Saturday, 22 July 2017

91yr old gets ear implant...

Raymond Kelly
Great-grandfather Raymond Kelly beams with pleasure every time he hears the newest addition to his family giggle – and even the crying of the nine-month-old baby does not bother him.

Raymond Kelly became the oldest person to get a state-of-the-art ear implant, Raymond, 91, could not hear the simple sounds that most of us take for granted. Now he says his greatest pleasure is being able to hear his 10 grandchildren, whose ages range from nine to 31, and two great-grandchildren – the other is seven years old.

Raymond, of New Malden, south-west London, lost his hearing as a child. He was offered an operation at seven but his parents turned it down, fearful of the risks involved. Over the years his hearing deteriorated until he stopped bothering to go out because he could no longer hear what was going on in the hubbub of voices.

SignHealth on the move.

More charities who feel better off moving 'out of the sticks' to London, that makes 60 major charities in recent years closing down regional offices to go to S. E. England instead. The centralisation of our charities ATR feels, is yet again removing easy access to regional Deaf for support they need.  Charities sitting in an office in London at a computer, isn't how Deaf want to be served. There is a greater demand to put offices where the need actually is.  And it isn't all in London.

SignHealth has announced its departure from Baring Road for the capital in a staggered move at the end of July. Head office will be relocating to a new premises in Balham, south-west London, where an existing project is, in a move to save money and consolidate resources.

Launched in 1985 from a room above the Oxfam shop in the High Street, SignHealth saw continual growth, leaving for Penn before returning to Beaconsfield in 2004.  The charity said the move would allow staff to be closer to teams and service users in London.

It will continue to work with deaf adults and children in Buckinghamshire and will maintain four staff in the south of the county. The charity said it had strong links to the capital, having run services there for many years, and the move will allow it to build and grow.

Abby Herbert said: "We have enjoyed some fantastic local support over the past 30 years and while we hope that much of this will continue, we recognise some will not be possible – a downside of the move."  "We hope to attract more deaf staff in the future, and that will be easier if we are in London," she added. "It has been lovely working with you over the last few years." CEO James Watson-O'Neill added: “The time is right.

“The charity started in Beaconsfield. From there it has grown and grown.  "We want to see that growth continue. Being closer to our services will be a big help.  "We want to continue to improve the health of deaf people in London and beyond.

"SignHealth has an exciting future and this move will give us a much stronger position to build that growth." The headquarters will be based in Oakmead Road, Balham, from the end of July.


Charity merger threatens demise of UK HoH groups ?

This latest reported merger suggests further reduction in the support of HoH by UK charities, leaving only one clear 'winner' the AOHL/RNID, who must be rubbing their hands with glee at the 'consolidation' of these poorly supported charities.  

By far the saddest aspect was the reporting of the merger suggesting 'Two deaf groups' were to merge.  This was inaccurate reporting and shows confused understanding of the very diverse hearing loss areas, in fact 3 of them not two, who are now put on par with animals..  

Background: The First merger between Hearing Concern and LINK, was between two groups who did NOT promote their operations as 'support for the Deaf'.  Both were very much HoH and deafened-based, with LINK at the time NOT promoting sign language use.

(LINK was a predominantly the sole charity based on supporting deafened people, in reality the ONLY charity in the UK doing this and deafened support suffered as a result after the merger, there is no longer a charity solely designed to meet deafened need).  The NADP is invisible.

Hearing Concern was basically the poor man's RNID and had few offices nation-wide at all, including none in Wales, it had no dedicated areas as such with the HoH of note, it was one of 56 'HoH' charities at the time with similar aims and similarly ineffective.  

It is confusion personified the merged charities of Hearing Concern/Link are to merge yet again, this time with a dog charity (?).   (ATR rejects the need for deaf assistance dogs). The merger suggests HoH and deafened are in the future being supported less, than they are now.  It also suggests they are on borrowed time and stand to be swept aside by the mega-powerful AOHL, already accused of dumping the 'Deaf'.  The merger may be financial expediency, or the admission they cannot 'sell' HoH need and need to use animals to pull in funding.  No doubt the next thing we read will be 're-branding' and new names etc.  Re-arranging the deck chairs on the HoH Titanic.

There seems little appreciation or understanding that the reason for these mergers is a total disinterest in HoH need and of hearing loss interest in charities. If there was a merger would not be necessary.  It has echoes of the RNIB (The UK blind charity), who due to the fickle nature of the UK joe public, saw blind dog charities make 4 times the funding, compared to charities dedicated to actual blind people's support.  At one time the blind dog charity was sitting on 12 times the funding of the RNIB itself. (The UK public put animals first not people).

That the declaration of the merger came from corporate 'Third sector' (An area UK charities use to hire hearing, not deaf or HoH professional staff), is no surprise, and reveals just how far charity has shifted from a grassroots based, to a corporate take over where grass roots need not apply.  The circle of support being squared to enable  hearing to make capital on our issues by running our support areas and determining directions of that support without us.

The blurb

Hearing Link will become part of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People from 1 August, with both brands continuing to operate The merger will provide people who have hearing loss with access to a broader range of services, the statement said.

Hearing Link, which helps people to deal with the practical and emotional challenges of hearing loss, has been spending hundreds of thousands of pounds more than its income in recent years, accounts filed with the Charity Commission show. It spent £1.2m in 2015 against an income of £671,257, the accounts show.

"As with many small charities, the challenging and competitive fundraising environment has proved extremely difficult for Hearing Link," a statement on Hearing Link’s website said. "By merging with Hearing Dogs and incorporating Hearing Link as a distinct service within the larger charity we have secured our future to enable us to continue to deliver our life-changing services."

Hearing Link has 13 staff. Hearing Dogs, which provides assistance dogs for people with hearing loss, has 184 staff and had an income of £7.5m in the year to the end of March 2016.  A spokeswoman for Hearing Dogs said the merger would not result in any redundancies.

Michele Jennings, chief executive of Hearing Dogs, will continue as chief executive of the merged organisation, and Lorraine Gailey, chief executive of Hearing Link, will become chief operating officer and retain responsibility for Hearing Link within the merged charity. The spokeswoman said the charities would be able to make savings by merging back-office functions because Hearing Link would no longer need to outsource areas such as finance or IT.

Friday, 21 July 2017

What is deafness ?

Being deaf, or hard of hearing comes with a plethora of different terms, and different meanings. I've been deaf all my life, so did some more research and the fancy words and give you the run down on what Deafness is. More videos shall be on the way with me explaining various topics, such as what it's like, how to communicate with a deaf person, and more.

Deaf and Blind services

Turning voice into text

Photo detail
How one business is helping the hard-of-hearing and others. Elizabeth Archer says it’s “totally gratifying” to help the hard-of-hearing and others with her business that captures voice and translates it into text. 

The Portland-based company provides Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART), also known as live-event captioning, as an option for people with hearing challenges.

“People who use my services are typically deaf and hard of hearing who prefer to voice for themselves and don’t use sign language or interpreters,” says Elizabeth Archer, owner of the company. “My clients are also typically late-deafened adults who grew up in the hearing world and prefer CART as opposed to having to learn sign language in their later years. I’ve also provided CART for people with autism, traumatic brain injury and ESL students.”

The benefits, Archer says, “are pretty straight forward – communication access.” “Services are used in classrooms, at medical appointments, in courtrooms and other legal settings, conferences, legislative hearings and business meetings,” she says.

CART is a means of transcribing the spoken word into readable English text using a stenograph machine, computer and real-time software. Text appears on a computer monitor or other display and serves as an important communication tool for those using the service. CART provides a verbatim translation of all spoken words, on a one-to-one basis, to multiple users, or projected on a large screen for an audience. A simulation on the company’s website demonstrates the service.

Archer began CART service, which is provided online, onsite and on-demand, in 1995 and expanded to a national level in 2005 by using the internet.

“Remote CART is when I provide services off-site,” Archer says. “For this to work, the person using CART needs a computer, and I need some kind of audio. This can be done via the internet using Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts and other web-based platforms as well as conference and speaker phones. I send the link to the client, we connect with audio, and I write down whatever is being said in the venue.”