Friday, 25 October 2019

Silent No More.

New UI hearing aid technology allows users to connect to wireless devices

Despite silly statements like these! “We are happy living without the sense of sound. Not all deaf or hard of hearing people are the same,”  All HoH are.  YOU aren't HoH, you are deaf and don't even use them, you are also unauthorised to offer comment too. Do we tell you how to sign?

Two University of Iowa researchers and their colleagues at Gallaudet University received a grant to study the possible creation of smart hearing aids that can be integrated into what they call a “wireless ecosystem.” The five-year grant is one part of a larger project by the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Technology Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center, led by Christian Vogler. Vogler is a professor and director of the Technology Access Program at Gallaudet University — the nation’s preeminent deaf university. “… 

Currently, if you are looking at the hearing aid technology, hearing aid platforms are operating in isolation,” said Octav Chipara, UI associate professor and researcher. According to numbers from Chipara and UI Associate Professor and researcher Yu-Hsiang Wu, current hearing aids are inadequate. So much so that as many as 50 percent of hearing aid users do not use their hearing aids, and 40 percent of those who do report dissatisfaction with them. RELATED: Signing in to Deaf Awareness Week Chipara said the pair’s research will utilize devices like iCloud and Microsoft Edge to better the system that hearing aids run on. The goal would be to create a hearing aid that would process and amplify sound within the device, and it would send an alert from a smart device to the hearing aid when sound occurs. 

“Currently, hearing aids can connect to some devices like smartphones, but all the signal processing of the sounds is done within the hearing aid itself,” Wu said. “This grant will help us develop a tool kit for our research and better the use of Edge and Cloud resources to make a better hearing aid.” The researchers said their new hearing aid would allow for users to hear more clearly in noisy environments due to the greater Cloud or Edge processing power at its disposal. “[Chipara] was a partner on the previous iteration of this grant from 2014 to 2019,” Vogler said. “He did a project on collecting real-world data from hearing aids and smartphones. 
We were happy with his work, and it gave him the experience for the current project. The current one is a logical step up.” Vogler said he was excited by the prospect of Chipara and Wu’s research because current hearing devices are limited by both size and processing power. RELATED: Team co-led by UI biologists discover gene key to human hearing “I’d say the primary impact is much-improved ability to communicate through listening,” Vogler said. “You can do all kinds of advanced audio processing if you don’t have to worry about power and limited computing in hearing aids.” 

UI American Sign Language Undergraduate program Director Bob Vizzini said in an email to The Daily Iowan that he’s not sure how these new hearing aids could affect the deaf and hard of hearing communities — especially as a deaf person himself who does not use any hearing aid or assistant devices. “We are happy living without the sense of sound. Not all deaf or hard of hearing people are the same,” Vizzini said. “Many of them wish they had the ability to hear like the general population … so this kind of work may benefit them. 

It can contribute to a portion of deaf/hard of hearing people.” These hearing aids will allow users to hear a better quality of sound than has ever been possible before, Wu said. “It’s not about inventing new hearing aids, but more about opening the door for hearing aids to transcend their limitations,” Vogler said. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Captioning Service to be scrapped.

Deaf Couple May Edit Embryo’s DNA to Correct Hearing Mutation

Image by Richard Wheeler/Creative Commons. United Kingdom, 2019.We sit at a corner table in an empty upstairs section of the restaurant while live Georgian music plays downstairs. Yevgenievna, in her late 20s, cannot hear it—or any music. She has been deaf since birth. But with the help of a hearing aid that’s linked to a wireless microphone, which she places on the table, she can hear some sounds, and she is adept at reading lips. She speaks to me primarily in Russian, through a translator, but she is also conversant in English.

Yevgenievna and her husband, who is partially deaf, want to have children who will not inherit hearing problems. There is nothing illicit about our discussion: Russia has no clear regulations prohibiting Rebrikov’s plan to correct the deafness mutation in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) embryo. But Yevgenievna is uneasy about publicity. “We were told if we become the first couple to do this experiment we’ll become famous, and HBO already tried to reach me,” Yevgenievna says. “I don’t want to be well known like an actor and have people bother me.” She is also deeply ambivalent about the procedure itself, a pioneering and potentially risky use of the CRISPR genome editor.

The couple met on, a Russian Facebook of sorts, in a chat room for people who are hearing impaired. Her husband could hear until he was 15 years old, and still gets by with hearing aids. They have a daughter—Yevgenievna asks me not to reveal her age—who failed a hearing test at birth. Doctors initially believed it was likely a temporary problem produced by having a cesarean section, but 1 month later, her parents took her to a specialized hearing clinic. “We were told our daughter had zero hearing,” Yevgenievna says. “I was shocked, and we cried.”

Their daughter could have received a cochlear implant, an electronic device that uses surgically implanted electrodes to directly stimulate the auditory nerve. People with such implants can understand speech, but typically can’t hear music. But Yevgenievna and her husband weren’t interested in the device for their child because friends in the Russian deaf community had bad experiences with it—likely because they didn’t receive the proper rehabilitation after the surgery to deal with flood of new signals to the brain.

Later, they learned the cause of their daughter’s hearing loss was genetic. Testing showed she had the same mutation in both of her copies of a gene called GJB2. The mutation, known as 35delG, is one of the most common genetic causes of hearing loss. People homozygous for 35delG, like Yevgenievna’s daughter, will inevitably have hearing loss, albeit to varying degrees. At the time, neither parent had ever had their genes tested—or even thought they had inherited their hearing problems.

Discrimination against deafened people is institutional.

Image result for deafenedIt's not as if we have to spend most of our time being called cultural and signing to fend off all the time, but the total lack of support in the UK for deafened people is creating huge anger and despair at being ignored entirely.  

With local authorities, and the DWP refusing point-blank access to support unless we sign or are blind as well. Social media complains that the NADP a charity set up FOR deafened people is not just pointless, but failing in its purpose. BSL users get interpreters HoH and deafened get nothing, WHY weren't they making the case for our support?

"To National Association of Deafened People:  Reading the news today, there was an item covering 'Direct Payment' in Wales. 6,000 disabled claimants were complaining local authorities were not paying them enough to cover their support need (Which was rejected by LA's). We also noted the 'Deaf' area was also refused control over hiring and firing BSL terps too by refusing them the means to hire who they want, (primarily their own BSL interpreters opposed it, they didn't want 'clients' as their 'employers'.)

Direct Payments seemed to me as a deafened person an ideal avenue to claim that allowance so I could employ the text or lip-reading support I needed as a deafened person, and in the process, set precedent for others and create demand where Wales had less than FIVE text support listed staff for 300,000 with hearing loss, two of those were BSL terps, with questionable lip speaking skills using BSL most of the time.  but Wales had NO established system of support for HoH or deafened people because LA's/DWP were refusing to cover the costs of it demanded by qualified people, unless we learn to sign, tough. 

I duly made a claim to my local authority explaining that as the DWP had blocked deafened people and in many areas removed even the sole basic DLA allowance which was nowhere near paying for ONE hour of support a month let alone as and when, or getting any other allowance for that support despite acknowledging I was profoundly deaf and text-dependent they said 'Sorry being deaf is not enough, you have to be blind as well' (Pass me a sharp stick and a guide dog someone !).

Perhaps the NADP could address this issue?  If a claim was successful in enabling deafened people to claim DP, that can create demand, then a viable system not extant at all now could be developed. I queried the DP issue and the DWP/Government said nothing to do with them its a local authority 'discretionary' benefit.  I said it was more a 'discrimination' benefit. The site criteria clearly suggested deafened people were identified as an area needing and qualifying for that support, it was LA's deciding to use their 'discretion' to refuse. So discrimination, there is no mention that only deaf-blind qualify.  LA's were using 'discretional' options to operate wholesale cuts to support by targetting us.

It was further compounded by the fact my partner born deaf and a sign language user is enabled with her support but I am denied mine. Is this not discrimination (Discuss!). If the DWP AND the Local authorities/health services are also failing to provide text/lip-speaking support why hasn't the NADP raised this issue for us?   Is the NHS using IT'S discretion to deny us too?  Being asked to bring relatives or a 'carer' is an insult (As well as lawbreaking).

Other blocks for help were based on 'Wales controls the NHS there so again nothing to do with anyone else take it up with them'. I did just that,  and there were NO RECORDs extant the welsh NHS had a system of deafened support at all to access. Very obviously asking the social services was a waste of time because you would need support to follow them and the SS had already refused that. 

All I am reading at the NADP is lip-spoken tours of stately homes in middle-class areas of England. Please explain your relevance to me. Not a member, so you don't care?  I suggest you don't ask me to join."

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

BSL in London.

talk more about hearing loss, Centre for Deaf Education
We are encouraging debate around understanding and knowledge of hearing loss and acknowledgement of how it can unnecessarily exclude people from activities which many would consider a fundamental right. 

[Hearing loss and profound deafness are not viewed the same thing by cultural and signing DEAF.]

Activities such as accessing healthcare at a time and place which is convenient for them or carrying out their civic duty by serving on a Jury in a crown court. Research conducted by the NHS (2) has shown that almost three-quarters of deaf people (74%) felt that their employment opportunities were limited because of their deafness and over two thirds (68%) have felt isolated at work. 

[Limitations can also be down to poor literacy and sign language reliance, unfortunately, the mainstream of employment does not utilise sign language as a primary or even secondary medium of basic communication, its empowerment needs third parties which also affects deaf opportunity via access.]

A lack of education and access to training is helping to keep barriers to communication in place. Our research has revealed that: 

• 94% of people surveyed don’t know more than two signs in BSL. 

[really? 94% of hearing, or deaf?]

• 60% of people would like to learn to communicate better with deaf people and those with hearing loss, which is positive news we need to build upon. 

[We don't see that borne out via applications to sign classes.  No surveys are validated.]

• 61% of people feel that those who are deaf, or who have some level of hearing loss, are marginalised in society because not enough people know how to communicate with them effectively.

[Or deaf people taught how to communicate to hearing effectively either! If they are waiting for hearing people to sign at them they are in for a lengthy wait.   Deaf education is a waste of time if that's happening, in that the deaf are never taught ways of communicating to others.  Do they expect they can do their own thing instead?    The lack of clarity on what hearing loss and deafness entails, formats used and support available to make them effective, combined with the bias of awareness, only adds to the issue, mainstream don't know what we need unless we inform them personally, and campaigns are for A and B defined hearing loss areas, lip-reading for HoH, and sign for deaf, that misleads, in short, 'deaf awareness' only ever highlights sign awareness, NOT hearing loss awareness, charities have been polarised this way for 25 years, deaf campaigns have never lobbied on any other basis.]

We can change this. Generally speaking, BSL, lipreading and managing hearing loss courses provide students with an incredible range of tools, indeed they can use in both their professional and personal lives. Further, deaf awareness training for friends and family members and organisations is important in improving communication with deaf and hard of hearing people. We strive to influence the UK Government and policymakers about the importance of BSL education and we welcomed the then Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds MP’s, announcement in November 2018 that the Department for Education and Ofqual were in the process of reviewing proposals for a BSL GCSE. 

[This isn't explained properly, although demands for a BSL based education system have been highlighted, nothing happened about it, and the NDCS has voiced against, and despite BSL recognition pre 2005 by Europe the British educational system has not introduced sign as a primary educational medium for the deaf child, there is a multi-layered, holistic approach to give the deaf child the widest options.]

Equally, we have welcomed the London Mayor’s commitment to fully fund BSL Level 1 and 2 for deaf adults.

[I wonder how many deaf adults would even attend/need such a class?  BSL classes only encourage hearing people so far. Lip-reading classes attracting NO deaf adults who sign already.   Level 1 and 2 would barely gain them entrance to a deaf club.  It looks like the article writer is pro-BSL and that's fine, but a deaf adult would not be in difficulty if he or she managed to get to adulthood without sign, they would have already acquired alternatives.  Such low levels are not approved by Deaf charities as valid enough to support a qualification, when we take into account BSL Interpreters need level 6 and above.  Its beginner stuff colours and numbers.  As stated level 1/2 would not enable them to support each other.]

I'm staggered at the low level of the awareness displayed by the article writer.


No room at the top.

Image result for elitismThat is room for inclusive policies and transparency of running what is mooted to be the UK's number one signing and cultural charity, the BDA.  Social media is now openly expressing concern at the British Deaf Association, asking why 7 trustees felt they could not work alongside the signing executive and concerns there were suggestions they could go into liquidation, they are already running at a loss. Further concerns a 'hearing' interpreter was being opportunistic and displaying unease a hearing person was going to disrupt this ancient charity.  The news for those people is that hearing are empowering them via interpreters, biting the hand that feeds seems negative.  Anti-hearing politics have to stop, we are looking paranoid and insular to others.

Many concerns and various demands for the BDA to cease using sign language and culture, as a blunt tool to proceed in a direction the majority of deaf people don't support and followed that through by resigning as members.  The scandal of 'What really goes on in secret with the upper hierarchy at the BDA?'  is developing conspiracy theories.  The strange view online of deaf very very reluctant to question what goes on is the community supporting its own despite very unhappy at what is emerging with few members willing to go public and ask there.  Laudable but ensuring nothing changes for the better.  The comment below was a posted answer in response to a BDA member who expressed concern he could not openly put his view online because of pressures from the BDA.  It is left to ex BDA members and others to ask the real questions.

"BDA Members aren't running scared of the executive, are they? I thought that was what caused 7 trustees to resign? and Ms Richards seeing a vacuum to fill, another opportunist. The BDA is no longer fit for deaf purposes, it relies totally on BSL and culture and is not addressing the realities of either in regards to advancing the opportunities or support for deaf people, it's turning into some sort of sect at the top, anyone that expresses a concern is labelled and attacked as 'attacking deaf people' well ATR IS deaf! and it is a bad image for deaf people to support, the politics of fear. 

Deaf children need access and support to the outside world, the BDA is determined to keep them all in some 'closed shop', signing away and getting nowhere. Few if any of their campaigns are about integrating deaf people or inclusion. It started out demanding inclusion but now thrives on EX-cluding people who don't fit whatever their 'image' is supposed to be. It is great more people are looking to help the deaf but the conditions the BDA sets is counterproductive and the loss of so many members is ample proof it isn't working. I left the BDA because they told me they only wanted deaf who supported culture and used sign language, I said 'Where have you been the last 40 years? and how does that help deaf people?' 

Inclusion, usually means a fair amount of determination to be included, the BDA has never supported that, only paid 'lip-service' to it, the sham has been exposed, and I doubt the BDA will succeed by maintaining this ridiculous dogma at the same times using the culture and sign, to discriminate against what is, the MAJORITY of deaf people and others with hearing loss.  No one is fooled by the blatant practice of 'going it alone' and failing to help others who don't 'fit in'. What next for the BDA? rolled-up trouser legs and funny handshakes! Join the 21stc, please. Who knows I might even re-apply to join then."

Monday, 21 October 2019