Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
New Zealand's main pay-television operator is launching a closed captioning feature on 13 of its channels starting Wednesday. Sky Television is adding the feature to its feed of: Animal Planet, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, TCM, TV1, TV2, TV3, Cartoon Network, Crime & Investigation, Discovery Channel, Nickelodeon, UKTV and National Geographic.
A longrunning British soap opera is looking for a deaf teen to play a character later this year on the show. The producers of Hollyoaks want a 16-year-old male who must "be fully or partially deaf, must be able to communicate in sign language, and must be either 16 or older and able to realistically play 16." The role of Mikey could turn into a regular character on the show. Hollyoaks airs weeknights on Channel 4.
Deaf New Zealanders often don't travel because of concerns that their hearing loss needs will not be met. Auckland University of Technology researchers were told by 90% of those who responded to their survey that the service provided by the country's tourism industry is weak and needs improvement. Two-out-of-three respondents also admitted they have trouble finding information about travel accessibility.
Matt Hamill returns tonight to Rochester for a showing of the film based on his life. The film The Hammer will be shown at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf where he graduated and part of the film was shot. The wrestling champion and former Ultimate Fighter will answer questions from the audience afterward. The Hammer will be available on DVD for the first time today. Read a review of the film here.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
A groups of students from Ecuador have won a Microsoft Imagine Cup Grant. They designed Skillbox, which helps deaf children by translating audio from a teacher in a classroom into sign language. A wireless headset captures the sound and sends it to a computer for translation. The team will get $75,000 to develop the technology using Microsoft products. The four winning teams were announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland where Bill Gates met with the team captains. The winners were chosen out of 50 applicants. A video introducing Skillbox is posted below on DeafNewsToday.com (no captioning).
There's a new motion tracking dock that should make apps like FaceTime easier to use. Swivl works with iPhone or any smartphone that is less than 11 millimeters thick. The motorized camera stand follows a users movements, guided by an infrared marker on a wearable Bluetooth mic (which is included). It's a little pricey at $159. Here's a video showing how it works.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Following a showcase of his collection, 9 year old Rafi earned a standing ovation during Jakarta Fashion Week in November when he stepped onto the catwalk. His full name is Rafi Abdurrahman Ridwan and he is Indonesia’s youngest Fashion Designer. Rafi lost his hearing at the age of three months and has suffered from respiratory tract infections since his birth. His parents, Shinta and Mohammad Ridwan, were warned by their doctor that Rafi would likely have birth defeats and health issues. He suggested they consider an abortion. But the couple continued with the pregnancy because of their religious beliefs. Rafi was born and he attended a school for the deaf in Santi Rama. On his own, he developed an obsession for drawing. Rafi attended a fashion show at the age of five, which convinced him that he wanted to become a designer. It was at another show he met Indonesian designer Barli Asmara, who saw potential in Rafi's detailed and colorful sketches. Asmara has mentored Rafi since that time, helping him to fulfill his dream of holding his own fashion show for his 9th birthday. Its success led to an invitation to take part in Jakarta Fashion Week. Just a few months before the event, he had cochlear implant surgery. The family has chosen not to use sign language. Instead, Rafi's mom taught him lip read. Below is a video of Rafi and his work.
Beethoven’s Nightmare played a free concert last night in Duluth, Minnesota at the College of St. Scholastica. The three-man deaf rock band from San Francisco are accompanied by sign language interpreters. Below on DeafNewsToday.com is a sample video of the group. You can see a video report from a local TV station KQDS here.
Friday, January 27, 2012
A app for deaf Australians works as a visual alert for emergency notices. Silent Tweets was created by Australian Communication Exchange and is free. It gives users warnings of regional emergencies, such as building evacuations or disaster announcements as well as updates on traffic and weather.
We told you earlier today about a gift a deaf architect was planning to give to California State University at Fresno. We knew Robert Duncan Nicol's gift would be more than a million dollars, but it turned out the actual amount will be much more - $2 million. It's the most ever given to the health and human services college. Below on DeafNewsToday.com is a video
Another deaf man is joining a lawsuit against the sheriff of a Colorado county, accusing him of violating ADA law. Michaelee Owen and the Colorado Association of the Deaf are joining a suit filed in November by Timothy Siaki along with the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition. Siaki and Own claim Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr kept him behind bars for 25 days without providing a sign language interpreter or communication devices for the deaf. The Sheriff's office says an interpreter explained the charges against Siaki on his second day in jail, then he was able to communicate in written English and that was good enough.
An award-winning deaf architect is giving more than a million dollars to California State University in Fresno. It's the largest gift ever given to the school's College of Health and Human Services. The money will go toward the The Silent Garden program at the school, which is designed to help deaf children. The name of the program comes from a book written by a Fresno State professor. You can find more about the book here.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Some 80 religious programmers are asking the FCC to exempt them from the Commission's new closed captioning rules because of financial hardship. This past fall, the FCC told more than 500 programmers, most of them religious broadcasters, that their exemptions would no longer apply and they would have to refile for a new exemption by January 18 (last Wednesday). Programmers were told they would have to fully document their financial resources and show that providing captioning would put an undue burden on the organization. This time, the Commission says it wants to look at the resources of the whole organization and not just the TV program itself. Most of those filing for the new exemption are churches with weekly TV broadcasts, such as Curtis Baptist Church in Augusta, Georgia and Dilworth Church of Christ in Jasper, Alabama.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Switched at Birth Creator Lizzy Weiss. Read the interview here.
A Salem, Massachusetts found himself behind bars after a fight with his former girlfriend, who is deaf. Police say Donald Devoe tried to intimidate her when she tried to call 9-1-1. He faces charges of domestic assault. She was advised that she should get a restraining order.
The University of Washington will host the Seattle Deaf Film Festival from March 30 to April 1. The films to be shown coming from 8 different countries and created by, for, or about the deaf community. The school's ASL and Deaf Studies Program is working with with Deaf Spotlight, a nonprofit that focuses on the culture and creativity of the deaf community. The films will include subtitles for audience members who are sign language impaired.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Business research firm GlobalData has compiled an analysis of what to expect from the cochlear implant market during the next few years. The report is titled Hearing Implants - Global Pipeline Analysis, Competitive Landscape and Market Forecasts to 2017. Find out more here.
Most people over the age of 25 cannot hear much above a frequency of 13 or 14 kHz. As we age, the little hairs in our inner ear do not function as well and we begin to lose our hearing in the very high frequency ranges. Teenagers sometimes use ring tones in this range so teachers can’t hear their phone rigning in class. If you want to check which frequencies you can hear, go to this site and click on the different audio tones.
Labels: Hearing Loss
Monday, January 23, 2012
Sunday, January 22, 2012
There's a fake story making the rounds about a BBC sign language interpreter who was supposedly fired for changing news stories because she was bored. It was posted last year on The Poke a satirical news website in the UK. In the last few days, French media has picked it up and the story has gone viral in that country's social media. According to The Poke article, Leslie Grange had been on the job for seven years but citing "personal difficulties – particularly a crushing professional boredom" she admitted to having deviated from what was actually being reported. During the Japanese earthquake she told of radioactive zombies sighted near the nuclear reactor and later told the BBC audience that Rebekah Brooks was in trouble for raping a monkey. Grange also allegedly told audiences the Prime Minister said teenagers wouldn't have to pay for anything anymore. Of course, it was a big joke, but the French missed the humor and printed it as fact. So have some American bloggers. You can read the original story here.
A deaf Milwaukee woman is dead after being hit Wednesday on a street corner not far from Lake Michigan. Police say her body was found in the middle of the street and was hit by three vehicles. Police are looking for one of the drivers who left the scene. Annette Tomashaski was 58 years old.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Nevada is increasing its monthly tax to pay for free video phone service for the deaf to 7 cents. The Public Utilities Commission had cut the rate down to 3 cents after it was 8 cents. After complaints, the Commission made a deal with the Disability Services Division to push it back up. The new rate kicks in this August. As many as 10,000 people use the free service each month.
It started a month ago with a Toronto man in a dark brown wig spouting common phrases used by women. IT was Graydon Sheppard in the wig, pretending to be a girl. He's the face in a video that went viral called S- Girls Say. Its success has spawned a number of imitators, from Asian women to vegans and fathers and black girls. Now are several about S- Hearing People Say, even though sites like Gawker and Huffington Post have pleaded with people to quit creating them. One of them is posted below.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Texas researchers are moving forward with a study using umbilical cord blood stem cells to try to restore hearing loss. The study is being done by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School. Ten babies who have hearing loss will be followed for a year while they are treated using their own stored cord blood. Researchers hope to develop a new option that does not involve surgery for children with profound hearing loss that could restore normal hearing.
The South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind hold it's annual chili cook-off tomorrow. The 2012 So You Think You Can Cook Chili Cook-off fundraiser takes place at downtown Spartanburg’s Indigo Hall. Eleven teams are competing. There is more information here.
The PBS NewsHour will use volunteers to caption its election coverage, thanks to funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). A $420,000 grant will be used for the project, set to launch Tuesday night (Jan 24) with the President's State of the Union address. Besides providing captioning for the deaf, the funds will be used for translation into dozens of languages including Dutch and Chinese.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
I King Jordan gets more money in retirement than any other former federal employee. The one-time Gallaudet president receives $375,900 from the federal government, according to Bloomberg. He declined the magazine's request for a response. The federal retirement system faces a shortfall of more than $674 billion. The number of workers eligible for retirement is expected to grow 35% by 2016 from the number that could have retired this past year.
The spelling bee champ at Chesapeake Elementary is deaf. Emily Neal, who has a cochlear implant, won in her class, her school, her region, and came in second in the county spelling bee. It took 23 rounds for the Ohio 4th grader to lose to an 8th grader.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held exactly one year ago at the American Sign Language and Deaf Studies Community Center located inside the Student Alumni Union at NTID in Rochester. More than 1500 deaf students are enrolled at NTID and several thousand students from other schools visit to learn more about a deaf college or deaf students.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
There is a link between hearing loss and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Dr. Frank Lin and his team followed more than 600 people for nearly 12 years. The participants’ degree of hearing loss paralleled their risk of later developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. For each 10-decibel loss in hearing, the risk of dementia increased about 20 percent. In other words, the risk doubled with mild hearing loss, tripled with moderate hearing loss, and soared fivefold among those with severe hearing loss. Lin speculates that the brain is overstressed by trying to pick up what it is missing. By devoting more of its resources to hearing, the brain neglects other functions. Social isolation may contribute to a greater risk of age-related disorders as well, according to Dr. Lin. The unanswered question from his research is whether improved hearing through the use of cochlear implants and hearing aids, or improved communication through learning sign language, reverses or delays the development of dementia. Details of the study are in the Archives of Neurology.
The Gallaudet Baseball team has a preseason All-American on the team for the first time ever. D3baseball.com gives sophomore William Bissell an honorable mention - making him one of 54 picks and the only player out of the North Eastern Athletic Conference or North Atlantic Conference. This isn't his first accolade. As a freshman last year, Bissell was picked to the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings NCAA Division III All-American teams. He was also a first team ABCA All-South Region selection and was the 2011 NEAC West Division Player of the Year and a first team all-conference outfielder. Last season, the Bison won 17 games - one more than the team record set in 1899. Gallaudet starts its 2012 season at home with a double hitter on Saturday, February 18, against preseason #17 Salisbury University.
Three deaf people were hit by a car Tuesday night in Olathe, Kansas. Two women and a man were attending an event at the Deaf Cultural Center across the street from the the Kansas School for the Deaf, when a 65-year-old driver struck all through as they tried to cross the road. Two are in serious condition and one is in critical condition. The driver stopped and tried to help, but may face charges.
Any US TV station or television programmer with a closed captioning waiver has until today (Jan 18) to refile it with the FCC. Some 300 waivers were issued by the Commission because of "undue burden considerations." But those exceptions, mostly given to religious groups, have been swept away. The TV stations and programmers are required to submit new petitions or else the programming in question is required to have closed captioning in place by the following day, January 19.
Special chips for smartphones and tablets can separate a speaker’s voice from surrounding noises. If you are in a noisy place and have a phone with Audience’s EarSmart chip, the person on the other end of the line will hear you clearly, without the sounds from the background. Similar technology could be in two-thirds of phones in the next four years - and could help advances in hearing aid and cochlear implant technology. The founder of Audience is Lloyd Watts, who earned his doctorate by creating computer models of how the ear and brain distinguish sounds. Find out more here.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
The FCC has released its new rules on closed captioning related to video delivered over the Internet. The Report and Order comes in response to Congress's 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act which directed the FCC to establish how and when video programming must be captioned. The rules describe captioning requirements for video owners, providers, and distributors, a compliance schedule, complaint rules; and requirements for manufacturers of devices that are used to view the video programming. These devices have a compliance deadline of January 1, 2014. We'll have more on the topic as the details become clearer.
A Filipino couple was refused permanent residence in Canada because of their deaf son. Ronilo Perez is an engineer with four children, one of whom has cochlear implants. The boy, Carlos, was diagnosed as profoundly deaf after the family arrived in Canada. Even though his doctor and school verified he would not be a financial burden on the state, the Canadian consulate rejected the Perez application for permanent residency. The family appealed the ruling and the Federal Court of Canada has reversed the officer's initial decision. The justices found Carlos' assessment was based on him being a member of a particular class of people, the deaf, rather than on him as an individual.
The Florida Association of the Deaf is holding a gathering at the state Capitol in Tallahassee today at 9am. The Association wants to support for the The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children's Education Bill of Rights which is SB 260 in the Senate and HB 315 in the state House. There is more information here.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Texas' Lubbock County is having a problem with the cost of court interpreters. Read the story in a local paper here.
A behind the scenes look at a high school performance of Children of a Lesser God by WSET-TV in Lynchburg, Virginia is posted here. It includes a video (no captioning, but text is included). A deaf actress is playing the lead role of Sarah. Below is a video interview with Katherine McMullen who leads the interpreters (no captions).
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Saturday, January 14, 2012
It was one year ago today that Gallaudet's women's basketball team cracked the top 25 for the first time since 1999. The USA Today/ESPN Division III Top 25 coaches' poll put the undefeated Bison at #24 in the country. The Bison received 26 points to put them ahead of #25 Louisiana College and behind #23 William Paterson.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Thursday, January 12, 2012
A deaf teenager in Tennessee, is in critical condition after suffering head injuries this morning. The 13-year-old boy was hit in Lakeland near Memphis by the passenger side mirror of a Jeep Cherokee driven by an 18-year-old who says he didn't see the bus or its flashing lights. The driver now faces charges related to
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
The Arizona Schools for the Deaf and Blind is celebrating 100 years of education. KMSB-TV has a video report, posted below.
Gabby Humlicek won the Poetry Out Loud competition at the Iowa School for the Deaf last night. It was her first competition. Humlicek, and second place winner Auna Ferguson, will move on to compete in the state competition against hearing students March 3. The winner of that competition will get $200 and a trip to Washington, DC to compete in the national title. Humlicek's winning performance was Jabberwocky, a Lewis Carroll poem filled with nonsense words.
A new gesture-sensing glove works with an Android app to translate sign language into text. Still in its early stages, the Text Glove would allow someone wearing the glove to use sign language and the non-signer could read the text version on a smart phone through an Android app. The developers use sensors to detect hand gestures along with an accelerometer, a gyroscope, and Lilypad Arduino. They demonstrated the prototype at a Google developers event in Tel Aviv last month. See a demonstration in the video below.
A quarter of teens are running the risk of early hearing loss. That's the finding of researchers at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Medical Faculty. The blame falls on music played at high levels through ear phones. Youth are likely to start seeing diminished hearing during their 30s. The researchers surveyed teens and combined their typical listening habits in terms of exposure and volume. Details are published in the International Journal of Audiology.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Australian Deaf Games start Saturday and will run for a week in the Melbourne suburb of Geelong, along the southern coast. Some 900 athletes from Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and Fiji will compete in 17 sports, from aquatics and cycling. There will be about 1500 support personnel and 100 entertainers. The games started in 1964 and are held every four years.
The Florida Association of the Deaf will have a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Day at the state Capitol in Tallahassee one week from today (Jan 17) starting at 9am. The goal is to show support for the The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children's Education Bill of Rights which is SB 260 in the Senate and HB 315 in the state House. The Florida Association of the Deaf says the legislation will ensure the education rights of deaf children in the state and implement a communication plan to make sure that schools are putting the needs of the students first.
Monday, January 9, 2012
Two deaf men are facing assault charges after getting in a bar fight in Hoboken, New Jersey during a football game. Jason Engle and Robert Shauger told police they had been trying to break up a fight at the 1 Republik lounge, when they were thrown into a group of Giants fans who were watching a playoff game with Atlanta. The bar bouncers only say the two men fall into the group of fans, so the men were escorted outside. Engle and Shauger didn't know why they were being thrown out and say they tried to explain to the bar employees what happened. When they tried to get back inside, the men ended up in a fight with the bouncers and were arrested.
This year's Clerc Classic takes place this Thursday-Saturday at the Indiana School for the Deaf. The high school basketball and cheerleading tournament involves more than 300 boys and girls competing from eight deaf schools includes the host team and the California School for the Deaf at Riverside, the California School for the Deaf at Fremont, Illinois School for the Deaf, Maryland School for the Deaf, Texas School for the Deaf, Alabama School for the Deaf, and Model Secondary School for the Deaf. The Clerc Classic started 12 years ago in honor of Laurent Clerc, a deaf teacher who impacted thousands of students during his 50 year career.
Panasonic's new hearing aids will work with Bluetooth devices, a feature often found with other hearing aids. However, the R1-W Series requires users to carry a transmitter in order to relay the sound to the earpiece. Other features of the in-canal devices include the ability to connect directly to a smartphone or to a TV. The company says the R1-W Series offers 300 hours of service before needing a fresh set of batteries. Read more here.
Labels: Hearing Aids
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Makers of "ear candles" have lost their lawsuit against the FDA. An appeals court sided with a lower court, dismissing a lawsuit filed by three makers, saying the Holistic Candlers and Consumers Association doesn't have the right to sue the federal government. The FDA had sent out warning letters to ear candle makers, telling them to stop claiming the candles are medical devices can treat conditions like sinus infections, allergies, the flu, and hearing loss. The hollow tubes are made of fabric and covered in wax. Users put them in the ear canal and light them, forcing out wax and anything else. The FDA says some people have suffered burns, punctured eardrums and other complications from the use of the candles.
Demonstrations are planned this Friday (Jan 13) in Canada over plans to shut down a government video relay phone service. The service has been active for a year and a half on a trial basis in British Columbia and Alberta, but that comes to an end next weekened (Jan 15). The CRTC, which governs the country’s telephone industry, used several million dollars to fund the trial, employing some 150 sign interpreters.
Friday, January 6, 2012
The 5th World Congress of Mental Health and Deafness takes place in Monterrey, Mexico May 23-25. It is sponsored by the School of Psychology at the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon. Topics will include bilingual education, sign language, language and communication. Read more here.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
The invention of a Texas 4th grader designed to help a deaf athletes is now available online for purchase. At soccer camp, Celia Beron noticed the difficulties of a deaf player who could not tell when the play was over. Her idea was a bracelet that would be triggered by a whistle, the deaf player’s receiver vibrates. The idea won a kid invention context and now, some seven years later, Ref for the Deaf is now available through Pungo. Read more about the device here.
The Rocky Mountain Deaf Theatre will offer its first performance of 2012 in one week. The Gin Game will run from January 12-15 in the Denver suburb of Westminister, Colorado. The story is set in a seedy nursing home where elders look back over their lives. Find out more here.
A deaf footballer is facing suspension for not stopping play because he couldn't hear the referee's whistle. It happened in the Scottish Junior Cup. His father says, "It was explained to the ref why he hadn’t stopped playing but the ref obviously didn’t care and gave him it anyway. Everybody was raging.” Read the story here.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Charles Limb talks about cochlear implants and music in this TED video titled Building the musical muscle. He performs the surgery and offers a unique look into the limitations of implants. The talk was recorded in October in San Diego (captioning available).
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
A Nevada man says he shot and killed his aunt in an argument on New Year's Day. David Monarrez, who is deaf, is behind bars in Las Vegas for the murder of Rosa Monarrez. She was killed in the home they shared with two other family members, who say the two fought often over money.
The creator of Switched at Birth tells TV Guide what to expect from the show that returns tonight on ABC Family: "We really get into the language barrier in the premiere with how you handle it if someone starts a fight with your deaf boyfriend. It's a totally different situation than if you're both hearing and they have to learn how his view of the world as a deaf guy is different than a hearing guy. That's a huge part of this midseason." Read the full story here.
Letters are going to businesses in southern California asking them to buy equipment such as a TTY and video phone. The letters are coming from the Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center and a local newspaper suggests this could be considered a "shakedown" and compares the notices to a controversy over handicapped parking last year that some called outright "extortion." Do you think this is a legitimate way to inform businesses about their responsibilities under ADA law or is it just a way to scare businesses into buying equipment? Read the full story here.
It many be an ADA violation for US employers to require a high school diploma. The statement popped up in an EEOC “informal discussion letter." It says such a requirement must be “job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.” In other words, the employer would have to show why possessing a high school diploma would be necessary to perform the job. You can read the entire letter here. The commission’s advice does not carry the force of law, but it could have far-reaching implications for businesses.
If you haven't seen Switched at Birth, catch the entire first season on ABC Family starting at noon, Eastern, leading up to the debut of season two tonight at 8pm, Eastern. The plot is pretty simple - two families are brought together when they discover their teenage daughters were accidentally switched in the hospital where they were born. One of the girls is deaf. Things get complicated from there. The season opener begins with the girls in a battle over a deaf boyfriend, played by Sean Berdy (who really is deaf). Read more about him here. You can see which episode is playing at what time today by clicking here.
Monday, January 2, 2012
Dutch pianist Wibi Soerjadi lost his hearing due to an ear infection, but continued to compose music after losing his hearing three years ago. His nine-part work Amor and Psyche was composed during his two years of silence. He regained his hearing about a year ago. Below is a video interview Soerjadi had with Radio Netherlands.
Marlee Matlin explains the significance of the new TV show Switched at Birth to the Wall Street Journal. She says, "“It adds a great deal of dimension to the public’s perception of what deaf people are like because you really understand that there’s more than just a deaf person who happens to move their hands…. there’s a language, there’s a culture, there’s relationships between deaf people, deaf people and hearing people, there are obstacles, there is happiness and joy, and people are watching this all flow into their living rooms.” Read the full story here.
A UK Amateur Dramatic Society will provided BSL interpreters at two performances of a new show. The Chameleons will perform the English Folk Tale Dick Whittington from Thursday, January 19 through Sunday, January 22. The first and last performances will have interpreters on hand. The shows will take place at Claremont High School in the London suburbs. There's more information here.