sound - Archive

Better TV Sound for Those With Hearing Loss

August 31, 2016 in Hearing Aids, Technology, Wearables

 

Could a sound bar speaker or the right pair of headphones help you hear the dialogue on your TV again?

Not long ago, a reader wrote to us asking for help with a common problem: Due to hearing loss, she was having a hard time watching television. Even with the volume at maximum level, she couldn’t quite make out the dialogue. What could she do?

For me, the issue hit close to home.

In the later years of his life, my dad struggled to understand what was being said on TV shows. When I called or visited him, the TV was often at full blast. And yet, he complained, that really didn’t help him follow the on-screen conversations. It simply added another layer of commotion.

Read more  . . . TV sound

Watch This Innovative ‘Sound Shirt’ Help Deaf People ‘Feel’ Music

May 20, 2016 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology

 

 

Billboard
5/19/2016
by Chris Payne

Those with synesthesia claim to “see” sound as color. A tech-focused fashion house has developed a shirt that helps deaf people process music in another non-traditional method — by feeling it.

CuteCircuit created something called the Sound Shirt, which translates sound into sensations felt across the wearer’s body. Different notes create different feelings across corresponding areas of the garment; in theory, it could provide the deaf with a whole new way of internalizing something they cannot hear.

 

Read more  . . . See Captioned Video  . . . Sound Shirt

Turtle Beach’s HyperSound is for hearing loss, but has endless potential

June 26, 2015 in Technology

 

 

TechnoBuffalo
BY ERIC FREDERIKSEN
JUNE 22, 2015

Turtle Beach asked us to check out its products at E3 this year. We knew we’d be seeing headsets, but the audio developer had a neat surprise in store for us as well.
There were definitely headsets. Lots of headsets for Xbox, PlayStation 4, and PC– everything from simple chat audio gear for Xbox One up through multiplatform headsets with “super hearing” settings that let you hear silenced footsteps.

What really piqued our interest, though, was Turtle Beach’s HyperSound Clear technology and the potential future it presents for audio delivery.

Here’s Turtle Beach on how the technology works:

HyperSound technology is a fundamentally new approach to sound delivery that utilizes thin panels to generate an ultrasound beam that carries audio through the air. The panels direct sound in a narrow, controlled beam; much the way a flashlight directs a beam of light. When an individual enters the beam, they hear immersive 3D audio, similar to wearing a surround sound headset.

Read More  . . . Turtle Beach

VIBRATING VEST TO LET DEAF PEOPLE ‘FEEL’ SOUND

May 1, 2015 in Community News

 

 

RICE UNIVERSITY
Posted by Patrick Kurp-Rice

A vest that allows the profoundly deaf to “feel” and understand speech is under development.

The vest features dozens of embedded sensors that vibrate in specific patterns to represent words. VEST—Versatile Extra-Sensory Transducer—responds to input from a phone or tablet app that isolates speech from ambient sound.

A team of undergraduates is working on VEST with Scott Novich, a doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering at Rice University who works in the lab of neuroscientist David Eagleman.

Novich devised the algorithm that enables the VEST to “hear” only the human voice and screen out distracting sounds.

‘FEELING THE SONIC WORLD’

The low-cost, noninvasive vest collects sounds from a mobile app and converts them into tactile vibration patterns on the user’s torso. Haptic feedback supplants auditory input.

The first VEST prototype put together by the team has 24 actuators sewn into the back. A second version, already in production, will include 40 of the actuators Eagleman calls “vibratory motors.” He described the experience, at least for a hearing person, as “feeling the sonic world around me.”

“Along with all the actuators, the system includes a controller board and two batteries,” says Gary Woods, the team’s adviser and a professor in the practice of computer technology. “The actuators vibrate in a very complicated pattern based on audio fed through a smartphone. The patterns are too complicated to translate consciously.”

With training, the brains of deaf people adapt to the “translation” process, Eagleman says. Test subjects, some of them deaf from birth, “listened” to spoken words and wrote them on a white board. “They can start understanding the ‘language’ of the vest,” he says.


Read more  . . Watch Video (captioned)  . . . Vest

Sound level meter apps: Do they work?

April 17, 2015 in Technology

 

 

HealthyHearing
Contributed by Lisa Packer, staff writer
April 13, 2015

With the growing popularity of smartphone apps, the newest way to measure sound level might be in your back pocket or purse. The latest statistics show that 71 percent of all people over the age of 18 own a smartphone; that means 171 million people have access to millions of apps. And with so many apps to choose from, it makes sense there would be one to measure noise levels. These apps aren’t just for fun; they are being used increasingly to measure occupational noise levels or noise in the workplace.

Hearing loss as a result of harmful noise in the workplace is a significant issue. More than 22 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to dangerous noise levels each year and there are over 20,000 cases of occupational noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) reported each year alone. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) guidelines for occupational noise exposure, recommended noise levels should be controlled at or below 85 decibels (dB) for eight hours. Many in noisy occupations are turning to sound level meter apps, or SLMs, for noise level information.

Read entire article . . . . Sound level meter apps

 

Interactive Sound Ruler: How Loud is Too Loud?

September 2, 2014 in Community News

 

 

How loud is Too loud?

Find out from this interactive sound ruler.

Click here

Sound Ruler-NIH

Interactive Sound Ruler from NIDCD

October 5, 2013 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness

 

Interactive Sound Ruler on Noisy Planet’s Website

From National Institute for Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Did you know that many everyday sounds can potentially damage your hearing? Check out the Noisy Planet’s Interactive Sound Ruler to help you determine: How loud is too loud? Using the ruler, you can click on a decibel level to see what’s safe and what’s not. Don’t forget that exposure to noise at or above 85 decibels over time can put you at risk for noise-induced hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time needed to cause hearing loss. The sound ruler is a great educational activity for classrooms and is also available in Spanish: Escala interactiva de ruidos: ¿Cuándo el ruido es demasiado ruido?

Sound Ruler

 


Distributed 2013 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC), 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA 22030; www.nvrc.org; 703-352-9055 V, 703-352-9056 TTY, 703-352-9058 Fax. Items in this newsletter are provided for information purposes only; NVRC does not endorse products or services. You do not need permission to share this information, but please be sure to credit NVRC.  This news service is free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.

HLAA Workshop: Sounds for Seniors: an Honest Look at Hearing Loss in the 55+ Community

July 8, 2011 in Education & Outreach

 By Bonnie O’Leary  7/7/11

I chose this workshop because I have spent so many years providing outreach to the senior community here in Northern Virginia.  Sheila Adams of DeLand, Florida, gave a very interesting program with a personal touch to it.

Ms. Adams lost her hearing when she was a  young adult, getting her first hearing aid at the age of 27.  At 47, she received her first cochlear implant, and she got her second implant at the age of 55.    Her career as a school teacher was filled with struggles caused by her hearing loss, and she talked about overcoming  those challenges.

Ms. Adams spent some time talking about her own family whom she feels represents senior citizens in many ways.  Her mother has been hard of hearing all her life, but very active because she has worn hearing aids and used assistive listening devices.  She has been married to Ms. Adams’ father for 63 years, but he now has Parkinson’s disease which causes him to speak softly and makes it harder now for her mother to communicate with her father.   Both have a slight memory loss.  One of Ms. Adams’ aunts is 88, and can still hear.  Another aunt is 90 and has glaucoma as well as macular degeneration.  Just observing these and other aging family members, Ms. Adams sees a wide range of senior issues that impact socialization and communication.

Seniors were categorized as “young-old” (ages 55-75) and “old-old” (ages 75+) as Ms. Adams discussed successful aging.  Successful aging depends on how well seniors accept change and loss.  These can include physical, psychological, social, economic, and interpersonal.  A lot will depend on the senior’s endurance and attitude as well as manual dexterity.    An “old” senior, for instance, can’t go back to normal after bad sprains or broken bones.  Those sprains become the new normal, and they have to accept that they need help, which is not easy for seniors who have been active and independent throughout their lives.  Adapting to  hearing loss is also difficult, especially when the senior has had a lot of other issues to contend with, whether they be physical or emotional, such as grieving over the death of friends.  Sometimes, Ms. Adams has found in her own family that “one’s perception of health is a greater influencing factor than one’s actual health.” 

How aging impacts hearing

The accumulation of noise over the years eventually takes its toll in the inner ear, causing age-related hearing loss.  But there are other physical changes happening at the same time.  There is often more and harder wax that accumulates and is increasingly difficult to remove.  The ear canal narrows, and the sensitivity of the hair cells changes, often producing a greater sensitivity to noise.  With these changes, there is a slowing of the message-carrying ability of the ear which can produce changes in perception.  Cognitive changes include a shortened attention span as well as fatigue.

Quality of life

Staying connected is a huge party of successful aging, maintaining the relationships that are important to seniors.  Having something meaningful to do, a purposeful activity, is also important, as well as have opportunities for intellectual growth and learning.  Recreation and entertainment are a part of staying connected, and Ms. Adams remarked how ironic it is to have more time in retirement but also more limitations in our abilities to do things.  Finally, a senior’s quality of life is also enhanced by spiritual growth and as well as a sense of hope, of having some positive prospects.  Hearing loss can render all of these desired aspects of life very challenging.

Factors affecting how a senior handles hearing loss

The temperament and personality of a senior will play a large part in determining how well he or she handles hearing loss.  Someone who is passive and has never had a lot of self-confidence is likely to become more quickly withdrawn than someone who is an assertive, or even aggressive, type of individual.  The perception of need is also important, accepting that it’s okay to get help, that hearing loss does not make him weak or “less than”.  But some seniors are content with their situations, their connections, and therefore are in no hurry to get hearing aids or undertake any other self-help types of activities to compensate for their hearing loss.  It is important for seniors to understand the impact that their hearing loss has on others as well, on their families and friends who can feel very frustrated when trying to communicate too.  A senior’s “knowledge base” is another factor that contributes to how he or she will handle a hearing loss.  There is a lot of misinformation about hearing aids and cochlear implants which could shape a  senior’s attitude towards getting help.  An understanding of options is important, and whether or not there are resources within their communities.

Solutions

There are 4 A’s to consider:  Amplification, Advocacy, Assistive listening devices, and Alternatives.  Seniors need to know the sources for financial assistance for hearing aids if they need it, and audiologists need to be more vigilant and honest in the way they fit seniors for hearing aids.  Seniors should also be kept up to date on hearing resources available in theatres and  movies, how to use captioning on television, how to develop better communication strategies with their families and friends.

If you would like to e-chat with Sheila Adams about the impact of hearing loss on seniors, you can reach her at Sheila_ci777@yahoo.com.

Hearing Loss Association America Response to NYC Police Department Ban on Hearing Aids

July 7, 2011 in Advocacy & Access

1.        NY City Forces Retirement of Police Officers Wearing Hearing Aids
From the blog of Lise Hamlin, Director of Public Policy at Hearing Loss Association of America
 

In an article published June 19, 2011, (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/20/nyregion/ny-enforces-ban-on-police-officers-using-hearing-aids.html) the New York Times reported the New York City police department has banned the use of hearing aids on the job. Two officers who were forced to retire because they did wear hearing aids on the job have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), saying that the policy is discriminatory toward people with hearing loss.

It appears that the NYC police department has a kind of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy toward hearing aid wearers. According to the New York Times, Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman, said it was “not actively looking to see if people have hearing aids.” He does admit that the department has told officers to stop wearing the hearing aids once found. According to Dan Carione, one of the two officers who were forced to retire, the department is sending a message that if you step forward and make your use of hearing aids known, “it will end your career.”

Mr. Carione and his attorneys contacted HLAA soon after he learned the department’s policy last fall. HLAA has offered continuing support and information about hearing loss and employment issues as he works toward reinstatement.

 

2.       Response to the NY Times article by HLAA Executive Director Brenda Battat , published June 28, 2011

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/28/opinion/l28hearing.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

 

To the Editor:

Re “Ban on Hearing Aids is Forcing Out Veteran New York City Police Officers” (news article, June 19):

Hearing Loss is a health issue that has long been misunderstood and stigmatized in our society. Banning the use of hearing aids that help police officers to function at their best is inconceivable and perpetuates the myths and stereotypes that are still prevalent about hearing loss today.

More important, it puts both the police officer and the public at risk when those who have admitted their hearing loss, sought treatment for it, and can function well with a hearing aid are forced to hide their hearing loss for fear of losing their jobs.

For more than twenty years the Americans with Disabilities Act has provided equal opportunity in the workplace. Banning young police officers from using the excellent hearing aids available today and forcing older police officers with hearing aids to retire is discriminating. As long as they can pass the hearing test with their hearing aids in they should be allowed to use them on the job.

Brenda Battat,

Bethesda, MD, June 21, 2011

The writer is the executive director of Hearing Loss Association of America, a national membership organization of and for people with hearing loss.

Hearing Aids

July 7, 2011 in Technology

Hearing Aids: What You Should Know Before You Buy!

  1. See your doctor first unless you have had a physical within the last 6 months. Some hearing aid specialists will ask you to sign a medical waiver in order to speed up the process of hearing aid sales.  This is not in your best interest.
  2. Check out the business selling hearing aids by contacting your local Better Business Bureau, consumer protection agency, or state attorney general.
  3. Know the difference between Audiologists and hearing aid dealers! Today, Audiologists require an Au.D., Doctor of Audiology, to certify. (This is NOT an M.D., however!).  Most have at least a Masters in Audiology, and they provide diagnostic audiological services.  They also have training in areas such as  listening/communication strategies and the perception of sound.  Hearing aid dealers become experts in hearing aid technology through numerous courses and apprenticeships with other hearing aid dealers.  Both are in the business of selling hearing aids.  What matters most is that the professional you choose is knowledgeable, ethical and provides a patient-driven service rather than a sales-driven service.
  4. Take someone with you when you go for your hearing aid evaluation who will take notes for you.  The results of the hearing test and the options for hearing aids can be confusing.
  5. Beware of ‘the deal’! If the Audiologist or dealer  tries to pressure you with promises like  ‘10% discount’, ‘$1,000 off’, ‘a lifetime of free follow-up visits’, ‘a lifetime of free batteries’, etc., this is a good indication that he or she is sales-driven.  Many are under contract to sell a certain number of hearing aids a year, putting their own interests ahead of yours.
  6. Take advantage of the 30 day trial period. In Virginia, you can return the hearing aids at the end of that time if you are not happy with them.
  7. Ask about fees for returning the aids. Each dispenser has his or her own business policies regarding the fee for returning them – it can be anywhere from 4% to 20% of the cost of the hearing aid.
  8. Please remember:
    • Hearing aids do NOT stop hearing loss.
    • Hearing aids will NOT restore your hearing to normal.
    • ALL Audiologists and dealers will provide free hearing aid adjustments during the trial period.
    • There is NO BEST HEARING AID because everyone’s hearing loss is different; what works for one person might not work for someone else.
    • You own your audiogram, be sure your specialist gives it to you.
    • A hearing aid should fit comfortably and not whistle.
    • No hearing aid cuts out background noise, but it can be made more tolerable.
  9. Ask about the telecoil – is it appropriate for your hearing loss. The telecoil is a small magnetic coil inside the hearing aid that bypasses background noise when you are using the telephone or an assistive listening device.  It is a very valuable feature and you can activate it with the push of a button.

Articles related to Hearing Aids

NVRC Related Fact Sheets

♦♦♦♦

If you have a complaint contact:

Better Business Bureau
1411 K Street NW, 10th Floor
Washington, DC  20005-3404
202-393-8000 phone
202-393-1198 fax
info@dc.bbb.org email
www.dc.bbb.org

Virginia Dept. of Professional
and Occumpational Regulation
3600 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA  23230
804-367-8500 phone
804-367-9753 tty
804-367-2475 fax
hearingaidspec@dpor.virginia.gov email
www.dpor.va.gov

 

HLAA Exhibitor: Clear Sounds

June 30, 2011 in Education & Outreach

By Marla Dougherty  6/30/11

 At the ClearSounds booth I spoke with Michelle Maher about their latest amplified phones like the A600 with digital answering machine that allows you to listen to messages through the handset earpiece or through the speakerphone.

As a consumer using a ClearSounds product, I was interested to learn more about their product line and discovered more about the Bluetooth products they now have available.  The Bluetooth amplified neckloop accessory can be used with the cell phone, TV and MP3 player. The loop receiver requires T-coils or there use of a headset jack to accommodate non-T-coil users. The QLink Bluetooth Stereo Transmitter is a Bluetooth adapter which can link to an assortment of devices using their neckloop/headset system. http://www.clearsounds.com

HLAA Exhibitor: Samsung Telecommunications America

June 30, 2011 in Education & Outreach

By Marla Dougherty  6/27/11

Are you in the market for a hearing aid compatible cell phone?

Mobile phone manufacturer Samsung was at the convention with their hearing aid compatible phones. The Samsung A107 has a M3/T3 rating and the Samsung Rugby II has a M3/T4 rating. The easy to use Jitterbug has a M4/T4 rating.

If you are not familiar with the FCC standard for rating cell phones, only those with a rating of M3/T3 or M4/T4 are considered hearing aid compatible. These are the ratings that help hearing aid users find the best phone for their needs. Often a cell phone will give off a buzzing or whining sound when held up to a hearing aid or cochlear implant and the interference makes it difficult to understand.  The higher the rating, (M4/T4 being the best) the less likely it is to generate interference.

If you have questions about Samsung accessibility and hearing aid compatible devices, contact Kendra Green, the designated agent for accessibility. 972-761-7123 or email kgreen@samsung.com

HLAA Exhibitor: Micropower Battery Company

June 30, 2011 in Education & Outreach

 By Marla Dougherty  6/27/11

Another new exhibitor to the HLAA Convention this year was the Micropower Battery Company. Each convention bag had a gift card for a trial pack of batteries, so visiting their table was first on my list! 

Micropower Battery Company is a wholesale, direct to customer distributer and retailer that represents 9 battery manufacturers. Online sales at Microbattery.com can save up to 1/3-1/2 off store purchased batteries. There is a lower price for specialized batteries when you purchase large quantities. Other small batteries such as watch and camera batteries are sold by Micropower too. http://www.microbattery.com/

HLAA Exhibitor: Sonus

June 30, 2011 in Education & Outreach

By Marla Dougherty  6/23/11

 Franchise-owned Sonus has three locations in the Northern Virginia area and I spoke with Sandy Romano from the Arlington Sonus. Sandy explained that Sonus has a patient-centered approach and fits the hearing aid that is appropriate. If the customer is not satisfied, they will receive 100% money back.

The Sonus Hearing Care Professionals offer a 75 day trial period on hearing aids from Phonak, ReSound and Siemens. The top of the line models have a three year warranty and Sonus supplies batteries for all three years.  On the Sonus website you can enter your zip code to find a Sonus in your state. http://www.sonus.com

HLAA Exhibitor: Starkey Laboratories

June 30, 2011 in Education & Outreach

By Marla Dougherty  6/23/11

I stopped by the Starkey booth and spoke with Jason Horowitz to see what was new with this 44 year old company. Jason was eager to tell me about the Wi series and new Sound Lens, the latest in invisible hearing aids.

Wi Series: This Receiver-In-Canal hearing aid is designed to give improved sound clarity even in noisy situations. What I found interesting about the product is that it can wirelessly stream stereo, TV and computer directly to the hearing aid without any relay device worn around the neck. It does so by using a new wireless integrated circuit platform, which Jason explained was better than BlueTooth technology and about three times faster.
 
Sound Lens: This is Starkey’s new hearing aid that sits inside the second bend of the ear canal. Depending on the user’s ear anatomy, it won’t be visible. Unlike the Lyric, the digital Sound Lens can be removed daily and allows the user to change the battery. Memory and volume adjustments can be made remotely using any touch tone phone.