Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hospital Agrees to Pay

A New Hampshire hospital has reached an out-of-court settlement with several people who complained about how the hospital handles deaf and hard-of-hearing patients. Concord Hospital has agreed to pay $100,000 for failing to have appropriate services, including sign language interpreters. Concord has agreed to establish a program to enhance effective communication for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. The hospital admitted no liability in the case.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

TV Reporter Suing Police

A former reporter for KTNV in Las Vegas is suing the city’s police department. Christina Brown says she damaged her hearing when she used semi-automatic rifles for a story a couple of years ago at the department’s firing range. Brown says she was not given earplugs and as a result now has hearing loss and tinnitus. She wants police to play for more than $13,000 in medical bills. She’s now working for MSNBC.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Deaf-owned Company Makes Mag Cover

The new issue of Fortune Small Business features the VP of Technology at Viable along with the company’s videophone. It could be the first time a deaf person or a communications device for the deaf has appeared on the cover of a business magazine. Viable was profiled because the company is deaf-owned and deaf-operated.

Monday, September 22, 2008

College Offering Minor in Deaf Studies

Students at the University of Minnesota Duluth can now earn a minor in deaf studies. The new degree came about after members of the group Access for All held a forum and various community leaders and lawmakers. ASL classes have long been popular at the school. Nearly 200 students are enrolled in ASL classes this year. Two instructors (one of them deaf) have been hired to run the program. For their effort, the student activists have been given the outstanding student organization award for 2008.

Celebrate ASL

A celebration of the International Day of Sign Languages will take place Friday afternoon at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. The World Federation of the Deaf designates one day a year as a time to show support for the use of sign language around the world. The National Association of the Deaf is leading it’s support to the gathering.

On the West Coast, the California Association for the Deaf is planning a gathering on Saturday at the state capital in Sacramento. Several dozen booths will exhibit materials and support for the use of sign language as a part of what’s being called the Californians for ASL Celebration.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hearing Loss Among Troops

One in four soldiers serving in Iraq or Afghanistan have damaged hearing according to the Army.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

House on House

Hearing Expert Dr. John House says he often is asked whether he’s the TV doctor. Fox’s show House is about a Vicodin addicted doctor solving medical mysteries. The real doctor named House is not only an expert on hearing, his father (Howard House)
founded the House Ear Institute and his uncle (William House) created and implanted the first FDA-approved cochlear implant.

House (the real doctor) points out that the TV doctor (played by Hugh Laurie) would (in real life) eventually lose his hearing because of his addiction to Vicodin (acetaminophen/ hydrocodone). Many go completely deaf. House (the real doctor) is concerned that many viewers are mislead by the lack of consequences to the addiction in the TV show. Of course, prescription painkillers affect people in different ways. One person may take Vicodin for years and not suffer any hearing loss. Another person may take large doses for few months and suffer profound permanent hearing loss.

Deaf Pilots

Of more than 618,000 pilots nationwide, the FAA says only 73 are deaf.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hearing Aids Costs

A set of hearing aids costs anywhere from $800 to $3,500. The average is $2,200, according to an industry study sponsored by Knowles Electronics. For children, most hearing aids are not covered by insurance and can run between $1,000 and $3,000 a set. They must be changed every few years as children grow. Batteries can add about $600 a month to that amount because they must be switched every two to three days.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Children in Special Programs

Three decades ago, four out of five deaf or hard of hearing children in the US were in programs specially designed for the deaf. Today the numbers have literally flipped. Now, four out of five attend public school.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Deaf Group Loses $170,000

When the collapse of Silver State Bank collapsed a few days ago, several years of work by the Las Vegas County Association of the Deaf went down the drain. The group had slowly raised more than $170,000 through small fund-raisers. The association’s banking account is now worth only $100,000 because that’s the maximum amount insured by the federal government. The money was going to be used for a convention of the Deaf Seniors of America.

Frustrated Texas Parents

Parents of students in a program for deaf children in Houston are calling for consolidation. More than 100 students must travel to three different school districts located miles apart. The Galveston Brazoria Cooperative for the Hearing Impaired serves ten districts. School officials says there are no plans to change and students will simply have to adjust. KTRK-TV has more in this report (no captioning provided):

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hearing and Depression

Many people who suffering hearing loss also battle depression. A survey released by Australian Hearing found six out of ten people with hearing problems also have symptoms that are associated with depression. One out of five had at least three key symptoms.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Millions for Hearing Loss in Children

The University of Iowa is getting a federal grant of $8.9 million to study mild to moderate hearing loss in preschool children. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders awarded the five-year grant to University researchers who will work with Boys Town National Research Hospital in Nebraska and the University of North Carolina.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

ASL Popular in High School

KRBC-TV reports on sign language classes at a high school in Abilene, Texas (no caption):

Friday, September 12, 2008

Gallaudet Evacuation

Gallaudet University students were evacuated from two dorms Wednesday because of a chemical scare. A maintenance worker discovered containers of an unknown material hidden in an air duct above a second-floor room. Police and fire crews were alerted but only ordinary pesticides and fertilizers were found. Authorities say someone may have been growing marijuana and used the containers for storage at the DC campus.

Journal Critical of Researcher

A medical journal is reprimanding a Washington University researcher for his study that concluded firefighters weren't at risk for job-related hearing loss. The Ear & Hearing journal says William Clark failed to disclose a conflict of interest. Clark got money from a siren manufacturer while putting the study together at the university's medical school in St. Louis. Clark claims he did nothing wrong.

Friday, September 5, 2008

How Technology is Impacting ASL Storytelling

Hundreds are expected at a symposium planned for October about how technology is changing how ASL is used in the Deaf community. Redefining the Literary Expressions of Deafhood: The Impact of the Digital Age is being made possible by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities. It will take place October 3rd and 4th at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, New York. The focus will be storytelling. How are blogs and vlogs affecting the way artists express themselves and how stories are being passed to the next generation. The sessions are free and will include sign language performances and talks by assistant professor of English and ASL at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Christopher Krentz and English professor from Gallaudet University, Kristen Harmon.

Early Intervention

The earlier children get intervention services for hearing loss early the better. That’s the finding of new research that shows children who get help even before the age of three months have higher language scores than those who receive no special help. Details are in the latest issue of the medical journal Pediatrics.

Hearing Aids Planted in the Brain

The nonprofit House Ear Institute in Los Angeles is working on digital hearing aids that put sound directly into the brain. Nearly a dozen procedures that involve penetrating the surface of the cochlear nucleus right into the brain. Researchers hope the auditory brainstem implant will be ready for use in people with residual hearing in another 5 years. While analog hearing aids amplify all sound, digital can be nuanced to be more selective. Tiny computers can screen out noise and amplify pertinent sounds.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Stem Cell Research

Stem cells may repair cochlear damage that causes hearing loss. That’s the finding of Italian researchers. Details are in the current issue of Cell Transplantation.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hearing the TV without Blasting Others Out of the Room

People who use hearing aids no longer need the TV loud. What’s called an “induction loop system” allows users tie into the audio-out of a TV or stereo system. A small transmitter plugs into the jack and a thin wire is run in a circle around the room. The technology is in wide use in Europe. Wireless Hearing Solutions offers a typical set-up that runs $185.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sign Language Opera

A new form of entertainment is sweeping Finland – opera singers who also sign. Producer Marita Barber started the trend on the tiny Aland islands with her addition of 'opera signers'. They amplify the nonverbal characteristic of normal opera with sign language adapted to convey the mood and tone of the music. The Theatre Totti is the only permanent theater to produce sign-language-only plays in the country.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Still Teaching, Still Connecting

John Kuhlman made the rounds as a popular economics professor for years. Now he teaches immigrants to read and write English, one-on-one, at the Literacy Council of Buncombe County in western North Carolina. The 84-year-old was given a second teaching life because of a cochlear implant. Many of the clients ask for Kuhlman because of his passion and patience.

Cheap Hearing Aids Not Worth It

A study of over-the-counter hearing aids finds only a few met the basic requirements for a good fit. Michigan State University professor Jerry Punch tested eleven over-the-counter hearing aids and found most of them not only failed to fit properly but they did not help many common types of hearing loss. Details of the study are in the American Journal of Audiology. FDA regulations are not enforced for low-cost amplifying devices that are sold through mail order and on the Internet.