Friday, 11 January 2019

Deaf and HoH Support at UHNM

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Support at UHNM from UHNM NHS Trust on Vimeo.

Still gaps in their awareness but a really good effort.  All deaf don't sign, don't lip read, and all HoH don't either, always ensure there is no blanket acceptance of need.  I would have forseen issues with a glass screen and someone trying to communicate to me that way, as I don't carry a card, and I don't use sign either, of course, if you are in a queue and the counter staff haven't the time then it can quickly break down and become stressful.  

I know most deaf would not attempt to go to a hospital unsupported so they are catered for mostly, it is the others with no defined effective communication as such who are elderly etc who present at POC.  With no effective lip speakers on hand e.g, lip-reading is mostly zeroed as a format that can be used.   Hearing aids can be zeroed too with no effective medical-patient loop.  I think most would have resorted to writing things down. Personally, I take all relevant details with me in written form, and have few issues after.  Of course, emergency admission is an absolute terror as everyone has to wing it.  In those cases, deaf may refuse to go to a hospital unless supported first which can be very risky.

Woman Can't Hear Men's Voices Because Of Rare Condition

Woman Can't Hear Her Boyfriend's Voice Because Of A Rare Condition. Credit: AsiaWire
Stress is known to be bad for your health, but it hit one woman so badly she actually went deaf - well, to men anyway. 

This isn't a selective hearing joke - Chen, from Xiamen in China, woke up one day and she was unable to hear her boyfriend when he spoke - or any men, as it turned out. After Chen went to a specialist ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) she was diagnosed with a condition called 'reverse-slope hearing loss'. This condition hinders Chen's ability to hear low-frequency sounds, such as the average grown man's voice. 

The ENT specialist at Qianpu Hospital and a female doctor, Dr Lin Xiaoqing, said: "She was able to hear me when I spoke to her, but when a young male patient walked in, she couldn't hear him at all."  This kind of low-frequency hearing loss is said to be caused by a number of different things such as Wolfram Syndrome 1, Meniere's disease, Mondini dysplasia and sudden hearing loss. But Dr Xiaoqing said Chen may have developed the condition due to fatigue and stress after Chen said she'd been getting stressed and losing sleep over working too much. 

'Sensorineural hearing loss' can result in a low-frequency hearing loss - a type caused by inner ear hair cells getting damaged. Any damage to the cells can impact a person's hearing because the hair cells make the sound travel from the outer ear to the brain. Woman Can't Hear Her Boyfriend's Voice Because Of A Rare Condition. Credit: AsiaWire Woman Can't Hear Her Boyfriend's Voice Because Of A Rare Condition. Credit: AsiaWire Anyone who suffers from low-frequency hearing loss, generally, can't hear noises that have a frequency of 2,000 Hz or below. 

High-frequency hearing loss is much more common and generally means people struggle to, or can't hear the voices of women and children.

Speak OUT!

Image result for deaf don't speakATR's weekly round-up of current angst on the 'non-Deaf social media, and it is the old issue of speech versus sign it seems.

"My voice killed any options of support really, nobody (deaf or hearing) believed I couldn't hear, and in applying for a welfare benefit was actually accused at one point of fraud because 'the deaf can't talk, and you clearly can..'. I don't know who to blame, the deaf signers, the welfare agencies, or what passes for awareness these days!"

"I lost my hearing at the age of 21, therefore I grew up and went to standard schools. Now, 30 years later, profoundly deaf, especially when HA fail me, strangers hear me speaking 'normal' and don't believe that I am deaf."

"Our 'voices' are being drowned out in a never-ending promotion of the 'deaf and dumb' angle, rejection of hearing loss as a disablement, and, it comes from the deaf signing areas too. Their opposition to spoken or written English and its grammar, the tuition of sign language omitting voice use (As it offends deaf people), is at root, despite major campaigns for text access, it is a confusing mish-mash of disjointed and contradictive definitions of what deafness is, who deaf area yadda yadda, what communications we use, or what culture we follow, is at root.  They are a crazy mixed up bunch."

"For those of us losing or have lost hearing only one thing is important communication. I think our communication issues got lost in the post somewhere. I suppose the fact the mainstream and its systems have bought in to this misinformation over the years and why people like ourselves are being ignored. To be honest as a result of these things those of us who manage despite it all, are the sole area who can teach real awareness, not those for whom inclusion is entirely relative and off in some area of their own demanding everyone accommodates them, which is unrealistic and not really helping them either. "

"It's cultural BS, I don't buy their deprived area status, they have a national support system here and in the USA,  we don't, and have never had it, their abuse every day of 'Deaf & HoH' remit is now universally accepted and as such removed our voice and gave it to them."

"I don't want to appear resentful either, but the continuing distortion of need by these strange cultists of the signing ilk, is causing hardship for my peers. Who speaks in our name? Erm... nobody does, especially not them. We are left with few choices, we oppose the signing deaf for misinforming awareness, attack the systems for taking notice of it, or unite and demand the majority gets its voice back, and remove 'HoH' from their output.  Trying to educate the signing area on awareness or inclusion has proven near impossible."

"The UK HoH won 888 subtitles and captioning on TV output in the mid 20thc, the biggest ever advance in access for us, and the sign user who also benefitted, but done nothing since.  Now we see these signers opposing subtitling in favour of a face-pulling silence... Its really down to the acquired and deafened, not the signers... our apathy has given them free rein to go for what they want regardless if our inclusion or needs are being lost in that message. The HoH need to start campaigning as one unit and not buy into the 'one man, one issue' approach.  This is one case where the individual CANNOT win the day.  That is divide and rule and we are being run in awareness terms by a vociferous minority of sign using activists, who have entirely different aims to ours."

"I'm angry this *** - ***** site is attacking sign using people all the time, where is the counter view ?"

***_***** Site Mod:   "I am allowing this singular poster to raise his or her question just this once... We felt this area of hearing loss did not have a social media platform whereby they could express various concerns about their support and access, with regards to different areas with hearing loss.  While it is true to say we now discourage cultural input, it was a decision taken after initially inviting them to respond, they resorted to personal attacks and promotion of sign language instead of making a real contribution.  We very often forward such concerns to their charities/representation and other support bases for feedback.

They accused our members of discrimination, instead of responding, which we felt was unfair.   We resorted reluctantly to vetting people who applied to join this site, it would appear then, that such anti areas decided to refrain from joining instead.  We don't feel we operate any differently to 'enclosed'  'Deaf' sites in that non-signing contributors are deterred from joining or participating in their areas.  It is the current nature of things.  Some deaf charities feel raising concerns about inclusion is causing disharmony, our members say they just feel they are covering themselves to maintain funding, and toeing a line that has been created by others, a line they disagree with.  A number of our members have stated they are still actively blocked from such sites and prevented from raising points, including  the BBC and others."

"Didn't the ATR blogger ask GOOGLE to warn Deaf areas their 'TAB's'  were misleading?"

ATR:  "I think you mean that 'Deaf & Hi/HoH' remit thing?  Yes I suggested to Google the use of 'HoH' by them was misleading when output was very obviously about cultural deaf and sign language, and they aren't including us either via access, or content.  Google said that they objected to ATR complaint on the grounds HoH used sign too, which ATR believes was also misleading as they failed to provide statistics to back it up.  The Deaf equivalent of fake news. ATR did not buy Google's response, in that when the CONTENT was not relative to HoH or indeed aimed at the area, they still kept adding 'HoH' tabs to output and still do.  Is it by design or included as part of the equality laws?  Either way, it was misleading.  

Google decided they did not want a battle with cultural deaf and being America based, they were hamstrung by their own A.D.A.  Had it been the UK we would have tried blocking the deaf doing this via our trade description laws, but defining content was difficult if not impossible to regulate.

For many who provide sign only output they add 'HoH' by habit or rote, and it needs to change, as it blurs the inclusion process.  It also affects funding provisions for those with hearing loss, as the fundings fail to include the areas the remit is for.  E.G. If ATR provided 'Deaf & HoH' output with no sign in it, no Deaf and no culture in it, they would complain almost immediately and label it some sort of discrimination,  but I don't think the playing field is level at all.  Cultural deaf are opportunists first and foremost, and tag on to any bandwagon with regards to hearing loss to promote sign use and culture which are not the same things.  They see any sort of successful HoH campaign and demand their inclusion straight away, we, let them get away with it."

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Trials to reverse deafness to start in 2019..

I thought they started in the 1890s but..........

Things that WON'T cure hearing loss

UCL Summer of communication support.

Motorcycles and hearing loss.

New research by the General German Automobile Association (ADAC) and hearing protection specialists Auritech have raised alarm bells around the potential for permanent hearing loss while riding. Charlie Bliss reports Recent warnings about the damage motorcycle users are doing to their hearing hopefully won’t fall on deaf ears. 

That is, use adequate ear protection while riding or you run the risk of permanent ear damage. In 2018, the ADAC conducted a study in Germany which revealed that permanent hearing damage can be caused after only 15 minutes of riding at 62mph without earplugs. Contrary to what many believe, it’s not the gnarly noise generated by your bike that’s to blame – it’s the wind. 

Noise turbulence produced around your head by wind ingress while you are in motion is the primary culprit, and your helmet is not enough to shield against it. Internal padding, vents or additional weather stripping on the helmet to direct flow patterns won’t make much difference, as these measures do not significantly reduce the noise in your helmet to a safe level. DAMAGE DONE Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a serious issue with no cure. It is problematic to diagnose because sufferers may possess a keen sense for hearing certain frequencies or sounds but might experience limited or no access to other sounds. NIHL and tinnitus can occur if the listener is exposed to sounds above 85dB. 

Image result for Harley bikeAnother common malady associated with motorcycle riding is Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS), which is caused by constant exposure to excessive noise for any period of time. At first, this leads to a temporary reduction in the perception of hearing patterns – essentially, your hearing becomes worse than it was prior to initial exposure. Continuous TTS exposure will cause permanent damage. The negative health effects of NIHL and TTS are irreversible. This means you’ll likely need a hearing aid later in life.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

To Skype or not to Skype ?

The plans were unveiled in Liverpool yesterday by Theresa May and health chiefs under a ten-year strategy for the NHS, which sets out how a £20billion cash injection will be spent
Fresh from the news Skype has captions we read the UK NHS declaring support for more of it. 

Yes, some GP's have used Skype for the deaf sign user albeit there is some reluctance to agree to it because deaf prefer people-support direct and regional sign variations can cause issues in following. Those who wanted captioning included may get their way but the recent skype declaration it is now available has been panned as unreliable and unable to differentiate accents. 

But certainly, speech to text translation is getting better all the time. I think using a phone is problematic 'though screens are too small to see all the signing properly and doesn't take into account people with sight issues. The nature of deaf support is sympatico with the translator, often people you know personally and adjudge a friend, know you and your issues and your level of comprehension, so remote support is a concern to many deaf as they won't have that vital background. 

Albeit there are concerns this leads to abuse of translator neutrality and the 'creep in' of the translator meaning well, probably cutting down on detail passed on to accommodate nervous deaf, or assumed/known limited comprehension of some deaf people.  A lot of deaf ask the translator to speak for them since social workers abandoned specialised deaf support in the UK.  Of course, this is illegal and against support ruling, they must remain neutral, but we know it is widespread and still going on.  

The reason this is supported by Skype and other remote approaches is that it saves the NHS money. Even a more immediate and available system than the translator ones who may need notice before turning up.  But some deaf feel this can also put them at risk. I know deaf in the USA successfully sued their hospitals for only offering deaf support this way.  3 years ago ATR did a Welsh survey that found 90% of ALL GP's in Wales failed to offer relevant support to these deaf for a basic diagnosis, hospitals were similar. 

Current charity campaigns suggest nothing has changed either.  Cost is the issue, anything from £40 an hour and often a min demand for at least 2 hours was the norm since the NHS has to cover travel costs as well, in London and other areas 3 times that, then you can see that deaf support is cost-prohibitive, you then see the NHS attraction of remote and centralised support via the net funded by yourself or a charity. 

Systems suggest it is an unreliable service too because the Interpreters are free-lance and pick and choose where they turn up or who they will support.  Recent rows over welfare interviews saw many interpreters of BSL refusing to assist the system or there simply being not enough of them to do it.  Terps could pick and choose the most lucrative options.  Of course allocated GP diagnosis time is less than 15 minutes and some deaf need at least twice that amount of a GP's time, a number of deaf needed 40 mins, which can be extended or curtailed via remote support and can break down in confusion, meaning more interviews have to take place.

The amount of concentration required to follow a screen and the GP on your own can mean it fails. Many deaf simply are untrained in using remote support, and age/infirmity/sight issues etc usually means they will do one of two things, not go to the GP at all or, insist on a human translator.   Little wonder they are not getting ailments addressed, or deaf are feeling put up with it and hope it will go away.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Skype Subtitling?

Petitions. Petitions and more Petitions!

Image result for no more petitionsAnother petition demanding more inclusion in education for deaf and disabled, but, not everyone is supporting it, and only 300 did support this one.  Which leaves the petitioners 99,700 signatures short of it even being debated.

One issue is that access is being restricted simply because support staff are unaffordable, not undergoing training, or just not available.  A wider door isn't the ultimate in access!  While not challenging the petition,  (I'm sure they mean well, and that ATR refuses to support charities or petitioning as policy), but a lot of these petitions put the cart before the horse in that they are asking for a provision that isn't there, or in some cases won't be used.  

This logically suggests demand is really negligible, or not agreed on,  and probably no unity in what 'support', type of support, or type of education is actually being demanded. A lot of disabled areas (the deaf one e.g.) prefer specialist education, not inclusive education for that very reason.  

While special schools exist, parents with children of special or complex needs are going to prefer that, and not watch their kids singled out in the mainstream, or dumped in an annex somewhere and patronised.  The only proviso parents suggest, is that specialist support is localised and children not commuting elsewhere out of area etc.   Mainstreaming. This isn't really viable economically, as some areas simply would not have sufficient children to fill a class.  E.G. Only 3 children deaf in South Wales were sent to a special deaf school, and that was in England as Wales hasn't any.  What area would build a school, for just 3 children?

There is no speciality available to work within mainstreaming.  Deaf people are ALL about specialisation, alternative language approaches, and deaf education, not inclusion, as this specialist type of approach encourages and supports their cultural aspirations.  There is some 'stand-off' between approaches to deaf education between parents and purists, and between local authorities and even language approaches to the national curriculum as well as the traditional deaf v Deaf battles.

The Deaf tend to ignore basic realities in that their support and that deaf schools are in sharp decline, and the specialisations they had, have been dispersed and lost, but it hasn't stopped their demands to reverse the process of inclusion being re-branded as 'discrimination' in a desperate attempt to stop the decline.  

The fact that the deaf don't HAVE the specialists they demand to support them, or that they are even being trained, or, that as adults, 2 or 3 support workers for every 100 of them is the current norm, but is being ignored.  This suggests logically they aren't creating the very demand for what they are asking for.  It is inclusive demands by rote with no real desire for it, the drive for funding and recognition drives most of it, the conflicts of deaf versus disability and because of differences in aim, i.e. if, it conflicts with their cultural view and its preservation.  Culture impetus has left communication need in its wake.  It limits choices too.

While all this nonsense goes on, deaf children and their families continue to be 'Aunt Sally' for the pro and anti deaf area demands.  In short, nobody are putting children first themselves,  We could draw attention to the fact over 60% of deaf signers do not create own demand for interpreters, because they are using family or even technology to do that.  Another 52% are using CI's with different demands.  In the clamour nobody is addressing HoH issues.  When they get BSL in a classroom to be included they still feel isolated and keep raising issues mainstreaming is not good for the deaf child.   It doesn't stop them, however, still demanding that same support, the biggest issue with deaf education and support is the Deaf attitude, not the provision, difficult as that is to provide.

First, create real demand, then, provision may follow. This means Deaf putting themselves out there and not hiding behind sign language.  Not using family support etc and making a genuine effort in mainstream inclusion, of course better support is a right too, but activism needs to put children not dogma first.   Another day, another pointless petition, ho hum!