Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Hearing loss * Deafness: A recipe for Dementia ?

More studies show relationship between hearing loss and dementia
We are still reading that 'studies' into dementia lay the cause as hearing loss, this heaps guilt onto people losing hearing who may well believe the next step is forgetting your own name !  Responses on social medias when challenged tried to defray reasoned argument, by stating it wasn't 'targeting' us specifically (Nope they just examined deaf people in isolation ! As ATR pointed out:-

Pro hearing loss is at base of dementia poster said:

"These studies were targeted at Dementia as a specific, not hearing loss, and untreated hearing loss come top of the extra risk factors."


That is NOT what the news item (or you said), they specifically mentioned hearing loss in a global sense, and it was from a hearing loss site. We ARE being targeted as a sector. There is no assessment procedure that takes into account educational, language, or cultural differences. Are we back to HoH having no cultural difference as per 'Deaf' whatever ? They start life with 40% of deaf children having a mental health problem, they say hearing create that for them and deafness is no issue.

Their culture and communication does not follow the nation's grammatical norm either, again HOW are assessors defining the criteria for these people ? They don't know the same as hearing do ? they don't use the same language, grammar or same way of communicating ?  That puts the deaf amid 174 other cultural areas in the UK.  I'm willing to bet with proper criteria set up we would find, we do as well or better than many hearing do, its a matter of perspectives.   We may be rusty on reciting the 93 times table backwards, but so are most hearing !

We may well have no idea of music or quality of signing voices, but we do have a valid reason for that.  Frankly music appreciation died for me 48 years ago along with my hearing.  Are we all senile because we cannot name best singers today ? It's a subjective point anyway.   We have no means to follow them, you do not get voice quality from subtitling or sign language, its an audio thing.  Obviously learning difficulties etc and mental health affect questions too.

You have to use the assessment criteria bearing in mind the access we do not have, and the alternatives we utilise, and not ask questions that are applicable to only people who can hear..  This means assessors of the medical ilk need to be deaf and HoH aware, we are going to wait another 50 years for that to happen.  They are still talking through 3rd parties. 

Obvious thing like forgetting your own family etc we can agree on, but the rest... As the hearing loss worlds are introspective and isolated anyway a different approach has to be used. We can pick ANY singular sector of people and get the same 'results'. No-one is comparing like with like.

The decline of the deaf clubs....

The Decline of Deaf Clubs - Taryn Banks from Auckland Deaf Society on Vimeo

This should be welcomed if it means deaf are now being included.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Silent Network: The Return..

Read My Voice

The Hybrids, neither deaf or hearing...

Hidden Hearing comes of age...

The battery-powered microphone, processor and motor is placed beneath the skin and within the skull near the ear in a complex operation

NHS surgeons are restoring deaf patients’ hearing with a revolutionary ‘bionic ear’ implant with no external parts – making it impossible to tell a person has it fitted.

The battery-powered microphone, processor and motor is placed beneath the skin and within the skull near the ear in a complex operation. After six to eight weeks it is switched on – and the patient can hear again.

Other semi-implantable hearing aids, such as cochlear implants, are already widely available but all have external sound receivers which cannot be worn during activities such as showering, bathing or swimming, when water may damage the electronics. The battery-powered microphone, processor and motor is placed beneath the skin and within the skull near the ear in a complex operation

Most patients also find it more comfortable to remove the receivers during sleep, and at these times they are once again deaf.  Because all components of the new Carina device are fully implanted, patients are able to hear at all times.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Consultations without access

'Deaf' scammers target Kent...

editorial image
Concerns have been raised following several reports of cold callers going from door to door, claiming to be deaf and trying to sell items.

Residents across the district have said they have been targeted by people knocking on doors and stating they are deaf, before being asked to purchase pieces of artwork. On social media residents reported the callers had been spotted at addresses in Ashington, Storrington, Sullington, Findon, Henfield, Pulborough and Upper Beeding over the past week. An Ashington resident said someone claiming they were deaf knocked on their door on Saturday night, October 7.

Another, who lives in the Storrington Road area, said a woman came to their door stating a similar thing on Monday October 9. Local media reported similar incidents in other areas in Sussex including Mayfield and Heathfield as well as in Kent.

UK: Who cares about disabled ? We don't.

One picture sums up a ‘human catastrophe’ in the UK better than a million reports ever could [IMAGE]
On Thursday 12 October MPs debated the most “challenging” report by a UN committee in its 10-year history. The reports authors had concluded that the UK government was presiding over a “human catastrophe” in its own country. But the number of MPs present sums up the battle disabled people in the UK face.

The debate on the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) report into the UK government was called by SNP MP Deidre Brock. At the debate were seven SNP MPs (20% of their total number in parliament); six Conservative MPs (1.9%); five Labour MPs (1.9%), and no one at all from the Lib Dems, Greens, Plaid Cymru, or DUP. The debate lasted 33 minutes, with Penny Mordaunt – the Conservative Minister for Disabled People, Health, and Work – giving a 19-minute statement.

Paula Peters said:

It was dreadfully disappointing and disheartening to see the House of Commons chamber practically empty during the debate on the UNCRPD report. That only the Shadow Minister for Disabled People attended the debate, with four other MPs from Labour, spoke volumes. The opposition need to put credible action behind their words of supporting the fight for equality inclusion and disability rights, and attend debates. But they also need to start really hearing disabled people’s voices.

In August, the UNCRPD assessed how well the UK government is sticking to its obligations under its convention. The government agreed to these obligations in 2009. And the UNCRPD was unequivocal in its opinion on how disabled people are treated by the Conservative government. Its Chair, Theresia Degener, said in a statement seen by The Canary:

Evidence before us now… reveals that [welfare] cut policies [have] led to [a] human catastrophe in your country, totally neglecting the vulnerable situation people with disabilities find themselves in. The UNCRPD released its findings on 31 August, It said the government is failing disabled people in over 70 areas – from basic human rights, to not tackling discrimination, to the damaging impact of austerity and welfare cuts. It gave over 90 recommendations, the most given in its 10-year history.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Icons !

Image may contain: text
Moot point disability icons are old hat, and misleading anyway. The ear logo is boring too. The latest icon displayed actually does not indicate at all what the disability is, more which toilet you can use (Until transgenders move in that is). 

Hands and ears are the worst icons, because we lost control of those images and it just means means someone who is deaf, signing, and cannot hear or speak, HoH have never had an icon that counts at all, it is why we get sidelined and don't exist. We even get that wheelchair logo aimed at us as a blanket statement. Until HoH can invent an 'image' that clearly identified THEM, nothing is going forward they have lost the control of our issues online already and forced into closed HoH/Deaf sites to lament whatever ID they felt they had. 

They should be marching to Westminster, and sorting out pathetic charities. 544 exist in the UK for 'deaf' and 97 for HoH, this simply does not equate with the fact there are 10m others, and only 15-23,000 who confirmed in the last census they are profound deaf sign using. But they allowed hearing to state that preference too and relatives and teachers to the deaf.  

HoH never asked to be even included. It goes without saying they won't join these charities either, it's a complete mess and ineffective. 294 charities had LESS than 6 members.  The rest seemed unsure what they are doing and don't include those WITH hearing loss anyway.

Why sign language petitions won't work

Image result for exclusive versus inclusive

Not happy with BSL petitions ?  Online petitions are wide open to misinterpretation, ones that start or get supported via social medias can invite exterior countries and people to support them, since they do not ensure their target audience are the people supporting the points raised, some people will sign anything.  Government petitions tend to insist on residential proof, but not what status the person actually is, because another law, the Data Protection Act prevents you asking.

Of course hearing can support deaf petitions as they please.  Factually none of these petitions are worth anything much except as a protest, because you need 100,000 to get them read, that is not to say then the state will act on it.  Another issue is these petitions seem confined WITHIN the deaf areas, so hearing don't see them anyway. As such I would not waste my time supporting petitions like these.  The point of the petition lacks details as do most petitions regarding BSL.  

They don't come from a point of practicality they tend to be emotion-based.   They cannot staff deaf schools, we don't really support that concept any more.  You would never find enough teachers to make it a curriculum based thing or who was without any bias (Which is essential when teaching children, which raises the point of conflicting grammar being used).  

There is nothing either, to prevent HoH insisting on their awareness inclusion too and schools could come under real pressure they are discriminating.   The opt out via 'language' is a discrimination endorsed.  And the ever annoying aspect is the BSL campaigns are exclusive, not inclusive.  

They would not induce awareness of hearing loss because language/culture is the point, it would be all Milan, D/d plugs, and 50 shades of audism. We know the last legal census in England confirmed only 15,000 people were aware of or used BSL (Awareness and usage are not the same thing), there about 5,000 others in the UK, no-one believed the BDA's 90-100,000 ! claims. Even so, 10 million aren't. The 18K stat seems then a conundrum.  Who is supporting the petition ? hearing people ? or deaf outside the UK.  Whoever is, has not done their homework.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Stop shooting deaf people...

Assistance Dogs

Image result for assistance dogs australia
1 in 6 Australians are affected by hearing loss, with approximately 30,000 people with complete hearing loss.

“Hearing loss is an invisible disability. People aren’t aware of sounds that we often take for granted,” says Chief Executive Officer of Lions Hearing Dogs David Horne. 

The dogs are specially trained to assist the deaf by alerting and directing their carer to a number sounds that the carer may be unable to hear. These can range from common household noises to, in more extreme cases, fire alarms.

The dogs also provide emotional benefits - hearing dogs can give carers feelings of independence, comfort and security. The responsibility that is required to care for the dog is also accompanied with an additional sense of companionship. “People who suffer from hearing loss suffer and are isolated. Hearing dogs can encourage community participation and help clients regain socialisation and improve independence.”

ATR COMMENT:  At the risk of suffering eternal damnation from pet lovers, HOW, does a dog break down the real isolation people have, experiencing huge difficulties of social and communication isolation ?

We all know the value of having a pet, but they aren't PEOPLE, they cannot talk, and it is other people we need to be with too, to break down the barriers that are preventing our inclusion.  Is it just on the fact people will all walk up to you and pat the dog's head ? they are engaging with the pet not you.  Because that is what it amounts to, are we just seeing random people doing that and then really engaging with the main reason you are isolated ?  DO Let us know.

Pet lovers are not always people includers...

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Single, White, Female..

Theresa May during a visit to Dunraven School in Streatham, south London

A new report coming out today may well suggest the UK is inherently racist and unaccepting of ethnic minorities.  ATR suggests the research failed to clarify what is really going on.  Have you ever seen any of these 'groups' with any significant white presence ?  Mostly they exist to further own aspirations, and apportion 'blame' to others, as averse to integrating and adapting, or more vitally, talking it out properly..  By far the greater issue is confusing division, with difference...

ATR:   "If a picture paints a 1,000 words then the one with a single white female in it, tells it all. If it just another talk shop, new focus group, or even some sort of positive discrimination law, forget it, it won't work. Speaking to friends we all socialise, tend to live near each other, and work together we don't tend to seek out ethnic areas to do that. We accept they want to live differently to us, and that is half the problem as the state encourages that right. Until some sort of none acceptance of recognising division takes place nothing will change. 

Simplistically, when in Rome... adage seems to be driving most of it... people refuse to adapt. At the end of a very long day you cannot force people to get on, and it won't work telling people off or threatening them with more laws. Is the UK racist ? I don't really think so, I do think they are resentful ethnic areas are refusing to adapt to our ways, it is after all our country. 

We could not live in theirs and do what we want. Multiculturalism is a total myth if it remotely suggests that the concept is the same as integration. When you have entire areas where no white person lives, or is able to understand what the language being used is, then nothing short of breaking up that cycle is going to work, which in itself means the state has to discriminate. It cannot publish these things casting blame on us and expect anything will progress from that...."

Deaf girl gets Deaf doll...

Technically not a hearing aid but a CI...

Why I hate being deaf (III)

OASC to improve HI access ?

Open Access Smart Capture glasses. Photo: Cameron SlaterIt won't enhance a signer's access but....  how will HoH attend these shows which appear based in southern England mostly ? There is greater demand for subscribing to youtube/TV coverage. An untapped resource that would make the arts really accessible to all, and not just a few Londoners.

Sam Mendes was returning to direct a play about Lehman Brothers or the premiere of a new work by David Hare. Instead, what caught the eye was a pair of glasses held aloft by NT director Rufus Norris that soon may become become a regular fixture in the National’s three auditoriums.

The innovation, dubbed Open Access Smart Capture, was designed particularly with deaf, deafened and hard of hearing audience members in mind. It offers personal captioning, flashing the play’s dialogue in front of the wearer’s eyes as the actors say it.

It is a project that has been three years in the making and when the testing is complete in October 2018, it could prove “transformational”, according to Norris. It will be available for every performance the National puts on. In launching its new smart glasses, the National pointed to predictions from Action on Hearing Loss that in less than 20 years, one in five will be affected by hearing loss. The theatre says this equates to 11 million potential customers.

“If you think about it even for a minute you can understand that if we can get this right and develop this type of technology, the possibilities in terms of broadening our audience and really serving the people of this country are pretty fantastic,” Norris adds.

It means hearing-impaired visitors will no longer have to rely on the four captioned shows – with large LED caption screens on either side of the stage – that the National programmes for each production run.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Awareness: The real 'casualty' ?

Yesterday on BBC TV we saw the regular medical soap opera 'Casualty' cover for the third time, issues of including a deaf patient who uses sign language.  

This time, an apparent 16yr old teenage girl who had a cochlear implant that failed to work due to some accident or other, and was unable to communicate except in sign language.  Unfortunately from that scenario on it all went Pete Tong and diverged into the realm of complete bias and lack of any realism or continuity.

For example the mother who accompanied her daughter to the hospital despite bringing her up for 16yrs had no idea how to finger spell let alone sign anything else the daughter was 'dependent' on.  You have to ask where was she during the first 16yrs of her daughter's life, as she was unaware when the daughter acquired fluency in it, or maybe you ignore details ?

This was further compound by the introduction of one counter clerk who knew even less sign language than the mother did.  To the apparent rescue, came another teen completely oral but also signing who saved the day and gave us all a lecture on the evils of CI implantation and the lack of sign awareness, who rounded it off in complete 'Deaf' style by then quoting Helen Keller (As you do)..  and berating the parent for 'forcing' a CI on her daughter...  Give this guy a BDA Oscar.... Then started rambling about the 'music still going on' or something.  HIS signing was less than anyone else's there.

We have to ask who on earth sanctioned the script for this item that lacked reality, accuracy or even inclusion to plug a 'Deaf' attack on CI's ?  As someone who knows a bit of sign too (I only used it for 26yrs so it may be a bit ropey), I did not understand a single 'sign' used.  None on the screen were able to sign the medical aspect, so it looked curtains for certain because the CI failed.   It became farcical when the mother at the end was attempting to copy some finger spelling to spell her own daughter's name, c'mon !!

What deaf students need...

Apart from an accessible bar that is....

Vandals Target HI Center for 3rd time.

Image may contain: outdoor
A 20-year-old man was arrested early Saturday morning for burglarizing and burning a Vancouver resource facility for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

At 2:40 a.m., officers responded to an alarm at the Southwest Washington Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 301 Southeast Hearthwood Boulevard. Vancouver police said while officers walked the perimeter, a man fled the scene on foot. The suspect, identified as Justin L. Smith-Riggs of Vancouver, was detained a short time later.

While investigating the scene, officers found smoke coming from a broken window and damage described as very minor to the building’s interior. Fire officials also responded to the scene and collected evidence. Smith-Riggs was booked into jail and faces charges including second-degree burglary, second-degree arson and second-degree malicious mischief.

Police said the investigation into the incident is ongoing. Before Saturday, the center had already been targeted three times this year. Vancouver police have not reported if any of the incidents are related.

Phone calls can be beamed right into your central nervous system

Woman with cochlear implant
It used to be a running joke.. 'My CI can tune in to BBC 1 and Radio 5..'  Now it appears a reality.   Even deaf it seems are unable to avoid this increasing option to spy on us all.  Hackers already control baby alarms, and CCTV's etc, could the CI user be the next target ?

Just what you need in the age of ubiquitous surveillance: the latest cochlear implants will allow users stream audio directly from their iPhone into their cochlear nerve. Apple and implant manufacturer Cochlear have made “Made for iPhone” connectivity available for any hearing implants that use the next-generation Nucleus 7 sound processor. The advance means that these implants can also stream music and Netflix shows.

The technology was first unveiled in 2014 when it was added to hearing aids such as the Starkey Halo and ReSound LiNX. But this is the first time it’s been linked into the central nervous system.

While some cochlear implants already offer Bluetooth connectivity, these often require users to wear extra dongles or other intermediary devices to pick up digital signals, and then rebroadcast them to the hearing aid as radio. This technology simply beams the signal right into the brain.

It’s also a better way to use Bluetooth. Bluetooth headsets have been commonplace since the early 2000s, but the energy-sapping technology has meant they are typically clunky devices with poor battery life.

In 2014, Apple technicians developed a way to stream audio over the low energy Bluetooth format used by wearables such as FitBits. Now, tiny devices like hearing aids – and Apple’s Airpods — can stream audio signals for up to a week on a battery the size of an aspirin.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Care provision for deaf elderly...

Seems the western world is way behind Asia.

A first-of-its-kind housing facility in Hokkaido geared specifically to provide care to elderly deaf people has won plaudits, putting into stark relief the shortage of similar options for seniors in other parts of Japan.

At the residence, opened in Hokkaido’s capital Sapporo in the spring, residents say they relish the atmosphere described as a “big family” where they can interact with each other and staff members, avoiding the communication difficulties they might suffer at general facilities.

“Every morning I get to see the faces of everyone and greet them. I can live with peace of mind,” said Madam Michiko Hirata, 80, who moved into the home named “Hohoemi no Sato” (Town of Smiles) with her husband in April.

At around 3pm daily, lights flash in the hallways and common area of the home, informing residents it is afternoon snack time and calling them to gather in the cafeteria where they chat among themselves in sign language, gesture to answer pop quizzes from staff members, and drink fruit punch.

Around 20 male and female residents live in the home, some of whom rent single rooms and others in pairs

Only one per cent of media staff are disabled

Lizz.CarrAs few as one per cent of the employees working for some UK broadcasters have described themselves as disabled people, according to new research by the industry regulator.  Ofcom’s Diversity And Equal Opportunities In Television report says disabled people appear to be “significantly under-represented” across the television industry, at just three per cent.

The Ofcom report – which focuses on the five main broadcasters, but also looks at another 342 smaller organisations – found that only one per cent of staff working for ITV and Viacom (which owns Channel 5) describe themselves as disabled.  Sky is only slightly better, at two per cent, while Channel 4 performed best with disabled people making up 11 per cent of its workforce.

Although the report says that only four per cent of BBC staff say they are disabled, this figure represents the calendar year 2016 and new figures, following a diversity and inclusion census carried out towards the end of last year, show a much higher proportion, at 10 per cent*.  The Ofcom report says there is a “worrying” lack of data on disability, with no information on 30 per cent of staff across the television industry.

ITV provided disability data on fewer than half of its employees, while Sky provided disability information on just two per cent of its staff.  Ofcom also says it has now started enforcement action against 57 broadcasters, because of their failure to provide any data on gender, race and disability.

Simon Balcon, a member of the deaf and disabled members committee (DDMC) of the performers’ union Equity, welcomed the Ofcom report.  He said: “I think that it’s great that reports like this actually exist, and that attention to the issue of casting actors with disabilities is getting more attention.

“I also think that more can be done, though. While the BBC is doing more than other channels to be progressive with its casting, actors with disabilities are less visible than on other channels, strange as this may seem. “I would echo the report’s concern… that there is a worrying lack of data for disabled people, as this does not give us a full picture.


This article is not directly linked to recent concerns by the UK deaf community regarding should deaf actors play deaf people ?  Obviously any actor being considered for a part has to be viewed on the acting ability, and suitability to the role, not just because they posses a particular disability or language knowledge.  The tendency by deaf communities is to always focus on the deaf person, and far less on the role they are playing, if we read comments, which are largely based on poor sign skills.  As regards to signing or cultural background only if it is linked to the role being played, else our deaf actors get typecast, and restricted to only deaf roles which severely limits their ability to progress. Acting is not about 'jobs for the boys/gals..' but about widening access and opportunities, to more important roles to play.  There are just not enough 'Deaf' medias to make it worthwhile, and it would still be a minority audience..

What NOT to do !

Getting Shirty !

SUPPORT: Cubby House teacher Rebekah Bruce and Chelsea Lukito proudly wear their handmade loud shirts. Photo: SUPPLIED
The annual Loud Shirt Day appeal is the biggest fundraising event for charities, the Hearing House in Auckland and the Southern Cochlear Implant Paediatric Programme based in Christchurch.

Both charities are dedicated to enabling deaf children with cochlear implant or hearing aids to listen and speak like their hearing peers. Neither organisation charges deaf children or their families for their services. The Cubby House Early Childhood Centre on Pioneer Highway was one of the many local businesses who took part.

Centre manager Heidi Massicks says parents, staff and children had a particularly strong connection to the cause. "These are charities that are especially dear to us as we have one of our children with a moderately-severe hearing loss who is currently being supported by the Southern Cochlear Implant Programme. We thought this would be a great chance to fundraise and give something back."

As part of the Cubby House fundraising, staff tie-dyed loud t-shirts with the children ready to wear on Loud Shirt Day. The team also set up an online donation page and the children created t-shirt art works that were auctioned off. Donation tins were also placed in each classroom.

"So far, we have collected $565.90 with donations still coming in. The children were super proud to wear their personally designed t-shirts and we received many positive comments from our families." The day also saw the centre invite a special guest to their Nursery, to introduce some New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) to parents. 

Deaf who stress out their families ?

While those going deaf suffer embarrassment, worry and fear of rejection, both they and their partners experience frustration, anger and upset
Sparing some thought to the unappreciated and long-suffering relations who support us all.  Time for deaf people to cut the dependency on them and let them have a life too.  We know 63% of deaf people are NOT using professional/interpreter support and relying on families.  Time to stop being selfish, and taking our nearest and dearest for granted, and using them as a free source of unpaid care ?  If only to create the demand for it....

Going deaf makes life hard for the sufferer but it is tough on their husband or wife too. The partners of people losing their hearing endure frustration, anger and upset, research shows. They have to contend with a blaring television and must raise their voice and repeat themselves to be heard.

They also report becoming socially isolated or having to attend events alone, as their deaf spouse withdraws over fears they will be unable to hear. While those going deaf suffer embarrassment, worry and fear of rejection, both they and their partners experience frustration, anger and upset. While those going deaf suffer embarrassment, worry and fear of rejection, both they and their partners experience frustration, anger and upset

They are forced to act as interpreter and field every telephone call. The effort of speaking loudly, repeating words and avoiding misunderstandings can be exhausting, they say. Researchers at Nottingham University reviewed 78 studies about the impact of deafness on sufferers and those closest to them.

Lead researcher Venessa Vas said: ‘Hearing loss affects the whole family.’ 

Thursday, 5 October 2017

New Gene therapy research into deafness..

Researchers at Oregon State University have been working on what could lead to the development of gene therapies for those born deaf. Mutations in a protein called otoferlin, which binds to calcium receptors in the sensory hair cells of the inner ear, can be directly linked to hearing loss. 

The team found more than 60 mutations that weaken this bond to the sensory hair cells of the ear, marking the first of many steps to identifying successful therapies.  In a press release from OSU, Colin Johnson, associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics stated that, “a lot of genes will find various things to do, but otoferlin seems only to have one purpose, and that is to encode sound in the sensory hair cells in the inner ear. And small mutations in otoferlin render people profoundly deaf.”

The size of the protein has been causing problems for researchers thus far. “The otoferlin gene is really big, and it makes a huge protein,” Johnson explains, “the traditional method for making a recombinant protein is using E. coli, but they loathe big proteins. This paper came up with a way of getting around that challenge.” “We were trying to shorten the gene, to find a truncated form that can be used for gene therapy,” Johnson added. 

“There is a size limit in terms of what you can package into the gene delivery vehicle, and otoferlin is too large. That’s the holy grail; trying to find a miniature version of otoferlin that can be packaged into the delivery vehicle, and then hopefully, the patient can start hearing.” 

To get around these obstacles and find out how otoferlin mutations affected their bond to calcium receptors, the researchers developed a new way to assess that bond after identifying a truncated form of the protein that can function in the encoding of sound. This research not only opens a door for people who are born with hearing loss, but for researchers working to solve similar problems through bioscience as well.

Johnson’s team included doctoral biochemistry student Nicole Hams, former biochemistry doctoral student Murugesh Padmanarayana, and assistant professor of biophysics Weihong Qiu.

Confusing rights with service & Support

Image result for human rights versus financial costs"You're confusing rights with service."

A response to ATR when he challenged the comment, support for those with hearing loss was about service provision and not about rights.  In particular the dearth of  real 'support' for the HoH and non-cultural sectors.  There is no point instilling an access or an equality law, national or Global, that then fails to receive the dedication or the funding, that makes it viable.  A clear of institutional abuse via paying a patriarchal 'lip-service' approach to any real means to make it happen.

ATR:  I disagree.  It is a human right to be able to communicate, service suggests only if we pay for it. As regards to service, the HoH don't get any as far as I know. There is no national set up either just a random collection of poorly supported charities and free lance support that has hardly any regulation. 

That renders 'service' a lottery basically. The state has an obligation to ensure we have access and inclusion that's not possible without free access to the means. 'Deaf' people have no such dilemma regarding how they view communication help it's a right. No wonder HoH go without. 

I also suggest lip-speaking/reading/BSL classes and training should be state funded as well. Albeit I want such systems totally revamped because they do not function for us at present.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

The Date...

Do I Want my hearing back ?

Yes please :)

New Deaf signage from the Police...

 More times than we think, police officers pull over drivers that are deaf and this typically leads to a miscommunication between the two. To put a stop to this locally, the Wolcott Police Department have implemented the Deaf Signage Program that is supposed to help with that. All drivers have to do is put their license, registration and proof of insurance into a bright, green envelope.

Every time a driver is pulled over, they are asked to hand over their registration and license, but for someone that is deaf, the officer has to communicate in a different way. “A lot of times, there’s problems with communication whether it’s a language barrier or someone just cannot hear you,” said Chief Edward Stephens of the Wolcott Police Department.

Just two weeks ago, Wolcott Police put the green envelopes as soon as you walk into their building. On it, are instructions for the driver and officer with the proper protocol on how to communicate. “Right on the back, it tells them to stand facing the driver where their mouth and lips can be seen, speak directly to the driver and not turn your head while you’re talking,” added Chief Stephens.

While the chief said he personally has not pulled over that many deaf drivers, he knows it does happen. The green envelopes let officers know they are deaf instead of assuming the driver is not cooperating with them.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Hard Times...

Being deaf isn't easy...

Falling on Deaf ears only...

We are reading constantly, of deaf concerns hearing people are not listening to them, but the reality is hearing are not logging in, to deaf sites or social media closed sites relating to deafness, culture, or hearing loss, so few are taking any notice.  

ATR has for years taken the awareness 'fight' TO mainstream, engaging in local medias, contacting relevant politicians and local authorities and, attending events where issues locally and nationally involve hearing people.  It avoids being a martyr on a deaf site talking to myself, and shows deaf are willing to make that effort, and no I don't get any official support to do it.

If I relied on that or a deaf group it would not happen.  What we read on 'dedicated' deaf sites are constant whinges about recognition, language, equality, but omitting INCLUSION as any part of that, of course this means it either won't happen, is not really wanted, or at best sets up a few deaf to exist in some parallel world of their own, whilst the rest of us plod on towards real acceptances and inclusion prospects.

A recent poster on a deaf blog pleaded for mutual acceptances of hearing, and deaf people making the D/d point, which of course immediately highlighted the real differences that prevent any such unity taking place.  The relentless D/d plugs out to mainstream have no effect but to highlight divisions as one sector who are deaf,  promotes one approach, and the other something totally different.  Deaf still cannot make up their mind if they are disabled or they aren't.  What they do know, is an outright official challenge to that concept would remove their support.

Hearing do not understand how a sector of people attack a disability term, yet, exist by it.  Commonly we as people with hearing loss and by majority, assume the position of cest le vie, mainly because it avoids Deaf V deaf V HoH wars.  But it leaves the door wide open to misinterpretation of need.

Of course it makes cooperation impossible, We have no common aim.  Even hearing loss effects are unalike.  We don't support digs at hearing people either, it's childish and beneath us all, and won't encourage support and inclusion to the mainstream if we keep doing that.  We need them more than they need us, the deaf world is not enough..  We need to drop the angst and start working with everyone, but we cannot do that until we all drop the chip off our shoulders and quit inventing labels all the time like no tomorrow. 

Until we address divisions WITHIN own areas we are in no position to lecture anyone else.  We should be leading by example.  When did a BSL or cultural campaign, ever include other needs ?   HoH too, appear to be supporting sign language, but not sign users, especially the rabid cultists ones, who deter most from attempting to learn sign language, because they see the promoters as negative and aggressive, Deaf don't like their 'let us cure deafness' attitudes either..  HoH also view sign as a tool for communication, an 'assist' but not an end in itself..  Posting exclusively to hearing areas, not our own, means no-one else reads them.  And yes this post has been sent to local media for perusal too, as part of IDW, which I am sure will annoy some purists, but as I am deaf too who cares what they think. Equality is a bugger aint it ?  No doubt why purists don't like it.

Personally I am up to here (And way over !), with posts like 10 nasty things hearing say to us, or, 15 misunderstandings hearing have of us, it deters hearing people getting involved.  Ya boo playground posts, grow up.  Get out there and change these perceptions.  Else feed inbred paranoia, only breaking isolation can do that, not promoting more of it....  We need to address cultural bloggers and aggregates that block debates or ask real questions of signing deaf people, and especially those that oppose access for other deaf people.  

It would appear the internet has simply moved the closed shop and minds of the old e mail deaf sites into the mainstream areas of closed sites and minds, have we advanced at all  except in reaching wider area of the already converted ? Our very own Deaf dark web ?

Every campaign ever run, is to re-enforce an already existing status quo, that, is not inclusion and it re-defines what access actually is.  A licence to be a separatist under the label of equality.  It sadly, offers no future to the next deaf generation, except more of the same.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Employers shutting the door on deaf and disabled job applicants.

Employer discrimination shutting disabled people out of jobs market, report
Disabled people are being "shut out" of the jobs market in huge numbers because of the discrimination they face when looking for work, according to a new report. A survey of 2,000 disabled people for the charity Scope found that only half are given an interview when applying for jobs compared with 69% for non-disabled applicants.

Disabled people apply for 60% more jobs than others, while more than a third of those who do not feel confident about getting a job believe employers will not hire them because of their impairment or condition, the research found.  Scope has joined with Virgin Media to launch the #WorkWithMe campaign to support more disabled people to get into and stay in work.

The research findings showed that disabled people who are unemployed and looking for work have lost faith with the recruitment process, as two in five do not feel confident about their chances of getting a job in the next six months. Mark Atkinson, chief executive of Scope, said: "We have a huge amount of work to do to tackle the disability employment gap. At the current pace of change, the Government is set to fail on its pledge to get a million more disabled people into work.

"Disabled people with all the skills to do the job are being repeatedly passed over for roles, while others are being forced to apply for jobs which they know they are overqualified for. "Employers are missing out on the talent they badly need because they do not have the right support in place or because of outdated attitudes towards disability."

What you should do in the event of a terrorist attack..

UBER to use ASL app...

In stark contrast to London in the UK, where UBER is to lose its licence for abuse of worker rights !

Uber has added a new feature to its app this month to support its deaf and hard of hearing drivers, a group the company says number in the thousands across its service. Uber says that these drivers have together completed millions of trips, and while it has added a number of features to its app over the years to provide additional support for those with hearing impairments, it’s going a step further with a new feature launching at the end of Deaf Awareness Month, which takes place in September.

The new feature will surface a card in the feed of the rider app when they’re paired up with a driver who is deaf or hard of hearing that will give them an option to learn some basic words and phrases in American Sign Language (ASL). The rider can select basic greeting like “Hello” and “Thank you,” or learn the letters to spell out their name so they can confirm it to the driver.

It’s a small thing, but a handy tool that could build on top of what Uber already does in-app for its hearing impaired drivers.

Open Letter to Stephen Lloyd MP...

Image result for open letterSir

Having recently read on an AOHL (deaf/HoH charity), site. Your campaign re disabled people, I would like some clarification on the corner-stone of your campaign which appears to me, to be behind the 'Social Modelling' of disability.

As your campaign link appeared on a site dedicated to deafness/hearing loss, you must be well aware there are two very distinct areas there who attain to both social and clinical models and some to one only, or even neither.  Very obviously the EFFECTS of a disability are in debate here.  removing the 'clinical element' can seriously undermine any qualifications for any hearing loss sector to claim welfare or support.

It cannot be argued social  modelling, that in the 'Deaf' sense, is based on 'blaming mainstream for discrimination and poor equalities', and then suggesting meeting that need would somehow 'cure' the disability itself, its wide open to misinterpretations.  There are serious questions to be answered on inclusion too.  It would appear access and inclusion are not the same things to deaf or disabled.

We know 100% isn't possible.    If we draw an example between current beliefs in the hearing loss worlds, then, those born with no viable hearing and claim a cultural/language status, demand their hearing loss is only an issue in as much as society is not engaging them or accepting their communications.  Once everyone acquires sign language they are then 'equal'.  Of course there are numerous debates that is un-achievable or even if it happened, that those deaf people would take advantage of the access and inclusion it presented.  

We have a universal (UK), 'Deaf & HoH' remit which is based on inclusion, the reality is sectors are going different ways regardless, and this has affected access, and welfare support, which is now an entirely grey area.. 10 million with deafness and loss, present 10m different issues now. In order to highlight inclusive and access aspects, they have to identify groups who can be seen.  This is difficult when deafness and hearing loss is invisible.

The majority with hearing loss, insist they are disabled clinically via that loss, and, it can destroy their well being, communication, families, education, jobs and makes them vulnerable to mental health issues, clearly a clinical model, they also insist that while the other cultural deaf HAVE a nation-wide support system, they, do not. The true clinical definition of a disability is LOSS.   It also cannot  be remedied by equal access.  The argument it can is far too naive and simplistic.

If you loss a limb or your sight, or you are incapacitated or not mobile, access is still not going to replace the primary issue, It encourages better coping strategies.. but still won't apply to all. E.G. Autism may well make the social model approach pointless.

If we look at support currently, they are polarised charity-wise between these two sectors.  Too many issues are down to politicians endorsing one hearing loss approach against the other, and failing to include all equally.  Politicians are cherry picking what cause celeb they support.  It is very obvious such political campaigners need something visual to identify the areas they are lobbying about, and sign language is the prime means politicians and others are using.    As this image is to a MINORITY with hearing loss, the overall majority are not seeing their needs recognised, supported, or even seeing them re-defined as something else entirely.

E.G.  "All deaf people use sign language".  Which is an inaccurate statement.   I can draw your attention to the fact the NHS offers sign language support to those who need that, but does NOT offer other means that are used, including lip-speakers, note-takers, speech to text back up etc.

We also saw other politicians attended Westminster demanding sign language access, and not even mentioning the means the rest of the 10m in the UK use.  Social modelling is being utilised to promote cultural aspects of a very small minority with hearing loss, at the expense of the rest who suffer clinical traumas as a result of losing hearing.  Social modelling also suggests they are entitled to be separatists, which is anti-inclusion.

What I ask is any promotion of the social model makes it clear it is NOT applicable to everyone, and is not a 'cure all' for disability or its subsequent issues.  Not all support the social model.  40% of deaf children suffer mental health issues. Adult deaf who rely on sign language take up the majority access to work welfare support.  Support the others do NOT qualify for.  It would appear despite having identical levels of hearing loss or profound deafness and related issues, the system is discriminating by language used.

E.G. PIP, as we are all aware has decimated the ability of non-signing deaf people to qualify at all for many welfare allowances. 346,000 Hard of Hearing lost any right to it after DLA folded.  They were penalised in that despite also being deaf they had some speech, or a hearing aid/CI, so the DWP classed them as not deaf but hearing people.   This actually created further traumas. 

The social model as viewed by cultural deaf and the system, offers wholesale and systematic discrimination towards the majority by default.  It is an issue not faced by other disabled people.  It can be argued as offering unfair advantage too.

As there are obviously two very diverse and distinct areas of hearing loss that is echoed by its national support set ups, then politicians need to agree that status quo exists and, makes that distinction when lobbying 'on our behalf' when in reality they are seen taking 'sides'.  There are already other politicians who lobby for A or B hearing loss areas, none argue for cultural/hearing loss equality, or for dedicated support.  Hardly any example of a social model.

Thank you


Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Social Model: Anti- support ?

Stephen Lloyd in front of a sign for the Liberal Democrat conference
A genuine rally call by a politician to take to task, the assaults on the deaf and disabled people, and who strongly advocates the social model approaches.

Frankly,  the social model he supports could undermine the clinical aspect that qualifies us all for a welfare benefit.  The criteria of the social model challenges clinical aspects of hearing loss and its effects, seriously undermining our ability to claim, to claim a benefit or support you have to prove your hearing loss is an issue to you, and the medical profession are the people that define that..  Without a criteria that suggests you have a problem, you won't have any. It is too simplistic to suggest without discrimination or access issues no-one would still have that problem.

We know born deaf 'blame' everyone else for the issues they face, not the fact they cannot hear, which they say isn't an issue to them, a dangerous approach to adopt given welfare benefits are based on the damaging effects of hearing loss, and ignores the almost total dependency on hearing the deaf signer has to get support for their daily life and employment.

I don't see how you can then force the DWP (The UK's state arm that dispenses welfare payments), to challenge that aspect when they ARE part of that system.  Access isn't their domain, it is the laws.  Effects of losing hearing go way beyond simply having some access or support, trauma, mental health and communication issues come into play, not a social model at all, but a very real clinical issue.  

From statistical info we can read 40% of Deaf children have some degree of mental health issue, their parents may well disagree the social modelling of that will do much but confuse the type of support they really need. .  Issues of access can help cope, but they won't cure, or enable most.  If we are being just black and white with social or medical models, then by default born deaf would fail to qualify for any benefit once they got access.  The DWP has argued that as they have the law on their side and a nation-wide system of interpreter support, then already they are viewed less entitled to a benefit based on a disability, and disability/welfare money and grants underpin the deaf community. 

Deaf arts would cease to be supported without it.     Maybe they need to be careful what they ask for.  Despite the politics, my concern would be applying this social model across to everyone, when, the 10m with hearing loss are the LEAST supported area already and aspire to the clinical model on the basis loss equals disability.. I just think it would deteriorate yet again to demands for more BSL access at their expense, because the HoH really are invisible.

The issue,  is no politician seems aware most of us do not sign or belong to a deaf culture, because every petition and campaign that is launched relies on images of sign language, the sole visible identifying factor of someone with a real issue via hearing loss.  A complete conundrum when pertaining to the social model.  Ergo if you aren't disabled then not entitled to welfare support IF, disabled then not a social model.

While the social model recognises the person, not the issue, it doesn't replace the issue that creates that person's ID.  We cannot afford confusing statements, there are too many systems lined up against the deaf, the disabled and the HoH, who consider we are too expensive to keep supporting.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Swiss Deaf demand political access...

Simonetta Sommaruga on stage
Voting pamphlets and explanations of federal bills should be available online in sign language, says the Swiss Federation for the Deaf, which has handed in a petition to the federal chancellery. 

For the more than 10,000 people in Switzerland who are deaf or profoundly hard of hearing, the voting pamphlet appears in the “wrong language”, the federation said in a statement on Monday. 

“Their language is sign language. Written German is a foreign language they have to struggle to learn,” it wrote. “Having to understand complex political content in this foreign language is an unnecessary hurdle which violates Swiss and international law on barrier-free access to information.”  The federation explained that without appropriate measures, “the free formation of opinions and therefore political participation is made more difficult – if not impossible – for affected people”. 

More than 2,700 signatures were collected on Saturday, National Sign Language Day. The petition calls for all political information producing by the state to be made accessible in sign language, beginning at a federal level. 

Deaf, Autistic, Free, and a licence to kill.

Georgia Fields, an autistic and profoundly deaf woman, leaves the Supreme Court in Melbourne after being granted bail.
An autistic and deaf Melbourne woman who helped murder her friend's housemate has avoided jail and will instead live in her family home under a court order, which has angered the victim's family.

But the Victorian Supreme Court found its only option besides prison was to allow 21-year-old intellectually challenged woman Georgia Fields to live in the community under a strict supervision order.  The two intellectually disabled men who helped murder 36-year-old Robbie Wright have been sent to a secure residential treatment facility, but there is no equivalent for women with intellectual disabilities or cognitive impairments.

Mr Wright's sister, Karen Wright, said she found it difficult to comprehend Fields was allowed to continue living at home with her parents. "She gets to spend Christmas and birthdays like nothing happened," Ms Wright said. "It makes me really frustrated and very angry that the non-custodial sentence has actually permitted her to do that."

Monday, 25 September 2017

Gene therapy on hearing loss and Ushers.

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance
Scientists from the Institut Pasteur, Inserm, the CNRS, Coll├Ęge de France, University Pierre et Marie Curie, and University Clermont Auvergne, have recently restored hearing and balance in a mouse model of Usher syndrome type 1G, characterized by profound congenital deafness and vestibular disorders caused by severe dysmorphogenesis of the mechanoelectrical transduction apparatus of the inner ear's sensory cells. These findings open up new possibilities for the development of gene therapy treatments for hereditary forms of deafness.

Hearing loss, sometimes associated with other disorders such as balance defects, is the most common sensory deficit, affecting more than 280 million people worldwide, according to WHO. In France, one child in 700 is born with severe or profound hearing loss, and one in every 1,000 will lose their sense of hearing before adulthood.

Over the past 20 years, scientists have made remarkable progress in deciphering the genetic origins of congenital hereditary hearing loss, which is usually caused by inner ear dysfunction. The inner ear comprises the hearing organ or cochlea, together with the five balance organs (the saccule, utricle and three semicircular canals), which contain the sensory cells, or hair cells, that detect mechanical vibrations and convert them into electrical signals. To date, mutations in more than 100 genes have been associated with inner ear defects, and it is estimated that mutations in more than 100 genes can cause genetic forms of deafness.

The various hereditary forms of hearing loss include Usher syndrome type 1 (USH1), a particularly severe clinical form of deaf-blindness, and specifically the USH1G genetic form. USH1G patients are profoundly deaf and have no balance function at birth, and they subsequently suffer from prepubertal-onset sight loss leading to blindness. USH1G syndrome is due to mutations in the gene encoding the scaffold protein sans, which is essential for the cohesion of the hair bundle of the inner ear hair cells.

Patients with hearing loss and balance dysfunction are currently fitted with auditory prostheses and may be given balance rehabilitation therapy, but the outcomes are variable. One possible alternative for treating such hereditary inner ear defects is gene therapy. This approach entails transferring a healthy (non-mutant) copy of the defective gene to restore the expression of the missing protein. So far, gene therapy attempts have only resulted in partial improvements of hearing in mouse models of specific human deafness forms that did not include severe anomalies in hair cell structure.

In-store sign language pilot service to support the needs of its deaf customers

Mobile network operator (MNO) Three is to pilot a new scheme to help deaf customers communicate with staff in selected retail stores using British Sign Language (BSL) through a video service provided by Birmingham-based BSL learning and services organisation Sign Solutions.

The new partnership extends an existing relationship that exists between Three and Sign Solutions through which it has enabled a video-communication service on its website that uses a computer’s webcam or smartphone camera to help deaf customers get answers to their questions from fellow signers.

Its new in-store video relay is designed to help deaf customers get more out of their mobile devices and services, and will enable them to talk to in-store staff via an iPad video connection to a Sign Solutions interpreter.

The interpreters will relay questions to in-store staff who can then offer customers much better support for purchases and customer services than they would be able to provide using more traditional audio induction loop technology.

While many retail stores will already have audio induction loops installed, and UK businesses are required to make them available where possible under the terms of the Disability Discrimination Act, often this technology is neglected and not functional, staff may not be properly trained in its use and it may not even be the most appropriate solution for the customer.

“This pilot extends on our commitment to give all of our customers the best possible experience with Three,” said the firm’s head of executive office operations, Steven Cocker.