Saturday, 20 July 2019

What the Disabled are up against...

Image result for tweeting
Ignorance and arrogance combined with poor awareness mostly.  A recent Tweet from the 'elite' deaf area.

When you say you’re deaf and they put you in a disabled hotel room... 🤦‍♀️ I’m able bodied, just can’t hear, feel another disabled person would be losing out! Oh and the tv has no #subtitles ! 👍🏻

I don't think such views help us to be inclusive much, we aren't 'more able' than anyone else, just check on the amount of 'support' deaf need (Including subtitling!),  THEN say deaf aren't disabled. Or even nobody there understanding sign... As regards to nil subtitling,  most of us check before booking a room not complain after, when hotel staff were not informed you need them.

The deaf also claim the highest welfare/disability benefits in the UK.   They are acknowledged as severely disabled by the UK's primary assessment areas, the Health Service, and the DWP.   For those who don 't know go look at 'Sensory disabled' definitions or even own BSL campaigns for deaf access...

The assumption that if everyone learns BSL, then problem solved, is naive as well as uninformative and basically false.  Isolation, poor mental health (Also a disability), communication issues, different assistive needs, educational and learning issues.  So OK, we can walk on two legs but....... its where lack of hearing takes us, not them.

It's just another pointless rant to promote... what exactly?  It makes us look arrogant towards others... when we have no grounds at all for adopting that attitude.

VISOR? That will do nicely thanks...

Related image

'I will never hear my father's voice'

Ilya Kaminsky
Ilya Kaminsky on deafness and escaping the Soviet Union. Until his family migrated to the US when he was 16, the Ukrainian-born poet lived without sound. He discusses his family’s persecution and his first collection in a decade. ‘My childhood and adolescence were spent watching the Soviet Union fall apart’ … Kaminsky has only published two poetry collections in 15 years, but his second, Deaf Republic, has been hailed as “a contemporary epic”, “a perfectly extraordinary book” from a poet described by the writer Garth Greenwell as “the most brilliant of his generation, one of the world’s few geniuses”. 

The man who has attracted all this hyperbole has a wraparound smile, and responds to a photographer’s demand to look more animated by reciting poetry in Russian and English. “Here is some Mandelstam,” he says. “Now I am going to give you some Emily Dickinson.” His speech drags slightly and he is apologetic about his accent: “After all this time, it should really be better,” he says, “but I only hear what the hearing aids give me.” For Kaminsky is hard of hearing – so, if you count sign language alongside Russian and Ukrainian, he is speaking in his fourth language. 

Deaf Republic is an investigation into “what happens to language in a time of crisis, how we carry on and how we try to remain human,” he explains. “It’s something I’m trying to find out in my book and in my life.” In just under 60 lyric poems, some only two lines long, it tells the story of a fictional town whose inhabitants react to the murder of a deaf child by shutting their ears. Little Petya’s crime is to spit at an army sergeant who has arrived to break up a public gathering in a time of martial law. “Deafness passes through us like a police whistle,” say the townspeople of Vasenka, who are described by the author as “the ‘we’ who tell the story”. The best recent poetry – review roundup Read more Kaminsky himself lost most of his hearing after contracting mumps aged four in the Ukrainian city of Odessa. 

“The Soviet doctor said it was just a cold and sent us away,” he says, without self-pity. This life-changing medical misjudgment would connect him with history in ways that he is still processing. “It is on the day Brezhnev dies that my mother learns of my deafness, and the odyssey of doctors and hospitals begins,” he wrote recently. “My mother shouts at senior citizens in public transport to promptly get up please and give her sick child a seat; my father, embarrassed, hides on the other side of the trolley. I cannot hear a word … Brezhnev is dead. Strangers wear black clothes in public. 

Thus begins the history of my deafness.” Advertisement It was only after he arrived in the US at the age of 16 that he was fitted with hearing aids. “When I came to the west I saw that there was this otherness that I didn’t perceive before,” he says. “Pretty much all my childhood and adolescence was spent watching the Soviet Union fall apart, but I couldn’t hear, so I followed the century with my eyes. I didn’t know anything different, but now I understand that I was seeing in a language of images.”

COUNTDOWN: In 6 yrs perfect hearing is ours.

Around 11million people in the UK – one in six – are deaf or have a hearing loss and about 1,200 are fitted with cochlear implants  each year (stock image of a boy with a cochlear implant)
Deaf people could get 'almost perfect' quality hearing from a cochlear implant which deconstructs sounds as it hears them. Researchers are developing a device which they say could significantly improve the quality of what people hear through the hearing aids. 

In the UK around 1,200 people have cochlear implants – which essentially connect a microphone directly to the brain to recreate hearing – fitted each year. But the current technology 'sounds metallic' and needs a 'significant' amount of brain training to use, according to scientists who claim their device will be better. Around 11million people in the UK – one in six – are deaf or have a hearing loss and about 1,200 are fitted with cochlear implants each year.

Around 11million people in the UK – one in six – are deaf or have a hearing loss and about 1,200 are fitted with cochlear implants each year (stock image of a boy with a cochlear implant) Researchers at the University of Greenwich say they're developing a device which, instead of directly magnifying outside noises, rebuilds it to pick out key parts. 

It records multiple layers of sound in order to create something which sounds 90 to 100 per cent like what a normal ear would hear, they said. This would protect against bits being missed if the technology is overpowered – for example by background noises drowning out speech. 'The signals created by current hearing implants sound very metallic to the user because they only a provide part of the full audio wave to the brain,' said Dr Wim Melis. 

'This prevents a full reconstruction of the original signal. 'We developed a method that breaks down the input signal in its analogue components while introducing multiple versions in storage. 'This means we can reconstruct the signal with very high accuracy, even if part of the system drops out.' Dr Wim Melis (pictured) said: 'Our system could be available commercially within about six years' Dr Wim Melis said: 'Our system could be available commercially within about six years' Current systems cannot distinguish between background noise and the speech people actually want to hear, Dr Melis said, because they amplify everything.  But using technology to separate the different sounds, pick out the most important parts and put them together into something which sounds fine-tuned could overcome this. 

Friday, 19 July 2019

Getting real with hearing loss.

Image result for communication skillsStill agonising online about aid usage, lip-reading, degrees of loss and how it affects communications and support.   Hearing aids and lip-reading not cutting it?  Read on...

How I approached it, was REMOVING the hearing aid about a third of the time, to enhance observation ability, and try to hone lip-reading skills.  Wearing the aid 24/7 (or near as), prevents that happening and you don't realise that the lip-reading ability you do have, or limited ability to follow, is very much reliant on the aid, and what you can HEAR, so when your hearing or aid fails, the 'skill set' you acquired in a class,  can be exposed to our detriment....

It explains those aid wearers who then have panic attacks e.g. if a battery or aid fails for some reason, they are unprepared for it.   An aid-removal approach under supportive conditions can and does tend to challenge current class tuition, and UK lip-reading class approaches, but I feel most classes are a bit of a con job really and more to encourage 'like with like' socialising,  assuming, of course, there are peers who can follow the same level as you can.  It's the belief socialising regardless of limitation is the only 'cure' and key to it all.

Most people insist socialising is the main event, teachers promote that, but it isn't, being able to follow OTHERS is, (unless meeting the same people day in and day out, happens despite the classes, which mostly, do not run more than once a week for a few months).  This is not socialising as we understand it,  i.e. it's by appointment only and restictive....  Lip-reading classes by following this stat format, tend to limit or debar those for whom aids are already failing them.  There is no agreed 'level' where the class and approach becomes real or ineffective.  It is a simple but painful realisation your useful hearing no longer is and there is nowhere else to go.

The issue of sometimes 63% dropping out after a new class starts during the first months, is a clear indication of why classes need aids turned off to hone skills.  Taking them OFF in lip-reading class forces more to understand what is going on as well, and, how good or bad their hearing really is and makes them understand they may need to plan ahead, not wait until a cure emerges.  This also means the random nature of lip-reading class tuition in the UK has to change radically and include more one on one time.  Being one of a dozen means you get 11 times less help and attention than the rest.  

No other area of disability would ever use this approach to support....  Why wait until an aid or all your hearing fails you to discover your reliance on text or lip-reading has put you in your own corner? That is what is lacking in approaching hearing loss issues, getting REAL at day one.  The reality that most who learn sign language are hearing so don't have that same degree of need as someone with a serious or profound loss also exposes issues in that tuition too, it's no surprise few WITH hearing loss ever approach sign classes.  This also applies to captions and subtitling to a large degree when teaching sign language

Now you know why the sign users is highly reluctant to caption signed output, they KNOW 9 out of 10 will read the captions and thus fail to follow the sign properly, they also know the literacy of other users makes for difficulty reading too.  'Edited Highlights' are pretty much order of their day.  

All in all, communication support for the deaf and hard of hearing is completely random in nature unless you are a child in school... and surprisingly, it shows great ignorance of what our issues are, yet they are still demanding access for systems they were too poorly taught at day one.

It is why Hearing aid users struggle to panic stations when a battery dies, no fallback.  So, they Just run...

A good 'Cause'?

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Or an original con act by the UK state? we are talking the lottery of course!   I know with regards to the lottery if the ticket buyer could choose who gets funds from it, I don't think most minority causes would get a bean nor London focus groups who appear to get the Lion's share of it all. 

We should have an option on the ticket to tick off WHO we want to benefit from funds raised, I could suggest the disabled the abused, children, the NHS would get most of it. I'd also like to see this funding as ADDITIONAL to state funding, and not as now, being used to supplement it while the state removes their contribution. Its clear the government's idea of a 'good cause' is completely biased and not ours.   No funds should be going to ANY politically motivated area either. 

Image result for lottery tickets
We can get rid of the ludicrous 'causes' that aren't.  Some charities are getting funds who provide little of value at all or, provide support to areas we certainly would NOT support if we were asked ourselves. I understand we are gambling but there are huge sums now involved and being spent in funding areas we DON'T feel are a priority.  

The reality, is that most FAIL anyway need to be looked at, as does the people and expertise behind running areas demanding free money.  We could also address the role of the charity commission, another area with a state majority who are aiding and assisting dubious claims to avoid providing the provision itself.  When it fails, off-loading responsibility too.

There are bi££ions at stake, and it needs public scrutiny and, public choice included.  We want a LIST of 'worthy' causes shown every week and an option to select who gets ON those lists, to hone support down to really worthy causes the public feel need it.  The business area being involved should be banned tooCorporate charities should be ineligible to benefit.  Do you want your contribution to go to loony fringe causes, or, to health areas that save lives, you choose.

Blind girl; 'This is how you use your cane.'

Surviving Cocktail Parties..

Cocktail Party Hearing Loss
Getting an invite would be a fine thing lol.  I suspect most with a serious loss would decline the invitation.   The usual approach is to meet and greet everyone with hello, and then goodbye mostly!  I doubt most deaf would entertain attending, a demand to sign would kill the whole thing. Only those with a good speaking voice, useful hearing and a shed-load of confidence would attempt it.  The issue isn't about hearing loss, it's about having the confidence to attend. My party piece is more for 'after-cocktails' really :)  The only time I wear a suit and tie is to a wedding or a funeral..... and I prefer lager anyway.

Cocktail parties are tough for most people, but when you have hearing loss, they can be brutal! The constant buzz of conversation bounces around the hard surfaces of the room, making it difficult to pick out the important sounds—the voices of your conversation partners. When music is playing in the background, it is even harder. 

The whole experience can be frustrating, embarrassing, and incredibly exhausting. Many people with hearing loss would prefer to avoid cocktail parties like the plague. Cocktail Party Hearing Loss But cocktail parties are a fact of life and we must face them head on. I need to attend these types of events all the time. These include social gatherings for my children’s school, speaker engagements, and professional networking functions at conventions and conferences. Even my local Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) chapter meetings often begin with a period of socializing. At least there, we are all in the same boat. 

Recently I was asked to attend a cocktail reception for an event related to non-profit board membership. Several of us were asked to act as “ambassadors,” manning tables for various types of non-profit boards at the reception. I was eager to attend to help encourage others to be more involved in the non-profit world. I usually function fairly well at cocktail parties when I follow my survival tips (see those below), but this particular party was an incredible challenge, because everyone at the table wanted to talk to me! This would have been easy if I could have controlled the conversation, but not only did they want to converse, they all had questions which they expected me to answer. 

The smile-and-nod-noncommittally option was not a possibility. The evening was taxing and exhausting, but I am glad I went. Hopefully, the event inspired new interest in the non-profit sector through board service. It certainly inspired this post. Surviving A Cocktail Party When You Have Hearing Loss When approaching a cocktail party, people with hearing loss may opt for easy fixes—dominate the conversation or nod, smile and hope your responses are appropriate. While I admit to utilizing these crutches in a pinch, the following list of strategies provides a more authentic and satisfying experience. Please add your suggestions in the comments. 

1. Arrive rested. Hearing at a cocktail party requires significant concentration and brain power. Arrive rested and having eaten something. An empty stomach makes it harder to concentrate. 

 2. Find a good position in the room. Upon arrival, scope out the best possible acoustics within the setting and set up shop. A corner location often works well because it limits the background noise behind you. Areas with carpet, drapes or cushions are also good choices since soft surfaces help absorb excess sound. 

 3. Advocate for yourself. Let people know about your hearing difficulties and ask your speaking partners to move to a quieter part of the room if possible. Or invite them to step outside for a breath of fresh air and respite from the cacophony. If possible, ask the host to turn down the music in at least one part of the party. 

 4. Use technology. Some hearing aids have special programs for cocktail parties, but they are not always effective. Try using a Roger Pen or similar device as a microphone to hone in on the voices. One friend recently used Google’s Live Transcribe app at a cocktail party with success. You can read my take on Live Transcribe here. 

 5. Give visual clues to indicate you are having trouble hearing. A cupped hand behind your ear will let the speaker know to raise his voice without disrupting the flow of the conversation. 

 6. Take breaks. Don’t be afraid to head to a quiet room to rest your brain. Once your energy returns you can make another go of it. 

 7. Bring your sense of humour. A party is supposed to be fun. Smile and enjoy the atmosphere. Laugh at the mishearings — some can be quite funny if you let them.


Why a Bath supermarket has been renamed Signsbury's The superstore sign changed overnight.

Bath has been chosen for the world’s first signing store. The iconic sign above Bath Sainsbury’s superstore at Green Park has been changed to Signsbury's overnight. Signsbury’s will be encouraging all colleagues and customers to sign with one another until Sunday (July 21). More than a hundred staff in the store have taken part in British Sign Language (BSL) lessons, delivered by local signing school I Can Sign. 

The lessons were supported by a colleague who is deaf, Sam Book and Rachel Shenton, the Oscar winning screenwriter who famously signed her 2018 acceptance speech. Staff will be signing several common words and phrases when interacting with customers – from greeting them at the door; to asking if they have a Nectar Card; and even discussing the weather. Elsewhere in the store, helpful screens have been installed which demonstrate how to sign different words and phrases, including ‘milk’, ‘trolley’ and ‘bananas,’ aiming to get customers involved in the initiative and to walk away from store with some newly learned phrases. 

Children will be able to Sign for a Snack. When they master how to sign basic words, they will be given free fruit. The move comes as part of Sainsbury’s 150 Days of Community scheme, launched as part of its 150th anniversary celebrations. The initiative sees its 185,000 colleagues across the UK given the opportunity to volunteer for a cause they feel passionately about in their local community. When store manager Paul Robertson and his team, including Mr Book, found out about the initiative, the idea of Signsbury’s was born. Mr Robertson said: “When I heard about our 150 Days of Community scheme, I thought it was the perfect time to use the opportunity to explore new ways to make our store more deaf-friendly. 

“We have many hard of hearing customers in Bath and always want to make their experience as brilliant as possible, and we hope Signsbury’s will help better their time in store even more.” Actress Rachel Shenton, who is an ambassador for the National Deaf Children's Society, Sainsbury's colleague Sam Book, who is deaf, and Paul Robertson, general manager of the store in Bath (Image: PA) It is estimated that around 11 million people in the UK live with hearing loss. It is hoped that this initiative will help to encourage better communication with those who are hard of hearing by creating a supportive environment. Sainsbury’s says it has long been committed to being the most inclusive retailer. 

Three years ago it launched the 2016 film Life Doesn’t Come Without Subtitles to teach colleagues and the public how to sign.  Oscar-winning actress Rachel Shenton explains why she backed Signsbury's initiative Tim Fallowfield, board sponsor for disability and carers at Sainsbury’s said: “We’re really excited to be launching this Signsbury’s initiative at our store in Bath. “We want to be the most inclusive retailer where people love to work and shop and it’s really important to us that we support both customers and colleagues with hearing difficulties to feel as comfortable as possible in our stores wherever we can.

“We’re really proud of Paul and the team at Bath who thought up this wonderful idea as part of our 150 Days of Community celebrations.”

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Deaf Hate crime on Facebook

Abusive Facebook messages sent to partially deaf woman in 'disability hate crime' The court heard the messages which Nikkisha Thomas sent brought back painful memories of childhood bullying the victim suffered.

A woman sent abusive messages to someone who is partially deaf in a "disability hate crime", a court has heard. Nikkisha Louise Thomas sent the messages via Facebook then took to calling her victim on the phone after she was blocked on the social media platform. Swansea Magistrates' Court heard the experience had brought back painful memories of childhood bullying for the recipient of the abuse. Julie Sullivan, prosecuting, said Thomas and her victim knew each other and the woman had confided in the defendant about the struggles she had gone through because of her hearing difficulties.

In October last year, the relationship between the two deteriorated and on October 28 Thomas sent her victim a series of messages in what the prosecutor called a disability hate crime. In the abusive messages, 22-year-old Thomas called the woman "dumb", "inbred", and "a deaf and blind ****". The victim blocked the messages but then started receiving phone calls from an unknown number. Miss Sullivan said when the victim answered the calls Thomas would ask her if she could hear her. In a statement, the victim said she had been bullied over her deafness as a child and the experience with Thomas had brought back painful memories and knocked her self-confidence.

World emoji Day

At a time when the majority of deaf and disabled are fed up of sterotyping and labelling, Apple turns around re-establishing it all again, they just do not get it, we are individuals not their image. 'Disability-Inclusive'?  The Deaf will not love that one...  We spent years trying to ditch the all-encompassing wheelchair logos and the finger in the ear thing, they never learn.  ATR will not be using any of them for sure.

The issue is compounded by incorrect background info and distortions, including the BDA now downgrading its ridiculously inflated BSL states by 30,000, maybe these deaf have been cured or emigrated.  Hearing Link's claim went 10 times better than the BDA, claiming 900,000 deaf, and 151,000 BSL users, it's ridiculous misinformation and just fuels more BS from the respective 'campaigning areas'.  Without background to any stats its guesswork and who can 'get away' with the highest figure mostly.  The plug for culture had to go in didn't it?  WHY??????  It conflicts with the stats.  The background to all these things is that awareness has failed... and continues to fail.

The UK coverage inserted BSL not ASL too so it looks like that particular emoji is going to be challenged too, the yanks will want priority.

Apple has unveiled a swathe of new disability-inclusive emojis  – including a wheelchair user and a hearing aid – aimed at “celebrating diversity in its many forms”.  New designs were proposed last year and are now being previewed on World Emoji Day (July 17).  Among the 59 new designs, which will be available to Apple users later this year, is an overhaul of the ‘Holding Hands’ emoji which allows users to select any gender or skin tone.

“Emojis have become a crucial part of how many of us communicate,” writes Stephanie Collins, from Human Rights Watch’s disability division. “It is only right that people with disabilities, as the world’s largest minority, are represented in, and able to access, culture and communication like this equally.” But she adds: “There is still a long way to go for full inclusion and accurate representation of people with disabilities.”

With this in mind, RightsInfo has taken the opportunity to gather some key facts around the disabilities represented in the new emojis.

1. Hearing Aid

Hearing loss is the second most common disability in the UK, affecting around 1 in 6 adults (an estimated 11 million people).  Around 2 million people use hearing aids but its estimated 6.7 million could benefit from them.
Around 900,000 people in the UK are severely or profoundly deaf.
Source: Hearing Link.

2. Sign Language

As of March 2018, there are an estimated 151,000 people in the UK who can use British Sign Language. It is the preferred language of more than 87,000 Deaf people, according to the British Deaf Association. The UK government did not officially recognise British Sign Language as a language until 2003. However, the earliest documented use of sign language dates back to 15th century.

A 2012 survey revealing that two out of three deaf people have been unable to access an interpreter at a hospital appointment when requested. Under the Equality Act 2010, public authorities and service providers – such as schools and hospitals – must provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities.

Delta to include ASL help.

Image result for delta and ASL badges
On board soon: Employee uniforms to include Sign Language option. On the heels of being named "Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion" for the fourth consecutive year, Delta will soon be rolling out a uniform language bar option for over 300+ sign languages around the world. Delta is the first U.S. airline to offer this option; and with this improvement, customers and qualified employees will immediately be able to visually recognize when they hold sign language as a common connection. 

Delta CEO Ed Bastian shared the news with a video on his LinkedIn page today. "Our mission is to connect the world, which starts with making travel easier for all people," said Ed. "It's a small step on our journey, but a powerful change as we seek to make the world a smaller, more inclusive place." This initiative came to life as a direct result of feedback from Delta's customers, ABLE Disability Business Resource Group for employees and Advisory Board on Disability. Customers can expect to see uniformed employees sporting the new language bars later this fall. 

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Deaf not Stupid!

'Deaf' Arts has always been a conundrum to most with hearing loss, not really highlighting our issues at all, none too sure it covered the Deaf either, its an individual look at it promoting 'this is our experience, this is what we all do'.  The biggest mistakes deaf arts create is concentrating on own awareness and sign, this leaves a disconnect with a hearing audience still, they need to embrace wider issues, and be more topical, create things that hearing can equate with, you have to build that bridge and encourage others to cross it.

This can be done without ignoring the loss/comms point, just remember we are people who just 'happen' to have a hearing issue, but it doesn't define us as people, and should not, or you become one-trick ponies.  Deaf culture is primarily guilty of this approach.  I like artists who use humour to make a point, but not those who rely on awareness to make a living.  Life then can be one long lecture.   Basically, this artist would not encourage me to go and look at his act, because what he does has no link to how most with hearing loss live..

Success is on a hearing platform, not an 'in house' thing, we are still waiting for someone deaf to do that.  I suggest those who do not sign and have serious loss issues would have a totally different slant on it.  It's all rather sad Deaf Art is funded by disability arts funding too.

Raising a deaf child...

Hearing Aids protect against Dementia

Image result for hearing aidsATR doesn't support this survey much, 4,000 out of 9 million is hardly conclusive and the fact it came from a commercial site selling hearing aids is suspect too.   We stand corrected, but if you are profound deaf then, you don't wear or can utilise an aid can you?  I blame the fact everyone is claiming to be deaf now, mostly to get help with hearing loss.  Personally, we deplore relentless assaults on our issue claiming utter negativity and potentially serious health issues as well, lighten up!  They use the same argument/research to undermine born deaf too and add poor mental health to the mix... 'We are all doomed' is hardly a help...

A study of more than 4,000 hearing-impaired people found those who wore the amplifiers performed better on memory and attention tests.

Hearing loss has previously been linked to a decline in ‘brain function, memory and an increased risk of dementia’, the UK researchers claim. Being deaf is ‘socially isolating’, however, hearing aids help sufferers ‘experience sensory interactions’, an expert said.

This may enable hearing-impaired people to stay ‘engaged’, which could keep their brains sharp.  The study was carried out by the University of Exeter and King’s College London. It was led by Dr Anne Corbett, senior lecturer in dementia research at the Exeter.  ‘Previous research has shown hearing loss is linked to a loss of brain function, memory and an increased risk of dementia,’ Dr Corbett said. 

‘Our work is one of the largest studies to look at the impact of wearing a hearing aid, and suggests that wearing a hearing aid could actually protect the brain.’ Dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK, Alzheimer’s Society statistics show.

And in the US, 5.7 million people live with the disease, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.   Mild hearing loss occurs naturally with age, however, it is also associated with cognitive decline, the researchers wrote.

The Scam goes on...

The card has been handed out in Culter, and is believed to be part of a hoax
News from Scotland.. It's summer and they are doing the rounds again! (Most are identified as eastern Europeans), its amazing anyone would 'buy' from such people.  Targetting drunks is how they do it...  One such individual approached ATR in a restaurant but when signed at ran off... we got his ID circulated, he was Romanian, and later was charged for fraud.  He was selling 'deaf' key rings, at £3 a time.

A suspected fraudster was spotted last week at a pub in Culter, where he offered patrons a small sign card showing the sign language alphabet in exchange for cash. The card stated that the man has been “deaf since childhood” and that purchasing it would “help us with our goal to communicate”. 

A major hearing loss charity said any legitimate charity worker would be required to have a registered number on any fundraising material. However, the cards handed out in Culter had no such number, and are believed to be part of a hoax. She said: “We are concerned about reports of Aberdeen residents being encouraged to pay £2 for British Sign Language finger-spelling cards, which are free from AOHL and other charities supporting people who are deaf. 

“Charitable causes should have a charity number on their fundraising materials so that people can check with the named organisation or the Scottish Charity Regulator if there is cause to be suspicious about someone asking for money.  “It is unfortunate that donors need to be on their guard to avoid being scammers’ victims, but any individual raising money for a good cause should be open and transparent about who they are, and where any donations are going.” 

Glen Newlands, who bought one of the cards in the bar, believes he was duped. He said: “We were just sat talking when this guy came up to us, and just stood there quietly staring at us. “He gave us the cards and we all paid £2 each for them because we were feeling pretty merry, and I think just too polite to say anything. “He didn’t say a word, he just looked at us without speaking. “My daughter was quite cross, because she works with sign language and is involved with a lot of charities for deaf people and at the end of the day, these are potential donations for charity.”

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Finding your peer group

Related imageI don't believe the UK HAS any of real note, we know the deaf have them, but HoH groups are as rare as hen's teeth and we don't join the deaf versions or feel they are peers.  We read the 'Deaf & HI' remit all the time but that's a UK hype, not reality.  It was hype introduced by the health systems to try to put all with hearing loss under one heading, and to promote inclusion, but the Deaf did not want to know about including the HoH or the hearing.  

We keep asking the systems and charities to stop promoting the lie they won't listen, and I thought it was just us with hearing loss?  The reality is peer support and inclusion is side-stepped by cultural and human rights laws, then, division becomes an acceptable norm and inclusion fails, diversity is just a word.  We believe if Americans are honest with themselves the same situation already exists there. I find the article a bit twee and fitting into the 'let's all sing together from the same hymn sheet' cheesy mould, it's sad really.  All that's missing is coca cola...

It is hard to understand hearing loss until you have lived it — the mental fatigue that comes from listening all day, the debilitating impact of background noise, the frustration of non-working accessibility equipment. These are things people with hearing loss face on a daily basis. People with typical hearing — well, they just hear. This is why it is so important for those of us with hearing loss to find a peer group of people like us. Not only is the camaraderie enjoyable, but we can also learn a lot from one another and we will feel less alone in our struggles. 

Like most people, I started my hearing loss journey alone. My father had hearing loss, but he never discussed it, instead living his adult life suffering with denial and stigma. He eventually isolated himself from his family and friends, leading a lonely life. When I first noticed my hearing loss in graduate school, I was terrified, assuming I was doomed to a life of solitude as well. 

For many years, I followed in my father’s footsteps, hiding my hearing loss from all but my closest friends, but once I had children, this all changed. Since my hearing loss is genetic, I worried that I may have passed it onto them. I didn’t want them to see me feeling embarrassed by my hearing loss or disrupting my life to hide it. I needed to set a better example of how to thrive despite hearing loss. 

To educate myself, I began volunteering at a local hearing loss non-profit organization. This helped me to meet other people with hearing loss and discover they were leading vibrant and fulfilling lives. They engaged in meaningful work and had active social calendars. I began to feel less alone and less afraid. 

My new hearing loss peers showed me there was nothing shameful about hearing loss. They taught me tips and tricks to lead a better life despite the challenges of hearing loss. They informed me how to seek out caption readers at the movies and on Broadway. They coached me how to advocate for myself with my friends and family and taught me what communication best practices to use so that I could hear my best in a variety of situations. Most importantly, I no longer felt alone with my hearing loss. I was now part of a community of people like me.

Monday, 15 July 2019

How hearing people see deaf via their support?

I should be allowed to play a tree if I want.

Twitter Is Calling Out Scarlett Johansson And It's Now A Huge Meme "I should be allowed to play any person..."

[What's with all this 'meme' nonsense anyway?  Is it people trying to make us take them seriously?] Sorry folks I'm with her on this, just because minority groups insist on own people doing jobs they aren't trained for or don't believe in won't cut it.  They will be telling film producers who they can or cannot hire next, then films are dead.

Deaf people cannot convince anyone they are hearing, any more than a wheelchair disabled person can do the role of long-distance runners and the relentless lectures on awareness are a turn off too.  The key term here is acting, that is, portraying something you aren't,  they aren't doing own autobiographies...  these trans and other groups just don't get it and twitter doesn't pay film entrance costs we do.  The mistake is in assuming social media can tell us who we want to watch or can't.  Or, even what or whom we have to accept or not.

"Actor Scarlett Johansson often gets called out for taking on roles that should be played by the minorities they portray. For example, she depicted Major Motoko Kusanagi, an Asian woman, in the movie Ghost in the Shell. She was also supposed to play a trans man before deciding not to. 

"You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job," she said.  "I feel like it’s a trend in my business and it needs to happen for various social reasons, yet there are times it does get uncomfortable when it affects the art because I feel art should be free of restrictions." 

"I think society would be more connected if we just allowed others to have their own feelings and not expect everyone to feel the way we do."

Going for the Pulitzer prize

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Saw this recently, I don't usually look at deaf books because they are boringly repetitive and basically nothing to do with my sector and I don't read fiction anyway.  Social media of the HoH variety is starting to plug it..

Review#1: It is a great book, I am Canadian and read this when it first came out, passed on to my sisters to get more insight, my brothers not so interested, but yes a good read for all with hearing loss. 

Response #2:  Why just those with hearing loss?  I'm halfway through mine too, I went to a book shop and could only find books about deaf with sign language. I asked the bookseller where are the books from the hard of hearing and non-signing areas? he directed me to just one shelf, that was comprised of 5 books about clinical issues of deafness, after that, I felt I had to put pen to the proverbial electronic paper to balance it out a bit.   

We don't campaign, we don't write anything much either according the book shop, who was quite willing to have an 'HoH' book on his shelf, (we need to ask first?), but nobody offers him one.   I told him erm.. we don't actually use labels like HoH/HI/Deaf/deaf etc... that's the 'other' people...  Unfortunately, I am an old fart of advanced years, I cannot compete with this lady, so prior to flogging my opus, I will be in photoshop doing my best to look like I was not hit by a  bus and with a face resembling the Chiswick flyover.  At least it will be me writing it and not some hack doing it for a lazy-arsed celeb, who never mastered joined up writing... (Or too young to have had a life).

#3  I suspect NOT writing about how hard it all is, is the real key to wider appreciation, best talk about you and your life who 'just happens to have hearing loss' then more hearing readers can relate to it, don't make it one long complaint about how hearing loss needs more awareness, its a killer, mainstream has more issues than it wants to deal with as it is. 

#4 I'm writing one on 'How to succeed without using your hands..'  and a follow up entitled, 'I was Paddy Ladd's love child..'  I expect 9m Hard of Hearing to pay top dollar for it lol... and a bit of angst from the Deaf community will only help sales...

#5  I just hope it isn't yet another '15 things to do when you meet..'. stretched to buggery to fill space, let's hear about the person not the issues.  And just stop with the whining and how bad hearing people are, we ALL were one once..