Saturday, 7 December 2019


One in the ear for the deaf activist, and advocates of silence,  unquestionably you are wrong.  The latest viral hit on youtube.

Friday, 6 December 2019

A case most curious

Unheard Stories from VSO on Vimeo.

Nobody has stated the very obvious, in that the community she belongs to (the Islamic one), is the higher priority, or, that such deaf do not even integrate with the wider deaf communities either.  Even the Jewish areas and black ethnic areas have own clubs and organisations e.g.  Wonder what her views are on her peers dressing up head to toe in black and hiding their faces?  

Hardly conducive to lip-reading is it? Or deaf being able to read facial features.  In my area we had to demand a different Dr wearing one at a hospital, no one had any idea what she was really saying.  In the end such staff ran separate consultations for their own (Hearing), people, it's hardly inclusion.  Deaf were accused of anti-Islamic discrimination you could not script it.  We rely on seeing the facial features.

Google’s Live Caption

Google Pixel 3a front straight handheld
Google is bringing the Pixel 4’s Live Caption tech to its Pixel 3 series, two months after unveiling the feature for the first time. 

The company began rolling the real-time transcription service out to Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a users on Tuesday. With the tap of a button, fans of Google’s 2018 and early 2019 models can now automatically generate captions for pretty much any audio or video content on their phones.

The feature was designed as a tool for users who are hard of hearing or simply need a bit of help following the audio on their phone, whether that is because they are learning a new language, trying not to wake a baby or struggling to hear their favourite podcast on a busy train. Read our review of the Pixel 4 “Live Caption wouldn’t have been possible without the Deaf and hard of hearing communities who helped guide us from the very beginning”, wrote Android Accessibility Product Manager Brian Kemler back in October. 

“Similar to how we designed Live Transcribe earlier this year, we developed Live Caption in collaboration with individuals from the community and partners like Gallaudet University, the world’s premier university for Deaf and hard of hearing people. An early Deaf tester, Naiajah Wilson, explained how Live Caption would impact her daily life: “Now I don’t have to wake up my mom or dad and ask what’s being said””. 

Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects to Live Caption is that it works offline – the app processes speech directly on your device. You can even adjust the size of the captions or drag them around the screen so, if you’re watching a video, you know they’ll never get in the way of anything important. Unfortunately, the feature is not yet able to transcribe phone calls. It is also only available in English right now, though Google does have plans to support more languages in the future. 

Live Caption was initially introduced alongside the Pixel 4 at the Made By Google event in October. The update will continue to roll out across Pixel 3 and 3a handsets this week.

Sign language, identity, and assistive technology.

“MIT is the best place to be an anthropologist studying issues of science and technology,
It would help if researchers did not automatically assume the ASL stance as being the same as anti-alleviation or indeed anti- implantation or use of technologies.  Online views mostly are those of activism NOT grassroots.  

If researchers want a topic/theme that tests their researching abilities then try the NON-signing deaf and serious hearing loss areas (The majority who survive without the angst, the culture or the support! and without the need for sign too), how DO they do this?  Anyone can cut and paste online from the usual suspects and get sidetracked with the smoke screen of deprivation, discriminations,  and cultural martyrdom.  This isn't 1880 its 2019.

For an undergraduate research project, Loh merged these two interests — sign language and the Middle East — and received a grant to study the pedagogical structure of a school for the deaf in Jordan, picking up some Jordanian Sign Language in the process to carry out the research. “Sign languages are different in every country,” Loh explains, “because they emerge naturally within communities. 

They develop individually and become different languages, just as spoken languages do. American Sign Language and British Sign Language, for example, are different sign languages even though these signers are all surrounded by English speakers.” Soon, however, Loh began to explore assistive technology and, in particular, cochlear implants. These devices are surgically implanted and bypass the normal acoustic hearing process with electronic signals; these stimulate the auditory nerve to provide a sense of sound to the user. “Implants were controversial within the deaf community in the United States at first,” says Loh, “and still are, to some extent. 

There was a fear of what they would mean for the future of the deaf community. There were scholars who described cochlear implants for the deaf as a form of cultural or linguistic genocide. That sounds like an extreme description, but it really does index the depth of attachment that people have to a sense of themselves as deaf. So, I started thinking about the implications that technology has in the world of the deaf and for their ability to navigate the world.”  

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Do you Watch SEE HEAR?

Our occasional contentional delve into current issues Hard of Hearing discuss, this time its the Deaf SEE HEAR Progam.

#1  No, I stopped watching it years ago. There was a huge row between those with hearing loss and the BSL using area at SEE HEAR a few years ago, where SH consistently refused to include other people deaf who did not sign or, include the HoH at all. It blew up at the BBC feedback site and ended with the BBC removing ALL feedback, because they claimed HoH were discriminating by demanding access to See Hear which was a BSL area only, pretty unbelievable given the BBC remit was based on inclusion! 

The non-signing deaf did not give up and switched complaint to the BBC's disability site, the BBC removed them from there too after disabled and BSL people complained, this was because of deaf issues about the disability status of the deaf it became a hot potato that disrupted the inclusion process at the BBC.  The BBC's answer was to kill HoH feedback and the BSL one mostly because it became hostile.  Now the BBC has sanitised the disability and deaf areas and only those who 'don't rock boats' get any input, inclusions, or publicity.

#2 The BSL area is oversubscribed in access terms compared with the rest of us, having TWO TV channels SIGN ZONE (another blatant my way or the highway deaf and free-funded propaganda machine that ironically few deaf know about online), that tried initially to include then gave it up.  With no related HoH content no point in watching it.

#3  The 'Deaf' protesteth overmuch.  They have already a national support set up. and politicians helping them lobby for more exclusive access, the disabled and HoH were dumped by the BBC basically because these deaf used culture to stop us being included, it (SEE HEAR), exists as a constant red-rag to the HoH bull, or plain ignored.  The reality is the BBC wants out as well, and has removed it from prime time viewing to obscure night-time slots, different days and times when people aren't at home etc, but the Deaf haven't taken the hint, and demand it stays even if just 1 deafie looks at it, so the BBC won't pull the plug, mainly because these deaf would immediately claim discrimination.  It is all so pointless.

#4  The Achilles heel of the BSL area is its exclusivity and opposition to uniting for the common good of all, the HoH sat on the arse and let them and still does, we really need to to start fighting our own corner and go it alone ourselves, if it is OK for the BSL user it is OK for us. Of course, if we state why we need to do that we get attacked again. They use culture to batter opposition with and sign to exclude us.  The BSL gravy train pays very well for certain deaf areas and we couldn't sell hearing loss if we gave gold bars away with it free.

#5  They just don’t seem to realise the damage they do themselves with this attitude. I had a bad experience with it years ago, still won’t look at or share anything posted about or by BSL users. It’s so much kinder to myself to keep well away. Sadly, I would support their needs to the hilt in another world but this is a case of once bitten, twice shy.

#6 I wouldn't want to come across as aggressive towards the sign user, but clearly, we have totally different needs and agendas. For too long we have allowed the systems and charity to be led by a small group of people who are non-representative of most of us. I want a clean break from their agenda and campaigns, and their charities that operate discriminatory and biased so the majority with hearing loss can at least find a cause to fight for.

#7  We are too soft and accepting of the BSL area who won't include us anyway, The needs of the many, (As some Star Trek character once said), outweigh the needs of the few. There is a bigger picture here being totally sidelined. We should start by complaining about the 'Hard Of Hearing' view being represented by a BSL using person. Also to challenge any group or charity that has the remit 'Deaf and Hard of Hearing' in it. Because they are two very different areas you cannot portray as an inclusive or even communal area. 

#8 I'm peed off with the many objections to clinical support for hearing loss from people who don't KNOW what hearing loss is about. Loss defines need.  The attacks on CI's etc endless demands for sign because 'All deaf cannot read or write or want anything else.'  advising people to throw away their hearing aids, it has to be dumped as disinformation, it is NOT our view. I want out basically. 

#9 The BSL area is now ALL about money, as it provides classes, teaching and employment for its supporters, its carers, and its users, none of which include you or me. It does not prevent them from using our statistic to bolster their aims either. NOT in my name thanks.  That Gay American (Marco?),  rambles on about deaf not being disabled, when every issue they raise and every image we see, suggests the deaf are seriously disabled, the fact they cannot see it themselves suggests some sort of denial is prevalent.  That they insist everyone else causes their issues suggests some distancing from reality too.

#10 Not HoH friendly so I don't watch it.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Getting the deaf help to speak.

Renata and her sons
Even Portuguese!  All three of Renata's sons were born profoundly deaf. 

On International Day of People with Disability, a mother of three boys who were born profoundly deaf tells us how advancing technology and an early intervention program in Australia has seen her children flourish. 

Sydney woman Renata Reis had all the usual hopes when she was pregnant with her first child. A “healthy, happy baby,” she told SBS News. But when Rafael was born, he came with a unique challenge. He was profoundly deaf. “We don't have anyone in the family with hearing loss so it was very unexpected, very shocking news,” she said. 

Renata and her husband were told they shared a recessive gene and there was a one in four chance any future children they had would also be deaf. Their second and third babies, both boys, were also born with the same condition. Renata and Luca Renata with 10-month-old Luca. Amelia Dunn/SBS News "If you think ‘there’s a one in four chance,’ we're thinking ‘what are the odds? We've done it once with Rafael, I'm sure it will be fine this time, but no’,” Renata said. Her sons, Rafael, now seven, Gabriel, five, and 10-month-old Luca have all had surgery to be fitted with cochlear implants in their ears. 

To Renata’s delight, it has meant they can hear almost everything, as well as be able to talk and sing. Early intervention key Renata also attributes their successes to The Shepherd Centre, a world-leading early intervention program that teaches children who are born deaf or hearing impaired how to develop spoken language. Following in his older brother’s footsteps, Gabriel has just graduated from the centre’s school preparation program that gives hearing-impaired children the skills, confidence and support to help them enter mainstream schools. Baby Luca is also taken to classes there. The program has been so successful that Renata took on the challenge of teaching her sons Portuguese - her first language - which Rafael and Gabriel can now speak fluently. 

Dr Jim Hungerford said it is absolutely imperative children with hearing loss participate in early intervention programs. "By six months of age, if we're unable to provide them with the right hearing devices, their brain has already retracted so much that they can have permanent delays in their language.’’ “So it's incredibly important for people who've got a child who might have a hearing loss to seek urgent help as early as possible."

How to fool the people ALL the time.

Picture c/o PixabayBlatant cultural and sign propaganda sold as 'support for the hard of hearing' who don't use it.  Read on how the deaf activists suggest HoH are part of of a sign-using 'Deaf' culture.  What? no deaf or hearing loss awareness? show are the people they teach BSL to, be able to help or include the majority who don't?  They haven't convinced Hard of Hearing it is worth a try.  Is the article just a pure distortion of need and identity? Or a badly reported coverage of it by ignorant media?  

"There are more than 17,000 people who are hard of hearing in the town, with between 50 and 100 people who are profoundly deaf, and health chiefs have admitted more people needs to be done to support them. 

Councillors from Hartlepool Borough Council called for sign language to be introduced into schools to help address the issue at a meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board. Coun Carl Richardson said: “I think the likes of British Sign Language should be taught in schools along with French and German. 

“You will always meet in life someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, and it will probably be on the increase in the next 10 years or so. Sign up to our daily newsletter Enter your email “It’s important to recognise it as a language and I would hope one day it will be taught in schools.”

Deaf Journey into mental health services.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Is the deaf community worth saving?

Walkathon for the deaf ID.

Accessibility for the Deaf

Image result for toward inclusion
When I was thirteen, I failed my hearing test. I had faced problems with my ears before—recurrent ear infections led to a childhood ear surgery, as well as some reduced hearing ability. But this time, something was different. Unbeknownst to me, what had started as a small hole in my right eardrum had become an expanding perforation that, by the time it was caught, was the size of my eardrum itself. It would end up taking two surgeries and about a year to reconstruct my eardrum, leaving me nearly half deaf in the meantime. The reconstruction was successful (though I am still mildly hard of hearing), but this experience transformed the way I view the world. 

Even at the peak of my half-deafness, I did not miss my hearing. What I did miss, however, was being a full participant in our hearing-centric society. I pretended to laugh at jokes I couldn’t hear in the cafeteria, missed out on educational videos without captions, and mourned the loss of whispered middle-school gossip in the library. When taken together, these small, everyday inconveniences caused me great frustration and isolation. Accessibility is not always a consideration or priority for people to whom everything is accessible, and many of my friends and teachers, though well-meaning, didn’t always understand how to accommodate me and ensure I was included. 

Being deaf or hard of hearing is not a bad thing—it’s just different. Deaf people live their lives just like hearing people do, from driving cars to enjoying music. There is also a flourishing Deaf community and culture with which many Deaf individuals strongly identify. This is why many Deaf people prefer more positive terms like “Deaf gain” and “differently abled” to describe themselves, instead of negative ones like “hearing loss.” As I learned the hard way, though, this doesn’t mean the Deaf don’t face accessibility challenges.

The problems I’ve faced as a hard-of-hearing student are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to accessibility issues for the Deaf. Because I can use and understand oral English, I can interact easily with hearing people. Though there are some strategies the Deaf can learn to interact with oral language users, such as lip reading, speech therapy, and cued speech, these are not languages in and of themselves, and they are not always effective—an experienced lip reader, for example, may still only catch 40% of what is being said, and cued speech is not widely known and used. It’s because of this that Sign Language is one of the best options for the Deaf. 

In America, the Deaf use American Sign Language, or ASL. Just like spoken languages, there are many different sign languages, and each one has its own grammatical structure, vocabulary, and regional dialects. Everyone deserves language, whether they are hearing or not, and Sign Languages allow the Deaf to fully communicate in ways spoken language often cannot. 

ATR:  The issue is seeing yourself as someone apart from the mainstream, if you start with that premise there is nowhere else to go.    Living in an alternate world while demanding to be included in the main event doesn't compute, the social and actual has to be real. The whole 'tone' of the article is well-meaning enough but the writer's view as being 'different' to others and communicating differently isn't addressing the issue of the isolation, which requires a lot more effort from deaf and hearing to work, all we can read is regret, anger, rights, empowerment, and a whole host of other reasons why deaf cannot progress, (Or even should not adopt any mainstream 'hearing' approach), the politics of blame has replaced the desire to include or, to meet need.  

It's obvious a visual language system is going to produce issues where the majority language used is not.  If we are talking language inclusion by majority, Hindi and Urdu have a more substantial number and a case for it in the UK, even Polish does.  

As it stands, the deaf sign user has more rights than deaf and Hard of hearing currently, have a national support structure, free and paid for access  for two dedicated sign language TV programs, access others (including the disabled), do not have, as well as 100s of BSL Interpreters. Can the UK accommodate every language demand?   The law says it must TRY, but we are faced with multiple demands from the Deaf, the deaf, and others with hearing loss, and each wants THEIR own system, and no area works with the other, but apart, there is no united approach to inclusion.

Deaf need to address their claims of bilingualism because if they were truly bilingual, access would not be a problem.  Being able to read and write (Or sign), effectively, is hindered by their visual approaches to communication and demands to use visual means only, which is going to ENSURE deaf never gain real inclusion because a 'middle' man/woman will always be necessary to facilitate that.  What others can see and the deaf cannot, is the damning image of disability and reliance on others.

The very first 'demand' deaf state, is for help to follow. that is the primary 'Visual' mainstream can see with own eyes.  Trying to re-educate hearing to not believe what they see, is proving difficult as is there less than clearly stated direction.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Deaf and Reading

Networking at the Talking about reading event at Finsbury Library
Do you remember how you learned to read? 

Reading is something we learn in childhood and is an important aspect of our lives. While many people enjoy reading a good book, for others reading remains a struggle. The Literacy and Development Research Lab (‘Ladder Lab’) is a joint initiative between academics in the Division of Language and Communication Sciences at City, University of London and the Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at University College London (UCL). 

The aim of the lab is to better understand how literacy and language skills are acquired, including the underlying cognitive (memory and thinking) processes involved in literacy development. Earlier this month, the Ladder Lab team delivered an evening of talks and activities which highlighted the challenges deaf and hearing children face when learning how to read fluently. The event was held as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Festival of Social Science 2019 and was hosted at Finsbury Library, close to City’s Northampton Square Campus. 

Open to all, the event was well attended by speech and language professionals and parents. British Sign Language (BSL) and English interpreters were present to ensure full inclusion for all those attending. Dr Kate Rowley, Research Associate at DCAL, delivered the first talk of the evening, discussing the importance of phonetics (‘sounding out’ or ‘signing out’ words) to children when they learn to read which can be particularly challenging for deaf children. She stressed that the key predictors of learning to read successfully are the acquisition of a large, varied vocabulary and reading experience.

ATR:  Nobody is addressing the elephant in the room, the use of sign language in the early years.  Everyone and their deaf cat know that once the deaf acquire sign language they are deterred from reading and as they get older empowered to reject it by their activist peers.  BSL should not be used as per its grammar as this instils conflict day one in learning.  If the sign has to be used it should mirror the written and spoken word.  Why build the deaf children up to fail?  It hasn't succeeded in preventing mass disinterest in deaf clubs, or deaf charities.

There will never be a viable BSL educational system set up, and they will never get 100% support using it, not because of a denial of right but simply because the support system doesn't exist or is being trained, no pro support empowerment that way means it cannot happen.  BSL is a huge disadvantage to them as adults, the world does not revolve around sign language. Had deaf been able to separate the social from the actual application of sign they might have more options, but they can't, it all starts day one and sign use.

Blaming hearing because they don't sign is pointless.  Unless deaf aspiration is to work for themselves or be permanent martyrs to the cause.  The reality is well over 86% of all output is in text already.  Even on own sign-based/cultural output.  There is a definite link between daily BSL usage and poor literacy.  The aim does not seem to be about educating the deaf to exist outside their own area.

Illiteracy is the worst disability, not deafness or hearing loss.  Without literacy, you cannot advance.