Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Living with profound loss.

Living with profound hearing loss from SimpleUsability on Vimeo.

Could the real answer just be awareness doesn't work? Another post that highlights sign language promotion is causing awareness distortion and disinformation whilst creating very real issues of access and inclusion for other deaf people too, by refusing to clarify need or identify deaf people.  Requests to remove face masks are actually illegal on health grounds, it isn't a deliberate attempt to discriminate against deaf people but to protect them from infection.  

Hearing have rights too, we cannot demand their mask removal they have a right to refuse.  It would save time and angst if the deaf took a spare clear mask with them, obviously, this is an issue currently because only 2 manufacturers make a clear mask that meets medical criteria, but they are available, obviously commercial clear masks are NOT acceptable as they don't meet strict criteria.  Idiots who just annoy are par for the course, find one with a brain.  Planning ahead saves a lot of time if you leave the home hoping others will be aware and comply that is a basic error, always assume, they WON'T!

A conversation with Asha Hylton. Paediatric ICU Nurse and Deaf Advocate.


How has this condition changed - for better or worse - since the start of the pandemic? 

I rely on lipreading so the face masks cover the whole of the faces, so I can’t see the facial expressions, I can’t see their lip pattern. And even if you do explain it to people they are not patient with you they just get really agitated with you, and get quite annoyed.

Why do you think accessibility is not where it should be and what’s missing from the conversation?  

With deafness, a lot of people assume that deaf people have the same needs. They think oh you’re deaf so we’ll just provide a BSL interpreter, that’s it. That’s not the case. Every deaf person has their own individual needs, which could be like lipreading, interpreters, notetakers, or, lip speaker.

We are all so unique. No deaf person is the same. So I think that’s what people are not aware about. What do you think can, and will improve the accessibility of products and services online? Just having all the access that are readily available. Where do you think the UK should make improvements first?

When I get the train or the tube. Like, I hate getting the train or the public transport because, sometimes there’s delays, cancellations And I see like a group of people running somewhere and I’m like “Where am I going?” Because they’ve made the announcement that there’s a platform change or the trains are being split up.

When would you say the world is accessible? Probably when people are listening, but do people listen? Not all the time.

Google AI reads sign language too.


Google states that its new project allows smartphones to interpret and “read aloud” sign language. There’s no app, but there are algorithms developers can use to make their own apps.

Until now, this type of software has only worked on PCs, so it’s a huge and important step. The hearing-impaired community appreciated the project, but also noted that the tech might have problems fully translating some conversations.  In an AI blog, Google research engineers Valentin Bazarevsky and Fan Zhang state that the project will be “the basis for sign language understanding”. It was developed in partnership with image software company MediaPipe.

“We’re excited to see what people come up with. For our part, we will continue our research to make the technology more robust and to stabilize tracking, increasing the number of gestures we can reliably detect,” a spokeswoman told the BBC.  This is only the first step as the approach now misses any facial expressions or speed of signing and these, changing the meaning of what is being discussed.

You can learn more here.