Saturday, May 30, 2015

Implant Market Projected to Keep Rising

The cochlear implant market is expected to increase more than 15% over the next five years, according to TechNavio. The market research company points to "the number of product launches and approvals." TechNavio Vice President Faisal Ghaus says, "Several cochlear implant vendors are addressing the needs of the aging population by developing products that increase the quality of digital sound.” You can purchase the report here.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Film Animation Co. to HQ at Gallaudet

Gallaudet Assistant VP for Admin. Fred Weiner
A digital animation company is coming to Gallaudet University. Pigmental Studios will setup its 4,000 square feet headquarters at the Washington, DC campus. As many as 40 people will work on gaming, film and TV projects for companies ranging from Disney to Dreamworks and Pixar. Speaking during the school's announcement ceremony District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke said, "We look forward to working with Pigmental and Gallaudet to support their efforts to grow the District's creative economy."  The city is pitching in with a quarter of a million dollar grant toward the effort.

Gallaudet Assistant Vice President for Administration Fred Weiner said, "This partnership brings our students limitless possibilities in the emerging area of digital media, which is a rapidly growing field. "The addition of this academic partnership allows our students to develop the innovative skills and first-hand experience to help them land jobs in this dynamic industry." One of the advantages for the school of having the company on campus is that Gally students will get some internships at Pigmental, which is expected to open its offices in July. Read more here.

Man sentenced for extorting a deaf person

A Massachusetts judge sentenced a man to two years probation and ordered him to pay $13,000 in restitution according to Springfield Republican. Prosecutors say Javies Rivera pretended to be a police officer and demanded money from the deaf victim. Read more in the here.

New Features for Deaf Uber Drivers

The Uber driving service is adding features to its app for the deaf and hard-of-hearing drivers it partners with.  The driver will only get texts from riders and instead of an audio alert, drivers can set their devices to flash notifications.  So far, the option is only available in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.  That will change after a short period of testing. Read the announcement here. Urber created the video below to thank its deaf and hard-of-hearing drivers.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New hope for deaf girl who wants to join mother in Canada

We told you recently about a "Filipina woman fighting to bring her daughter to Canada. But so far immigration has denied their application because she is deaf." BC News Hour has a video report (no captions but some text here).

Hearing aid ad sparks outrage

An advertising campaign for hearing aids outraged the Deaf community in Australia. 7-News in Melbourne explains in this video report the counter campaign launched by activities.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Appeals court turns aside complaint of Deaf IBM employee

An appeals court has sided with IBM against one of its deaf New York employees who said the company did not have to provide captions for videos. IBM had given software engineer Alfred Noll access to an interpreter and the the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said that was enough. Noll wants the captioning put on video and audio files available to employees through IBM's internal system. He was given transcripts--days after he would make a request. One of the judges wrote, "Although we credit Noll's assertion that it was 'tiring and confusing' to divide his visual attention between interpreters and his screen, this disadvantage does not render interpretive services ineffective. A person who is deaf necessarily receives auditory information from the other senses (principally, sight); so it can be expected that many accommodations of deafness— ASL interpretive services as well as captioning—will tax visual attention to some degree. An accommodation for deafness therefore cannot be rendered ineffective by the need to divide visual attention, without more...the ADA imposes no liability for an employer’s failure to explore alternative accommodations when the accommodations provided to the employee were plainly reasonable.” See the ruling here.

Rottweilers that attacked deaf boy are still alive

A dog owner is refusing to put down his large dogs even after they nearly killed a deaf little boy. KFOR-TV has a video report. No captions in the video below but you can read the story here.

Suit: Hospitals' failure to provide interpreter led to his death

image from Google Maps
"A deaf man suffering from end-stage kidney disease died alone at home on his birthday because two city-run hospitals didn’t have sign-language interpreters available to explain to him the seriousness of his condition, according to a lawsuit" reports the New York Daily News. Read full story here.

Monday, May 25, 2015

YouTube Star Campaigns for Better Closed Captioning

image from YouTube video of Rikki Poynter
A YouTube star is making a big push to get better captioning on the website. Rikki Poynter is hard of hearing herself and she wants her thousands of viewers to encourage video bloggers to caption their own videos. Read more at ABC News.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Seen by Millions

image from YouTube video
posted by Tremayne Crossley
A UK woman with Usher syndrome says, "Sounds were still very indistinct, and from the age of two I lip-read because I couldn’t hear words. It was like being under water and trying to listen to the world. To me, it was completely normal. Only at school did I realise how cruel people could be. Teachers would throw chalk to get my attention, pupils spat at me on the bus, and I wasn’t allowed to join an after-school club because I’d 'hold the others back'." But when Jo Milne got cochlear implants last year at the age of 40, millions watched the video taken the moment her implants were turned on. "Nothing prepared me for the reaction," she says. Read Milne's story in The Mirror.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Life After Hearing Loss

An article on how "the brain adjusts to sensory impairments, no matter how minor" in Medical Daily reports:
Most of us are familiar with stories “heightened senses” in those with sensory impairments, such as the superhuman hearing of the blind superhero “Daredevil.” While the ability may have been glamorized in pop culture, it’s actually a common phenomenon found, perhaps to a lesser degree, in real humans. A recent University of Colorado study, which will be presented at the 169th meeting Acoustical Society of America May 18-22th, found that these heightened sensory abilities caused by sound deprivation did not only exist in those who were profoundly deaf but was present in adult patients with only a mild degree of hearing loss.
Read the full story of what Medical Daily says are common effects of hearing loss here.

FCC extends Deaf-Blind program

The FCC is permanently extending its program that gives the deaf-blind specialized equipment to help them use smartphones, laptops and related devices. The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution program, known as iCanConnect, hands out telecommunications equipment to low-income people who are both deaf and blind. The program also offers training on how to use the technology. Read more here.

captioning NPR’s major programs

Did you know there's a company that gives deaf people access to NPR? BTS Software Solutions' "first product was used on the battlefield in Afghanistan (to) manage use of cell phones on the battlefield." Now the company "partners with Towson University to run a captioning service for deaf and hard-of-hearing NPR devotees." Read the full story here.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Man charged with sexual assaulting deaf woman

A man broke into the home of a deaf Florida woman and sexually assaulted her before stealing money from her. WFTS-TV reports police caught the man and he is now behind bars.

This Musical Isn't Just for Deaf People — It's for Everyone

Deaf West Theater's adaptation of Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening is getting some buzz. Director Michael Arden wrote in his note to audiences, "To me, the play speaks to those who are denied a voice, to those who don't fit into the norm, to those who are questioning and experiencing the pains of growing up." In a promotional video about the production Arden says, "What better metaphor than deaf and hearing cultures?" has a full story here. Below is a preview of the show.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review of ‘Marie’s Story’

Marie’s Story, "milks the tears in the home stretch, making little effort to hold the melodrama at bay. The result is a story that everyone can feel great about feeling terrible about," writes Michael O'Sullivan. His review of the film about a French woman who overcame deafness and blindness to learn both sign language and Braille" is in the Washington Post here.

Sign added to Song Contest

The Eurovision Song Contest is adding sign language interpreters to its broadcasts. Producers plan to employ six interpreters for the show and they will use International Sign. Eurovision released a statement that says in part, "We always say that music is a language which is understood by everyone. And we felt that we should make this word come reality, and to offer music to everyone, including deaf people." The contest draws some 180 million viewers. Read more about sign at the contest here. Below is a sample of what it will look like.

Deaf doctor makes patients feel heard

image from video
Dr. Philip Zazove writes, "My clinical years there were hard, because I depend on lipreading. It was especially difficult during rounds where people didn't face me or when I was in an operating room where everyone wore masks. I learned the material by preparing ahead of time and asking many questions after." But not only did Dr. Zazove make it through medical school, he leads a thriving practice today. "A special part of my practice is that I care for many deaf and hard of hearing persons. I understand what they are going through. My research has shown that this community has poorer health, social and educational outcomes. By providing specialized care for them, I try to provide this community with better health care opportunities. Some of my patients drive two or three hours to see me." Read more of his remarkable story at CNN.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Gally bio prof--"relentless in helping students succeed"

Image from
A Gallaudet biology professor is profiled by NPR today. Caroline Solomon says, "One thing about deaf people is, very often they're isolated. They're not part of their family conversations at the dinner table or they're mainstreamed in a public school all by themselves as the only deaf person. You just have to work to change that perspective they have about themselves. Because once you believe you can do anything, the opportunities are just everywhere." Read or listen to the full story here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hotel staffed by deaf workers

Nearly half the staff at the Park Inn Radisson Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa are deaf. News24 spoke with the Director of sales and marketing, Brendon Hart, and with one of the deaf workers, Dale Holmes.

Auditory hallucinations

“For a long time it was assumed that sound simply enters the ear and goes up to the brain,” says Trevor Cox, a professor of Acoustic Engineering at the University of Salford. “Well, there’s actually more connections coming down from the brain to the ear than there are going back up it.” Read the full story about why silence "can make you hear things that aren’t there" in Wired.

NY woman: 24 hours of terror

A New York woman is suing the NYPD for what happened to her in 20102. Diana Williams says she called police for help but officers did not call an interpreter and she ended up getting arrested. The New York Daily news has details here and the video below explains what happened from Williams' perspective and introduces a man who also says his civil rights were violated by New York police.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Car Show at Deaf School

Pennsylvania's Scranton School for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing held its 12th Annual Car Show over the weekend. Visitors had more than 100 cars to look over. WBRE-TV has a short video report.

Terp Deemed inappropriate for Concert

A concert promotor is refusing to allow a sign language interpreter at a One Direction concert scheduled this fall in Belfast. Aiken Promotions said it wasn't "appropriate" according to a report from the Belfast Telegraph. Read the full story here.

Music and the Cochlear Implant--a work in progress

Cochlear implants help users understand speech--but do little for the experience of music because the device lacks the ability to convey pitch and timbre. Users try to make the best of it as NPR reports here. Their report includes simulations of what music sounds like through a cochlear implants.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Gally Graduation-2015!

More than 200 undergraduates received degrees from Gallaudet University during the school's 145th Commencement exercises. The Washington, DC school conferred 212 undergraduate and 176 graduate degrees. Often recognized as the "father of the Internet," Dr. Vinton Cerf was the special speaker. He was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom and received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honors causa. Google's chief Internet evangelist, Cerf is hard of hearing. He told students:
Your interests, aspirations, creative talents and your desires will influence the markets and products of the future. By this time, you will have learned that hard work, patience and persistence really count in the real world. I hope you have also discovered that doing things that you like and are good at makes work seem more like fun and adventure. You hear often that you should discover what triggers your own passion and pursue that in your career. Do not allow others to define who you are or what your limits might be. These are yours and yours alone to discover and to extend.
Read more here. Below are some messages from seniors.

Deaf West show opens this week

photo credit: Tate Tullier
Deaf West Theatre will present Spring Awakening at the Wallis Annenberg
Performing Arts Center in Beverly Hills starting this Thursday night. The show will run from May 21 to June 7. The LA Times calls the show “an emotional triumph” filled with "goose-bumps and teardrops.” It's about the divide between deaf children and their hearing parents. The same show was sold out during a series of performances last year. The production is performed simultaneously in ASL and spoken English. Find out more, and purchase tickets here.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Deaf Girl refused Immigration to Canada

The Canadian Immigration Department says a deaf Filipino teen can't join her mother in Canada. The reason given: The girl will be a burden on the medical system because she is deaf. has a video report posted below (no captions though).

Friday, May 15, 2015

New Movie about a Deaf School

A movie about a state-run Ukrainian school for the deaf opens in the UK today. The Tribe is a Ukrainian film with no subtitles--the story is told in sign. The BBC has a review here which tells about the film and why it is controversial in the Deaf community. Since signing is a language like any other, why not have subtitles? The Guardian, which calls The Tribe a "compelling and explicit film," offers a review here. The trailer is below.

The push to allow the deaf to join the military

There's an effort underway to open the door for the deaf to serve in the military. Advocate Keith Nolan tells KFOX-TV, "The military has just a variety of specialty roles and various roles and several of those are things that deaf people and the hard of hearing can do without a doubt." KFOX-TV has a nearly 8 minute video report.

Girl Scouts Sued for Discrimination

A lawsuit against the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago is back in play. That's because an appeals court just reinstated it. It all started when Megan Runnion, who is deaf, was no longer able to participate in Girl Scout activities because the group would no longer pay for her to have an interpreter at events. Runnion and her family sued. Read the decision to reinstate the case here. KTRK-TV has a video report.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bank Settles ADA Complaint

A New England bank has settle an ADA complaint for it's failure to accommodate deaf customers. Patriot National Bank had refused to let a woman use a relay service to conduct business. U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly said, “Individuals who have disabilities must not be denied equal access to the services offered by financial institutions simply because of their disability." Read more about the agreement at the website of the US Attorney office for Connecticut here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

An aspiring filmmaker

A former Miss Deaf Alabama is directing a film. What Desiree Dorsey is doing after graduating from college. Read more details at the WBRC-TV website here.

Framed for Murder?

Image from  WTVT-TV video report
Felix Garcia has spent more than 30 years in prison--for a murder he says he didn't commit. More than 100,000 people have signed a petition to free the deaf man. WTVT-TV has a video report which is posted below.

FOX 13 News

Hawaii is First

The movie experience is changing in Hawaii. The governor signed a bill into law last week that requires theater owners to provide open captioning. The new rules kick in next year. Hawaii is the first state to make this a requirement according to James Tokioka, the lawmaker who introduced the bill and the Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind supported the measure. Read more here.

Some advantages to having an implant

How cochlear implants are helping recipients to spy with new accessories using bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology. Read the details in the daily Telegraph here.

Monday, May 11, 2015

NC Woman can't get service cancelled

A North Carolina woman "said she was faced with a lot of challenges when it came to ending her TV service." WTVD-TV has a video report.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Gally Hall of Fame adds theater pioneer

image from
Gallaudet University Hall of Fame has a new inductee. Bernard Bragg is the only inductee for this year. Gallaudet President T. Alan Hurwitz says, "Dr. Bernard Bragg is regarded as a passionate and energetic trailblazer for deaf people in the national as well as international arts communities." He will be officially inducted this fall during President Hurwitz's annual welcome back speech to the campus. One of the first people to popularize mime in the US, Bragg studied under French mime artist Marcel Marceau in Paris. He is the deaf son of deaf parents, who 15 years as a teacher at California School for the Deaf in Berkeley.  Co-founder of the National Theatre of the Deaf, Bragg is the recipient of a Special Tony Award, an honorary doctorate from Gallaudet University and a special Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Federation of the Deaf.  Read more about Bragg here.

Monday, May 4, 2015

More on the new Vancouver Deaf Restaurant

We told you last week about a new deaf restaurant opening in Vancouver this Thursday. Deafined is staffed by deaf and hard of hearing servers. Owner Moe Alameddine sat down with the Vancouver Sun and said, “This is a unique experience and it’s going to be a lot of fun. I want to break down that barrier of communicating with deaf people. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible. We’ve landed a person on the moon so we can learn how to talk to all people.” Read more in the Vancouver Sun here.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Woman: Dentist Choked my Deaf Daughter

A Florida woman says a dentist choked her hard of hearing daughter. Action news Jacksonville has a video report.

Marie’s Story

A new film opening tonight that tells the story of a French teenager born deaf and blind. Set in the late 1800s, Marie's Story tells the saga of Marie Heurtin who is played by deaf actress Ariana Rivoire. She is taken to a convent where Catholic nuns teach her to sign. Read the film's New York Times review here and the NPR review here. Below is the movie tailer.