Community News - Archive

Parents of Deaf Children, Stuck in the Middle of an Argument

May 26, 2016 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



The New York Times

A long-simmering controversy erupted this spring over how deaf children should communicate.

It started when The Washington Post ran a story on Nyle DiMarco, the deaf “Dancing With the Stars contestant who is also an advocate for American Sign Language (ASL). When Meredith Sugar, president of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, retorted that ASL was becoming obsolete in light of better hearing aid and cochlear implant technology, the arguing went public. But that debate was really just the latest manifestation of a longstanding conflict among deaf people and parents of deaf children: Should children be fitted for hearing aids and taught to speak, or should they use sign language? Or a combination of both?

As the parent of a 2-year-old whose hearing loss was recently diagnosed, the arguments only heightened my anxiety about how to address my son Sam’s needs.

Read more  . . . Parents of Deaf Children

How Nyle DiMarco Changed The World Through Dance

May 26, 2016 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



Can this dance help settle the controversial debate on how to raise Deaf Children?

Buzz Feed
posted on May 25, 2016,

A Symbol Of Progress

When Dancing With the Stars awarded Nyle the Mirror Ball on the 22nd Dancing With the Stars Finale, it felt like the right end to an inspirational season for millions of viewers. There’s no doubt that the victory- and the wildly popular Nyle DiMarco – gave the Deaf Community a watershed moment. A symbol of progress, but perhaps not the kind you might think.

If comedian Chris Rock were bold enough to make a Deaf joke, he might say something similar to what he said when Barack Obama was first elected president in 2008, disagreeing with people who said it was a sign of “black progress”.

“That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years.”

Nyle made the DWTS finals because he took the kind of risks that many of the other celebrity amateur dancers would never take week in and week out. He danced without music one week, blindfolded the next, and with a male (a DWTS first) in a different week.

Read More  . . . Deaf Children

Cisplatin may cause more permanent hearing loss in people with Cockayne syndrome

May 24, 2016 in Community News, Research



Science Daily
May 19, 2016

Chemotherapy drug cisplatin is used to treat breast, prostate, neuroblastoma, melanoma and many other cancers

May 18, 2016
University of Southern California
The chemotherapy drug cisplatin can kill cancer, but it can also cause permanent hearing loss. The drug can kill the sensory cells of the inner ear, a phenomenon that is likely more severe in individuals with Cockayne syndrome, a rare form of dwarfism. The disorder results from mutations in one of two genes involved in repairing DNA damage. Cells can sustain DNA damage from environmental stresses ranging from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation to toxic chemicals such as chemotherapy drugs.
Read full Article . . . cisplatin 
Other Source: Key mutations may worsen hearing loss from the chemotherapy drug cisplatin

Disturbed Give Blessing For Deaf ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Contestant to Use ‘The Sound of Silence’

May 24, 2016 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



By Graham Hartmann
May 24, 2016 

Disturbed’s cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” has been one of the most well-received re-imaginings in modern music. Last night (May 23), two of the finalists on Dancing With the Stars based one of their numbers on “The Sound of Silence,” with the most adamant of enthusiasm coming from Disturbed.

Dancing With the Stars is down to three pairs of finalists. Male model / actor Nyle DiMarco and dance partner Peta Murgatroyd are close in their journey to capture the championship on Dancing With the Stars’ 22nd season. This is even more impressive considering DiMarco is deaf. Thus, he wanted to use “The Sound of Silence” to bring awareness to the deaf community’s history.

DiMarco sent the following message to Disturbed in hope of getting the band’s blessing to use “The Sound of Silence”:

Read More: Disturbed Give Music to Deaf Dancing With the Stars Finalist

Four Things Parents of Deaf Children Need to Know

May 24, 2016 in Community News, Education & Outreach, Hearing Loss & Deafness



HuffPost – Accessibility
The Blog
by Mark Drolsbaugh
Author, public speaker, and Deaf advocate


“Yep,” the audiologist confirmed. “Your son does indeed have a hearing loss.”

“That makes sense,” I said. “I’m Deaf, Melanie’s Deaf. I guess our kid’s not going to skip the family curse.”

Melanie and I smiled. After a brief pause, so did the audiologist. For a moment I wondered if she thought there was something wrong with us. It must have been odd for her to witness a nonchalant response along the lines of “How about that? Another Deaf Drolsbaugh.”


The audiology exam was the easy part. The hard part was the first IEP meeting the following school year. Melanie and I walked into that with no idea what to expect.

We got ambushed.

School staff, administrators, and representatives from the school district took turns telling us what to do with our Deaf child.


Read more . . . Parents of Deaf Children

To sign or not to sign? That’s the question facing deaf children

May 20, 2016 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology



The invention of cochlear implants and other technologies have given many deaf and hard-of-hearing adults and children the option to hear. What, then, becomes of sign language?

When the world gets too loud—because of fireworks, or just to take a quiet break on the weekends—8-year-old Sophie knows what to do.

“When it’s really loud, I just take the magnet off,” she says.

She’s deaf and has had a cochlear implant that’s helped her hear since she was a year old. But she knows by moving that magnet she can stop the device from bringing her sound.

More than 1 in 500 children in the United States is born deaf or hard of hearing, making it the most common congenital sensory problem in the country. Technological advances, like Sophie’s cochlear implants, now give many children the ability to hear and communicate with spoken English from the time they are babies.

Sitting next to her on the couch in their living room, Sophie’s mom Samantha Zawislak says getting her daughter a cochlear implant, which requires surgery, was a difficult decision.

Read more  . . . . Sign?

The Art of Nonverbal Communication in Practice

May 17, 2016 in Community News



Hearing Journal:
doi: 10.1097/
Nonverbal Communication
Author – Dr. Hull is professor of communication sciences and disorders, in audiology/neuroscience, at Wichita State University in Wichita, KS.

Nonverbal communication can be more powerful—and even more influential—than what we say with words, and can have a tremendous impact on our success as hearing health care professionals.

Experts in interpersonal communication have estimated that nonverbal communication constitutes approximately 70 percent of what is involved in communication. In other words, only about 30 percent of communication involves the actual words that we use. Placing the impact of nonverbal communication at 93 percent has been deemed a little high, however, so a safer level is thought to be around 80 percent—which is still quite an impressive figure. This means that only 20 percent of the impact of our communication is from the words that we use.

Read more  . . . Nonverbal Communication

Dancing with the Stars’ Nyle DiMarco Reveals ‘I’ve Never Wanted to Hear’

May 13, 2016 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



Not that DiMarco minds.

“I’ve never wanted to hear,” the America’s Next Top Model winner says in the current issue of PEOPLE. “That’s never existed in my life. I’m happy!”

Barista learns sign language for deaf customer

May 13, 2016 in Community News


Local 8 News
May 11, 2016

LEESBURG, Va. (CBS NEWS) — For anyone who is deaf, ordering at a coffee shop can be difficult, but thanks to a extra caring barista, Ibby Piracha the experience was incredible.

Piracha who is deaf was at a coffee shop about to order when he met barista, Krystal Payne.

“I see that she gets a piece of paper out, and I thought maybe she had a question for me or something, but it really wasn’t a question at all,” Ibby said. “And as I read through it, it shocked me.”

He immediately posted a picture of the note, which read, “I’ve been learning ASL, American Sign Language, just so you can have the same experience as everyone else.”

Read more  . . . Barista


U.S. jury orders D.C. Corrections to pay $70,000 to deaf inmate in ADA claim

May 13, 2016 in Advocacy & Access, Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



The Washington Post
By Spencer S. Hsu
May 11, 2016

A deaf former inmate whose rights were violated by the D.C. Department of Corrections was awarded $70,000 in damages by a federal jury Wednesday under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson castigated D.C. jail officials in a blistering, 60-page opinion in September that found the department liable for failing to assess what accommodations were needed by William Pierce, 47, of the District and mismanaging his care during his incarceration in 2012.

Jackson wrote that despite written policies in place, officials at the D.C. Correctional Treatment Facility “effectively sat on their hands.”

Read more  . . . deaf inmate


Register Now! for NVRC ASL classes

May 12, 2016 in Community News


Beginner ASL class

Beginner ASL is a 6-week introductory course to American Sign Language, the Community and the Culture. Students will learn fingerspelling, numbers, gestures, glossing and an introduction to ASL signs. (No textbook is required.)
Wednesdays June 1 – July 6 6:30pm – 8:30pm Cost – $150



Conversational ASL class

Conversational ASL is a 6-week course focusing on fingerspelling, numbers, gestures, expressions and signs practiced through games, break out groups, role playing and songs.
Thursdays June 2 – July 7 6:30pm – 8:30pm Cost- $120




Open Captions On Broadway!

May 12, 2016 in Community News


I love attending the theater, but with hearing loss it can be challenging. The dialogue moves quickly, performers sometimes speak in heavy accents, and the phrasing of the songs can make it hard to understand what is being said. What a dream it would be if the performances were captioned. Well, it turns out some of them are!

Last week, I attended my first open captioned performance on Broadway. It was wonderful! The show, Tuck Everlasting, was a fun musical set in a magical woods  . . .

Read more . see photo. .  Open Captions On Broadway!

A Dual ASL Presentation! June 5th

May 12, 2016 in Community News



Kathleen Brockway will present: Wakening of Deaf Culture: Bringing the Values of Deaf Culture to the Community Ellen Mansfield will present: Showing Deaf Experiences and Symbolism Through the De’VIA artworks.

June 5, 2016; Sunday
TIME: 10 AM – 1 PM, light refreshments served
Dearbought Community House, 100 Eli Court, Frederick, MD

$20 Adults, $10 for Senior Citizens & Students
Paypal to RVSP first come first serve at
Limited 45 seats, hurry up and RVSP!

Questions? Please contact with CC to

DOWNLOAD – A_Dual_ASL_Presentation! Flyer


Are hearing aids taboo?

May 10, 2016 in Community News, Hearing Aids, Hearing Loss & Deafness
May 9, 2016


Why is there such a stigma about hearing loss? Are hearing aids taboo? One in 3 people between the ages of 65 and 74 suffer from presbycusis; the slow loss of hearing as we age. The National Council on Aging suggests that those who do not wear hearing aids are 50% more likely to experience depression, anxiety, paranoia and balance issues and less likely to participate in organized social activities, compared to those who wear hearing aids. A new research from Johns Hopkins University shows that hearing loss may increase your risk of developing dementia. Several studies have shown that those with untreated hearing loss are 3 times more likely to suffer falls than those without.

So why are there such a low percentage of seniors being tested? The average amount of time between noticing hearing loss and seeking treatment is 10 years. The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) believes that the cost of hearing aids is one factor.

Read more  . . . Hearing Aids

SkillSource Invites You to “Bridging the Gap between Employers and Jobseekers with Disabilities in Northern Virginia”

May 6, 2016 in Community News



The SkillSource Group, Inc. and the Northern Virginia Workforce Development Board are convening employers, public officials, educators, community leaders, and other stakeholders to be part of its monthly Northern Virginia Workforce Conversations.

Please join them on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at 8 a.m. for a panel discussion on Bridging the Gap between Employers and Job Seekers with Disabilities. RSVP to reserve your seat today.