowly, clearly and loudly
  • Needing to turn up the volume of the television or radio
  • Withdrawal from conversations
  • Avoidance of some social settings
    Source: Mayo Clinic

Getting tested

One in six people ages 41 to 59 have hearing loss, Maddock said. That’s one reason why it’s important, she said, for people to take a baseline hearing test somewhere between the ages of 50 and 55.

Noise exposure is one factor in determining that age range.

“If you think about that baby boomer group, that 50 to 65 range, they were in their teenage years or early 20s in the ’60s when rock music started and then in the ’70s is when the Walkman came out so they started wearing the headphones, listening to the Walkman,” Maddock said. “And then in the ’80s, they were in the aerobics movement, and music was really loud typically when you took aerobics.

“They kind of followed the excessive noise all the way through.”

But noise is just one part of the puzzle.

Read more  . . .

Hearing Problems Plague Vets Of All Ages

July 24, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness



By Von Lunen, Kelly

Proquest LLC
Article Source

Ear damage continues at an alarming rate among active-duty service members. Individual services, VA and VFW are working to improve prevention and health care that applies to veterans alike.

Not surprisingly, hearing loss and tinnitus are the top two most common service-connected disabilities. More than 1.5 million veterans receive VA compensation for these conditions. But the problem grows faster than solutions can catch up to.

The Marine Corps started tracking hearing loss in 2009 and now requires annual tests for all Marines. Other services and specific units get tested annually. However, this step in the right direction does nothing to improve actual ear protection or promote care for hearing damage after it occurs.

Benjy L. Partin, II, served as a tank mechanic with H&S Co., 1st Tank Bn., 1stMarine Div., from February to September 2010 in Deleram, Helmand province,Afghanistan. His experience echoes that of combat veterans going back decades. He credits five years of working around tanks with much of his hearing damage.

“If you get into a firefight, you don’t exactly have time to put ear plugs in while you’re getting shot at or while mortars and IEDs are exploding,” he said. “And it goes without saying that that much noise in close quarters damages your ears.”

Now a student, 24-year-old Partin has 10% VA service connection for bilateral hearing loss and tinnitus. He describes the hearing loss as not severe enough to need hearing aids. But, he says, “I hate silence because the ringing drives me nuts.”

Hearing loss forces Partin to sit at the front of his classes. Although he says he has gotten good at reading lips, the nature of hearing loss makes it difficult to distinguish between words.

“I can hear the noise, but it’s hard to tell what the person is actually saying,” he says. “My family understands that they have to be loud, but we have no problem with that. The biggest impact in my personal life is music. It is my hobby and my passion, and now it’s a little bit harder to enjoy. But you can never give up on your passion.”


Service members are often reluctant to wear ear protection due to a perception that it makes them unable to hear what goes on around them. As a result, some 60% of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have some form of hearing loss or tinnitus. VA estimates that more than 59,000 Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans receive disability ratings for hearing loss.

Even proper use of required ear protection isn’t enough sometimes. With advancing technology, profound hearing loss is not necessarily grounds for discharge. As of November 2013, 39 activeduty service members have received cochlear implants, according to Military Times.

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Untreated Hearing Loss Linked to Depression, Social Isolation in Seniors

July 17, 2014 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



American Academy of Audiology
Originally published in Audiology Today, Vol. 11:4, 1999.
Article Source

Untreated hearing loss has serious emotional and social consequences for older persons, according to a major new study by The National Council on the Aging (NCOA). The study was conducted by the Seniors Research Group, an alliance between NCOA and Market Strategies, Inc. 

“This study debunks the myth that untreated hearing loss in older persons is a harmless condition,” said James Firman, EdD, president and CEO of The National Council on the Aging. The survey of 2,300 hearing impaired adults age 50 and older found that those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less likely to participate in organized social activities, compared to those who wear hearing aids. 

Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions in the United States, affecting more than nine million Americans over the age of 65 and 10 million Americans age 45 to 64. But about three out of five older Americans with hearing loss and six out of seven middle-aged Americans with hearing loss do not use hearing aids.

Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss

The survey found that significantly more of the seniors with untreated hearing loss (those who do not wear hearing aids) reported feelings of sadness or depression that lasted two or more weeks during the previous years. Among respondents with more severe hearing loss, 30 percent of non-users of hearing aids reported these sad feelings, com-pared to 22 percent of hearing aid users. 

Another measure of emotional distress is the perception that “other people get angry at me for no reason,” which psychologists often identify as an indicator of paranoia. 

Older non-users were more likely to agree with the statement “people get angry with me usually for no reason” (14 percent of users vs. 23 percent of non-users). Among those with more severe hearing loss, the difference was even greater—14 percent for users vs. 36 percent for non-users. 

Because social isolation is a serious problem for some older people, the study also examined social behavior and found that people who don’t use hearing aids are considerably less likely to participate in social activities. Among respondents with more severe hearing loss, 42 percent of hearing aid users participate regularly in social activities com- pared to just 32 percent of non-users. –

Read more . . .

St. Peters, Missouri – Field of dreams for deaf players

July 17, 2014 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



by Mike Bush

ST. PETERS, Mo. - It’s the time of year when the sounds of summer can be heard all over the country but not by the kids on these baseball fields in St. Peters, Missouri. This is the Mike Bush Fantasy Baseball Camp for the deaf and hard of hearing.

“We play baseball but it’s so much more than baseball,” explained Camp Director Cari Hampton.

Nine-year-old Harrison Beck is in his third year here.

“I’ve been hitting and catching. Practicing all my baseball skills,” he said by sign language.

Harrison discovered a love for sports when he was just a toddler about the same time doctors discovered that he was deaf. His dad says, the diagnosis was actually a blessing.

“Before we just knew we had a kid that wasn’t talking then we knew we had a deaf child,” said Dan Beck, Harrison’s dad.

Still, like most children his dad says he just wanted to fit in.

“It’s hard for a kid who can’t hear and talk like every other kid to join in a team sport,” he said.

That’s why, 25 years ago, this camp was started. For a week every summer, some 60 kids who often get singled out because of their disability get to standout because of their ability.

“I want them to feel, feel like they’re special and they’re important and they’re just as important as everyone else,” explained Hampton.

Read more . . .

Advocates for deaf, blind pressure Apple for more-accessible apps

July 17, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology



Christina Farr
Monday July 14, 2014
Article Source

SAN FRANCISCO — Advocates for the blind are debating whether to use a carrot or a stick to persuade one of their oldest allies, Apple Inc, to close an emerging digital divide in mobile technology.

As digital life increasingly moves to the world of smartphones and tablets, some disabled people with visual, hearing and other impairments are feeling more left out than ever.

As baby boomers retire and age, the number of people needing help is multiplying. Many advocates for the disabled believe federal law requires that apps be accessible, but courts have not ruled on the issue. Few disabled want to risk alienating Apple, considered a friend, by fighting it.

Mobile apps that work well can transform a blind person’s life, reading email on the go or speaking directions to a new restaurant. Some young blind people no longer feel the need to learn Braille to read with their fingers, when Siri and other computer voices can do the reading instead. Captions on videos and special hearing aids bring hearing impaired into the digital fold.

But when apps don’t work, life can grind to a stop. Jonathan Lyens, a San Francisco city employee who is legally blind, has a hard time browsing for jobs on professional networking site LinkedIn.

“The app is insane. Buttons aren’t labeled. It’s difficult to navigate,” Lyens said. When it comes to social-media apps, new problems arise with every release, he said. “I get nervous every time I hit the update button.”

Read more . . .

Silver Spring player is deaf pitcher, MLB prospect

July 15, 2014 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



By Eric Goldwein Staff Writer
Article Source

Gallaudet senior leads Thunderbolts staff with 1.27 ERA and three wins

Since his youth baseball days, Brandon Holsworth has always had help on the diamond.

This summer, as the ace of the Silver Spring Spring-Takoma Park Thunderbolts, he’s showing he might not need it.

Holsworth, a deaf pitcher from Gallaudet University, is dominating his competition in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. The 6-foot-4, towering right-hander has a team-best three wins and 1.27 earned-run average, leading the Silver Spring pitching staff despite playing without college teammate and interpreter Danny O’Donnell for part of the summer.

“They say 87 percent of communication is not verbal, so we find ways around it, but he has such an outgoing and enthusiastic personality that it’s fun to catch him,” catcher Robert Lucido, Jr. said.

Holsworth, a rising senior at Gallaudet, is hoping his performance in the competitive college wood bat league can help him earn a spot in the Major League Baseball draft.

“I’m really doing everything I can to be the best I can during this season because this is the one opportunity before I go into my senior year,” Holsworth said through O’Donnell. “I don’t know if I’ll have another opportunity to face competition like this.”

Holsworth, who was born deaf, grew up playing baseball and basketball. Communication has been his biggest barrier athletically, his father Chris Holsworth said, but with assistance and support from family and teammates the talented right-hander has dealt with the challenges. In little league, his father would be in the dugout to help him communicate with teammates. In high school, he had a state-hired interpreter, as was required by law in Michigan. In college, he found a fit at Gallaudet, where his teammates and coach — former Major League Baseball player Curtis Pride — are fluent in American Sign Language.

Holsworth learned about the Thunderbolts through O’Donnell, a fully hearing teammate at Gallaudet last season, whose parents are deaf. O’Donnell, a pitcher, has acted as an interpreter for Holsworth during his meetings at the mound.

Read more  . . .

Read John Barrowman’s Deaf for the Day blog

July 15, 2014 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
July8, 2014 by Sarah O’Brien
Article Source

Hi, I’m John Barrowman and I went Deaf for the Day for Hearing Dogs.
I hope you enjoy reading my diary from the day.


10.00 Sudden hearing loss

I arrived at Specsavers Hearing Centre in Edgware Road to meet the audiologist who would be making me deaf for the day – Mark

John getting the gel ear moulds inserted

John getting the gel ear moulds inserted

Edgar. I wasn’t feeling particularly nervous as I imagined it would be a fairly straightforward day. Nothing could have prepared me for just how challenging going deaf would be.

The ITV Good Morning Britain film crew began filming my experience as Mark inserted special gel moulds into my ears which gave me around 60% hearing loss. I could feel the difference immediately. It’s really hard to explain how a sudden hearing loss affects you, but I could no longer hear what Mark was saying to me. Straight away, I was lip reading everything he said.

10.30 Conversations

I was concentrating so hard on lip-reading one person at a time, that if someone else started speaking I just couldn’t keep up. A member of the film crew was standing beside me and apparently he asked me a question, I didn’t even register a sound. It soon dawned upon me that this experience was going to be much tougher than I had anticipated.

11.00 The silent streets of London

As I left Specsavers, I walked along Edgware Road and suddenly the world was closing in around me. I could no longer hear the sound of busy London traffic, the footsteps walking behind me, the buzz of conversation around me. I felt anxious crossing the road. All the sounds I take for granted had gone. I had entered into a world of silence.

Next, I hailed a cab to take me to my manager’s office. As I got out the taxi driver said something to me and I couldn’t hear what he said. It was too late to ask as he drove away. It’s strange the things you miss when one of your senses is taken away – like the tail end of a conversation. I wonder what he said to me…

11.30 Business as usual?

John and his manager Gavin try to communicate

John and his manager Gavin try to communicate

It was really difficult trying to have a conversation with Gavin as I had to concentrate intensely on watching his lips. Gavin kept telling me that my phone was ringing, I felt like I’d lost control.Next stop – a meeting at my manager Gavin’s office in central London. Gavin and the team knew I was going deaf for the day, and were intrigued to find out how it would affect me. I had to ring the intercom five times as I couldn’t hear a response. The first thing the team noticed was that I had been speaking really loudly. I was completely unaware of the volume of my own voice as I couldn’t hear it.

It was already so much harder than I ever thought it would be. I was tired. In fact, I was exhausted! Is this how deaf people feel every day?

12.30 Tired, frustrated and withdrawn

I could feel myself getting more and more frustrated as the day went on,  . . . .

Read more  and See Video. . .


World Cup fanatics report hearing woes

July 15, 2014 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



Taiwan News

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer
Article Source

Since the FIFA World Cup quarter-finals began, there has been a 20 percent increase in people developing symptoms of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) or sudden deafness, from staying up late to watch the matches, a local newspaper reported.

The Chinese-language Apple Daily on Monday reported a case in which a 28-year-old woman had stayed up almost every night for two weeks to watch World Cup games. Despite developing a cold, the woman was not deterred from staying up to watch another game.

The report quoted the woman as saying: “The ceiling swam and I even fell down a couple of times” after watching the game, but she ignored the symptoms and returned home to sleep before work.

The woman overslept and decided to call in sick. However, upon calling her company to request a sick day, she realized that she could hear nothing in her left ear and went to see a doctor, the report said.

The paper quoted Ministry of Health and Welfare Taoyuan General Hospital’s Division of Otolaryngology doctor Chen Ching-chung (陳景中) as saying that the woman’s lack of sleep — she had averaged about five hours per day over two weeks — had greatly lowered her resistance to viral infections.

The temperature difference between air-conditioned buildings and the summer weather outside had caused her to catch a cold, which also affected the vestibular nerve in her inner ear, the report said.

The sudden sensorineural hearing loss made the woman feel dizzy, the newspaper said.

She was lucky to have sought medical help early and would recover her hearing with the help of medication, the paper said.

The report quoted Chen as saying that the number of people reporting similar problems had increased by at least 20 percent since the World Cup entered the quarter-final stage.

Read more  . . .

Restaurant for the deaf and hearing impaired opens in Toronto

July 15, 2014 in Community News, Employment, Hearing Loss & Deafness



AFP Relax – Wed, Jul 9, 2014
Article Source

Toronto has become the latest international city to adopt a growing restaurant trend that aims to raise awareness of the hearing-impaired by hiring deaf servers.

After San Francisco, San Antonio, Paris and the Gaza Strip, the largest city in Canada will be home to Signs Restaurant in the heart of the downtown core, where customers will have to place their order using sign language.

For customers who are sign language illiterate, an ASL cheat sheet will be available to help them sign for their meal, reported The Toronto Star. The menu is described as contemporary blend of Canadian and international cuisine.

The idea for a deaf restaurant was born when owner Anjan Manikumar was a manager at a pizza restaurant where one of his regular customers was hearing-impaired and ordering was a game of “point, nod and serve,” says the Star.

The experience inspired Manikumar to learn American Sign Language in an effort to communicate with his customer, and eventually to open a restaurant that would bridge the hearing and non-hearing community.

If the philosophy sounds familiar, it’s because a similar restaurant concept was launched to help raise awareness on visual impairments.

Created by a blind pastor from Zurich, Jorge Spielmann hosted dinner parties where guests supped blindfolded, at first in a show of solidarity with their host but also to better understand what it was to be blind.

But guests noted that the experience also heightened their sense of smell and taste, leading to the creation of restaurants like Dining in the Dark in the US, O. Noir in Canada and Dans le Noir in Paris.

Likewise, Mozzeria in San Francisco employs deaf staff, as does Atfaluna in Gaza, a charity restaurant for children with hearing disabilities, and Café Signes in Paris.

Signs in Toronto opens July 16.

Article Source

Aussies debate whether to allow deaf jurors

July 11, 2014 in Disability Law, Hearing Loss & Deafness



Deaf News Today (Australia)
July 9, 2014

Article Source

Should Australian courts allow deaf citizens to serve on juries? That’s what a professor at the University of New South Wales is hoping to find out during a mock trial that will take place in Sydney. The topic became a national issue when a Queensland judge ruled a deaf woman could not sit on a jury. You can read about that here. Two of the 15 jurors in the mock trial will be deaf. Read more details about the study in the Guardian here. The deaf started sitting on juries in the U.S. 24 years ago.

Soundhawk secures $5.5M to start selling high-tech hearing app

July 11, 2014 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



San Jose Mercury News
By Heather Somerville

Article Source

CUPERTINO — I’m sorry, what did you say?

The awkward strain of trying to hear someone speaking just a few feet away is all too familiar for many of us who frequent noisy restaurants and rowdy bars. Catching every few words and struggling to read lips, we may give up on the conversation and succumb to eating in silence or signaling for the check.

These hard-of-hearing moments inspired Cupertino startup Soundhawk to make high-tech devices that cost a tenth the price of some hearing aids, are accessible without a prescription and attractive enough to wear at a business meeting or Sunday brunch.

Mike Kisch, president and CEO, wears a Soundhawk listening device matched up with an app for a smartphone at their headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. on

Mike Kisch, president and CEO, wears a Soundhawk listening device matched up with an app for a smartphone at their headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. on Monday, June 23, 2014. (Gary Reyes, Bay Area News Group)

The company, founded by Stanford ear surgeon and serial entrepreneur Dr. Rodney Perkins, announced Tuesday it has cinched $5.5 million in venture funding and an agreement with Foxconn — the Asia manufacturing company that also makes Apple products and has been beleaguered by labor rights issues — to begin building the Soundhawk earpiece and microphone. The company has been researching and testing the hearing device since 2012, and with the new deal announced Tuesday, it will begin selling to consumers by late summer.

Soundhawk joins an array of what’s known as personal sound amplifier products that have become popular options for people who may have some hearing problems but don’t need or want expensive hearing aids or other medical devices. The ubiquity of smartphones and tablets and the popularity of Bluetooth headsets and wearable tech devices have created a market for tech startups inventing ways to hear better by using mobile apps, wireless technology and discreet ear pieces. Soundhawk is aiming for consumers who are tethered to their smartphones and endure some hearing problems in noisy environments — not such a dramatic loss that they require a hearing aid but enough of an annoyance that they’d be willing to spend $299 on a new gadget.

“Every single one of us every day puts ourselves in environments where there’s lots of background noise,” said Michael Kisch, chief executive of Soundhawk. “It could be walking down the street in San Francisco, or going into restaurants. These are situations where the environment overwhelms the biology. This is technology that is designed to enhance something — your ears — that works for you in almost all situations except these times when you find there is just too much noise.”

Read more . . .

Detecting Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids Are Crucial in Preserving Cognitive Function

July 11, 2014 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



By: Katie Gibas


Article Source

Twenty percent of adults in the U.S. have hearing loss, but that percentage increases to 30 percent in people over the age of 60.

“We’re definitely seeing an uptick in the number of patients seeking audiology care. It’s a combination of an aging population and it’s also a function of noise exposure. It’s a noisier world we live in,” said Gebbie Hearing Clinic Director Joseph Pellegrino.

Experts say detecting hearing loss and getting a hearing aid early is crucial to preserve cognitive function.

But there are a lot of different hearing aid options that can make choosing one difficult.
Some of those are hearing aids that are completely in the ear canal, partially in the ear canal, in the outer ear, and behind the ear.

“As a rule of thumb, the smaller a hearing aid gets, the less powerful it is. Most of our patients at the Gebbie Clinic find that the small behind the ear instrument is the best option. There’s something now called a receiver in the canal hearing aid. The microphone and processing portion of the hearing aid is tucked behind the ear. It’s quite small. There’s a thin wire that comes over the ear and the receiver is tucked in the ear,” said Pellegrino.

Now that we’ve discussed some of the different options for hearing aids, let’s talk about how to pay for them. At this time, Medicare does not cover hearing aids.

Read more  . . .