Monday, January 30, 2017

Man pleads guilty for Gallaudet Univ. burglary

"A former employee of Gallaudet University’s food service department pleaded guilty Monday to holding deaf workers at gunpoint during a burglary" at the school, according to the Washington Post. Just days after he had been fired, Donald Williams wore a mask and used a gun to force his way into the kitchen. Read the full story here.

On this date: A deaf man helps to stop a bank robbery

A deaf bank customer helped stop a bank robbery on this day (Jan 30) in 2003. A bank teller in Rochester, New York tipped off the man as he was going through the drive-through. The robber had entered a branch of HSBC yelled that he was robbing it, then jumped on a counter and pistol-whipped a teller. Another teller at the drive-up window just happened to be helping a deaf customer at that moment. She mouthed the words "we are being robbed." The lip-reading customer then drove to a nearby liquor store and called 911. Police nabbed the robbery suspect not far from the bank as he was trying to wash dye off his hands after a dye pack in the money bag had exploded. The injured teller suffered only minor injuries.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Getting to know.. audiologist Marion Downs

image from Marion Downs Hearing Center 
One of the people most responsible for newborn hearing screening in the U.S. was born this day (Jan. 26) in 1914. Audiologist Marion Downs published two books and over 100 articles on the topic during her lifetime. The Marion Downs Hearing Center opened nearly a decade ago at the University of Colorado Medical Center. WVXU radio in Cincinnati has more on this remarkable woman here. She was 100 years old when she died on Nov. 13, 2014.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Court hears appeal of deaf patients

Two deaf people were in federal court today because a hospital refused to give them in-person interpreters. Baptist Hospital provided VRI but Cheylla Silva and John Paul Jebian are challenging that technology as inadequate to meet ADA requirements. A lower court judge dismissed the case but they are appealing and hoping the federal appeals court overturns the lower court ruling. Read the full story from the Miami Herald here.

Gally Hoops

Gallaudet University's basketball team is 14-3 overall and 6-0 in the North Eastern Athletic Conference. The Austin American-Statesman has a look at several players on the roster here.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

City to pay for no Terp

A city in Rhode Island will pay $25,000 in damages and legal fees to a deaf man for failing to provide him with an interpreter during his arrest and night in jail. David Alves was arrested when police mistook a sign language gesture for an obscene gesture. Read the full story from Associated Press here.

Yachtsman of the Year

A deaf man has been named Britain's yachtsman of the year. Gavin Reid beat out others with Olympic medals and titles, because of his part in a "dramatic ocean rescue." As CNN reports, "Reid swam to a stranded vessel before climbing its mast and untangling a distressed crew member. All while negotiating rough seas." Read the full CNN story here. NBC has an interview with Reid below, but there are no captions. You can read that story here.

Gally: One Year with a Female President

image from Gallaudet.edu
Read the story here. "In its 152-year history, Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. never had a deaf female president — until a year ago. Roberta Cordano is the first deaf woman to lead the school," reports NPR. The news outlet recently spoke with Gally President Cordano about the how the school provides a place of support and community for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Read the story here.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Charges Dropped against deaf Oklahoma man

A 67-year-old Oklahoma man was seriously injured in Oklahoma City when he was stopped by police. Prosecutors charged Pearl Pearson with resisting arrest.. even though he could not hear the officer's commands and warnings because he is deaf. KFOR-TV reports charges he resisted arrest have been dropped.

Donald Trump in ASL

Ever wondered how to say ‘Donald Trump’ in American Sign Language? The Washington Post has a suggestion here, along with some other politicians.

On this date.. Sorenson Dies

James LeVoy Sorenson
(image from Southern Utah University)
A driving force in the Deaf community died on this date (Jan. 20) in 2008. James LeVoy Sorenson passed away at a Salt Lake City hospital at the age of 86. Utah's richest man was estimated to be worth $4.5 billion by Forbes magazine. Perhaps best known for co-developing the first real-time computerized heart monitor and founding Sorenson Communication, his donations to Gallaudet University totaled more than $5 million.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Deaf Driver runs over Body in Road

A search is underway for a driver in the Jacksonville, Florida area who hit someone walking down a road and then drove off. A deaf man later ran over the body but stopped to help. Since David Bicknell couldn't call the police himself, he drove to "a gas station where he wrote a note asking a clerk to call the police," according to WFOX-TV.

Deaf Boy to be allowed to Stay in UK

We told you recently about a "six-year-old deaf boy who fled Iraq with his family after ISIS threatened to kill disabled children." His parents were told he would have to leave the UK. Here's an update: Lawand Hamadamin "has been given a last minute reprieve to stay in Britain," according to The Telegraph. His brother and parents had settled into Derby where he learned British Sing Language at the Royal School for the Deaf. Read more from The Telegraph here.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Deaf Couple Rescued from Snowstorm

A deaf California couple is safe after being rescued from a snowstorm after three days. KNBC-TV has a video report. No captions but you can read the story here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Civil War pivotal in deaf history

"The (American) Civil War dramatically changed the course of deaf people’s lives. In many ways, the national crisis empowered many to believe in their own abilities," writes Harry G. Lang, a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Lang explains out it brought "the nation's deaf population out of society's shadows. Read about it in Rochester's Democrat and Chronicle.

Why your next Uber driver might be deaf

A new story from Quartz explains how some deaf drivers have found work with Uber. Susan Johnston Taylor says, "NAD is currently working with Uber to make its app more user-friendly for hard-of-hearing drivers (or partners, as Uber prefers to call them). These initiatives include a flashing light to notify a driver of a ride request (in addition to the existing audio notification), turning off the option to call a deaf driver, and a prompt to make sure passengers enter their destinations." Read the full story here.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Getting to Know... Hearing Tests

Here's what won't happen during a hearing test: No one will use a needle and there will be no request to strip off your clothes.

 Here's what WILL happen: An audiologist will check to make sure you don’t have a build up of wax in your ears before taking you into an acoustic testing chamber that cuts out outside noise.

You’ll put on headphones that cover your ears and listen to tones.

You’ll indicate when you first hear the tone.

 He’ll start with a low tone at a very soft level and gradually increase the volume.

The same process will be used through ten different tones.

 A second test involves placing a want behind your ear. This test how well you can hear sounds coming through your skull and not through your ears.

 The results are indicated on what’s called an audiogram. It looks like a graph.

If you have some hearing loss – whether mild or significant, your audiologist may include speech recognition tests.

 Using the headphones again, you repeat a word or sentence that you hear. The results should give the audiologist enough information to decide to recommend a hearing aid.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Airline Travel Trips

Make each airline agent aware of your situation at each stage of your trip.. from the booking agent all the way to the gate agent and flight attendants. Arrange for pre-boarding and have a friend or family member escort you to the gate. Escorts can get a gate pass that will allow them through security and to the gate. Airlines will often seat you at the front of a plane if you request it to read lips better or if you have a service dog with you. Take a piece of paper with you explaining your situation and how you’d like to communicate. Show it especially to an agent when you arrive at the gate so that he or she can make sure you are aware of any important announcements such as a gate change. Most airlines offer assistance for hard-of-hearing passengers over the phone.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Getting to Know... Hearing Loops

When you see a blue sign of a human ear that's a cue to hearing aid users that they can press a tiny button to hear a special broadcast sent directly to their device. This is called a hearing loop, a thin copper wire that radiates electromagnetic signals in a room. A tiny receiver called a telecoil built into most hearing aids and cochlear implants picks up the signal. With the flip of a switch on the device, sound comes through with greater clarity than can be heard by someone with normal hearing. This might be music, sound from a movie, a or a speaker. Hearing loops are better known in Europe than in the US, where only about a thousand have been installed in museums, stores, theaters, airports, and sports arenas.


The sign should have a "T" symbol in the lower right hand corner of the ear symbol if there is an induction loop installed. If there is solely an ear with a slash in the middle of the ear, than the sign indicates there is some sort of hearing access but good luck trying to figure out what the site has. If there are dots/slashes running through the ear then the sign indicates that an assistive listening system is present but it could be an FM or Infrared system and headsets and/or neck loops may be available.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Gally's in the middle a tech revolution

Now that the FCC has voted to "phase out TTY teletypewriter systems and transition to RTT on smartphones," Gallaudet becomes an important player in the new technology. Gallaudet’s senior research engineer Norman Williams now holds the patent for RTT. WJLA-TV has a video report (no captions) and a text report here.

Getting to Know... Service Animals

What is the legal definition of a service animal?  Therapy Animals are not legally defined by federal law but there is a legal definition for service animals in the Americans With Disabilities Act. Service animals are specifically trained to help the disability-related needs of their handlers and are not considered 'pets'.

Is using a service animal protected in public places? Federal laws protect the rights of individuals with disabilities who are accompanied by their service animals in public places.

Does a guide dog have to be certified by the State to be an “official” guide dog? No. Any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. 

Can a business owner insist on proof of state certification before letting a service animal into the business? No. Certificates, licenses or other physical proof that a dog qualifies as a service animal.

What can a business owner ask the service dog handler? If the dog’s function is not apparent, then the ADA permits only two kinds of questions. The business owner can ask, “Is this dog required because of a disability?" and “What specific assistive task or tasks has the dog been trained to perform?”

Under what conditions can a service animal be excluded from a facility? Under ADA law, an animal can be excluded if it is a direct threat to the health or safety of other people or will disrupt the regular operation of the business. Handlers of service animals must obey local leash and vaccine laws and must have their dogs under control at all times. An example of an animal being a direct threat to public safety would be if the service animal was eating at tables or sitting on chairs meant for patrons. 

Can businesses hold service animal owners responsible for damage done by the animal? Yes. Service-dog handlers are responsible for property damage just like other patrons.

Can businesses require the owners of service animals to pay “pet fees” or segregate them into “animal-friendly” areas? Because service dogs are not pets, the U.S. Justice Department, which is the ADA’s primary enforcement authority, businesses cannot subject them to “pet fees” or segregation in “animal-friendly” areas.  

Does an animal have to be able to do anything to be a service animal?  Yes. A dog must be able to perform specific tasks that relate to a person’s disability. 

Are therapy animals protected in the same way? Therapy, emotional-support, and companion animals are considered pets and do not fall under the regulations provided by the ADA. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Gally's NFL prospect

image from Gallaudet.edu
Carneilus Smith didn't learn sign language until he got to Gallaudet University. He tells NFL Draft Diamonds, "I had deaf roommates and teammates that I had to learn sign language to communicate with them and as well as play on the field with them to lead. Now I’m fluent in ASL in just 4 years." Read the full interview with the football standout here.
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Getting to Know.. your Hair Cells

Hair cells play a critical role in our hearing. When they are damaged, doctors say they act like blades of grass. When someone walks on grass, the blades initially lie down and then bounce back up. but if you keep walking that same path over and over again, the grass will stay down. Hair cells are the same way, if you send waves of sound from the outside without opportunity for the cells to recover or you rip them up through excessive noise. Hair cells do not grow back.