Community News - Archive

Silent take on ‘Old Man and the Sea’ at Capital Fringe festival

July 21, 2014 in Community News



 July 11
Article Source

The 2014 Capital Fringe festival launched in earnest Thursday night with roughly 30 shows, one of them a wordless adaptation of “The Old

Hector J. Reynoso wrote, directs and stars in Capital Fringe festival's “The Old Man Never Let It Go.” (Johnny Shryock)

Hector J. Reynoso wrote, directs and stars in Capital Fringe festival’s “The Old Man Never Let It Go.” (Johnny Shryock)

Man and the Sea” directed and performed by deaf actor Hector J. Reynoso.

Hemingway without the language? In “The Old Man Never Let It Go,” Reynoso proves that it’s do-able, in the same way that D.C.’s acclaimed Synetic Theatre has franchised Shakespeare without the dialogue and speeches. (Reynoso has performed with Synetic a number of times.) You mine the story for action and keep the stage buzzing with vivid imagery and deeply moody music.

In the small Lab II theater of the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Reynoso plays the aged fisherman against a terrific video backdrop by projection designer Igor Dmitry. Vistas include sparkly beaches and scorching sun, but there is a lyrical, dreamy quality, too — although as Reynoso rows around the stage in a little boat against a glistening ocean to a lightly jazzy Spanish guitar tune, the performance drifts uncomfortably toward bland music video doldrums.

The constant musical underscoring and sound design is by Synetic’s Konstantine Lortkipanidze, and at its best it drives distinct, shifting rhythms in the saga of the fisherman’s battle with a marlin.

The book resists the stage a little, but then Reynoso’s 30-minute take is more a poetic distillation than a full-bodied adaptation. The bearded, bushy haired Reynoso himself is charismatic as the old man, padding about in baggy trousers and a rumpled hat. Comfortably enveloped by the compelling technical design, the actor pantomimes a simple life and then the epic, solitary struggle at sea. The brief show winds up as a limited but likable portrait of deep pride and passion.

“The Old Man Never Let It Go” will be performed four more times through July 26 in Lab II of the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE.

Article Source

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 . . .

Businesses welcome deaf as university turns 150

July 15, 2014 in Community News



USA Today
by Cogan Schneier July 12, 2014
Article Source

WASHINGTON — When Steve Walker was a student at Gallaudet University in the 1980s, he says, the school for the deaf and hard of hearing was a very different place than it is today.

When Walker studied at Gallaudet, students were advised not to venture outside the campus, because most people in the surrounding neighborhood didn’t speak sign language. Students didn’t feel welcome in the outside community, and struggled to communicate in restaurants where they couldn’t understand the servers. As the school celebrates its 150th anniversary, Walker says that has changed.

These days, the northeast Washington neighborhood around the school, including the upscale Union Market food hall next to the campus and the bars and restaurants of nearby H Street, accommodates the deaf community. Walker works at the school as a sign language interpreter for students who are both blind and deaf. He uses what’s called tactile interpreting, in which a student will hold his hands as he signs to understand him.

Walker says what is happening in the area around Gallaudet is a serious change in cultural sensitivity.

“Wow, there is a big shift in what I’ve seen,” Walker says, raising his eyebrows as he signs. “Back in the ’80s, when I was here, students basically did not feel welcome on H Street. But now, I see a lot of students, faculty and alumni going anywhere they want to go. And especially, it’s nice to see people on H Street using American Sign Language to be able to communicate with us, because that makes us feel even more welcome.”

Nearly 1,200 alumni registered for Gallaudet’s 150th anniversary celebration and reunion on campus this past week.

Gallaudet is a mecca for deaf students, says Wendy Martin, who graduated in 1980. Martin, who hails from Alberta, Canada, says she knows people from all over the world who came to Washington to study at Gallaudet. The university has about 1,000 undergraduate students and nearly 900 employees, half of whom are deaf or hard of hearing.

Fred Weiner, assistant vice president for administration at Gallaudet, says businesses have realized it makes much more sense, and money, to welcome the deaf community than to ignore it.

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

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  . . .



FCC Launches Direct Video Communication Access to Help Consumers Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

July 11, 2014 in Community News



by: Greg Hlibok, Chief, Disability Rights Office
June 11, 2014

Article Source

The FCC has unveiled a new type of support service specifically designed for consumers who are deaf and hard of hearing to communicate in their primary language, American Sign Language (ASL).   The “ASL Consumer Support Line,” announced by Chairman Tom Wheeler at the M-Enabling Summit last night, allows deaf and hard of hearing consumers to engage in a direct, interactive video call with a consumer specialist at the FCC who can provide assistance in ASL for filing informal complaints or obtaining consumer information.

The direct ASL video concept was first conceived by FCC staff members in the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau’s Disability Rights Office who have observed that direct access to communication, rather than through intermediaries such as interpreters or video relay service (VRS), provide greater autonomy to the consumers.   This direct video access will allow consumers who are deaf and hard of hearing to communicate in their native language, ASL, with ease and confidence that their messages are being delivered in an exact manner.

Now, direct video access to the FCC has finally become a reality for deaf and hard of hearing consumers who communicate primarily in ASL.

We believe the new service will be highly preferred to VRS and to filing written complaints through the FCC’s website because of the difficulty in trying to convey the complexity of complaints for disability-related issues.

Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing can use the ASL Consumer Support Line by calling 844-4-FCC-ASL (844-432-2275) or 202-810-0444. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday.

You can watch an ASL web video about the ASL Consumer Support Line at

With the launch of the ASL Consumer Support Line, the FCC is paving the way for direct and easy access to connect with the FCC for consumers who communicate in ASL.

About Video Relay Service (VRS): VRS allows persons who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing and have speech disabilities to use ASL to communicate in near real time through a communications assistant , via video over a broadband Internet connection.  The CA, serving as a communication conduit, relays message from ASL to spoken English and vice versa for a call between a video caller who communicates in ASL and a voice telephone user.

About the Disability Rights Office (DRO):  DRO addresses disability-related telecommunications matters, including but not limited to:  Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS); access to telecommunications and advanced communications equipment and services by persons with disabilities; access to emergency information; and closed captioning.  For more information about DRO, visit:


Retired NFL Players May be at Risk for Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

July 11, 2014 in Community News, Research



Released: 7-Jul-2014 11:00 AM EDT 
Source Newsroom: Loyola University Health System
Article Surce

Newswise — MAYWOOD, Ill. – Retired NFL players may be at risk for permanent hearing loss and tinnitus, according to Loyola University Medical Center ear surgeon John Leonetti, MD.

Many NFL players suffer one or more concussions during their careers. And Leonetti notes that such blunt head trauma has been associated with hearing loss and tinnitus (chronic ringing or buzzing in the ears).

Leonetti said there are two possible mechanisms by which blunt head trauma, such as a blow to the head, could damage hearing or cause tinnitus:
- A blow to the head can cause the brain to wiggle like Jell-O, thereby damaging the nerves that connect the brain to the inner ear.
- A blow to the head also can create a shock wave that damages the cochlea, the delicate auditory portion of the inner ear.
There is anecdotal evidence that athletes who play football and other contact sports may be at risk for hearing damage:
- Leonetti recently spoke to retired players alongside EarQ at a meeting of the Chicago chapter of the NFL Players Association. When Leonetti asked how many players had experienced concussions during their career, they all raised their hands. When Leonetti asked how many have experienced hearing loss approximately 25 percent raised their hands. When he asked how many have tinnitus approximately 50 percent raised their hands.
- Hall of Fame NFL lineman Joe DeLamielleure told USA Today that he experienced countless blows to the head during a 13-year career, and has suffered a 68 percent hearing loss in his left ear as a result.
- Retired NHL hockey player Curt Bennett alleged in a class action lawsuit that he suffered from injuries associated with concussions and sub-concussive impacts, including tinnitus and hearing loss in both ears.

“To date, there is no proof that NFL players are suffering hearing loss and tinnitus at a rate higher than that of other men their ages,” Leonetti said. “But based on what we already know about blunt head trauma, as well as anecdotal reports from retired athletes, we believe there are compelling reasons to conduct a scientifically rigorous study to quantify the risk of hearing loss and tinnitus among retired NFL players.”

Leonetti is a professor in the departments of Otolaryngology and Neurological Surgery and program director of Cranial Base Surgery at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

New NIOSH resource helps employers keep things quiet

July 11, 2014 in Community News



July 07, 2014
Article Source

Reducing workplace noise is easier thanks to new resources developed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). What’s the new offering, and how can your employees benefit?

The NIOSH Buy Quiet initiative encourages businesses to purchase or rent quieter machinery and tools to reduce occupational noise exposures. The intent is to help prevent work-related, noise-induced hearing loss.

With 22 million U.S. workers exposed to hazardous noise at work each year, noise-induced hearing loss is the most common work-related injury in the United States.

According to NIOSH, the Buy Quiet program can help decrease the risk of hearing loss at work, minimize the impact of noise on communities, and help companies comply with OSHA regulations. The resource, available at, includes a video, posters, and links to partner websites.

Read more . . .

Stupid Things to Do with Your Hearing Aids

July 7, 2014 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



By  On 

Really, how many old hearing aid molds does a person need to keep?

The Hearing Husband and I recently sold the house we’d lived in for 16 years, and it was time to clean out the Stuff We Don’t Need.  It was an excruciatingly slow process, the drawer-to-drawer, closet-to-closet search of accumulated things, deciding what to keep and what to throw out.  Towards the end of the cull, you’re cranky and start pitching out anything you can’t brush your teeth with or wear to this year’s Christmas party.

Then, pay dirt!  Literally.  I discovered my cache of old hearing aid pieces that I’d forgotten I was hoarding—the brownest, most disgusting things I’d come across so far.  The archeological find revealed five ear molds, circa pre-1994 which is when I switched to CICs (completely in the canal hearing aids), two sets of green molds that manufacturers use to make the aids, four sets of CICs, and various tiny cleaning utensils that, of course, I could never find when I needed them!  Missing from the cache were the actual behind-the-ear (BTE) technical pieces, which I must have donated to charitable organizations for repurposing.  Accounted for was the hearing aid the dog ate; the screws, springs and plastic bits surviving that midnight munch had not been worth keeping.

These old ear molds and CICs gave me a pang of nostalgia, especially the detachable BTE ear molds.  I’d loved wearing them; they always fit like a second skin and through the years I’d spent many happy minutes blowing moisture bubbles out of the plastic tubing.

Sitting on my bedroom floor with decades of brittle hearing technology in my hands, I remembered those good times, as well as the silly dangers to which I’d exposed my hearing aids.  Miraculously, most had survived the attacks and passed away of old age.  By my calculation, 1 hearing aid year = 16 human years, but here are a few of the stupid things thatanybody can do to shorten the lifespan of their hearing aids.

  1. Wear them into the shower.  At almost the exact same moment that you think, “My, that sounds like a pretty waterfall”, reality hits and you jump out of the shower, taking the shower curtain with you.  This happens fast, a split nano-second of time, because the potential drowning of $4000 worth of hearing aids is the only thing that could make you move that quickly—especially naked.

 Read more . . . .

July Updates: Deaf In Prison Receives 25,000+ Views

July 7, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Community News, Disability Law



#DeafInPrison Campaign updates & information on upcoming events in the Deaf Access to Justice Movement.

De'VIA Deaf ARTActivists pose in front of the gates of Wende Correctional Instition in NY after providing an artist workshop at Wende Correctional Institution to kick of #DeafInPrison Campaign.
Packed house at HEARD's #DeafInPrison Screening Busboys and Poets ASL Poetry & Sign Songs, Washington, DC. Thanks to Jason "JT" Tozier for serving as HEARD spokesperson. "Powerful night!" say all present #ARTActivism #CommunityResponsibility 120 people! More photos to follow . . .   [Image Desc: Long room one piece of artwork covering the far wall. Many many people sit close together in a room looking toward big screen with "Deaf In Prison" playing]

#DeafInPrison Campaign Makes Waves

The Campaign has been a huge success thus far. The documentary received nearly 26,000 online views in just three days, and more than 600 people attended live viewings in California, Colorado, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, and Washington, D.C.

Please take a few seconds to sign & share our petition to the U.S. Department of Justice requesting national standards for inclusion of and protection for deaf incarcerated people. The ASL version of the petition can be viewed here. 


Founder Talila "TL" Lewis in Florida with Mary Ellen, HEARD Advocate for our second eldest #DeafInPrison named Bud (90 years old) #Deaf #Nonagenarian #Prison #ASL  [Image Description: TL w black rimmed glasses and bright purple shirt and Mary Ellen w light rose rimmed glasses and a light blue shirt stand in front of red pier in St. Augustine, Florida. River, trees, grass, sidewalk in the background.] Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center Photo from today's viewing of #DeafInPrison. #Colorado #Advocates #Allies

Humble thanks to Facundo Element for their support of this Campaign and to the following organizations who hosted screenings:

ASL Poetry & Sign Songs (sponsored by HEARD)
Baird Farrelly Criminal Defense, PLLC
Civil Rights Education & Enforcement Center
Department of ASL-English Interpretation at Columbia College Chicago
Deaf Communication by Innovation
Deaf Counseling, Advocacy & Referral Agency
Facundo Element
Iglesia Martell Law Firm
Pinellas Public Library Cooperative’s Deaf Literacy Center

Want more informaiton on deaf prisoners?  Take a look at HEARD’s #DeafInPrison Fact Sheet in English or ASL.

Ready to take action?

Inspiration & ideas below . . .

Gallaudet University Highlights Intern Corinna Hill

Gallaudet University wrote this articlehighlighting our former intern Corinna Hill & our work to advance Deaf Access to Justice.

The article focuses on Corinna’s work with HEARD last semester, including organizing a community engagement campaign that identified legal needs of D.C.’s Deaf Community; planning and leading the Alternative Spring Break trip for ten Cornell University students, and testifying at the Maryland House of Delegates in support of the Deaf Culture Digital Library.

Corina is quoted as saying, “I grew up thinking that the prison system was fair, and now I realize it has flaws. . . . Innocent deaf Americans are sitting in prison.” Read More>>

Support the Deaf Prisoner Phone Justice Campaign

Right now, only six prisons across the nation have videophones. Even fewer have other features that would make telecommunications universally accessible for Deaf*/CODA/Speech Challenged persons.

The Federal Communications Commission has again invited HEARD’s founder to speak about issues important to these populations at its July 9th Workshop on Further Reform of Inmate Calling Services, from 9am-4:30pm (EST). The workshop is free and open to the public, & will be live streamed for those who can not attend in person. Please show support of equal access to telecommunications for all prisoners and their families by attending or sending in deaf/disability-related questions to each panel.

For more information on HEARD’s Deaf Prisoner Phone Justice Campaign, view HEARD’s timeline here.  For more information on this workshop, please visit the FCC’s event page here.

Sign our DOJ Petition