Research - Archive

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.

 

 

 

 

New findings hint toward reversing hearing loss

July 16, 2015 in Research

 

 

Medical Press
by Julia Evangelou Strait
July 16, 2015

Unlike birds and amphibians, mammals can’t recover lost hearing. In people, the cells of the inner ear responsible for detecting sound and transmitting those signals to the brain form during early stages of development and can’t be replaced if lost due to illness, injury or aging.

Studying mice, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified two signaling molecules that are required for the proper development of a part of the inner ear called the cochlea. Without both signals, the embryo does not produce enough of the cells that eventually make up the adult cochlea, resulting in a shortened cochlear duct and impaired hearing.

The study, available online in the journal eLife, contributes to the understanding of inner ear development, a first step toward the goal of being able to recover lost hearing.

Read More . . .

Photo Credit: Sung-Ho Huh

DEAF AND THOSE WHO USE WHEELCHAIRS FACE ADDED DISCRIMINATION IN RENTAL HOUSING MARKET

July 2, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Research

 

 

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Julián Castro, Secretary
Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20410
HUD No. 15-081                                                                                             FOR RELEASE
Elena Gaona                                                                                                   Thursday
202-708-0685                                                                                                  June 25, 2015
http://www.hud.gov/news/index.cfm


DEAF AND THOSE WHO USE WHEELCHAIRS
FACE ADDED DISCRIMINATION IN RENTAL HOUSING MARKET

National study finds deaf, hard of hearing, and those in wheelchairs told about fewer homes

WASHINGTON – Well-qualified homeseekers who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as homeseekers who use wheelchairs, are told about fewer available housing units than comparable homeseekers who can hear and walk, according to a new study released today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Urban Institute.  Discrimination in the Rental Housing Market Against People Who Are Deaf and People Who Use Wheelchairs finds that people who are deaf or who use wheelchairs are at a statistically significant disadvantage when it comes to the number of homes they are informed about.

“Every American deserves the opportunity to secure a home,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro.  “But the evidence is clear: people who are hearing-impaired or in wheelchairs face unacceptable and unjust discrimination.  HUD will continue to work with our fair housing partners to protect the rights of Americans with disabilities and to promote opportunity for all.”

Key findings of the report include:

Discrimination against people who are deaf or hard of hearing

  • When well-qualified homeseekers who are deaf or hard of hearing contact housing providers and use assistive communication technologies to inquire about recently advertised rental housing, providers are less likely to respond to their inquiries.
  • The extent of apparent discrimination against people who are deaf or hard of hearing varies with the type of communication technology the deaf or hard of hearing tester uses to make contact with housing providers. Housing providers are more resistant to dealing with the older (but still widely used) telephone technologies which have longer communication delays.
  • When they do respond, the housing providers tell homeseekers who are deaf or hard of hearing about fewer available housing options than they tell comparable homeseekers who are hearing.

Discrimination against people who use wheelchairs

  • Well-qualified homeseekers who use wheelchairs are more likely to be denied an appointment to view recently advertised rental housing in buildings with accessible units than comparably qualified homeseekers who are ambulatory.
  • Those who do receive an appointment are less likely than their ambulatory counterparts to be told about and shown suitable housing units.
  •  When homeseekers who use a wheelchair ask about modifications that would make the available housing more accessible to them, housing providers agree in most instances. However in approximately a quarter of the requests, housing providers either failed to provide a clear response or explicitly denied modification requests.

The Urban Institute, which conducted the study, employed a “paired testing” methodology in which researchers compared the treatment of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, and those who are wheelchair bound, against those who can hear and not wheelchair bound. The paired testing track for people who were deaf or hard of hearing included 1,665 remote telephone tests conducted in a national sample of 168 metropolitan areas that contained more than four-fifths (82%)of the population that is deaf or hard of hearing and that resides in rental housing. The national sample for people who use wheelchairs included 1,259 tests in 30 metropolitan areas containing almost three-quarters (73%) of the population that has a mobility disability and that resides in rental housing.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities.  Discrimination complaints made on the basis of physical and mental disabilities have increased over time to become the largest share of complaints received by federal and local agencies and private fair housing organizations. In FY 2014, disability was the most common basis of complaints filed with HUD and its partner agencies, being cited as a basis for 4,606 complaints, or 54 percent of the overall total.

Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing, or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple devices, such as iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, as well as Android devices.

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HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet
at 
www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov.

 

DISCRIMINATION IN THE RENTAL HOUSING MARKET AGAINST PEOPLE WHO ARE DEAF AND PEOPLE WHOUSE WHEELCHAIRS:  NATIONAL STUDY FINDINGS
DOWNLOAD HUD PDF COMPLETE REPORT 

 

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

 

Needed: TTY users or family/friends of TTY users

June 15, 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.

 

Developer Rick Caruso, wife give USC $25 million for hearing-loss work

June 9, 2015 in Community News, Research

 

 

LA Times
LARRY GORDON
June 3, 2015

Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso recalls the emotional moment last year after USC doctors inserted a new hearing device into his daughter’s ear canal. The teenager, who had struggled with mild to moderate hearing loss since birth, suddenly started crying because of the clarity of the sound around her.

Gianna Caruso, now 15, had relied on external hearing aids most of her life and had learned to read lips. With the new internal device, known as a Lyric hearing aid, she heard subtle sounds such as water gushing in a fountain or the chirp of a distant bird, her father said.

That experience influenced him and his wife, Tina, to donate $25 million to the department at USC’s Keck School of Medicine that treats ear, nose, throat, head and neck problems and a related clinic that aids children with hearing loss. The gift is being announced Thursday.

“We want to be able to give more kids an opportunity for a very full and rich life and to minimize the struggles that come with hearing loss,” said Rick Caruso, who is the chief executive of the firm that developed the Grove in Los Angeles and the Americana at Brand in Glendale, and that is working on a new luxury resort to replace the former Miramar Hotel in Montecito.

Read more . . . Developer Rick Caruso

 

NIH Study – Nearly 1 in 7 Hispanic/Latino adults has some hearing loss

June 3, 2015 in Research

 

 

NIH-funded research points to factors related to environment, cultural subgroup, and certain medical conditions

Embargoed For Release: 
Thursday, May 28, 2015
11 a.m. (EDT)

Contact: 
NIDCD Press Office
(301) 496-7243
news@nidcd.nih.gov

Spanish version of this press release

In the largest study to date of hearing loss among Hispanic/Latino adults in the United States, researchers have found that nearly 1 in 7 has hearing loss, a number similar to the general population prevalence. The analysis also looked at the differences between subgroups and found that Hispanics of Puerto Rican descent have the highest rate of hearing loss, while Mexican-Americans have the lowest. The study identified several potential risk factors for hearing loss, including age, gender, education level, income, noise exposure, and diabetes. The study, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Read more  . . . NIH STUDY

Future Treatments For Hearing Loss

May 22, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

BrainBlogger
by Sara Adaes, PhD (c)
May 20, 2015

Hearing disorders are among the most common health problems. The World Health Organization estimated in 2012 that over 5.3% of the world’s population has disabling hearing loss, and the overall aging of the population will most likely keep increasing this number. In the older population, hearing impairment is also associated with the onset and progression of dementia. Hearing impairment in children can lead to communication disorders that affect the development of language having lifelong consequences.

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common form of hearing impairment and typically occurs as a result of the loss of functional sensory hair cells within the cochlea. The sensory hair cells are responsible for converting sound vibrations into electrical stimuli that are them conveyed to the central nervous system via the auditory neurons, better known as spiral ganglion neurons.

The sensory hair cells are highly sensitive to ototoxic drugs, over-exposure to noise, and viral and bacterial infections. Sensorineural hearing loss can have a hereditary cause, but age-related hearing loss gradually occurs in most individuals as they grow older, with approximately 30% of adults between the ages of 65–74 years having some degree of hearing deficits.

Cochlear implants are a common solution to hearing impairment, allowing speech  . . .

Read more  . . . Future Treatments

How does the brain respond to hearing loss?

May 22, 2015 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

May 19, 2015
Researchers at the University of Colorado suggest that the portion of the brain devoted to hearing can become reorganized—reassigned to other functions—even with early-stage hearing loss, and may play a role in cognitive decline.Anu Sharma, of the Department of Speech Language and Hearing Science at University of Colorado, has applied fundamental principles of neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to forge new connections, to determine the ways it adapts to hearing loss, as well as the consequences of those changes. She will present her findings during the 169th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), being held May 18-22, 2015 in Pittsburgh.

The work of Sharma’s group centers on electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings of adults and children with deafness and lesser hearing loss, to gain insights into the ways their brains respond differently from those of people with normal hearing. EEG recordings involve placing multiple tiny sensors—as many as 128—on the scalp, which allows researchers to measure brain activity in response to sound simulation, Sharma said.

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

Researchers discover how the brain balances hearing between our ears

May 14, 2015 in Research

 

 

Medical Press
May 12, 2015
Credit: Rice University

UNSW researchers have answered the longstanding question of how the brain balances hearing between our ears, which is essential for localising sound, hearing in noisy conditions and for protection from noise damage.

The landmark animal study also provides new insight into  and is likely to improve cochlear implants and  aids.

The findings of the NHMRC-funded research are published today in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.

UNSW Professor Gary Housley, senior author of the research paper, said his team sought to understand the biological process behind the ‘olivocochlear’ hearing control reflex.

Read more  . . . Brain Balances Hearing

Osteoporosis Linked to Deafness

May 12, 2015 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

NEWSMAX.COM
May 8, 2015

People with osteoporosis may be almost twice as likely to develop sudden hearing loss, compared to people without the bone disease, according to researchers in Taiwan.

The cause of this sudden deafness is unknown, but the rapid loss of hearing typically affects one ear, and it’s estimated to strike about one in every 5,000 Americans each year.

In particular, the researchers looked for sudden cases of so-called sensorineural hearing loss, which happens when the inner ear is damaged, or when there is damage to the nerve pathways from the ear to the brain.

Typical risk factors include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease and diabetes. The current study is the first to look at osteoporosis as a risk factor in Asian patients, according to its authors.

Read more  . . . osteoporosis

New study finds genetic predisposition for noise-induced hearing loss

April 22, 2015 in Research

 

 

MedicalXPress
April 16, 2015

In a new genome-wide association study, an international team led by Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) neuroscientists has found evidence that some people may be more genetically susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss than others.

Noise-induced  is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. At especially high risk are troops in the Armed Forces. In 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported hearing loss as one of the most common disabilities among veterans receiving disability compensation.

Those at higher, genetic risk for hearing loss may decide to take additional precautionary measures to protect their hearing prior to hazardous noise exposure, study authors say.

Read More  . . . noise-induced hearing loss

Related article  “Noise-related Hearing Loss Might be in Your Genes”

 

 

White House recognizes JHU biomedical engineering researcher

April 9, 2015 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research

 

 

 

White House recognizes JHU biomedical engineering researcher for mentoring efforts

Tilak Ratnanather is one of 14 recipients of Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring

HUB
Hub staff report

March 31

Tilak Ratnanather

J. Tilak Ratnanather, an expert in brain mapping and a champion of people with hearing loss, is a recipient of the Presidential Award of Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

Ratnanather, an associate research professor in Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, is one of 14 scientists around the country to be honored with the prize. The recipients will receive their prizes at a ceremony at the White House later this year.

It is an honor for me to receive this award,” said Ratnanather, who also is a core faculty member of the university’s Institute for Computational Medicine and its Center for Imaging Science. “Just as my mentors at University College London, University of Oxford, City University London and Johns Hopkins University took a chance on me, I am paying it forward for the next generation of deaf and hard of hearing students who have chosen to thrive in the demanding, challenging and exacting environment of regular college.”

Read More . . . Ratnanather 

 

 

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