Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Regrowing auditory nerves

Australian researchers say they've figured out a way for Gene therapy to make cochlear implants work better. Sending a series of short electric bursts to cells could cause auditory nerve endings to regenerate. If they are right, implant users to get more "pitch" out of their devices. The gene therapy technique called "electroporation." The team says it successfully tested its technique on deaf guinea pigs. Human trails will have to wait until they figure out how to make the effect last longer than just a few months. Read the details of the study in the latest edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine here.

Know Your Rights When Dealing with Police

The ACLU is releasing a video today featuring Marlee Matlin. The Academy Award winner talks about the problems that deaf people have with the police because of communication barriers. It's part o public education effort launched by the American Civil Liberties Union aimed at ensuring people who are deaf know their rights when interacting with law enforcement. She says, "Getting stopped by the police, even at a routine traffic stop, can be a scary experience. For those of us who are deaf or hard of hearing, it can be even scarier. When officers don’t realize we can’t hear them, it can lead to confusion or worse. As the wife of a law enforcement officer, as well as a deaf person, I know that police culture and deaf culture can be very different, and this video is here to bridge the gap." Watch the video below.

Review of Tribes in Berkeley

The stage production of Tribes is being produced at the new Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley, California through May 18. One reviewer says, "At times, the verbiage gets a bit thick, and the production seems about to stall in white noise. But “Tribes” comes together in the second act." Read more here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

USC Lectures on cochlear implants

Three people were honored recently for the their work with cochlear implants by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation. Graeme Clark, Ingeborg Hochmair and Blake Wilson spoke at the University of Southern California as part of the Lasker Lectures. Read more here.

Sean Forbes Reflects on Influences

Deaf hip hop performer Sean Forbes spoke at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York yesterday as part of the Cornell University Deaf Awareness Project. The school's student newspaper, The Cornell Daily Sun, interviewed Forbes and asked him about his musical beginnings and commitment to the deaf community. Read the interview here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

School turns green space into farmland

TThe Kentucky School for the Deaf has broken ground on a 23 acres garden and research center on its campus. The Advocate Messenger says students last worked the land in the 1970s. Plans are to use the corn, potatoes and strawberries in the school's cafeteria and local food banks. Read the full story here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Lawsuit against Gally tossed out

Angela McCaskill
image from Gallaudet University
A million dollar lawsuit against Gallaudet University has been dismissed by a federal judge. We first told you about Angela McCaskill filing the lawsuit last fall in a post here. The University’s chief diversity officer said the school violated an anti-discrimination law when she was placed on paid leave for signing a petition about Maryland’s gay-marriage law. McCaskill was demoted when she was allowed to return to work. Her lawsuit asked for $2.5 million. U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg wrote:
“While a citizen has an unfettered right to petition her government, such a constitutional claim aimed at Gallaudet cannot succeed here, as the university and its employees are private parties not subject to the First Amendment’s strictures."
You can read the decision here.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Deaf man sues city over injury

Jesus A. Trevino is suing the city of Bakersfield, California because he says a police officer injured him when Trevino didn't hear the officer's commands. The Bakersfield Californian reports that Trevino, who is deaf, was trying to get into his own house after forgetting his keys. Read the full story here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Son’s Deafness Prompts a Scientific Journey

Lydia Denworth's new book I Can Hear You Whisper: An Intimate Journey Through the Science of Sound and Language "explores both what happened to her own child and the relationship between the brain and sound and language." Read more about it in the New York Times here.

ASL rap battle

It was a sign language rap battle on Jimmy Kimmel Live last week. ASL terps Amber Galloway, Holly Maniatty, and deaf entertainer Jo Rose Benfield matched skills to a Wiz Khalifa song. The video already has more than 900k views. You can see the video below (no captions).

Monday, April 14, 2014

Board votes to close school

The Austine School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will close in June. The Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Board of Directors voted 8-1 to shut down the Brattleboro, Vermont school. The vote also closes the Williams Center which provides emotional support for deaf children. The decision is expected to cause 50 people to lose their jobs. You can read more about the vote in the Bennington Banner here.

A deaf wedding in 1940

This video is a British news reel, which was shown in movie theaters during 1940 (no captions).

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Baseball team pretends player is deaf

A group of professional baseball players pretended one of their teammates was deaf for an entire month--in order to play a prank on a player. The Chihuahuas is a minor league team of the San Diego Padres out of El Paso, Texas that had outfielder Jeff Francoeur believing that pitcher Jorge Reyes was deaf. Not only were the players on the team part of the prank, so was the coaching and training staffs. They even got Francoeur to talk about it on camera. You can see it below--though the video creator ironically choice not to include captioning.

Health agency's flaws

A doctor who has worked with Starkey Hearing foundation blames the World Health Organization for making the situation worse for people in Africa. Dr. Robert Dean has a practice in Palm Harbor, Florida and has led to several humanitarian travel missions, writes this in the Tampa Bay Times:
I've been humbled and honored to help to mitigate hearing loss through the Starkey Hearing Foundation. But as we observe World Health Day, we need to ask why the World Health Organization isn't doing more to shrink the demand for missions like the ones that keep Starkey volunteers so busy.
Read the opinion piece here.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Megadeth flies born-deaf woman to Vegas for her first rock concert

The band Megadeth is flying Sarah Churman and her husband to Las Vegas for a concert. A couple of years ago, we shared with you a video of Churman getting her cochlear implants turned on. The video went viral and more than 20 million people saw her reaction (the video is below). Now, she's getting her first rock concert and you read the full story at the Las Vegas Review-Journal here.

Feeling the music at concerts

An Indianapolis has installed something to help deaf patrons better enjoy the event. WISH-TV has a video report below. No captioning but you can read the story here.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Deaf Actress Dies at 70

The woman honored for her role in the Broadway version of Children of a Lesser God died yesterday. Phyllis Frelich won the 1980 Tony award for Best Actress in a Play for her work as Sarah Norman--a part that playright Mark Medoff wrote especially for Frelich. Marlee Matlin got an Oscar for playing the same part in the film version of Children of a Lesser God. The Hollywood Reporter says Frelich died at the age of 70. Both her parents and siblings were deaf. she performed with the National Theater of the Deaf, the Broadway edition of Big River and signed the national anthem at the 1998 Super Bowl.

Deaf Woman tells Police she was assaulted

A Minnesota convicted sex offender is facing charges that he raped and beat a deaf woman in St. Paul. Police say a naked woman ran from the apartment of Michael Darnell Burns to a neighbor, saying Burns had assaulted her, according to WCCO-TV. Read the full story here.