Saturday, December 31, 2011

Anchor's Hearing Loss

One of Britain’s best-known TV anchors has lost some of her hearing because of her job. Anne Diamond has recorded a video for Action On Hearing Loss about it. Diamond says wearing the earpiece that lets her hear producers instructions has cost her hearing in the ear in which she wears it. You can watch the video here.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Deaf teens find relatable characters

Students at California schools for the deaf react to the ABC Family show Switched at Birth here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

HBO's Angry Boys

A new HBO series features a deaf character. Two weekly half-hour episodes of Angry Boys will air Sundays at 10pm, Eastern. Australian comedian Chris Lilley directed the series and plays some of the many characters. The focus is twin teens - one of whom is deaf (both twins are played by the same character). In the show, Nathan is about to leave the family farm for "deaf college." HBO posted this about the character: Nathan is Daniel's identical twin brother. He suffers from a hearing impairment with only 10 percent hearing and his condition is worsening. He is a bit of a loner and an outcast from Daniel and his gang of friends. Angry Boys is a politically incorrect comedy disguised as a fake documentary.  The show has already aired in Australia and the UK. Below is a sample trailer.

Deaf in Afghanistan

Read about what life is like for the deaf in this Middle Eastern country and found out about the Afghan National Association for the Deaf in an article here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

the Closed Capp app

Graphic designer Ryan Flynn once worked on voice-recognition technologies at Motorola and now has created an Andriod app he says will create real-time closed captioning. Closed Capp doesn't transcribe phone calls, but will capture 5-10 seconds of speech and then processes it. Find out more about the Closed Capp app here or watch a video below about it on Please comment if you have used the app to let others know how it works for you.

Vet Gets Service Dog Back

Jim Sak is getting his service dog back. A judge ruled today that his pit bull, Snickers, could stay with him while his lawsuit against Aurelia, Iowa moves forward. The city has a ban on pit bulls and the city council voted this month that the ban includes Snickers, even though the dog, is certified through the National Service Animal Registry. Snickers has been with Sak for 5 years, since he suffered a stroke. The 64-year old disabled Vietnam veteran and retired Chicago Police officer says he believes this is a violation of ADA law. Many people came to court today to show support for Sak and Snickers.

Auto-Old My Music

A free iPhone app shows teens what its like to experience hearing loss from cracking up the music. Auto-Old My Music plays music the way their parents may hear it - muffled from the loss of high pitches. The app was developed by Baptist Memorial Health Care in Memphis and you can find it at where it has been downloaded more than 10,000 times. If kids want to check their hearing, there's The Volume Zone and  The Ear Knob,

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Training Teachers for Deaf Children

A look at the deaf studies program at California Lutheran University near Los Angeles here.

Lead Exposure

Exposure to lead could lead to hearing loss. That's the finding of a new study checking the level of lead in the blood of a group of teenagers. Overall, a fifth of the teens had some hearing loss. The teens with the most lead in their blood were more likely to have hearing loss. Nearly a third of the teens with high levels of lead did not pass the hearing exam, while less than a fifth of those while low lead exposure failed the hearing test. While the study suggests a correlation between hearing loss and lead exposure, the study did not show whether one causes the other. The researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston say the level of what is considered safe exposure to lead should be lowered. Details of the studay are in the Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Crime at Deaf School

Construction work at the Michigan School for the Deaf is going forward despite theft over the weekend. Someone stole the batteries out of a fork lift, bull dozer and other equipment at the 80 acre Flint, Michigan campus. The $36 million project includes a new home for Powers Catholic High School and a new building for the School for the Deaf.

Implant Stolen

WTHI-TV has a video report on a stolen cochlear implant in Indiana. Watch the video below on or read the story here.

Hearing device stolen:

Monday, December 26, 2011

VRS Fraud

There are reports on social media that a federal grand jury has indicted the former owners of a Maryland video relay business. Bridget and Jerry Bonheyo are accused of allegedly having employees at Bonheyo & Bonheyo make false calls, so they could get reimbursed by the government and destroying evidence after the business closed. The Bonheyo’s shut down the company after John Yeh, who ran the video relay company Viable, was arrested on similar charges. Yeh was recently given a nine year sentence and ordered to pay restitution of $20 million. The Bonheyos case will be heard in New Jersey district court and that's where they will next appear on January 10th.

Dancing to her Own Beat

Melissa Adams is a deaf NFL cheerleader. Below is a video profile of how she got there from ABC news. video platform video management video solutions video player

Service Dog Banned from City

Jim Sak is suing the city of Aurelia, Iowa for forcing him to give up his service dog. Aurelia has a ban on pit bulls and city officials say that includes Snickers. Certified through the National Service Animal Registry, Snickers has been with Sak for 5 years, since he suffered a stroke. The 64-year old disabled Vietnam veteran and retired Chicago Police officer says he believes this is a violation of ADA law.

California Pilot Video Program

Six California counties are joining together to use make sign language interpreters available through video-conferencing. Court officials say the move away from in-person interpreters will save as much as a million-and-a-half dollars statewide. The counties include Riverside, San Joaquin, Shasta, Stanislaus, Sonoma and Ventura counties. If this test runs works well over the next few months, county officials will expand the pilot program to other languages. Sign language interpreters are the second highest in demand in California courts. Only by Spanish interpreters are in greater demand. But there are fewer than 40 certified sign language interpreters regularly working in the California court system.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


The video posted below on explains the role of an advocate and is produced by DeafHope, a group focused on domestic and sexual violence against Deaf women.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Benefits for the Deaf in Britain

The British government has produced videos in British Sign Language to provide viewers with an understanding of the different benefits provided by the government. Watch them here.

Police Beating Followup

KSTP-TV takes a look at changes at the county jail following settlement of a lawsuit in Minnesota over a deaf man's time behind bars without access to an interpreter or contact with his family in the video below or read the story here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Beethoven's Music

Beethoven’s hearing loss probably helped him develop his style of writing classical music, according to an analysis of the composer's use of high notes. Researchers say it played a major role in his compositions throughout his career. The study comes out of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and is reported in the British Medical Journal. The composer used many a variety of high notes in his early work, but when he first reported losing his hearing for high-frequency notes around age 30, his compositions changed. At first, his compositions relied more on middle and low-frequency notes but as his hearing deteriorated, he composed music in his head and the high notes returned. The researcher say the results are incomplete because they only used a few compositions and did not review the full scope of the Beethovan's work. Read more about the findings here.

Veteran Gets Hearing Back

North Carolina's WRAL-TV was there when a military veteran got his cochlear implant turns on. Shee the video below or read the story here.

Gallaudet makes its point loud and clear

ESPN-W takes an in-depth look at Gallaudet's women's basketball team. Read the story here.

GPS help for Substance Abuse

How apps are helping deaf substance abusers in Denver here.

Fourth-Grader is a Spelling Bee Champ

WSAZ-TV reports on an Ohio spelling bee champ who is deaf (or read the story here).


A look at the architecture movement known as movement called DeafSpace and its impact on Gallaudet University (with photos of new buildings) here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

ASL in Spanish

Irma Sanchez has three deaf sons and started Deaf Latinos, a free weekly class at her South Los Angeles home where she teaches ASL in Spanish. Here's a video report put together by a USC student about Sanchez work. There's no captioning, but you can read more here.

Sentence in Nigerian Scam

A judge in Billings, Montana is giving a deaf woman just a single day behind bars and three years supervised release for her part in a scheme involving fake money orders from Wal-Mart, American Express checks and a man from Nigeria. Robin Champion could have gotten as much as a 18 months in prison. She pled guilty to to one count of mail fraud and eight other counts were dismissed. Since the indictment, Champion changed her name to Robin Bolton.

The Koran in Sign Language

The Conservation of the Holy Koran Society in Jordan has spend 5 years putting together DVDs of the Koran sign language. There is a BBC video report posted here. (no captioning)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Teaching Lawyers about Deaf Clients

Advice on how attorneys should accommodate deaf clients here.

Hearing the Unheard

Joseph Valente talks about his experiences as a deaf kid wanting to become a super hero in the video below. His talk is titled Hearing the Unheard and was shot at a TEDx program at Penn State last month. He's Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education. Valente is author of d/Deaf and d/Dumb: A Portrait of a Deaf Kid as a Young Superhero. There is captioning.

Live Near Your Work

Gallaudet's 1000 employees will get the chance to live closer to where they work, thanks to a new program unveiled today at the school. The District of Columbia is partnering with both Gally and American University to help relocate workers by offering no interest loans for housing. The Live Near Your Work pilot program gives each school $60,000 and each school will match that amount.

Study of Implant Failures for Children

The failure rate of cochlear implants given to children is low. That's the finding of a study detailed this month's issue of Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery. Researcher at the the University of Toronto took a look at the medical history of 738 children who were provided 971 devices. 34 had to undergo corrective surgery with a reimplantation rate of about three percent. The average time of failure was about 5 years after the surgery. A fifth of the children who had implant failure also had meningitis before the initial implantation. One of the study authors has a financial interest in Cochlear Americas. Read more here.

One of the few Deaf Athletic Trainers

Read the story here.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Deaf News Today's year in review

Here is a video review of some of the biggest stories on during 2011 (watch it full screen for the best look).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Police Brutality Settlement: $200,000

Three years ago we told you about the day Stephen Pyles woke up to find his home, located in the Baltimore suburbs, ransacked and money and credit cards missing. It was also the day police arrested him for trying to explain to officers his frustration at the constant burglaries. Pyles called officers to report the crime through his TTY telephone. While getting a report of the crime, Officer Louis Facciponti claims the deaf man in his 50s punched him “suddenly and without warning." But a paramedic who saw the whole thing says Pyles was only trying to get the officer's attention by putting a note to the officer’s chest that explained his frustration at feeling that his home was unsafe. He was upset that police had done nothing to stop people from repeatedly breaking into his home while he and his family sleep. Pyles was wrestled to the ground and Facciponti refused his family's request that he be handcuffed in front, so he could sign or write notes. Pyles wound up in the hospital after the confrontation because he had just undergone neck surgery and was re-injured during the scuffle. But the officer refused to let paramedics check put Pyles before hauling him off in the police car. Pyles was charged with second-degree assault and resisting arrest. Prosecutors dropped all the charges because the only non family witness confirmed the deaf man’s story and not the officer’s version of what happened. Last year, the Pasadena, Maryland man filed a lawsuit against Arundel County for false arrest. Now, the county has paid Pyle $200,000 to settle the suit. There was no apology offered and the officers involved are still on the police force. The head of the police union representing the officers says it was a frivolous lawsuit and the county would have won the case if it had gone to trial.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Amateur Deaf Chef

Chad A. Ludwig and Frank Dattolo offer cooking tips at the Amateur Deaf Chef YouTube channel here. Or watch their short introduction video posted below.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hoops Player gets Waiver

The only deaf Division I men's basketball player will get a chance to play in the final 20 games of the season. Michael Lizarraga needed special permission from the NCAA to do so and the waiver came through today. The Cal State Northridge forward only played 35 minutes in seven games as a freshman, so the school appealed for him to get more time. The 6-foot-7 senior averaged about six points a game and more than four rebounds in 32 games last season, making him the team's second-leading rebounder. The Big West Conference gave Lizarraga a special Inspirational Award. Cal State Northridge is 2-6 this season.

Christmas play in Houston

KRIV-TV in Houston offers a video report (below on about a Christmas play featuring deaf actors. You can read the story here.

Behind bars for a Crime he didn't Commit

A look at what a deaf inmates endures - after being framed for murder by his brother. Read the story here.

ASL Reborn on the iPad

First-grade students in New York interact with ASL videos on their iPads in the video below on Read the teacher's explanation of how the devices are being incorporated into the classroom here.

Female Genitalia Sign Controversy

A UK nursery school is under fire for teaching children BSL rather than letting them make their own gestures to go along with the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Both parents and the media have criticized the Sure Start nursery school in York. Teachers decided that the gestures for "like a diamond in the sky" might "offend deaf people" because the diamond or triangle shape is similar to the British Sign Language gesture indicating the female genitalia. They taught the toddlers to use Makaton signs along with the song. Makaton is a gesture based method of communication used in the UK, which borrows from BSL. Not everyone is happy with the arrangement. Britain's Campaign Against Political Correctness is quoted in the Daily Mail as saying "This is ridiculous example of political correctness where adults are trying to put their views into the minds of children who would not have known there was anything wrong with what they are doing."

Crisis in Greece

Members of Greece's Deaf community joined several thousand demonstrators who gathered for a rally in Athens Tuesday. People without vision or hearing joined protestors in wheelchairs in front of the parliament building. They are protesting benefit cuts that include payments for sign language interpreters. The country's interpreter program was basically suspended this summer due to Greece's financial crisis, leaving many without interpreters for job interviews or even when dealing with police. The service is used by some 15,000 people. Interpreters are required to go through six years of training, but were paid less than minimum wage with no travel expenses. And that was before the program was shut down. Below is a video of another protest at the parliament building this week over the government's austerity measures (no captioning).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

British Sign Language Degree

The first British Sign Language interpreting degree in Scotland will start next fall in Edinburgh. The Heriot-Watt’s School of Management & Languages is launching the program with more than the equivalent of one million dollars from the Scottish Funding Council. Students will graduate as accredited interpreters, after having spent their third and fourth years working in the Deaf community. Find out more here.

UPS to Pay $95k

UPS has settled a discrimination lawsuit filed by a deaf employee. Mauricio Centeno was denied reasonable accommodation by the package delivery firm, according to the EEOC, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of Centeno. He worked for eight years at the UPS facility in Gardena, California where he was denied access to a sign language interpreter for training, departmental staff meetings and other work-related sessions. Supervisors met with Centeno about his work performance without an interpreter present. While a judge dismissed the suit in 2008, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals not only reversed the lower court’s ruling, but also held that employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities even if the accommodations are for benefits and privileges (like staff meetings) that are not essential functions of the job. UPS will pay Centeno $95,000 and make changes to the way it deals with deaf employees.

Body Language and the Deaf

A new study offers evidence fro what we all know already - deaf people who use ASL pick up quicker on body language than hearing people. Researchers at UC Davis and UC Irvine, funded by grants coming from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, say it is evidence that the deaf would be more effective at jobs and projects requiring sensitivity to subtle visual traits, such as airport screening. The study also supports the notion that sign language is a variation on body language rather than a completely different system of non-verbal communication, according to the researchers. Details are in the journal Cognition.

Deaf Studies Community College

Bristol Community College in New Bedford, Massachusetts is adding Deaf Studies courses which will count toward degree requirements for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at nearby Lesley University in Cambridge. There is more information here.

Timeline for Captioning TV Shows

Hollywood want the FCC to lighten up on it's proposed captioning rules for captioning TV shows on the Internet. The Motion Picture Association of America is asking for more time, claiming a six month deadline is a nearly an impossible task (some video categories would get a year under the FCC's plan). Film and TV show producers say, in a letter to the Commission, that its voluntary approach was working just fine before the FCC proposed new rules to force them to move quicker. What's pushing the discussion is a requirement by the Twenty-First Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act, that the FCC come up with new regulations for closed captioning for shows available on the Internet by January 12, 2012. The Commission wants the captioning of major TV shows as they re-air. But the Association is suggesting it work on the basis of when a show was originally produced. It is asking for 48 months to get the video on their own websites captioned, 72 months for shows on other websites produced since 2006, and 96 months to get shows on other websites created before 2006. The FCC does not require the captioning of clips or outtakes, only full-length shows and the regulations do not apply to individuals who are posting video.

Mother Struggles with Deaf Son

A North Carolina mother leaves her young son, crying, at the state school for the deaf. Read the story here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holidays at Gallaudet

The video posted below, produced by Gallaudet's Office of Diversity and Inclusion, explains the different holidays that are celebrated among the school's community members.

Silent Tweets

A new app will be released next month at the Australian Deaf Games that will alert the deaf when there's an emergency nearby. Silent Tweets is free and goes through a special portal rather than Twitter to smart phones in Australia. The information might be about the weather, a power outage, earthquake or even just changes to a train arrival for people at a station. Silent Tweets recently won a Telstra Innovation Award. The app will work with Apple and Android phones first and later with Blackberry and Windows Phone 7. Read more about the app here.

Ban on Texting May Cost Lives

The deaf in Congo say their government's ban on texting is threatening their lives, according to a BBC report. After disputed elections and deadly protests last week, the African nation outlawed texting for everyone. The deaf say they are no longer able to receive warnings of violence and are isolated without it, since few have access to the internet or email.

NTID Holiday Show

Some snippets from the recent annual holiday show at the National Technical Instiute for the Deaf are on the video below on

Battling Hearing Loss

WUSA-TV in Washington, DC interviews the Director of Audiology at the American Speech Language Hearing Association, based in Rockville, Maryland about hearing loss in the video posted below on (no captioning). Watch the video to see what advice she has for people of all ages to combat hearing loss.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Silent Blessings

Marshall Lawrence started Silent Blessings Deaf Ministries after learning his toddler was deaf. Concerned she had little to watch on television, and being too young for closed captioning, he decided to start a program for deaf children called Dr. Wonder’s Workshop out of his basement in 1996. Written mostly by the deaf, the 30 minute show includes deaf child actors using ASL. The nonprofit operation is now in Anderson, Indiana and mainly focuses on character issues, such as honesty, and includes a Bible story. Find out more here.

Teen Preps for Tennis Tourney

The Standard profiles one of the contestants in the weekend's Australian Deaf Games here.

ADA and Therapy Dogs

A case in Nebraska has put the spotlight on new ADA requirements and the use of therapy dogs. Read USA Today's coverage here.

Lawsuit over Police Beating

A deaf man's lawsuit against a Minnesota County may be settled today. Douglas Bahl sued the Ramsey County and city of St. Paul for jailing him without access to an interpreter. A judge dismissed Bahl's federal lawsuit against the city, which he has appealed. In the meantime, the Ramsey County Commission will vote on a proposed settlement at today's commission meeting. The specifics have not been made public. It all started five years ago, when police stopped Bahl for running a red light. When he tried to communicate that he was deaf, officers sprayed him with mace and hit him. The policemen blame Bahl for starting the confrontation, saying he hit and bit one of them. But the officer's written account indicates show they were frustrated that Bahl did not "speak" with them and they failed to grasp that Bahl was deaf during the altercation. Then Bahl spent nearly four days in the Ramsey County Jail without the knowledge of his family. He says deputies wouldn't get him an interpreter. The sheriff says he offered Bahl a TTY phone the first day but he wanted to send an email to his family. Bahl says the next three days he was not provided an interpreter or allowed access to TTY. His first court appearance was even put off because Ramsey County authorities failed to provide him with an interpreter. Bahl ultimately was convicted of a misdemeanor. The Sheriff’s office says conditions have improved since the incident.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dying Wish Opinionated CODA

Comedian Keith Wann and performing artist Peter S. Cook offer some humor about CODAs in the video below titled Dying Wish Opinionated CODA. They are two of the few ASL artists who have developed nationwide followings and this is a short sample.

Gally Opens new Research Lab

Gallaudet University has opened a new brain and language laboratory. The facility is designed to study how people learn and share language. Director Laura-Ann Petitto, a cognitive and developmental neuroscientist, says the goal of the lab, dubbed BL2, is "to investigate new scientific questions and to make significant discoveries in the fields of cognitive neuroscience and children's language development." BL2 includes one of the world's most advanced brain imaging systems. The fNIRS can track the movement of blood in the brain of someone as the person reacts to various stimuli.

Teen Confesses by Text Message

A deaf teenager in Scotland received a sentence of four years detention for trying to kill a 12-year-old this summer. Gareth Young lured the boy into bushes and stabbed him six times. Young then texted police about it, saying he hid the weapon in a cabinet. The 16-year-old's lawyer told the High Court in Edinburgh the teen had been subjected to physical and emotional abuse throughout his life and endured constant ridicule for being deaf.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Overcoming Barriers to Find a Job

A deaf woman who lives near London talks about her struggle to find employment here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bison Song

Gallaudet alumni perform the Bison Song in the video below, showing how it has changed over the years.  It started as part of a Hearing and Speech Center contest in 1960.

School Opens new facility

Ireland's only school for deaf and blind children is now in a new, technologically advanced building. The Jordanstown School's new facility, located near Belfast, was officially opened by the Duchess of Gloucester. First opened in 1836, Jordanstown is now equipped with the latest testing and therapy facilities for its 50 pupils.

ADA regs for Websites

Some advice on getting websites ADA compliant here.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Woman's Attacker says he is deaf

A man accused of trying to rape and kidnap a women in Hawaii says he is deaf. A judge in the city of Oahu postponed the hearing of Ferdinand Bermejo until Monday, when an interpreter could be assigned to him. Several people heard the woman scream and held Bermejo until the police arrived.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Service Dog Banned from Lunch Hall

A deaf-blind student has withdrawn from her school in Berkshire, UK after her service dog was barred from the school's cafeteria. The principal of Mary Hare School for the Deaf says another student is allergic to Molly Watt's black Labrador-retriever named Unis. Molly's mother says no one at the school has shown her evidence of the other student's allergy. Molly was born deaf and is slowly losing her sight because of has Usher Syndrome. The deaf-blind charity Sense named Molly the Young Deafblind Person of the Year 2010. A petition has been signed on Molly's behalf by more than 1000 people. Here's a video Molly recorded last year, explaining her condition.

New Call Centers Opening

Purple Communication is opening call centers in Seattle and Long Beach, California. The video relay provider says it also plans to hire more than 50 video interpreters as well as new professional, support and management positions. The Sacramento-area-based company has more than 800 deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing employees. Company executives expect to Purple to make more than $100 million in revenue this year.

Freshman Taunted

TCU basketball fans heckled Texas Tech freshman Luke Adams about how he looks like Justin Bieber when the teams played Tuesday night. They made references to Canada, Bieber's girlfriend, Selena Gomez, and repeatedly used the word "baby," the title of a Bieber song.  But it probably didn't do much good. Adams is deaf (though he does have a cochlear implant). The guard got three points in Tech's loss to the Horned Frogs, 75-69. Adams was 6th in scoring last year in the state of Texas for his high school and learned his skills at home - his father is the head coach at Howard College.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Gally Logo

Gallaudet University has unveiled a new logo for the school. Administrators believe its the first university logo incorporating both English and American Sign Language. It replaces the old logo of a framed letter "G" that's been around for 25 years. The new logo includes a pair of arcing lines (you can see it below on, which serves as a reminder of the Gallaudet symbol in sign language, formed by a swooping motion of the forefinger and thumb. The school gathered several thousand comments on the logo before finalizing it. President T. Alan Hurwitz says “Throughout the logo selection process we had an unprecedented level of participation by Gallaudet students, faculty, staff, and alumni as well as members of the deaf community throughout the country.” What do you think about it? Write a note in our comment section.

Tap Dancing

Chicago choreographer Mark Yonally is bringing tap dance to deaf kids. Read the story here.

Christmas Tour

The Kentucky School for the Deaf will hold a Christmas Tea and Tour the Saturday. Alumni of the Danville school will tell the story of the facility. The Danville Dulcimers and KSD American Sign Language Choir.

Workshop busts myths about deaf culture

The student newspaper at the University of Connecticut looks at a workshop on deaf culture here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Deaf Team USA going to World Cup

Deaf Team USA went 2-1-1 at last month's Pan American Games in Venezuela. The American soccer team finished the tourney with a 5-1 victory over Mexico, a game that included two goals from Barry Wilkins, a member of the USC track and field team. That gave Team USA a third place finish behind Argentina and Venezuela and qualifies them for the 2012 Deaf World Cup. It takes place in Ankara, Turkey from July 16-28.

School Wins Green Competition

The Texas School for the Deaf has won the Global Green USA Green School Makeover Competition. That means the Austin school gets $130,000 toward a green makeover. Nominated by Austin's Francisco's Salon, the school beat out more than 220 other entries from both public and private schools. The renovation plans include: 

  • Retrofitting light fixtures to allow for energy efficient bulbs and motion-activated lights 
  • Hands-free faucets 
  • Collecting rainwater in barrels to be used for watering the school grounds 
  • Reusable water bottles and a tap filtration system Hands-free hand dryers 
  • Adding recycling bins to the campus 
  •  An education program
  • Rochester Gets new Video Conferencing Center

    A new video conferencing center was unveiled yesterday at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in Rochester. The equipment comes courtesy of California's Cisco Systems. The 14-seat room matches the audio and lighting in other TelePresence Centers. The donation, valued at $700,000, is specially designed to accommodate sign language interpreters. Engineers will use the system to study ways to have cameras focus, not just on the person speaking, but on a person signing. WHAM-TV has this short video report below on

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    Approval for new Implant Processor

    Cochlear implant maker Advanced Bionics says it has approval from regulators in the US and Canada to start selling its waterproof sound processor. The Neptune can be used when swimming or bathing and worn "in the hair, on an arm, under a collar, in a pocket." At the same time, Advanced Bionics is facing lawsuits in 4 states over its bionic ear cochlear implant after issuing a recall for the HiRes90K a year ago after reports of malfunctions and pain by some patients.

    Captioning on Commercial Flights

    Continental Airlines will be the first carrier to offer passengers a new closed-captioning system. Each traveler will control the feature and be able to search through more than 100 channels of DIRECTV-provided satellite television. LiveTV, a Florida captioning company, says Continental Boeing 737NG aircraft with its LTV3 system installed will offer the service first. Find out more about LiveTV here.

    Million Dollar Grant

    The University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida are getting a grant of more than one million dollars from the Department of Education. The funds will go toward a new program that will start in January which will train 40 pathologists to work with children who do not speak English. In nearby Orange County there are more than 300 deaf or hard of hearing students and more than 80 in Osceola County.

    Disabilities in the Workplace

    About 20% of the population has a disability of some kind, according to the Census Bureau. Here's a breakdown of their place in the workforce:
    • 48% of those with non-severe disabilities between the ages of 21 and 64 are working full-time compared to 63% of those without any disability.
    • 82% of businesses have no programs in place for integrating people with disabilities into the workforce, according to a Kessler Foundation survey.
    • The same survey found 19% of companies have a specific person or department overseeing the hiring of the disabled. When the foundation survey businesses and asked the same question in 1995, the percentage was more than twice that high (40%).

    DUI Conviction Overturned Because of Interpreter

    A judge in Washington State has tossed out a DUI conviction against a deaf man. Five years ago, William Kral of Snoqualmie, who lost his hearing at the age of nine months from meningitis, was arrested on suspicion of DUI and driving with a suspended license. During his arraignment, Kral was not provided a certified ASL interpreter. Instead, a Spanish language interpreter who knew some sign language interpreted for him. Kral ended up signing a paper waving his right to a speedy trial. Kral says he thought he was agreeing to a temporary delay in his trial. Instead, Kral got a nine month sentence and ended up paying some $4600 in fines. An appeals court ruled this summer that Kral's rights were violated because he was not provided a qualified interpreter. The case was then sent back to Benton County District Court. Thursday, the conviction was overturned and the case dismissed. The judge also ordered the state to return the money Kral had paid in fines.

    Antibiotics Study

    A study at the Oregon Health & Science University may have solved a mystery that has puzzled doctors for more than half a century. A specific class of antibiotics can cause deafness, but no one was sure why. Research scientist Peter Steyger, himself deaf, says his study shows the problem lies in a barrier located in the inner ear that is supposed to protect hair cells from destructive components in the blood. Without hair cells functioning properly, we cannot hear. The group of antibiotics in question are called "aminoglycoside antibiotics" and are used in developing countries to prevent tuberculosis and bacterial infections, especially in premature infants. Most premature infants in the U.S. are also given the drug. Unfortunately, these drugs can also destroy the inner ear's hair cell and cause deafness. Styeger believes if a child were to receive an inhibitor at the same time he or she got the antibiotics, then the inner ear could be protected and the child's hearing could be saved. Steyer is especially motivated to find a solution because he was a drug in the very same class of antibiotics at the age of 14 months in England. He had developed meningitis and was treated with streptomycin. While the drug saved his life, it also left him deaf. Details of Styeger's study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, are in the journal Scientific Reports.

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Deaf-Blind Artist Exhibit

    The work of a deaf-blind photographer will go on exhibit in London this month. The deaf-blind charity Sense is putting on display a couple of dozen photographs by Ian Treherne. The 33-yearold Essex artist has Usher Syndrome, which means his eyesight and hearing are slowly deteriorating. His "Secret Window" exhibition in Soho starts December 13. Find out more about Sense here.

    Deaf Film Fest in India

    The India Deaf Film Festival takes place this weekend at the Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication in New Delhi. Below on is a video about the event. Or you can read more information here.

    Complaints Drive Couple out of Apartment

    A German couple moved out of their apartment after neighbors complained about their loud music. Mike Dumrose and Natascha Neitzel are both deaf from birth and communicate in sign language. They often turned their music loud enough to feel vibrations in the wall and floors of their home in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Where did they go with their belongings? German media reports the couple set up a tent in a local park.

    Closed Captioning Petition Deadline

    Any US TV station or television programmer with a closed captioning waiver has until January 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.

    Implant inventor Honored

    Australian Graeme Clark, the man who pioneered the cochlear implant, has won the 2011 CSL Florey Medal for biomedical research - which includes a $50,000 prize. As student at the University of Sydney and with his father suffering from hearing problems, in 1967 Clark began looking into whether electrical stimulation of the inner ear could help people with significant deafness. Most scientists rejected his idea, some even referring to him as "that clown Clark." Undeterred, he moved to the University of Melbourne in 1970 and performed the first cochlear implant surgery in 1978 on Rod Saunders.