Saturday, May 30, 2009

HLAA Convention

The Hearing Loss Association holds its 2009 convention June 18-21 in Nashville. Click here for more information.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Saturday Deaf Festival

A Deaf Festival will take place at Ellison Park in Rochester, New York tomorrow. It’s free and open to the public. There will be plenty of family activities, booths and free prizes .

Church for Sale

The property of Bethany Deaf Church in St Louis is up for sale. One prospective buyer planned to tear down the building on 310 E. Argonne Drive and put up a single-family home. The church is part of an Historic District, so the buyers had to ask permission for the demolition. But before the sale could get approval, the deal was dropped when it was discovered that a sewer line would have to be moved. The congregation of the church now meets in another nearby suburb.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lawsuit Dropped

A lawsuit over Pennsylvania’s Scranton State School for the Deaf has been dropped. A hearing on the suit was set for tomorrow morning but that’s been cancelled after the parents of three students dropped the complaint. The doors of the school are set to close at the end of June and until recently there was no plan in place for the students. State officials finally showed parents a plan for services to move to the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. The Scranton campus will no longer offer high school grades and become a permanent day program for younger children. Students living on campus will have to be gone by the 2011-12 school year.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Audiology Clinic

Pensacola’s Holm Elementary School is getting a state-of-the-art audiology clinic at a price tag of $400,000. A ground-breaking ceremony was held Tuesday with representatives of the Sertoma clubs. The nonprofit organization supports those with speech and hearing disorders. The school district gave $125,000 to the project and Sertoma raised the rest. The 1500 square feet facility replaces the one located at West Pensacola Elementary. Better and newer testing equipment will be purchased for Holm from federal stimulus funds to serve the 200 students who are deaf or have hearing loss.

Educating Deaf Children

A new website now available is designed to answer the questions of parents, teachers and other professionals working with deaf children. Educating Deaf Children is a product of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf which is part of the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Texas School for the Deaf

The governor of Texas has named the following people to the board of the state school for the deaf. The Texas Senate will have to approve these picks before they become official.
  • Beatrice M. Burk - retired associate professor at Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf
  • Walt Camenish III – principal of the Texas School for the Deaf.
  • Nancy Carrizales – former teacher at the Texas School for the Deaf
  • Eric Hogue - mayor of Wylie, Texas
  • Susan Ridley – FBI financial analyst, belongs to the Houston Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association
  • Angela Wolf –director of human resources for the Public Utility Commission of Texas

Monday, May 25, 2009

Terp Agency Doing Well

Interpretek has posted gross revenue of more than $7 million. The Rochester sign language interpreter referral company works with schools and business in the local community but has recently expanded to offering video interpreting to deaf people in other states. The 16-yearold company has 75 full-time employees and has opened offices in Syracuse, Omaha, Nebraska and Orlando, Florida.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Deaf-Blind College Grad

A 27-year-old deaf-blind student just earned her associate degree in general studies at Cuesta College in Southern California. It took Corrina Veesart nine years to finish. She participated in graduation exercises yesterday. Veesart used interpreters in her classes, often only taking one class each semester. She can read Braille as well as large one-inch print up close.

Deaf Priest Ordained

Shawn P. Carey was ordained today as the nation's 11th deaf Roman Catholic priest. Hundreds came to Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross for the two-hour ordination ceremony of Carey and five others. An entire section of the church was reserved for many of the people from the deaf community.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Firefighter Lawsuit

A deaf firefighter is suing Newport Beach, California for discrimination. Brett Smith of San Luis Obispo wants $1 million after Fire Chief Steve Lewis withdrew a job offer because of the hearing issue. Smith was offered the position provided he successfully complete a physical but Lewis claims Smith never took a required hearing exam. Smith has been working as a full-time firefighter for the Santa Maria Fire Department for several years without a problem.

Baseball Championship

A deaf baseball player helped his team get to the high school state championship. Although Green Valley High lost the Nevada title to three-time defending state champion Bishop Gorman of Vegas. Casey Hicks is a backup catcher who warms up the pitchers. He’s 95% deaf without his hearing aids and an honors student. Here are some photos of Casey in action.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Loud Music & Hearing Loss

KSAZ-TV in Phoenix offers this video interview with a hearing loss expert from the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

New Video Relay Service

A new Video Relay Service has opened in Austin, Texas. Convo Relay is partly owned by several deaf entrepreneurs and Ed Bosson who’s credited with inventing Video Relay. The group plans to keep a consumer-driven perspective on new software.

Fueling a Student's Dreams

Here’s an Associated Press article on a Kentucky School for the Deaf senior studying the visual arts.

Jumbotron Promotion

Siemens is paying for a hearing loss awareness video to play on the ABC Times Square Jumbotron every hour until May 28th. This is the hearing aid company’s Better Speech and Hearing Month. Siemens reps will hand out educational materials about hearing loss around New York City while wearing one of the company’s latest models.

1st Deaf Juror

Karen Smith is believed to be the first deaf person chosen to serve on a jury in Olmsted County Minnesota. The trial lasted three days and Smith used four interpreters. They charged $70 an hour for a total bill of around $2500. During a time that only one interpreter could be available, the court reporter used her steno machine and real-time software program to provide Smith with a transcript. She was given a separate laptop. An oath was found to give to the interpreters so they could go room where the jurors deliberated. The first vote was split but eventually, the defendant was found not guilty.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Changes at School for the Deaf

WNEP-TV files this video report on the deaf school in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

1st Deaf Pastor

The first deaf pastor in the US was ordained in 1876. He took the pulpit of the All Souls Church for the Deaf of Philadelphia in 1888.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Implant Protest

Some in the deaf community want Wisconsin’s governor to veto a cochlear implant bill. The state legislature passed the measure that would make Wisconsin the first state requiring insurance companies to foot the bill for children to get cochlear implants.

Nearly 500 people have signed a petition saying the implants are dangerous and a threaten deaf culture. It reads in part:

“The notion that being Deaf is an affliction and an abomination which alienates
one from society and leaves the dependent and isolated is a myth and rooted in
A group of protestors will try to give Governor Jim Doyle the petition today. Here’s an online version.

Harvard's Baseball Manager

The student manager of Harvard’s baseball wears a cochlear implant. West Resendes is an incoming freshman at St. George’s preparatory school in New Hampshire. The daughter of head coach Joe Walsh is also deaf.

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Fire Alarm

Another fire alarm clock for the deaf is on the market. David Albert’s Lifetone HL Bedside Fire Alarm and Clock listens for the sound from standard fire alarms, and then broadcasts its own signal. It will also shake the bed. It’s an option for those who might not be awakened by traditional sound or light-based alarms.

New Hearing Test

A new audiovisual hearing test is being used in Lower Manhattan at the Center for Hearing and Communication. Made for New York City where there’s always lots of noise, the test skips the typical beeps and tones in favor of real life noises: cell phone chatter, office discussions and the rumble of traffic. The center’s listening studio has a 52-inch plasma screen and five speakers at a price tag of $90,000. Funds for the design by Pod Design and Media came from private donations.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Causes of Hearing Loss

  • 33.7% - noise
  • 28% - age
  • 17% - infection or injury
  • 4.4% - Birth
Source: US Census Bureau

Listening Survey

A UK poll finds two-thirds of women and 55% of men admit they had never had a hearing test. Nearly half of both groups say they sometimes struggle to understand what others are saying.

2/3rds of the women surveyed said they only really listen when gossiping or eavesdrop on an argument. About half of the men surveyed said the same thing. Here are some of the other findings about the women surveyed. The average woman gives their full attention to..
  • Best friends 75% of the time
  • Their partners 70% of the time
  • Bosses 66% of the time
  • Work colleagues 64% of the time

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Deaf School Discount

Beverly, Massachusetts residents will get half-price tuition at the preschool program offered by the Beverly School for the Deaf. There could be as many as ten openings this fall. It’s part of a deal the school has made with the city. Beverly is trying to get tax-exempt organizations to offer payments or services to the community. Half of the children in the program are deaf or hard of hearing and the other half are community peers who get to learn sign language.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Outstanding Deaf Athlete

Joanel Lopez broke his college’s shot put record three times this year and was named the America East Men’s Field Athlete of the Week. The son of an Haitian immigrant, Lopez is a standout deaf athlete who attends New York’s Binghamton University. He was runner-up in the shot put in the 2008 and 2009 America East Outdoor Championships. He’s also a member of the 2007-08 America East Academic Honor Roll. Lopez plans to work in biology or environmental science and apply to graduate school.


The first Walk4Hearing event in Tennessee kicks off tomorrow morning at the Chattanooga State Technical Community College. Some 200 walkers on 19 teams are expected. Walk4Hearing is a national walkathon program organized by Hearing Loss Association of America.

1st International Sign Degree

A University in Scotland is offering what is being called the world's first international sign language degree. The Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University program will offer classes in British Sign Language and teach students to compare it with different sign languages across Europe. Nearly 90,000 people in the UK use BSL as their primary means of communication. The school is teaming up with universities in Finland and Germany to deliver the new European masters degree in sign language interpreting to allow students to develop experts who can interpret at international events including the United Nations and European Parliament. More information.

ASL Idol

WGHP-TV in Greensboro, North Carolina takes a look at a take off on American Idol called American Sign Language Idol.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gallaudet Building Wins Award

A building on the campus of Gallaudet has won an award for its design. International Interior Design Association Mid-Atlantic Chapter has given SmtihGroup a Silver Award in the Educational/Institutional category for its design of the new James Lee Sorenson Language and Communication Center. The 87,000 square foot building has special elements designed to enhance communication between those using sign language. Corridors widen to enhance site lines and rounded corners allow greater visibility at intersections.

Finalie Party

Reporters swarmed the first deaf contestant at the finale party screening of the Amazing Race at a hotel near Times Square. Luke gave the cheerleaders team a hug when he spotted them and then watched the finale with his mom from a monitor in the main room because of a closed captioning issue. When they crossed the finish line on the show, they returned with tear-streaked faces to join the other teams for a big group hug.

Hearing Loss in Young Ears

WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee files this video report of hearing loss in teens.

Dancing with ASL

Cruz Lane pairs his dance moves with ASL. His interest in music developed during his time at the Texas School for the Deaf. Lane was one of the top five finishers at the National Association of the Deaf Conference dance competition last year. This fall, he'll head to the Rochester Institute of Technology to work on a degree in music performance.

Shane Van Boening

Shane Van Boening is 97% deaf and the #1 ranked pool player in the world (according to The 25-year-old attended public schools in South Dakota. His grandfather, Gary Bloomberg, who was a trick-shot artist. Van Boening does not use ASL but wears a hearing aid. He won the Predator World Tenball and the US Open 9-Ball Championship in 2007. In 2008, Van Boening made more than $147,000. So far, he’s got $34,750 in winnings this year. He credits his work ethic with his success: Van Boening practices as much as 15 hours a day.

Baseball Umps

Hand signals were developed in the 19th century in baseball so umpires could communicate with a deaf baseball star. There are about 35 deaf baseball umpires in the country.

Emergency Text Trial

The UK will test a new system this fall that will allow the deaf and hard-of-hearing to call emergency services by sending a text to 999. If the trial run works successfully, the service could be in full swing by next year in Britain.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pool Tourney Fundraiser

This Friday a pool tournament in Boca Raton, Florida will raise funds for the Alliance for Families and Deaf Children. The South Florida Very Innovative Professionals is sponsoring the event at Gatsby's Boca Raton. Funds will support Childhood and Family Literacy Academy programs that teach deaf and hard of hearing children and their hearing family members to read together and better communicate.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Houston Deaf Church

Amazing Race Finalie

The first deaf contestant on CBS’s Amazing Race was leading the competition going into the final leg of the race but he lost to a brother-sister team. Luke Adams had just graduated as valedictorian of the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind. He partnered in the race with his mom (Marge). On the finalie, teams were required to prepare pigs for luaus in Hawaii and then race on personal watercrafts to find clues floating on the water. Luke started fast but couldn't get the last one right. After it was obvious they could not win, Luke told Marge during the cab ride to the finish line, "I'm very lucky to have you as my mom.”

Houston Deaf Church

The Houston newspaper takes a look at the city's largest deaf church in this article.

UK Terp Shortage

If you think its difficult sometimes getting an interpreter in the US, just try living in Britain. If need a British Sign Language interpreter you have to wait an average of two weeks and pay a minimum of £130 (that's about $255). Interpreters must be booked for at least three hours at a time. There are only 360 qualified British Sign Language interpreters in the UK. That’s about one for every 140 deaf people who use sign language. That's why most BSL users rely on hearing members of their family to translate during medical and legal appointments.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Aging Rockers with Hearing Problems

  • Pete Townshend of The Who
  • Roger Daltrey of The Who
  • Neil Young
  • George Martin, Beatles producer
  • Sting
  • Ted Nugent
  • Jeff Beck
  • Mick Fleetwood, Fleetwood Mac drummer

Friday, May 8, 2009

Dance in Vermont

The Gallaudet Dance Company will perform this weekend in Vermont for the first time. The Barre Lions Club invited the group to the Barre Opera House on May 9 for two performances. Proceeds from the performance go toward providing those with vision loss and hearing loss with special equipment. The club has given more than $35,000 for eyeglasses and hearing aids in the last few years.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Deaf Musician Follows His Dream

WJBK-TV in Detroit has the story of a deaf musician trying to break into the business.

SD School Struggles

The South Dakota School for the Deaf might end up closing even after lawmakers voted to save the campus. The Sioux Falls school is down to just 16 students for the fall. The Sioux Falls school is down to just 30 and expected to drop to 16 students for the fall after administrators gave up its auditory-oral program to Brandon Valley Board of Education. Those students will attend the new Fred Assam Elementary School. The deaf school will focus on the 400 mainstreamed students it supports.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Marlee Matlin Honored

Marlee Matlin will get her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today. The deaf actress will be joined by children from the International Center of Deafness & the Arts. Matlin’s star will go in front of Musso & Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard. Matlin will be hoonored with the Mary Pickford Award later at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation’s Women of Distinction luncheon. The youngest to win the best actress Academy Award, her story is told in her new autobiography I’ll Scream Later.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Closed Captioning Study

The FCC is forming a working group to study digital closed captioning. The goal is to figure out how to work through some of the problems that have come up with DTV closed captioning. That includes set-tops that cut out high definition closed captioning, absent or garbled captions on high definition the feeds themselves and cables that don’t allow the information to pass through. There are also analog converter boxes that can’t read the data as well as flashing captions and some that cover the entire screen.

House on Implants

You can now watch the episode Fox's House about a deaf teen last week at During the show the boy and his mom decide not to have cochlear implant surgery but Dr. House goes against their wishes. The teen rips the implant out but his mom decides to have the doctors put it back. Ryan Lane plays the 14-year-old wrestler. He's a deaf actor who also appeared on the show Cold Case.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Implant Limitations

Children with more disabilities than just hearing loss tend to lag behind other children in their learning, even with cochlear implants. That’s the finding of a new study lead by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The children made significant gains in their language skills after the implantation but the improvement did not last. Researchers presented the data at the 2009 Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting in Baltimore last week.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Amazing Race: Episode 11

On tonight’s edition of The Amazing Race, teams had to find a Travelocity gnome. Margie and her deaf son Luke are the first to find their gnome. Margie shows she is exhausted and says she’ll lose it if she hears Luke holler out her just one more time. Their clue tells them where to go to find electric bikes. They each ride a bike near the Forbidden City and then by Tiananmen Square.

Next, they apply make up to each other and put on costumes as opera characters. Luke has a lot of trouble applying makeup on Margie. He is supposed to make it match the makeup of another person. Margie gets frustrated and Luke signs to her that he is quitting. But he doesn’t.

They end the episode as team number two. Another team they have had conflicts with, sisters Jen and Kisha, are eliminated because Jen stops to go to the rest room.

Next week on the Season Finale of The Amazing Race teams travel to Hawaii.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wrestling Fund-Raiser

Deaf WrestleFest 2009 takes place tomorrow in the gym at Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. The force behind the event in Edgewood is Ken Jugan, also known as professional wrestler Lord Zoltan. One of his sons will graduate from the school this year and another is still a sophomore. The line-up card includes a six-man tag match. It’s sponsored by the WPSD Parent-Staff Organization.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Text Reminders

A UK hospital has started a program of texting deaf patients about appointments. The six-month trial run by the Colchester Hospital University started in December. If the reminders about audiology appointments works well, it may be expanded to include an option to book appointments the same way. Other patients receive an automated telephone call to confirm appointment.

VRS Training Center Opens

Sorenson Communications has officially opened its VRS Interpreting Institute at the company’s headquarters in Salt Lake City. Sorenson says it’s a state-of-the-art facility with the most current educational technology. Carolyn Ball has been tapped will lead the Institute. She was coordinator of the Salt Lake Community College Interpreter Training Program.