Sunday, 30 September 2018

Using your iphone as a TTY device.

Deaf woman left without fire alert systems and phone.


Mary James
When Mary James was left without assistive equipment, life became "very frightening". The 79-year-old, who is profoundly deaf, has waited nearly a year for a replacement doorbell, a textphone and fire alarms in her home in Caerphilly. 


Many people in Wales who are deaf or have hearing loss are being let down, Action on Hearing Loss Cymru has said. The Welsh Local Government Association said statutory services are under considerable strain. Mrs James has asked social services to help with her assistive equipment, but has yet to receive a replacement doorbell, and has been told that her textphone cannot be replaced. 

She ended up getting replacement fire alarms from the fire services. Without the right equipment, life "can be very frightening" for her. "I would expect them to provide equipment and also maintain that equipment if something went wrong with it," she said. "They don't seem to know about deaf people - and the equipment- and they just pass it on. I don't get any help from social services at all." 

Caerphilly council have said it is working with the health service to ensure the needs of people with hearing impairment in the area are met. 

Seeing the unseen...a modern horror story.

Image result for seeing the unseenDisabled people with mental health and other unseen issues on social media asking how do they raise awareness of something, you cannot see?  People are cruel and uncaring and I cannot cope with it.

Comment 1:

They are just not understanding it. They cannot empathise with something they don't understand. It's a bit like the assessors ... Pain is pain no matter what and everyone has a different tolerance level ... Think about it, a Splinter can cause ALOT of pain ... It would do assessors well to remember that ... I didn't understand a friend who has Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue for years ..... Until it happened to me. People just don't understand there are some disabilities which are hidden.

Comment 2:

People who are deaf have these issues and a dual issue of misleading 'in-house' awareness too.  'Visible' deaf sign, the majority do not, so we don't get identified as having an issue except when we fail to follow and then we get mental health tags that are ridicule basically.  Another issue is 'take your pick' of labels and ID's, are you:

(A)  deaf, 
(B)  Deaf, 
(C)  Hearing impaired, 
(D)  Deaf-blind, 
(E)  Disabled, 
(F)  Culturally Deaf.

Do you have:

(1)  Hearing loss, are you 
(2)  Profound deaf, 
(3)  Severely deaf
(4)  Near deaf, 
(5)  Hard of hearing 
(6)  Very hard of hearing 
(7)  Deaf with speech 
(8)  Deaf without speech 
(9)  Deaf but cultural with it (Which actually isn't an issue, but it may well be developing that way!).
(10)  Deaf with (Or without) a CI.

I'm sure there are dozens more labels attached to degrees of loss and people with them that don't matter a bit because you cannot see hearing loss anyway.

You can be viewed any and all of these depending on the campaign you are running, or the charitable aim, its a complete shambles. The only area that has gained is the one that uses sign language presumably BECAUSE you can see they are deaf, albeit in clinical reality, this may well NOT be accurate either!


Saturday, 29 September 2018

Failing the lip-reading test.



Short easy sentences in ideal surroundings, one on one, even then a 80% failure rate to lip-read effectively, this surely suggests current classes are non-viable, and tuition needs to be changed entirely? It's more an advert for captions/subtitling and sign than for lip-reading. 

It is recorded a 60% failure rate WITH a qualified lip-speaker.  It's time the lip-reading fraternity and associations addressed the fact in its current curriculum format, it is a non-option for deaf or HoH people as any sort of effective communication mode or assist, and get organised properly.  Lip-reading ISN'T a hobby class its supposed to be designed to assist and enable people with sensory loss.

Classes work only for the more able and not the most who are struggling.  Smaller classes, longer tuition (UK currently suggests a few months once a week for 2 hrs with a dozen others will do it!), a proper test to pass, classes by age, and more one on one help is needed for the most severe deaf and older, even then classes would have to install an 'on street' test bed for real effectiveness.

When asked what was the purpose of lip-reading classes? the teachers said, to encourage them to be with like with like and form social mini groupings, so, not to enable them to get out on the street then? Some sort of poor man's deaf community approach?  Until then, Text wins hands down, against lip-reading, or sign language.

I'm Deaf no-one wants to know.


Eh? Photo: iStock
A LONG time ago, I lost all my hearing on my right side. This causes me fewer problems than you might imagine but, whenever I meet new people, I have to ask them to stay on my left side because I’m deaf in one ear. 

Recently, I’ve noticed, people tend to respond, “Well, I’m deaf in both ears.” This is a strange thing to say, as clearly they are not deaf in both ears or they wouldn’t have heard what I’d said to them. It’s the equivalent of a two-legged man, standing upright, explaining to a one-legged man that he has no legs. 

What people seem to mean is they, too, have lost a bit of hearing. In times of confusion, I often looked to the wisdom of my grandad. “Whatever you’ve got wrong with you,” he told me, “there’s always some bugger who says he’s got it worse.” Not long after saying this, my grandad died of bronchitis. The weird thing is, people didn’t used to claim to be deafer than me. 

When I first went deaf in one ear, I could be certain people would respond to the news with the baffling consolation, “At least you didn’t go blind in one eye.” That’s true, I guess, but I would have preferred to lose my sense of smell from one nostril, if I’d been given the choice. Which I wasn’t. The other fact people like to share is that they know somebody else who’s deaf in one ear. So do I. 

My brother. So what? If I understand correctly, what the world is trying to say to me is: everybody is as deaf as me or (more likely) more deaf, so I’ve got nothing to moan about and, in fact, I should count my blessings as I’d obviously been earmarked (get it?) for partial blindness. But I wasn’t moaning in the first place. I was just asking people to SIT WHERE I COULD HERE THEM. 

Because another funny joke people used to make when I emailed or messaged them that I had gone deaf was to reply in CAPITAL LETTERS. Oh, how I laughed. Every single time. The second thing people do is suggest cures for my condition. They ask why I don’t use a hearing aid, just in case I hadn’t thought of that myself. I tell them my deafness is due to neural damage. Hearing aids are amplifiers and, if a nerve that “hears” is dead, there is nothing to amplify. And yes, I am aware of cochlear implants, but an implant won’t help me until the hearing in my “good” ear (which is still pretty rubbish) has deteriorated to a point where it is as bad as mechanical hearing. 

Otherwise, it would be too confusing, apparently. The other night I met a bloke whose friend was (of course) deaf in one ear. The friend had been to many unhelpful doctors until finally he found a specialist in something other than ears (I can’t remember what it was,) who diagnosed his deafness as due to a broken bone in the ear. The specialist glued the bone back together and his friend’s hearing was restored. He seemed to be suggesting I should go and see a carpenter. Then, halfway through writing this column, I left to interview a woman I hadn’t met before. 

I went through the please-sit-on-my-left performance. She responded with the usual had-I-considered-a-hearing-aid rigmarole. Even though I told her ONE hearing aid would be no use to me, she went on to offer some helpful advice on what I should do if I ever had to wear TWO hearing aids but lost one. 

All with hearing loss sign?

More misguided/misleading propaganda from the signing community, this time from the middle east.

If the law recognizes sign language as an official language like other languages spoken in the country and the language is used in educating deaf people and hard of hearing people many of their problems would be solved, ISNA quoted Akram Salimi as saying on Friday. 

Salimi made the remarks on the occasion of the first United Nations International Day of Sign Languages which is celebrated annually on September 23 as part of the International Week of the Deaf running between Monday September 24 and Sunday September 30, 2018.  International Day of Sign Languages took place under the theme of ‘With Sign Language, Everyone is Included!’ 

One of the major problems confronting people with hearing loss is the limited use of sign language in educational settings which result in increasing dropout rate among this group of people, she lamented. “In order to address this issue we have designed curriculums which suit people with hearing loss in association with literacy Movement Organization to help educate adult and youth dropouts with hearing loss,” Salimi explained. 

“We have also launched a campaign demanding recognition of sign language as an official language,” she said, adding that so far some 8,000 students with hearing loss have joined the campaign. 

If the law recognizes sign language as an official language like other languages spoken in the country and the language is used in educating deaf people and hard of hearing people many of their problems would be solved, ISNA quoted Akram Salimi as saying on Friday.   Salimi made the remarks on the occasion of the first United Nations International Day of Sign Languages which is celebrated annually on September 23 as part of the International Week of the Deaf running between Monday September 24 and Sunday September 30, 2018.

International Day of Sign Languages took place under the theme of ‘With Sign Language, Everyone is Included!’   One of the major problems confronting people with hearing loss is the limited use of sign language in educational settings which result in increasing dropout rate among this group of people, she lamented.

“In order to address this issue we have designed curriculums which suit people with hearing loss in association with literacy Movement Organization to help educate adult and youth dropouts with hearing loss,” Salimi explained. 

“We have also launched a campaign demanding recognition of sign language as an official language,” she said, adding that so far some 8,000 students with hearing loss have joined the campaign. 

ATR:  Such blanket statements need to be challenged.  Iran has no effective survey to determine how many are deaf, how many have hearing loss, or, how many use sign language.  The country make-up is divided by sectarianism making effective surveys impossible.  The most glaring misleading statement, is the one where 'hearing loss' is mooted alongside deafness and sign language use/cultural ID, suggesting all with hearing loss use person sign language when, they could only ID a few thousand in their capital city.    

Like all in the western world they do not declare actual or regular usage proof, and include the majority with hearing issues who DON'T sign at all. Sign language isn't for everyone, only, for a minority, and only for the DEAF.  It's wider use can only rely on hearing learning it, until then the reliance, is on 3rd parties, which isn't inclusion but assisted particiaption...

The Deaf Maori ID.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Hearing Loss: Who cares?

A survey released today from the Merck Manuals found that 59 percent of Americans say they rarely think about hearing loss. At the same time, 86 percent of respondents say they have participated in noisy activities in the last 12 months. (PRNewsfoto/MerckManuals.com)Hearing loss is a common sensory disorder in the United States. Yet many people admit they don’t often think about hearing loss and are reluctant to use some of the most effective hearing loss prevention and treatment techniques. 

A survey released from the Merck Manuals—a medical resource first published in 1899—found that 59%of Americans say they rarely think about hearing loss, Merck announced. At the same time, 86% of respondents say they have participated in noisy activities in the last 12 months, including listening to audio through headphones or earbuds (58%); landscaping their home with a power mower, weed wacker, or leaf blower (42%); attending a live concert or event with a band/DJ (34%), or attending a professional sporting event (33%). 

These activities all have the potential to damage hearing, depending on the volume and duration of sound. The survey of more than 2,000 US adults was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of the Manuals in July 2018. Other key findings include: Nearly 9 out of 10 (86%) understand that hearing damage can happen even when something doesn’t “sound” too loud, yet just 64% say they try to take preventative measures to protect their hearing whenever possible. 

Nearly a third of Americans (32%) believe it is rare for adults to develop hearing loss at a young age. Younger adults aged 18-34 (43%) are twice as likely to believe this, compared to older adults aged 65+ (21%). Two-thirds of Americans (66%) recognize that if hearing loss runs in your family, you are more likely to be affected by it. Understanding the causes of hearing loss, along with effective ways to treat it, are crucial steps to limiting the extent to which hearing loss impacts communication and day-to-day life. 

In a recent editorial on MerckManuals.com, Dr Lawrence R. Lustig, an expert in hearing loss and treatment, explains that people must consider the length of exposure as well as the volume of the noise when identifying sound that could harm hearing. “Here’s a good rule of thumb—if you have to speak above your normal tone of voice to be heard, chances are your surroundings are too loud,” Lustig said. 

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Taking the hearing option.



Of course what you never had you never miss, but the relentless airing of 'I would stay deaf regardless' is not based on choice. A real choice would be to have hearing then compare. As this blogger stated no such choice exists, so it poses the question of why air the view against when it is not based on that choice? 

10m hard of hearing Brits and 30m USA with hearing loss, would bite your hands off and say yes because they are able to compare this poster isn't.  We hate to be deaf, again no choice!

Why deaf need to be hearing involved.


Jenelle Ramsami
Why avoiding inclusive mainstream is not an advantage for the deaf.

According to Stats SA, there are around 2.9 million people with Sensory Impairment in South Africa yet only 1% are employed. In a bid to improve this, South African companies, iLearn and Netstar, came up with a programme that trained and placed over 10 people with Sensory Impairment in the workplace. 

“We are excited that we’re able to employ all 11 learners from the programme and give them the opportunity to put their training to good use, and in doing so, increase our in-house skills base,” said Netstar’s Group Managing Director, Pierre Bruwer in a press release. One of the people who benefited from the programme is Jenelle Ramsami, a qualified Monitoring Agent at Netstar. 

She chats to us about some of the challenges she faces as a person with hearing impairment and her vision to bridge the gap between the disabled and the “abled”. “I was actually born hearing impaired. My mum was overdue, and I went into distress, so they had to induce my mum's labour which lead me to being deaf. Growing up being partially deaf had many setbacks like trying to communicate. I remember at the time I never knew the meaning of deaf” says Jenelle. She says her parents prepared her for the "mainstream world". They encouraged her to always have a pen and book in her hand and she would write every word her mom spoke.

“I wrote my name before I could go school, that was why the doctor told my mom there is nothing wrong, and that I'm probably a late bloomer,” says the 35-year-old. ALSO READ: Teacher shortages at deaf schools a concern Jenelle says she used to cry a lot as a baby and her parents and doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her. 

One doctor told her mom she had colic while another said she was just throwing tantrums to get attention. “It was only after I went to school where my teacher felt something was wrong. She called my parents and informed them that I was intelligent but couldn't hear her at times, so she suggested that they take me to an ENT specialist. So, they confirmed that I was hearing impaired then a social worker referred me to V N Naik school for the deaf where I was later transferred to the 'Durban school of hearing impaired'. 

They then realised I could lip read and use my voice.” Jenelle says she was often teased because of her condition. ALSO READ: Deaf Federation calls for more support in schools “Friends and family would tease, repeat what I say, [and] people would ask silly questions as if I'm mentally challenged or stuff like that. So, for a while I did go into a shell,” says Jenelle. But she did not allow this to stop her from her achieving her dreams. 

“After years of speech therapy that my parents made me attend every Saturday, I started to become comfortable with myself and accept my challenge. I then found myself taking part in activities such as acting in plays, singing, dancing and participating in school functions.” “I'm a self-motivated person. Of course, I do have the support of my family and friends, but I always set myself realistic goals and make sure I accomplish them. 

Failure is my biggest motivation. I don't want to be called a failure, so I give my 110% in everything I do. It doesn't matter if I finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd, as long as I finished,” says the confident Jenelle. She adds that she gained her confidence “through my participation in hearing pageants" and in acting. She was even a lead actress in a short deaf movie in Cape Town.

SENSO.



A young entrepreneur has developed an innovative wrist armband for millions of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals as a springboard to venture into business. 

Zuko Mandlakazi says flagship product, Senso, works by picking up sounds and communicating them to the user through vibration and colour-coded LED lights. 

The device, he says, provides the convenience of alerting through vibration and light instead of sound, which can be distorted in the presence of other external noise. 

Mandlakazi says Senso will be able to help four million hearing impaired people in South Africa and 360m abroad. And with September being the Deaf Awareness Month, Mandlakazi says their focus is on connecting people with people and with life-saving sounds. The Eastern Cape-born Mandlakazi who is now based in Johannesburg, says the idea to develop the device was sparked by a hard of hearing family member. 

“ I was concerned for her missing out on life-saving sounds as she was always alone during the day while everybody was at work,” says Mandlakazi, 33. 

No planning for Deaf/Blind in emergencies.

Image result for canada national emergency services
When the next ice storm, wildfire or terror attack happens, Canadians who are deaf or hard of hearing will be in greater peril than others because most public notification systems are not accessible to them, experts say. 

The Canadian Hearing Society estimates there are 3.15 million Canadians who are hard of hearing and 340,000 Canadians who are deaf, including an estimated 11,000 who are deaf-blind. In policy and in practice, Canada lags behind other countries in ensuring their safety in an emergency. "Canadian deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deaf-blind people do not have access to information in a way that is designed to survive a crisis," said a report produced in March by DLR Consulting for the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS).

As the U.S. braced for Hurricane Florence earlier this month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deployed its sign language interpreters to accompany officials as they warned citizens and instructed them to get out of the way of danger. The agency has a variety of systems to communicate with deaf, hard-of-hearing or deaf-blind residents for disaster preparedness, action and recovery, including posting interpreted videos to its YouTube channel.   No such co-ordination exists here.

"There are good intentions by the Canadian federal, provincial and territorial governments," the CHS report said, "but no provisions of planning, training and communication supports have been put into place to support its deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deaf-blind citizens in the event of a natural or human-induced disaster."

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Deaf School being investigated for abuse.


editorial image
A high-level abuse inquiry is to investigate allegations regarding Donaldson’s School for Deaf Children in Linlithgow, it has emerged. 

The Preston Road premises joined a roll call of two other schools in the Lothians after it was revealed last week that they would be scrutinised as part of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. 

The Royal Blind School in Morningside and Harmeny School in Balerno are also involved in the investigation. Set up in 2015, the inquiry is now looking into alleged past abuse at 86 institutions nationally.

Cleese: Thank God I'm going deaf...



John Cleese has told how he is going “increasingly deaf”. But the 78-year-old says his condition is not a “burden” but “on the contrary, I find it quite liberating”. 

The Monty Python legend added: “I smile and nod and point at my ears, and am thus released from the duty of taking notice of all the rubbish directed at me.” The funnyman revealed last year he was so upset with the outcome of the EU Referendum that he wanted to move from the UK to the Caribbean Island of Nevis. 

As well as putting his five-bedroom period home in Bath up for sale at £2.7 million, he has now also listed this property, his one-bedroom pied-a-terre in central London. The star became a household name through comedies such as Monty Python and Fawlty Towers,  Cleese and his wife Jennifer Wade, 47, are to relocate to Nevis this autumn. 

Speaking recently at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, he said he felt hated by the “Facebook generation”. The actor branded modern Britain “corrupt”, described the UK government as one of the worst coalitions ever and branded Donald Trump as “the greatest arsehole in the world” during his one-off appearance.

Monday, 24 September 2018

DWP to prevent politicans helping welfare claimants.

Image result for DWP ban on politicans advisingNow the DWP is to ban politicians from helping welfare claimants by refusing to answer queries or offer your political representation any information.   This follows recent complaints by the Citizens Advice Bureau in the UK, the DWP were pro-actively blocking calls from UK welfare and disability advice centres.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been branded “outrageous” for effectively trying to stop an MP from helping one of their constituents. But this policy change has been a long time in the making.  Labour and Co-op MP Kate Osamor has had problems helping a claimant. 

It boils down to the fact the DWP has changed its rules about disclosing claimants’ information to third parties. Osamor realised the DWP change in policy on 14 September.

The true cost of deafness and loss...


Ingeborg Hochmair
We are going to get dementia earlier, and excess loss of any quality of life.  Untreated hearing loss isn't an option.

Hearing loss is the silent burden of Europe’s ageing population Written by Ingeborg Hochmair on 10 September 2018 in Thought Leader Hearing loss is the silent burden of Europe’s ageing population. By 2050, the world population of those over 60 years old is expected to reach two billion. 

Hearing loss, a condition disproportionately impacting the older population – an estimated 20 per cent of women and 30 per cent of men in Europe by the age of 70 – will increasingly place a burden on our already struggling healthcare systems. It risks the onset of other costly diseases and negatively impacts an individual’s overall quality of life. However, compared to many other health conditions, its impact is underestimated and often misunderstood. MED-EL, a family-owned European enterprise headquartered in Innsbruck, is the technology leader in implantable hearing solutions. Cochlear implants treat those with a severe hearing loss. 

As CEO and co-founder of our hearing implant company, I am proud to say that we developed the world’s first microelectronic-multichannel cochlear implant in 1977 and have continued to deliver a series of world ‘firsts’. The product remains the first replacement of a human sense. Our continued innovation in treating hearing loss is the result of 30 years of focused research and commitment; we believe this commitment can also be reflected in EU health policy.

Treating hearing loss can help people remain active for longer and can help keep Europe’s healthcare systems sustainable. Across Europe, we see an older population that is more engaged in society than ever before. It’s important that Europe’s citizens continue to live active lives with their families and friends for as long as possible as well as contribute to the silver economy. To do this, they need to remain independent. Unfortunately, failure to treat hearing loss accelerates an individual’s progression into costly facilitated or assisted living, depriving our older population of the opportunity to live their lives to the full. 

Our health care systems are overburdened because of our ageing population and a rise in chronic diseases. This makes the impact of untreated hearing loss on healthcare systems two-fold. According to the World Health Organisation, untreated hearing impairment costs Europe €213bn annually. In part, this is due to its link to costly comorbidities including cognitive decline and type 2 diabetes, as well as the risk of more frequent falls. Studies show that people with mild hearing loss are almost twice as likely to develop dementia as people without any hearing loss. 

Overall, not only does untreated hearing loss deprive our ageing population of quality of life, its comorbidities increase the demands on our health and social care systems at a time when we need to be making savings. 

Incommunicado revisted.



Tellingly he laughed at the 'misconception' other hearing students had when he spoke in a lift. Far better he understood WHY, his hearing peers assumed he didn't, instead he mocked them? I don't think he is aware of how he is presenting to them if you spend 90% of your time signing and then start talking why wouldn't they be confused about that?  Perhaps he can explain why he doesn't use his voice when he can?  I don't think he can teach hearing anything but UNawareness.  Either you can speak or you can't, you should be using whatever is necessary to communicate.

And/Or????!


Or even:- No sign or text at all from the UK's premier deaf and HoH charity ?


Action On Hearing Loss Campaign from Angharad Stone on Vimeo.

It seems when it comes to awareness of deaf people, deafness or hearing loss, they haven't a clue.

Deaf/deaf who cares Di-Marco?

Image result for di marcoThe issue with Di Marco is he doesn't define who or what constitutes a deaf person.  Such blanket statements by him just cover up his real message, all deaf sign, all deaf have a culture all deaf have a capital D and all the linguistic nonsense/deafhood et al that goes with it, when these people are a minuscule minority, even amid others who claim the much-vaunted 'Deaf' status and the rest of the deaf who outnumber them.

I am deaf I don't pretend anything, I can't hear. I am not cultural, I use some sign, I lip-read, I text, I don't think the community really exist in real terms, hardly any of my deaf peers are part of it that's the reality.  Are people like me to be opposed because we are not deaf as he sees it?  or, as his acolytes do?  These beliefs trigger separatism and segregation. When they see a signer using a CI on-screen they may get the message... unless the other minorities insist he is disabled in a wheelchair and a bona fide member of 5 other racial sterotypes as well!

We all want to be accepted for who we are and for what we can do, not 'just because' we don't hear.  If we take the same illogical steps as he does, do we not invite bans on deaf people 'posing as hearing' in the acting profession? The second soldier from the right scenario who just stands there as part of the scene who gets a bit part because no speech is necessary, or will Di Marco insist that is discrimination and the soldier has to start signing as well?

The time you start insisting on the inclusion of people who don't fit the criteria required, inclusion and acceptance will cease to be viable.  The same issues exist in all areas, e.g. you don't hire a person who is deaf because that is his issue, you hire them or not depending if they qualify for the job offered. 

The criteria seems to be a deaf person in this case, then the fact there are many deaf who don't sign at all should be considered on an equal basis too.  Who can forget the outbreak of opposition to a lip-reader 'posing' as a deaf person on TV whose signing was a bit suss? who was also profoundly deaf.  Such people are the norm.  The primary issue is these deaf cannot avoid making a lecture on everything 'deaf do this, Deaf do that'. Pandering to hearing misconceptions in that as they cannot see who is deaf unless they sign, ergo all deaf do, is misleading awareness by default.  Albeit it suits the extreme 'cultural' argument, bit it couldn't be that............. could it?

These Deaf must be the most biased and unaware sector with hearing loss that exists. Much better the point was made he can dance well, but just happened to be deaf.  His signing was not intrinsic to him dancing either nor was his community.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

A failure to connect to HoH...

The Key....


Access to sign language, including in education and public services, is critical for the human rights of deaf people, Human Rights Watch said today. On the first International Day of Sign Languages, Human Rights Watch is trying to make its work more accessible to deaf communities by translating its publications into sign language, and making them available through videos. 

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed September 23, 2018 as the first International Day of Sign Languages, to raise public awareness of sign languages and their vital importance to fundamental rights. This is a symbolic victory for deaf communities worldwide, commended by the World Federation of the Deaf and the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

“For deaf people, access to sign language is key to breaking down communication barriers and participating in society just like anyone else,” said Lea Labaki, junior disability rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The right of deaf people to access schools, medical treatment or courts hinges on their opportunity to use their own language.” 


ATR COMMENT:

Human rights suggest everyone with a hearing loss or deafness deserves equality, inclusion and access, all the signers are asking for is their own version of it, including demands for more help (Because sign is a barrier itself to hearing deaf communication), and their own insistence of refusing to offer accessible videos themselves.    What we all need is a perspective, and understanding of what hearing loss means, and the plethora of aspects to help the people with it, there is no one-size that fits all.   Demands in isolation for service provision that would at best only enable a minuscule minority of deaf people and ignores the majority with hearing loss is discrimination.  It's about effective communication and always has been, not a drive to a singular approach for all.

If we are e.g. all taught French do we empower everyone with it regardless of where they live or what they do?   Insist employers, support systems, et al comply?  Deaf would be at the end of a very very long queue.  Where do such 'rights' end?  We could also add the WFD is non-accessible and non-applicable outside Europe, and the deaf in the USA don't follow it, recent European laws blocking the USA needs a mention too!

It would appear linguistic rights deaf areas are out of the world loop. The UN is decried as useless by the USA's own president who wants it ignored because of members who DON'T practice human rights including some who discriminate against the deaf, the Christians, the gays, and the disabled, on a  daily basis..  the promoting of sign would carry more weight if they had refused to participate with such groups, instead of allowing themselves to be seen as hypocrites in the hope there is still some 'Kudos' using their names!

The inclusion of a committee on disability rights also seems to challenge the deaf culture's own view of deaf people too...  They are just a crazy mixed up sector not sure who they are what they use or what they even want.  The whole image says.   'we need lots more help...' so more dependency, more reliance on translation more attempts to ensure the deaf go no further than they do now, in the forlorn premise they can self-provide,  which is their version of inclusion.

The sole reason it gets an airing is because the majority of those with deafness and with hearing loss have all moved on without them.  The key they quote is the one they use to go into an isolated room and locks the door behind them.  The bloke in the photo looks like he was posing for a mug shot at the local constabulary.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Still not deaf enough...

Deafness: Rise and Fall...


Image result for hand cupped to ear
The Rise And Hopefully The End Of Hearing Loss Listening to your music is fun! But, you know what's not fun? Losing your hearing! 

It is no secret that our generation is blasting loud music right through our headphones. I am guilty of this as well. There is something liberating in escaping through the music. 

You dance to the rhythm as if you are in your own world and that nothing can stop you. But, then you take your headphones off and suddenly, you hear an "EEEEEEEEEEEEE" sound. That's tinnitus. Tinnitus is when you hear a ringing sound throughout your whole life. Sometimes, it's not a ringing sound. Sometimes, it can be crickets, buzzing, whistling, and much more. You might even hear the music. 

Sometimes, tinnitus can occur due to vitamin deficiencies or sensory issues. Personally, I suffer from sound sensitivity all throughout my life and therefore, I have tinnitus. However, it is no doubt that tinnitus can occur from exposure to loud sounds. Once your ears have been exposed to loud sounds, your hair cells become dead forever. In order to cope with that, your brain develops a ringing sound. I know my tinnitus worsened when I was in Drum Corps during my high school career. I wasn't bothered by the loud beat of the drums until I experienced sudden hearing loss every time a parade ended. 

Things escalated when I got my first iPhone at 17. Whoo boy. Since I was a sheltered high schooler, you bet that I would escape through music. I'm sure you felt that way in high school, too. Now, I have a tinnitus that is way worse and I'm paying the consequences for it. From now on, I always play music in low volume. If I play anything other than that, I would make my ears sting. But, nobody's doing the same thing that I'm doing. 

Every time I walk past somebody with blaring their music out loud, I worry for their ears Scientists stated that loud music doesn't necessarily correlate to hearing loss. In addition, the hearing loss for teens is going steady. But, reports already stated that a quarter of American adults are suffering from hearing loss. Therefore, while teens may not have a hearing loss now, they may get it in their adulthood. What's even worrisome is that once you're hard of hearing, you need a hearing aid or a cochlear implant which is something insurance won't even cover. 

Things get even more expensive when you become deaf and suddenly, you need to take ASL classes as well as an interpreter. Hearing loss is scary. You won't be able to hear your loved one's voice. You won't be able to listen to your favorite songs. You won't be able to hear the sounds around you. You are stuck in an ocean of silence or rather, auditory hallucinations ought to get you.

I pretended I was still hearing...

hearing loss memoir author Bella Bathurst sits by a window wearing a black sweater and peach scarf
Along with millions of other UK Hard of Hearing people.  For those who still insist being deaf is great and even a right, a touch of realism.

I Pretended I Could Still Hear I tried my best to ignore the problem and pretend I could still understand what others were saying.  But navigating the world without sound was incredibly stressful, sad and alienating.

By summer, it had become clear that there was something wrong with my hearing. It didn’t happen suddenly — it wasn’t like one week it was 20/20 and the next week it was down to 15/20 or 10/20 — but softly, so softly I almost wasn’t aware of it happening; sound seemed to have stolen away. There was no pain, no sound of sound retreating, just the gradual understanding that something was less. In January, I’d been able to hear the traffic outside in the street. 

By March, I could hear a few auditory exclamation marks — the bang of a door slamming, the blare of a horn — but not the noises that linked them. Noises that had been vivid seemed muffled; sentences that were once bordered by clear lines were now smoothed to a blur. Without the definition to speech — the sibilants, the corners and turns, the verbal signposts — I couldn’t seem to find my way. Meetings became no more than a low seaside roar, and I kept connecting with the wrong end of a sentence. Things that had once been so easy to navigate were now full of blunders.

For a while I did what any other sensible, evolved adult would do — I ignored the problem. When that was no longer an option, I made an appointment with my GP, who referred me to the audiology department at the local hospital. Guessing games It did not take me long to adjust to being deaf. Or rather, it did not take me long to realize that I really didn’t want to be deaf, and that — faced with a choice over whether to go gracefully or to yank the building down around my fading ears — I was going to give it everything I’d got. 

Metaphorically speaking. On the outside, I did my best to sound as if everything was fine. But inside, I was hurling myself around the bars of my self-made cell from dawn until dusk, trying to claw my way toward the invisible adversary who I believed had somehow made me deaf in the first place. If this was a kind of bereavement and bereavement was supposed to have four stages, then forget all that stuff about submission and acceptance. I planned to stick right here on fear and denial with maybe a bit of cosmic plea-bargaining. 

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Sudden hearing loss

New Cards for Hawaii deaf/HoH use.

Texas removes Keller from the curriculum.


Deaf and blind American activist, writer and lecturer Helen Keller meets with Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States.
Sara Novic is a Deaf writer and assistant professor of creative writing at Stockton University. Her first novel, "Girl at War," was released by Random House in 2015. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. The Deaf community uses a capital "D" to differentiate between people who identify with Deaf culture and identity and the physical lack of hearing (The 'cut and paste' lobby on deaf awareness ATR doesn't support). 


The views expressed in this commentary are solely hers. On September 14 the Texas State Board of Education made a series of key votes that could transform the way students learn to understand the world around them -- and themselves. 

Texas wants to remove some content from the social studies curriculum, said board chairperson Donna Bahorich, so that teachers can delve more deeply into certain topics. Sara Novic Sara Novic Billed as an effort to "streamline" the curriculum, the move spared Baptist pastor Billy Graham, the impeachment trial of former President Clinton and Moses from the chopping block -- while Hilary Clinton, Barry Goldwater, Thomas Hobbes and Helen Keller were eliminated. 

The erasure of Helen Keller, an iconic advocate for the deaf and blind whose social activism also included women's suffrage, birth control and pacifism -- who is currently taught as part of a third-grade unit on citizenship -- is an underhanded play with a troubling message: that homogeny is normal and exposure to outside perspectives should be limited. To remove Keller from the curriculum also means to eliminate the single touchstone for deafness and disability for most mainstream students. Earlier this week, I asked a room of 35 of my own college students if they'd ever met a deaf person who wasn't me. 

Four or five raised their hands—they worked retail and had seen deaf customers. Many of these students are considering fields like social work, education, criminal justice, occupational and speech therapy and law, where knowledge of deafness and disability will be integral to their work, and still their exposure is extremely limited long past the third grade. This is the norm in a society that constantly tells us to avert our eyes from disabled people, to separate out "normal" and "other." 

National Deaf community files complaint for ridicule of deaf.


DREW OLIVAR AND PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS SECRETARY MOCHA USON (FACEBOOK/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Another complaint has reached the Office of the Ombudsman against Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Esther Margaux “Mocha” Uson – this time, for her mockery of the deaf community in the country. 

Philippine Federation of the Deaf President Carolyn Dagani filed a complaint against Uson and blogger Drew Olivar for violating the Magna Carta 9277 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, among many other things, for uploading the “Pepederalismo for Deaf People” video on Facebook on September 14, 2018. Dagani and the rest of the deaf community were offended by what Uson and Olivar did in the video. 

Olivar, in particular, made hand gesticulations and body movements, which from the perspective of fluent deaf signers are mere gibberish. For those who are unfamiliar with sign language, his actions can even be interpreted as sexual connotations. What’s worse, Olivar made sounds akin to what is recognized in the field of deafness as a “deaf voice,” which some members of the deaf community make while communicating. 



While Olivar was making these gesticulations, Uson watched him perform the entire time and can be heard laughing in the background. At certain points, Uson would ask Olivar what he was doing and remark that he looked like a monkey. The video was barely a minute long, but Dagani and her fellow deaf members are nonetheless outraged by Uson and Olivar’s “insult to the entire deaf community, and to all persons with disabilities.” 

“Even though Olivar was just inventing his hand movements, it was vulgar. He says he was just being childish but he has disrespected the body and gender,” the affidavit read. “He sets a very dangerous public example for hearing people anywhere in the world to copy, and make fun of deaf and hearing people signing, and for deaf children and other children with disabilities to be bullied and ridiculed even more.” 

Dagani said that Uson and Olivar should recognize what a rich visual language the Filipino sign language is, and she accused them of discrimination because of their mockery. “Uson and Olivar were laughing and making fun of us. Together, they stepped all over us and crushed us, killing our dignity,”

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

American deaf campaigners in typecast overkill?

Image result for typecasting
Marlee Matlin and Nyle Di Marco in a  funk about typecasting not being used?

The American way of inclusion seems to be making more minority output, not more inclusive output.  All male, all female, all trans, all gay, all blind, all black etc, mainstream media won't go with it, because it limits wider appeal.  Mainstream will feel marginalised themselves and switch out.

OK a hearie acting as a deafie in the film 'The Silence', hardly the first, and not the last either... can any deaf actor do the reverse?  or would accept criticism for so doing?  would soak up the ridicule and abuse from own peers? Surely typecasting is the deaf actor's worst nightmare?  OK Matlin and Di Marco made a killing acting as themselves, but there are areas at present the deaf cannot act as hearing people, acting is about pretence, not realism surely?  Else its a lecture, and deaf lack inclusion experience. Their background is based on segregation.

Every day of their lives 10m HoH in the UK and 40% of deaf play that hearing role too.  The USA has near 4 times as many.

Deaf acting in films/Stage is about role play, not being themselves.  Do the deaf cultural supporters want everyone unable to speak and signing as an image?  How do we ditch the Deaf politic?  This would not reflect the reality.  CI's probably are.  Di Marco is agay who signs and appeals to the Gay USA community, Matlin is a signer full stop who actually hasn't made any successful films since COALG which typecast her as a signing deaf woman.

If deaf people can only play deaf roles, then this is a huge disadvantage to potential film or stage employment and suggests the deaf cannot do anything else, and require more versatility.    There are only so many deaf films being made, and next to none for hearing viewing.  More ability to switch role-playing is essential. 

Potential filmmakers/theatre moguls demand deaf show the theatre and film/arts areas they are MORE than just people who cannot hear and use sign language, that they have an ability to switch roles.  It's called acting,  a deafie that signs isn't something no-one else can do.  Hearing interpreters have done it since day one, a lot of them superior signers too.  Do we demand they must be deaf too?

Actually, what deaf need is more 'hearing experience' so the audience can see the bridges of communication and interaction in real time, not someone repeatedly stating I am deaf with a  D and have a culture, that is minority 'cut and paste' awareness, not acting and belongs in awareness seminars not on the stage or film. If viewers want lectures they attend seminars.  Typecasting is killing opportunity for the deaf.  The fact a hearing person can not only sign better but is more aware of the hearing angle is a plus let's face it.  

It's a situation the deaf actor cannot equate with, the issue lies in teaching deaf what access and real inclusion is and able to cross divides, not repeatedly insist they are some stand-alone area demanding own way of things.  At present they are opposing mainstreaming, and inclusion processes, immediately disadvantaging their own, then blaming it on perceived discrimination.  

If they want those options, then stick to  Deaf cultural output and play to their own minority gallery, but it still won't raise mainstream awareness that way.  Deaf output for deaf people?  No way...


Best devices for those with hearing loss?

The 'Cut and Paste' approach to awareness.

Description_of_image_used_in_working_with_adults_who_are_deaf_deaf_woman_talking_to_friend_john_birdsall_rex_shutterstock_600More confusion/disinformation being heaped upon systems who clearly do not know what is going on at all.   Wales doesn't HAVE a deaf social service, they were unceremoniously dumped 17 years ago by the deaf, and the incoherent ramblings regarding culture and the deaf are obviously made up or systems are being force-fed lies by vested interests, a cut and paste culture.  

Again NON-signing deaf adults and children, are being lumped together as needing the same support and back up.  This does nothing for the non-signers and pours support, access, awareness, and funding toward a minority instead. 2% of ALL with hearing loss, whose needs have yet to be accurately identified.

Generalisations about ‘deaf people’ are rarely helpful because the term covers such a vast range of differences, preferences, abilities and challenges. It is common to see a range of terms used to describe people who do not hear in the same way as the majority of the population. These include ‘deaf’, ‘Deaf’, ‘hard of hearing’, ‘hearing impaired’, ‘hearing loss’, ‘sensory loss’, and ‘partially hearing’ among others.

It is important to realise that these are not synonyms but may imply genuine preferences on the part of service users about how they/we may wish to be described. They also imply in some cases significant distinctions regarding language use and personal or cultural identity. For example, Deaf with a capital ‘D’ marks out people whose first or preferred language is a signed language such as British Sign Language (BSL).

Image result for cut and pasteIt is too easy to presume that the same good practice that works with one client group will also work with people who are d/Deaf because they are the same as everyone else, it is just they do not hear in the same way. In reality, Deaf people who use BSL should be regarded primarily as a linguistic and cultural minority in the UK. The challenges in appropriately meeting their rights and needs is similar to working with other cultural groups who use a minority language. People who are deaf but who have been spoken language users all their lives, or who have lost their hearing, face different challenges in assessment and provision of services.

Safeguarding:

Both the Care Act 2014 (section 42) and Social Services and Well-being Act (Wales) 2014 (section 126) have included a duty on councils to make or commission enquiries when it has reasonable cause to suspect that an adult with care and support needs is experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect and, as a result of those needs, are not able to protect themselves.
A research review (Hughes et al, 2012), while not conclusive, has demonstrated that disabled adults are more likely to experience abuse or neglect than those without disabilities. Although d/Deaf people specifically are not differentiated in the review, they are included in the definition of ‘disabled’.

Monday, 17 September 2018

HIRBiE


Signing, deaf awareness and inclusion
Teaching BSL and STILL expecting the deaf won't rely on help,  not make sense.

Brimsdown Primary School is a mainstream school in Enfield, North London, with a hearing impairment resource base – HIRBiE. 


If you ask any of the staff at Brimsdown they will tell you how important inclusion is to us as a school. We firmly believe that every child deserves the right to be treated equally and to receive the same quality of education as everyone else. HIRBiE has been operating for 11 years at Brimsdown and runs special staff and family signing lessons during the day and after school, teaches British Sign Language (BSL) to all children from Nursery to Year 6, and runs a unique workshop where anyone interested in learning about signing, deaf awareness and deaf issues is welcome to join. 

BSL is not a translation of English – it has its own linguistics and a very different grammatical structure. We encourage all children and staff to be confident with developing their use of facial expression and body language as this helps with the clarity of their communication. In the past, very few staff or hearing children in the school could sign. Good communication was always valued and respected, but we wanted the HIRBiE team to show this wonderful language throughout the whole school. 

There was also a need to bridge the gap between hearing and deaf people, and so over the last three years, BSL has become an important part of our school curriculum. Deaf children should not solely rely on their Communication Support Workers (CSWs) to communicate between hearing staff and children. For example, at playtime, if a CSW was not outside then deaf children experienced communication breakdown and could become isolated. 

Due to our wonderful HIRBiE provision and inclusive approach, our deaf children are independent and more confident Staff at Brimsdown have noticed that all children with special educational needs, for example, autism, really enjoy and focus on signing. Why is this? Because it is a visual language. In May 2018, during Deaf Awareness Week, a new teacher at the school commented at the end of the week on how much the whole class benefited from this participation. This important part of the school has improved the lives of not only deaf children but all our pupils. 

In the beginning, BSL greeting signs such as ‘Good morning/afternoon’, ‘Please’ and ‘Toilet’ started to be taught during 20 minute, timetable, weekly BSL Studies lessons. These lessons are taught by highly qualified Deaf Instructors and have continued with our Deaf Instructors creating our own BSL curriculum for the children. The profile of BSL has continued to be raised through a Sign of the Week during assemblies and Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6) Singing Assemblies being fully signed and all children being taught signs to the songs they are learning. 

Friday, 14 September 2018

A lesson indeed!

No automatic alt text available.

Losing hearing and Inclusion issues...

17 more institutions to be checked for child abuses...



Child abuse inquiry announces 17 more institutions to be investigated. The new establishments will bring the total under scrutiny to 86. 

Seventeen further institutions are to be investigated by a far-reaching inquiry into historical allegations of the abuse of children in care. The 17 are in addition to the 69 establishments already identified by the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI), taking the total number under scrutiny to 86. The list includes religious and non-religious institutions, boarding schools and council and healthcare establishments around Scotland. 

The newly-announced schools to be looked at are St Andrew’s School, in Shandon, Dunbartonshire; Queen Victoria boarding school in Dunblane; Balnacraig School in Perth; Edinburgh’s Royal Blind School and Harmeny School; Donaldson’s School for Deaf Children; Oakbank School in Aberdeen; Ovenstone Residential School in Fife; and Balrossie School in Inverclyde. Cardross Park Assessment Centre and Dunclutha Children’s Home in Argyll will also be examined, as will Park Lodge in Glasgow. 

Lagarie House Children’s Home in Rhu, Argyll; Redheugh Adolescent Unit in Kilbirnie, North Ayrshire, and Humbie Care Home in East Lothian are also to be investigated, inquiry chiefs announced. Lennox Castle Hospital in Lennoxtown, East Dunbartonshire, and the Royal Scottish National Hospital in Larbert in the Falkirk area complete the list. 

Inquiry chair Lady Smith said: “Please would anyone who has any relevant information about any of these institutions contact the inquiry. Advertising “It does not matter whether you have already made a report to the police or to anyone else, and it does not matter whether or not you have been involved in any other investigation. You can still talk to us and we want to hear from you.” 

She continued: “I am well aware that it can be difficult and very emotional to talk about experiences in care and I want to take this opportunity to give an assurance that we have a dedicated witness support team here who will help and support anyone providing evidence to us. They will do so throughout the process.” The inquiry is tasked with examining historical allegations of the abuse of children in care. 

Deafness never defined me....



Maybe we don't need sign language or lip-reading, here is someone who managed without either.  

Despite profound deafness, the acclaimed British novelist David R Ewens never learned to lip read or to use sign language. Instead, his family taught him to ‘ignore the deafness and carry on’ – a mantra he relies upon to this day. 

In this candid, exclusive interview, he reveals how his mother’s tough love helped him to cope with social isolation and how he turned an impairment to his advantage. By David R Ewens I am stone deaf, but I have written five novels, and the ability to do that comes from the same source enabling me to do almost everything else that a hearing person can do: my mother’s determination that I (and my deaf brothers) would be treated in the same way as any non-deaf child. We did not get statements of special educational needs (and probably wouldn’t have even if the mechanism had existed when we were children). We did not learn to sign or formally lip-read. 

We were brought up unequivocally in the hearing world. Our family’s unspoken mantra was an adaptation of ‘Keep calm and carry on’: ‘Ignore the deafness and carry on’, and the result is a decent life with decent milestones and achievements.

Why isn't there a sign language norm?


A teacher uses sign language to communicate with hearing-impaired pupils at a school in France. Picture: AFP
September 23 is the International Day of Sign Languages, but most of us know little about the means of non-verbal communi­cation that has proven invaluable for the deaf and hard of hearing around the world. 


Perhaps surprisingly, there is not just one sign language, and different countries have different systems, often with regional variants. Like spoken languages, they developed among groups of people interacting with each other. Many of the world’s major sign languages (exceptions include Chinese, Japanese, Indo-Pakistani and Levantine Arabic) can be traced to two origins. British Sign Language (BSL) spread to the Commonwealth with 19th-century British settlers; a sign language within England’s deaf communities was noted from 1570. BSL, New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) and Australian Sign Language (Auslan) share many similarities and comprise the BANZSL language family. 

What Buddhist monks and discreet dealings have in common: hand signals French Sign Language, meanwhile, established in the late 1700s, is usually identified as the root of American Sign Language (ASL), which developed in the 19th century, and of Quebec and many European sign languages. 

In the 1970s, with contact between deaf users of different sign languages, a pidgin – International Sign – was developed. Sign languages evolve within deaf communities and neither mirror nor are dependent on the surrounding spoken lang­uages; they are fully fledged natural languages with an intricate grammatical organisation of their own. Auslan word order is different from English; and ASL and BSL differ significantly, more so than American and British English.