Saturday, 22 February 2020

Lip-Reading is it too hard?

I think most agree it is a modus too far.

What deaf should NOT do.

Image result for be like dad keepReading a jokey vlog in the UK from a BSL signer who mocked hearing annoyed at aspects of hearing loss, 'what hearing do, what deaf do', a reader once hearing hit back.

'I have been hearing and deaf and everything else in between for 50 YEARS, the vlogger does not know what she is talking about, perhaps this fabled 'intuition' they claim visually doesn't really exist.  Born deaf do not know there are things hearing do and do not like about the deaf way of life, that has less to do with loss or discriminations, but deaf ignorance of the 'hearing way.' 

What I did find on going profound deaf myself, (Apart from the fact I was in the top 5% who really were deaf in a deaf club!), was deaf people completely unaware that invading hearing people's 'space' was a no-no, much the same as hearing should not step between deaf people talking etc.  Also, deaf signing is an issue, being too widely accessible to other signers.  Obviously, despite the fact I am deaf, I am not 'Deaf' or cultural.

Deaf people had little or no privacy of conversation from what I could see.  Topics of conversation were quite limited, and without a life-long background of deafness and schooling, it became difficult to widen conversations to interests I had, as I had no background at all to anything like that.  They also displayed little interest, in interests I pursued as an ex hearing person, they were quite dismissive at times. 'That's what hearing do, we do...' etc I also found deaf topics quite repetitive from one week to the next.  I became quite bored. 

I found it restricted my social interaction even within the deaf club circuit.  I made deaf friends but was not really 'socialising' WITH them.  E.G. If you want to 'talk' to another deaf person privately then, you have to leave the room or move away from other deaf visually or they all know your business.  I did turn my back once or twice to avoid others 'reading' what I was saying and was accused of being disrespectful, they did not understand it was for privacy reasons.  They said I was ignoring people.

I found this as an ex-hearing person very off-putting and it made me uncomfortable, absolutely anything you sign is seen or watched by other deaf and is around the club or social area in minutes, even to deaf you had never met.  I hated that.  Even meeting up with deaf friends outside a club, was no real guarantee of any privacy, back at the clubs after everyone knew what went on because talking about what you do and who were with is a deaf 'norm' of some kind.    It's OK to a point, but NOT to discuss what was said.  If I want deaf to know I'd stand on a platform and tell them.

Hearing discuss what they do also but they don't 'distribute' widely after, if they do it causes very real problems, and 'listening in' to other people's discussion is asking for trouble.  It would seem even the deaf interpreter or carer/mentor did much the same thing so quite personal issues are being widely discussed about you and apparently to a large degree is acceptable, I think you can forget the official secrets act within deaf support!

I was actually shocked at the level of personal information deaf tell each other too, anything from their sex lives to their friend's sex lives, to own parents and family issues, and without ensuring only real friends knew and respected that.   Trust became an issue of how much do you say? even to 'friends'. 

Deaf don't 'do' privacy and it is a huge drawback.  Since I realised how the deaf operated socially, I took active steps to keep a private conversation private.   I can slip into the speech-only mode or turn away my face from them, and stop signing, so they cannot keep up.  

Very few signers are decent lip-readers so I can talk without being watched all the time, and I know which deaf can lip-read.  I've even used my phone to text my partner when I want to say something privately.  Deaf need to respect hearing etiquette.  We don't like being watched and talked about, it is your norm but it is not ours. The level of knowledge about other people without the privacy respected is a worry and I have to keep self-monitoring what I say all the time, it is draining, it creates issues of socialising, but the only real answer would be to avoid other deaf people.'

Friday, 21 February 2020


No photo description available.Complaints by deaf and HoH they have no access to the taxi services.

(1) My area some taxis are text accessible and take emails already. Signed access is unnecessary and impossible really, only makes access more difficult there are no signed services to facilitate it.  

(2) Access for access sake, TEXT it!

ATR:  A lot of poor access is/was because of HEARING people (idiots basically), who abused this access to create false requests, they also made 999 text access a problem for us. Years ago minicom access was withdrawn from the police for that same reason, it offered hackers a way into the police system and minicom calls could be made from mobile phones and computers as could fax. 

Deaf people can get a 'code' given to them so that the Taxi service knows it is a genuine call and with 999 you can register, but it seems deaf haven't understood this and are demanding direct access without registering or understanding why. They are simply assuming it is discrimination and creating more problems for themselves.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

I'm not deaf!

Like so many, JENNI MURRAY refused to accept she was losing her hearing but since getting help realises it's daft that the subject is such a taboo.

Jenni Murray explains how she refused even to think that she might be going deaf. She wasn't old, she was only in my 60sCurled up on the sofa one Saturday night, I was watching a TV drama with my family. 'Watching' being the right word, as most of what was being said escaped me. Being someone who prides herself on her immaculate diction, I complained loudly, and in a slightly snooty manner, about: 'These young actors. They mumble away. No one's ever taught them how to speak properly. They don't articulate correctly. Why don't they speak up?' Yet no one else in the room — my husband, David, and sons, Ed and Charlie — appeared to be having any difficulty following the plot. 

They were all gripped by the story and ignored my whingeing. In the end I got up in a huff, left the room to make a coffee, then stomped upstairs to read. I refused even to think that I might be going deaf. I wasn't old, I was only in my 60s. Everyone always told me how young I looked. Jenni Murray explains how she refused even to think that she might be going deaf. She wasn't old, she was only in my 60s.

Jenni Murray explains how she refused even to think that she might be going deaf. She wasn't old, she was only in my 60s The idea of needing a hearing aid was preposterous and I wasn't going there. I would just turn up the sound on the TV and radio and, at work, the headphones I wear in the studio could be as loud as I needed. I convinced myself there was no problem. I would just carry on as usual. 

Fast forward another four years and my son, Charlie, popped round for dinner. It was just the two of us and, as he was clearing the table and loading the dishwasher, I went through to the sitting room to switch on the TV.  'Crikey, Mum!' came a shriek from the kitchen. 'Are you trying to entertain the entire street? That's so loud!' He bounded into the room, snatched the remote control from my hand and checked the sound level. 'Mum, you've got it on level 56. It shouldn't be more than 25 — 30 at the most. It's ridiculous. You can't hear properly. You are now definitely going to get your hearing checked.' 

Why DON'T deaf know English?

Indeed and the USA version of our language leaves a lot to be desired too.  They seem to be dropping vowels at random, and the USA grammar is in a structure of its own too.  Other than justifying sign language why not challenge the declaration ASL/BSL is an 'IN' to English?  or, that cultural demands are opposing the acquisition of English and its grammar?  Or acknowledge the existence of a signed English version? This is academic excuses really.  Many deaf have learning issues, another issue ignored.  The question to be asked is why it is necessary for deaf to acquire a different grammatical structure and 'language' to the country they live in, when signing alternatives exist to enable them to follow?

Deaf inclusive Gym.

Deaf oxymoron's of the world unite...

You have nothing to lose but your sign, and everything to gain including speech. [On being an oxymoron in communication.]

Sarah Elizabeth Moreman Born deaf, Sarah Moreman used Cued Speech to learn independence. 

I turned 40 this month, which made me particularly reflective of the twists and turns of my journey as an oxymoron. This perception of my being oxymoronic stems from having been diagnosed at 10 months of age as born bi-sensorineural profoundly deaf. Upon confirming this diagnosis, my parents determined how it would be possible for me to take responsibility to communicate with others. Rather than taking the well-grooved path of learning sign language, they researched other options and met with Dr. Richard Orin Cornett. 

He was the founder of Cued Speech. Drawing from his physics and applied mathematics background, Dr. Cornett developed this phonemic system to visually teach the hearing impaired to pronounce words correctly and lipread better by using their residual hearing. 

I did not let my hearing impairment stop me from becoming a college teacher and a public speaker. Cued Speech taught me more than lipreading and proper pronunciation; I learned independence. Once I got the hang of lipreading, I stubbornly insisted that others no longer needed to cue to me. After having used a Cued Speech transliterator throughout K-12, I decided in college to change accommodations to emailed transcription and remote captioning before dropping accommodations altogether in graduate school. I learned to ask professors and classmates good questions about the course content. 

I learned to be the first to answer the question that the professor posed rather than let the class discussion drift by with my trying to catch up and yet losing participation points. I did the same at family dinners and friend gatherings by giving as much input as I could without putting too much burden on others to include me. To be an oxymoron means to go against the perceived and unquestioned acceptance of there being only one or even only two ways for a person with a disability to get by in the world. After having learned that I could ace classes and write papers that make sense, I refused to accept that I could not be a speaker.  

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

And the band played on..

Image result for the impossible dreamLip-reading, is it worth it?   Pretty much the answer is negative, but no Hard of Hearing support for sign language either. Yet more angst from HoH social media...

'Has anyone else tried lip-reading classes and given up? I have tried 3 different terms now and am useless at it. I also found the classes quite tedious despite the nice tutor. I think one problem is I sat there thinking I would rather be learning Spanish! That was my plan - no chance now.'

'Lip-reading is unviable for well over 87% of all people who attend, and, they HAVE hearing aids to assist. It should not be advertised as a viable 'tuitional class', or medium, the class setups are not geared for that. They (students), have no level to attain or exam to follow after, if you learnt Spanish in a class you would have to do it to prove proficiency. There are no assessments undertaken of the suitability of the student/client to benefit either, or classes undertaking 'street' work so realism is part of the course.  Spending 6 months trying to understand someone next to you with the same issue in a class is hardly equipping you to cope alone on those streets with people not going to give you that leeway.'

'Its primary aim (According to the lip-reading association themselves), is to encourage socialising, and if you learn some lip-reading that is an unexpected bonus, and if your ears fail you or your aid does, you are back to square one, but they don't tell you that lip-reading is almost totally reliant on what you can still HEAR hence why 99% of students can.'

'I totally despair these LR or BSL classes have any real point for us at the business end. I'd want both re-assessed and a proper communication class replacing them both with clinical support and a real aim to it and to commence on a diagnosis of hearing loss. Too many HoH pursue this 'holy grail' of lip-reading and believe they can be 'born-again' hearing or something, and such classes encourage the myth.'

'Well, denial plays a major role, as do hearing aid manufacturers unrealistic claims, and encouragements to hide the fact you have a hearing aid or a hearing loss. ergo 'invisible hearing' 'they cannot see your aid.' etc it all panders to hearing loss fear.'

'Yes, and all combined with the charitable view hearing loss is just an old people's inevitability, but hearing loss covers all people and all age ranges, so a system of real communication support is a real need, honesty would help.  BSL is for hearing and to a large extent lip-reading is for the very very few, so where do HoH or the deaf actually fit in class wise?'

'I did a 8 week course about 4 years ago, I found it very hard!!'

'8 weeks is pretty pointless as you found out, and when you are having to compete with a dozen others with better residual hearing than you have, I'm surprised you lasted 8 weeks and given the course is usually 6 MONTHS. For most, it would take YEARS to master and with 1 on 1 support too, neither exist. Only then would you be able to adapt (Assuming you have the ability).'

'Age, infirmity, degree of loss, time spent with no communication support, these all have a bearing on LR viability, hence the suggestion you need an assessment to see if LR is viable in your case or sign language, and/or assistive technology is more suitable. There is a lot of professional bllx being aired but few are actually professional except in clinical diagnosis not what happens after..'

'There are numerous health and age reasons why neither classes as they stand will work for you. Communication support has to be taken seriously, all we are seeing is the hard sell for sign language and half-hearted attempts to help the HoH who are now overwhelmingly text reliant. A concern giving there are claimed to be 10m of them pretty much unsupported that way.'

The sound of bass.

I think we should be wary of suggesting that appreciation of heavily inclusive bass and percussion actually enhances music appreciation. Deaf are just experiencing the physical pressures Bass and percussions produce, they are still unable to appreciate many instruments or indeed, the singing voice and all the permutations that exist with those, of course, 'pop' music is strictly a young person's area isn't it?  

From the medical area this advice:  Loud bass can cause damage to your body, mostly your ears. But, loud treble (and especially distorted treble) is more likely to cause permanent damage and is probably what you should pay the closest attention to if you don't want to suffer damage to your body.  High bass levels can be too much for your body too, causing it to make you feel nauseous, it can also produce issues with the heart rate. 

It is factual many musicians end up with poor hearing and deafness being constantly exposed to these issues.  Just because you are already deaf does not mean you are immune to other issues, such volumes and pressures can affect your body too.

FHSR supporting the deaf/HoH child.

Rehab and no sign language?

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

SPD new communication Cards

It is rather accepting the police are being told we cannot speak and they need not bother to learn sign either isn't it?  Is all the deaf can do is point and mime?  I don't think this is awareness or access personally I would find it patronising and demeaning.  Most deaf can speak, if they choose not to that's silly.

Rights trump need?

Image result for pharmacy
Social media round-up what the Hard of Hearing were talking about.

(1) Last year my local Boots had a poster stating 'BSL' customers welcome in-shop support. It was the first time ever I saw any shop doing that. They had the sign poster up and the loop/ear logo. I went in the loop wasn't switched on nobody knew how to  do it. As regards to the sign access none of that either because it relied on a few staff who attended a free 'learn the ABC of sign' class and, they no longer worked there, ridiculous. 

The government also said don't pressure your GP, but to ask the chemist for diagnosis help, but no effective loop or sign there either. AOHL charity awarded the welsh assembly staff kudos for deaf awareness success with staff, on entering the building we could find not a single member of staff who knew what the AOHL was talking about and identifying staff was a no-no. Do you think awareness is just NOT working at all?  I should add after I complained they took down the access posters.

(2) Yes, its all just PR with companies eagerly ticking boxes in order to comply with the Equality Act but not actually understanding or complying. Hearing loop signs seem to pop up everywhere but they are very rarely working, either because they are not switched on, or because they have been installed by a loop installer that does not know what they are doing or doesn't care or a combination of both. I have seen numerous loops installed where they simply won't be able to work eg certain surfaces can block the signal, placed too low, too high. Also with the microphone facing the wrong way! But until there is legal obligation and, more importantly, enforcement nothing will change. Other than a few prosecutions of taxi drivers for not allowing assistance dogs in the car (on which the law is clear) I have not heard of any other legal cases involving access for deaf/hoh people. 

(3) Boots told me after I complained 'nobody asks us to switch it on really...' If that is true no wonder they get apathetic about it. Shops have the highest turnover of staff, so that was one excuse I got in that 'Tracy' (who did some sign), left here months ago. I know of shops GP's, and chemists with the loop logo and poster but, that is ALL they have, not the equipment! Seems nobody is complaining enough.

(4) We all need to complain more.

(5) I rather suspect the system is 'use it or lose it', training people up and purchasing equipment is wasted time if demand is seen as pretty non-extant. we have to ask ourselves what are the priority demands we want met? Offering and demanding access to everything then using next to none of it puts us on the backfoot, it also wasted access provision.

(6) Perhaps we should just prioritise essential areas and forget the rest? 

(7)  Yes, of course, a right of access to everything others have is the law, but the reality is what will we USE? and not just demand stuff we really are not going to use much at all. 

(8)  For my money access demands should be concentrated solely at this time on health, education, safety and support. I'm appaled the NHS is a no-go area for the lip-reader or the HoH e.g. I have few issues at all really now worrying the local shop has a signer or a loop.   It's cheap shots at profile areas by activists and campaigners who need to concentrate on specifics.  Support to buy a bunch of bananas while we still cannot get help in a clinical situation is beyond logic.  Do some of these 'campaigners' really understand need at all?  Maybe they need to attend classes!

(9) In the case of Boots it is a bit different as they dispense prescriptions and, we are told, able to advise us on health issues too, clearly this isn't happening, legal, or is viable. My local chemist was banned offering advice by the BMA, they said pharmacists are not Dr's so not qualified to offer medical advice except on what commercial cold cure they believe is best! One area they can help with is in checking which medication is dispensed and if other medicines can negatively interact with them as Dr's don't always check that themselves. But again NOT qualified to DIAGNOSE.

New Video Tests for deaf and disabled drivers.

Video clips are to replace written scenarios in UK driving theory tests to make them more accessible. 

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) announced that, from April 14, learners will be asked three questions after watching a driving clip of up to 30 seconds. The change follows research which found that learners with reading difficulties and disabilities felt more comfortable with video scenarios than written ones. DVSA chief driving examiner Mark Winn said: “Being able to drive can be life-changing and the DVSA is committed to helping everyone access the opportunities driving can offer. 

17 million Theory tests taken in the UK over the past 10 years DVSA “We have worked closely with road safety experts and learners to create a theory test which fully tests a candidate’s knowledge of the rules of the road and is more accessible.” A scenario could show a car being driven through a town centre or on a country road, with three multiple-choice questions on issues such as safe overtaking or why motorcyclists are considered vulnerable road users. The bid to improve access to driving comes after the Department for Transport launched its inclusive transport strategy in July 2018. 

The DVSA worked with the National Autistic Society, and the British Dyslexia Association to develop the change. John Rogers, of community interest company Disability Driving Instructors, said: “A picture paints a thousand words, especially for candidates with special educational needs. Video scenarios should prove much easier to follow and the questions will hopefully appear more relevant John Rogers, Disability Driving Instructors “Having to go back and forth between the text in the written scenario and the written questions and answers was a big obstacle to understanding what was required. 

“Video scenarios should prove much easier to follow and the questions will hopefully appear more relevant.” Some 17 million theory tests have been conducted in the UK over the past 10 years. 

Sunday, 16 February 2020

There are no Deaf and no Hard of Hearing

Image result for I am not deaf!There are only statistics.  This is a well-trodden area by ATR who has pursued the truth and the real statistics about hearing loss for years with little success.

E.G. The NHS does NOT keep records of the deaf in regards to their communication usage so there are none to be quoted, clinical records of deafness exist but again degree is recorded randomly and devolved areas of the UK see stats recorded differntly.  Deaf in Wales can be recorded 11 different ways, with disabled, with the blind, as Hard of hearing, as sensory impaired, with the mental health stats etc, so presumably charities are putting 2 and 2 together to create 6 or 8 by aggregating all of them as being different when they are one and the same.

It hasn't prevented the BDA et al suggesting everyone deaf signs.  While records list people with hearing loss, it rarely if ever mentioned degree or impact.  3m need hearing aids never wear them or ask for support.  The only way to validate numbers (And support needs of course),  is by actually assessing people/asking them basically,  but, ensuring the right questions are being asked.  The last UK census was a pig's ear of a 'survey' it asked a loaded question without any accuracy or detail.  

Now the UK is dropping the census and relying on NHS/DWP or social media.  The USA recent census never asked the 'Deaf' question.  In essence, the UK deaf did NOT even use the D/d criteria but reverted to hearing loss and 'adding' sign use, then, listed signers only who had declared after who could not be identified including 1,000s of hearing who said they signed.  What ATR found was the BDA, the AOHL, and the NHS/DWP saying no stats are recorded because to do that would put them in breach of the Data protection act.  

They cannot ask a deaf or HoH person for the details to clarify either their degree of loss, the impact of it, or the communication approaches they use, either on a daily, or occasional basis, or, to what degree support was needed or asked for as this would mean actual identification. 

If AOHL claims 11m with hearing loss that may be accurate as regards to people clinically recorded with a hearing loss, but inaccurate in that they all require support they aren't getting, that can only be defined by Social Services/NHS/Educational areas etc who have lists of people who are claiming help and need support with it, but, it may well NOT list the type of support or regularity of it and if a child or adult, identification is illegal.

The BDA can make no claims as regards to BSL use as this doesn't come under NHS criteria only in as much as those who have asked for BSL help.  What stats emerge suggested 86% of deaf need no BSL support. ATR asked social services for stats of local deaf, they sent me a basic list of 300 as a number with no other detail, further checks brought that down to 80 because people had either died or moved away and the SS DBASE isn't geared for recording it, or it is never reviewed and updated.  Of the 80 they said only 16 asked for support. 

Until compulsory assessments are required for all only those who ask exist.  The DWP demands such an assessment in clear breach of the DP Act and decides who is deaf or not on that assessment and has names and records but is refusing to give anyone the results. 

Social media hearsay response suggested 63% of all deaf and HoH thus assessed, failed to qualify at all for welfare support.  Deaf or disabled ? not even that sorry.  We wouldn't claim there is no demand for deaf help or little demand for HoH support, but what facts exist, suggest they simply are not requesting it, or unable to qualify for it as a need, there are few if any records of increased demand either.

No No Rikki

Rikki gets sniffy about captioning, but let us examine her own vlog which has captioning errors too and is a pretty obvious vlog using deaf awareness to make money itself.   A few countries outside the USA are actively opposing advertising in certain areas (Celebs etc), capitalising on its fan base, but Rikki does the same.  As to her 'celeb' status that is up to others. In offering up criticism on captioning she advertises too so her own imaging seems as important as the deaf issues she opines.

Yes it is annoying those who start captioning then stop again, we suspect that is mostly commercial areas looking for deaf customers, and finding out the deaf customer base doesn't warrant the expense of giving that access, cruel I know but a commercial decision, use it or lose it springs to mind.  We have two TV programs for the deaf in the UK hardly anyone watches.  

Expecting every area to caption (Or even offer sign language), is unrealistic anyway, we only have 24hrs in a day to peruse them all.  Access has to be justified and a need and not just a right to be had, (then ignored after), or as Rikki states it gets removed again.  Too late to moan after.

Many ASL deaf it has to be said actually oppose captioning entirely and remove speech from their output also, on cultural grounds, but mostly it is fear-based and a recognition ASL/BSL et al cannot compete with text.   Some deaf that will caption may well have limited English grammar academically or use crap google captions that are littered with errors.  Criticising them not a good idea.  

ATR was at the start of deaf doing own captioning on youtube and own signing output in the UK, but was under constant attack from purists of the BSL variety who (A) Said some signs were wrong, and (B) Deaf don't read so they didn't want captions included (I became puzzled as to what deaf watched or how!) times have changed but some attitudes still haven't, ATR then stopped producing any individual accessible youtube output for them.  Life is too short for deflecting petty criticisms, these people are driving access away.

Most deaf will take what they can get, but I would want access directed where it counts and priorities set.  Statistics suggest most older deaf aren't even online so accessing their TV or phoning their friends is all they want.  Many areas of support and need urgently want this access and personally, I don't give a damn if some commercial areas caption or not until that is sorted and a norm.  

Rikki never challenges cultural opposition to captions, or the ASL/BSL extreme view, she could claim a moral high ground if she did.  Do as we ask and not as we do etc  ...  has to be confronted. There can be no excuse for deliberating blocking access by us or the mainstream.  The commercialism of the deaf and hard of hearing people and their communications (and them being sold as some commodity!), is not a good image or direction either, as regards to it being awareness, only time can tell.  Online I would suggest is not an accurate reflection or representation of us on the ground, just the more extreme elements. Access and inclusion is now worse than it was 25 years ago, despite all these online claims to the contrary or the leading deaf campaigns.

Interpreters are getting less, education is still a mess of Culture versus hearing loss, and deaf schools continue to close...  The reality is sign is losing (Lost really), the battle against text and always will.   I would not miss signed access at all, but text certainly.