Saturday, 20 June 2020

Twitter apologises to deaf people

Twitter apologised to deaf people for not making voice tweets accessible.

Product designer says accessibility options for those hard of hearing should have been factored in from the start of the test. 

One of the designers behind Twitter’s voice tweets has apologised for failing to make the feature accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people. The social network launched a test of the new option among a sample of users this week, allowing them to record up to 140 seconds of audio to post as a tweet. But the announcement was met with concerns about it excluding those with hearing disabilities. 

Although the firm initially responded saying it was “exploring ways” to make voice tweets accessible, critics argued accessibility should be factored in from the beginning, not at the end. Maya Patterson, staff product designer behind the project, has said it was a “huge error” and the team is “working to fix this as soon as possible”. “We f***** up, I f***** up,” she tweeted. 

“We launched a test and we should have included accessibility features in that test. “That was a huge error, and one I personally have made myself sit with all day today.” #deaflives matter

Friday, 19 June 2020

A BSL Education?

including deaf children
It is rather amazing there are still people who believe this comment accurate...

"Did you know deaf children leave school with a reading age 8/9 years old when they are 16 years old. Education is not fully accessible for all deaf children. We have a right to learn equally BSL is a british recognised language."

"That statistic is not true and hasn't been since mainstreaming replaced most UK deaf schools, it was the old deaf schools that limited the deaf child's education, mostly because it was assumed they couldn't speak or learn.  Deaf schools are the left-overs of institutional deaf support. Is BSL a recognised language? Not explained properly, the EU recognised it, along with 53 other regional 'languages', but it was left to the UK to ratify it and they never have in Education, nearest they got was TC (Total Education)."

"That was a BDA falsehood, they suggested BSL was accepted, but it was 'recognised' and that is not the same thing, as it carried little legal clout. If it did they wouldn't still be campaigning to get it into education."

"Demands for a BSL curriculum have been left 'on the table' year after year, there is very little political will to go with it. It would challenge parental choice."  

"An immersive BSL education has never been tried as I am aware, so he or she are asking parents to risk it in the hope it works for their child?  Big ask.   Deaf children are scattered all over the UK in small numbers, the only way it could work would be deaf children put in boarding schools in a field again. support for that would be next to nil."

"There are no teaching systems to enable that. Since most deaf schools closed (Less that 20 exist), the teaching support set up and specialisation mostly collapsed and it only was viable before because deaf children were segregated.  Both deaf education and the deaf 'world' relied on segregation to survive, we have to change the mindset."

"You won't find many hearing parents willing to go back to all that again, their kids come back strangers.  The only reason many were sympathetic to deaf demands was that lack of access in the mainstream but parents still don't want their children taught in isolation and annexe's."

"Yes, that is the real opposition to the  deaf demanding a signed education, they refuse to accept parental rights and challenge them.  Deaf children need the means and ability to access the mainstream where they will live, work and play, and little of it is based on sign language i.e. unless a deaf charity is recruiting or deaf arts get a disability subsidy, the deaf have to prove they can manage on their own without help."

The issue is not signed education enablement at all, but support in the mainstream, there are problems there, which enable deaf activists to demand an end to mainstreaming and go back to some glorious BSL educational future that actually has never existed, and the old system was shut down as inhibiting the deaf. Immersive education has never been tried. It means near every child would be unable to access further education properly and be hugely dependent on hearing interpreters, that isn't inclusion or empowerment.  A lot of the current issue is the support these deaf need is unavailable not being withheld.  They haven't 30% of the BSL terps they demand yet." 

"True deaf activism is illogical it is not even idealistic. They will probably insist on a UK Galludet or similar, which has failed in the USA with a few exceptions, and led to discrimination by decibel and the inherent racism in part as well as Hard of Hearing getting blocked from classes, ousting their own deaf head and vandalising statues and such.  It's losing money hand over fist too with their shenanigans." 

"That suggests putting all empowerment in one deaf basket is a bad move, it goes to extremes and becomes insular very quickly and becomes a ripe recruiting ground for the negatives.  They are never going to learn about acceptance or inclusion that way, just 50 shades of D.."

"Yup, 'Deaf Lives Matter!' and an inherent reluctance to accept others not signing the same as them makes it all look a bit dodgy, the UK would not go for it.  For UK BSL activism (All 6 of them BDA permitting!), to want to repeat the same mistakes is not going to happen,  While there will always be a minority within the deaf world so disabled and with learning issues etc who need a school that specialises, the majority can function OK in the mainstream, despite activists insisting they can't. Sign isolates and it is time that was realised."

"The reality is ANY school or educational system entirely sign based needs teachers, a curriculum, exams, basic technological hardware and software and everything academic in a BSL visual format, none of it exists.  Politically the basis would need to promote real inclusion and that won't happen in a segregated school or classroom somewhere.  Being an occasional visitor isn't inclusion."

"It would need massive training before it could happen, that takes years itself, there would have to be a direct link and requirement in any curriculum to enable as far as is possible the deaf child is literate and able to follow English, it is all very well insisting BSL has its own grammatical way of doing things, but the mainstream has too and it would be criminal to deprive any deaf child of the opportunity to advance themselves via an unrealistic demand to defy the country's norm and then expect deaf children will still benefit."

Deaf Read, undone by D and d?

It seems that is the case as recent changes to (Pick your own capitals it makes no difference), is only found in the UK once via searches an average for every 20 attempts,it's not unusual for days being unable to log in.  We don't know what changes deaf read have made but the number of posts and reads tells its own story.

The 'Old' site is found easily but no longer updates anything, the new site cannot be found most of the time by any search option, and has single figure views by a very small number of people able to find it.  Amidst the confusion of Deaf.Read and issues, it has been phished twice and listed in the UK as an unmoderated and suspect site too with security software suggesting re-direct options have been hacked and re-directs to trojan hosting sites.  Deaf read left front and back doors open apparently.  

Requests for a link that is viable produced no accuracy at all. The old link is no longer viable, initially, we in the UK got a link that only sent us to ASL vlog site which has little following here and had an attack of 'rainbows' or something.  Clearly unless changes its site title and removes the old site entirely then deaf are not able to find, or make a contribution to it. Can the site owners explain how we can effectively log in?  

As an aside dropping the D/d thing would make a great deal of sense.  Search options being what they are they don't really discriminate or identify us via the D or d thing at all it is either or both or Hard of Hearing or disabled.  I rely on for my blog as the UK has no equivalent and still works a la old email vacuum site modus.   If this continues I may just have to take it down.  Basically, we are losing information too which is a shame.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Wearing Hearing Aid when deaf?

Most simply fail to understand the psychological reaction to hearing loss, and that is down to polarised views online mostly and biased awareness none of which is either valid or successful.

I didn't find the video all that clear when he went into 'different levels of deafness.' of course there are no different levels, you are deaf or you are not, otherwise you have a degree of hearing loss which may or may not be alleviated via an assistive device, but each individual has a different reaction and acceptance of what that hearing level and effectiveness is. Most don't hear a lot! and the response is usually the 'Nod' as we know.

As an ex-user of hearing aids many many years ago, ANY sound would have suited me and I would wear an aid all the time regardless if it gave me any in, to the spoken word.  In part I looked on it as a safety device,  I may not have heard a single word spoken but could mostly know if a lorry was coming at me.  In reality, I was relying on my EYES mostly. 

Many years ago, a UK politician once declared 'Noise is Life'  when there was some political argument regarding heavy traffic and aircraft near his constituency, he then declared 'OK so move the deaf next to the motorways, by-passes and airfields it won't bother them.'

BBC Radio 4 - Desert Island Discs, Norman St John-StevasNoise is life, was about the correct description of how many with hearing aids see their use, even when it non-inclusive of the spoken word.  People need to understand for those losing hearing noise IS life, it is the only thing left to connect them with their peers as they see it.  

Irrational? maybe not, but a hearing aid or a CI, can save a lot of mental health deterioration, and as we read the last few years stave off dementia too where silence is definitely not a help.  You can get isolated from a lot of what is happening in the world and your own shrinks to very few people who can stimulate you as they are all in the same boat..

Without a signing community, they wouldn't manage either, they don't have HA so sign is their fall back. The HoH are nothing like those people for whom hearing is a complete mystery or non-event anyway, and part of the issue is various groupings trying to blur the lines and suggesting the modes they use will work for others too, but the mindset is completely different, it isn't about effect modes and alternatives, it is about hearing.  the HoH area has only one desire, to hear, and hear just about anything really.

My parent was deaf without an aid, my grandmother too, both spent a LOT of money investing in very expensive hearing aids that still could not counter the fact they were deaf, but ANY sounds they felt kept them in with a shout.  Noise WAS life to them, and that's the basic answer as to why people wear hearing aids.  It will be no use others suggesting they sign or such, or ridiculing them, basically they want only sound and any db will be ok.

To be deaf is to lose contact with others, Ms Keller made that point often enough, the reason why hearing aids are worn that still don't effect useful speech has that bottom line, and why near all HOH want deafness erased from the planet.  They drive near all research into that elusive cure. Unfortunately, HoH are unaccepting of their own foibles regarding what they hear, or how they see it being addressed. They are holding out for hearing nothing else will really do.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Epistle #2

Kia Ora, kei tepehea koe?

Just a line to let you know we are still in the land of the almost living in banging downtown Wales (But avoid Barry Island for a few months it still glows in the dark). 

I have included the obligatory sop to the local language sorry if it is dodgy, I hope the greeting anyway finds you well, which roughly translated means 'may you drown in gallons of orange squash and father many lentils' or something... and earnestly hope it won't lead to another march against us colonials (If only because its a pretty wet walk from Wellington NZ to Cardiff). Sue google translate not me.

The English here are being ornery again, and just to be democratic they sent two visitors to NZ  recently who were COVID carriers in case you ran out of them there.   Let us know if you are short there are another 126,080 we want rid of.  Wales is holding out, hanging on, waiting for a hero,  and televising daily a  dozen more mind-numbing adages that pass for government policy here, and the backing group needs a lot more practice too.  Roughly translated it means we are in the s.h.i.t. and then some.

First World War Bovril Advert Photograph by Library Of CongressThere are few if any other changes here apart from some idiots of indeterminate intelligence, marching up and down the street about race, colour, Winston Churchill's penchant for Cuban cigars, and being highly offended by Basil Fawlty (who poked fun at Germany, not black people), but any port in a teacup for the permanently pissed off brigade will do.  Next week it is the ginger-haired alliance, and the week after the league of the left-handed Bovril haters or something.

I foresee a further outbreak of mass hypocrisy,  more rabid focus groups,  and lunacy on demand to be honest. Being prime candidates for COVID-19 (What happened with the other 18 I want to know?), I suppose the BAME people just want to get it over with.  If they think banning Basil Fawlty is going to cut it, I have grave misgivings they are going to succeed, had they demanded a ban on daytime or weekend TV they might have had a lot more determined support they have caused more premature deaths by boredom than any virus. 

Dinorwic Slate Quarry - quarry track - Picture of Dinorwic Slate ...2 weeks ago racism didn't exist, that's COVID power for you. Now we have more isms/ists than we can swing a metaphorical cat at. We also fined 1100 English people many Kopeks for trying to enter Wales illegally, making the pretty lame excuse they thought they were in Basildon, which was never going to fool anyone in Blaenau Ffestiniog, or Llanfair P.G. was it?  Our police told them to come back when COVID has gone away and not until Lloyd George re-appears to sign their visa.  

It is amazing the English still think Wales, Scotland and Ireland are the same thing as England, lesser assumptions have caused world wars as you know If I was English I'd be doing my uttermost to hide it frankly.  We all have different assemblies doing own thing, (pretty badly mostly, but that is our norm and we will defend to the last pint that right).  

We HAVEN'T forgotten Europe either we are leaving them for good December 31st, some Millenium or other,  had they created a ban on COVID immigration we would not be in the mess we are now, it is so bad there they are boating across the channel to get away from the EU now, although the logic of coming to the UK where COVID is everywhere sounds a bit puzzling. 

Using the duodecimal system will make your day-to-day life much easierThe only negative is we cannot blame them again for everything that happens, so the English are the fall guys. Thank goodness, my education (based on the duodecimal system which created the Empire for us), and I learnt logarithms, pounds and ounces, and feet and yards wasn't a complete waste.   We'll soon colonise the planet again given a few years and rid the planet of Coffee.  The Europeans using the 10 system was their downfall because that's all the toes and finger digits they had, it was a non-starter,  once they ran out at 21 they were screwed basically. 

We won't have to learn other languages any more either and can go back to shouting at them which was the sort of universal language that everyone understood, who needs Esperanto when you can shout 'Oi! Stavros! uno pinta savvy?"  I  mean chwarae teg, Where would Mandarin be of use in Ponty? and the Euro was never a currency we used here, which is still £. s. d. (and half crowns I think.)     

We mustn't ignore our Royal family, (Yes we must I am just making conversation), now affectionally known as their Royal Highnesses' the living dead (You only have to look at Prince Phil to know Boris Karlof is still alive and well and in better shape), I put the mention at the bottom of this blog and as far away from the photo as possible so we didn't frighten the kids. relief all around also we got rid of Harry and let the Americans put up with them. Serves then right we haven't forgotten how they dumped decent tea in Boston Harbour.

Hope this finds you as it found me (Pissed as a fart mostly).

Your Bro, y'all.... (let no one say I am not inclusive).

Search Results

Web result with site links , Where would Mandarin be of use in Ponty? and the Euro was never a currency we used here, (which is still £. s. d. I think.)     Our Royal family, affectionally known as their Royal Highnesses' the upper class living  dead (You only have to look at Prince Phil to know Boris Karlof is still alive and well and in better shape), 

Monday, 15 June 2020

2 Deaf Drs.

Puts to rest the effectiveness of DIY clear face masks there is only one medically approved version and they aren't available to deaf Drs so DIY ones are strictly NOT for medical usage.  

What seems to be missing is what percentage of deaf or HoH lip-readers are COVID patients?  The numbers quoted are the stat ones the BDA/AOHL turn out and were not relevant prior to COVID.
By: Helen Grote and Fizz Izagaren

We are two deaf doctors who rely on lipreading in our daily work. The debates about personal protective equipment (PPE) during this coronavirus outbreak have revolved around adequate supplies

(1) Whether the fit testing and face masks supplied by hospital trusts give enough protection.

(2) The communication needs of those who rely on lipreading have been completely overlooked.

At present, we have found only one company in the world that produces transparent face masks approved for use in healthcare settings ( These are currently unavailable, and, despite involving our respective hospital trusts, the BMA, and NHS England, there are no transparent masks available for use in healthcare settings in the UK.

On a practical level, this means participating in discussions on ward rounds is all but impossible—aside from reading entries in-patient notes and the pre- and post-round discussions in non-clinical settings where masks can be removed. In a medical emergency that requires PPE to be worn, and where safe and effective communication is essential, this difficulty is a concern.

Similarly, the effect on patients has been overlooked. Around one in six people in the UK live with hearing loss—and in people over the age of 70 an estimated 70% have hearing loss.

(3)  The use of masks has made communication with healthcare professionals harder for many of these patients, and yet the General Medical Council states communication “in a way patients can understand” is vital for informed consent, patient care, and safety.

(4)  Face coverings don’t just affect those who lipread; studies have shown that 60-70% of communication is based on non-verbal cues from lip patterns and facial expressions,

(5)  Which is essential for anyone with communication difficulties.

While we recognise that masks and non-medical face coverings do reduce viral transmission from coughs and sneezes, the attitude of policy makers and the public towards the D/deaf community has been disappointing.

(6)  Politicians including Sadiq Khan and high profile doctors such as Twitter’s Dr Ellie and Trisha Greenhalgh have supported campaigns such as #MasksforAll. In an analysis in The BMJ Greenhalgh and colleagues concluded that, despite limited evidence, masks “could have a substantial impact on transmission with a relatively small impact on social and economic life.”

(7) The negative impact of #MasksforAll on the social and communication needs of the D/deaf community is, however, substantial. It risks those with hearing loss becoming increasingly isolated, with all the detrimental mental health consequences that can ensue.

Those advocating the mass wearing of masks have overlooked its impact on the D/deaf community. In the rare instances that the matter has been tackled, it is dismissed as a short term concession that the community could make for the greater good of society. Yet the time needed to produce a safe, effective vaccine against COVID-19, together with the acknowledgement of England’s chief medical officer that social distancing measures will need to be in place for “really quite a long period of time,”

(8)  This makes it likely that the wearing of masks will become normalised in the longer term.

In a society where manufacturers rushed to produce ventilators and generous communities produced scrubs and homemade visors, no one, despite our calls for help, has been able to produce a suitable transparent mask in this time. Although one thoughtful US healthcare student has produced a pattern for a homemade transparent mask,

(9)  These are not classified as suitable for use in a healthcare setting, where type IIR or FFP3 masks are required. We, as a society and as a body of healthcare professionals, need to ensure that in our response to covid-19, the rights of those with hearing loss are not forgotten.

We would encourage all healthcare professionals to consider the communication needs of their D/deaf patients. Apps, such as Google’s Live Transcribe, may help to decipher speech from behind a mask in quiet settings. Clear signs and pictures can also assist with communication; resources such as Cardmedic, a digital package of communication flashcards, can be helpful in some instances. Written notes, however, are not always an effective means of communication for those whose first language is British Sign Language, as the grammatical structure is entirely different.

The lack of support has been one of the hardest challenges we have faced at work during the pandemic. It leaves us and our D/deaf patients feeling isolated and ignored. Reading articles and tweets about the importance of masks, with no consideration of the impact on the D/deaf, leads us to conclude that policy makers and academics have forgotten about the importance of equality impact assessments in this area.

We want—and need—access to suitable transparent masks in healthcare settings and are keen to work in collaboration with manufacturers to enable this to happen. Most of all, please advocate on our behalf. As we have heard often, tackling this current pandemic together “is a marathon, not a sprint.” A focus on ensuring access to transparent masks, and enabling safe, effective communication for healthcare workers and patients with hearing loss will be a legacy for years to come.

Deaf Lives Matter.