Monday, December 27, 2010

Netflix, do they give a $*%@ about the Deaf/deaf/HOH market?

It cheeses me off that Netflix does not provide closed captioning. There's very little closed captioned choices on Netflix. I can't seem to find anything on the web about why the company is dragging its feet on CC. You'd think Netflix would make CC a priority in order to reach a larger market.

Currently there are a few foreign films in the database. I have a IMDB list of foreign films I'd like to watch but none of them are available on Netflix. Last week my husband found one closed captioned documentary - Super High Me. It's about a not-so-funny comedian who smokes a lot of marijuana for a month and what effect it has on him (turns out to have not much of an effect). I'm disappointed that they didn't choose to caption more high caliber movies, instead they give HOH/Deaf bottom-of-the-barrel movies.

The FCC rules require people or companies that distribute television programs directly to home viewers to make sure those programs are captioned. Under the rules, 100 percent of nonexempt programs shown on or after January 1, 1998, must be closed captioned by January 1, 2006. Also, 75 percent of nonexempt programs shown before January 1, 1998, must be closed captioned by January 1, 2008. The rules do not apply to videotapes, laser disks, digital video disks, or video game cartridges.

Does Netflix get an exemption because they distribute movies directly to home viewers and not television programs? If so, I'm not seeing closed captioning on the Television programs either but again it's probably because they're a television program recorded on DVD.

I've checked the web and find reports about a CC service on Netflix coming soon but all the announcements are dated the being the beginning of 2010. It's now the end of 2010 and from what I'm seeing a handful of programs/movies are captioned. I did read a blog that said there were about a total of 100 captioned tv programs/movies in the database but you can't search for captioned items, you just have to stumble upon one by looking at each items description.

When my husband is using our television to watch a movie via Netflix, I'm doing something else, instead of sharing the movie experience with him. Recently he was watching a PBS TV documentary called "This Emotional Life" I caught just enough to see that it was quite good and something I'd like to fully understand. While he's taking in the program I'm checking the web to see what it would cost to buy the DVD just so I can get closed captioning. I've got to spend $40 to watch something that we already get through a subscription to Netflix. Very frustrating. The closed captioning/Disabilities Acts legislation needs some updating. Streaming is becoming the norm and needs to be included in the CC regulations.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

iPhone commercial that incorporates sign language

Scroll to 1:20 seconds. The couple use sign language to communicate via the iPhone's video function.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Accessibility conference - no closed captioning/scripting at the CHS sessions

This week I attended a 2 day conference covering accessibility in the academic environment.

lecture hall
First day I was pleasantly surprised to see that the sessions were "captioned". I believe they used a type of google chat service. The speaker wore a microphone and someone in another room typed what he/she was saying.

There were some issues, often the microphone would go off or shift or something so that the typist couldn't hear, so there would be messages from the typist about the audio feed being cut, which wasn't usually addressed until a couple of minutes further into the lecture because the speaker or room helper didn't notice the scripting issue.

Often there was only one mike, so if there were 2 speakers they had to fumble with taking the lapel mic off and giving it to the other speaker.

During the keynote speech the scripting screen would go blue every 10 minutes. One of the conference techies in the audience had to walk down to the computer on the podium and wiggle the mouse (the speaker couldn't access the mouse because she had a ambulatory disability).

Also the captioning was not in real time. The captioning appeared on the screen one paragraph at a time about 1 minute after the speaker had uttered the words. Keeping up was a little difficult.

But come day 2 I came to expect that all sessions would be captioned/scripted. I was surprised that in the 2 sessions offered by the Canadian Hearing Society there was no captioning.

The first session was on Deaf culture. The Deaf speaker stood at the front of the lecture hall, her interpretors sat in front of her, backs to the audience and spoke/interpreted what she was signing. I could not read the interpretors' faces/lips, there was no captioning on the double screens (just the same slide on both screens). After a half hour I gave up and I left frustrated. I later talked to someone in the audience who had no hearing loss and she loved the session, found it really interesting to hear this woman's Deaf experience. She was surprised when I said I was really disappointed because I could not hear what was being said. It hit home for her about accessibility issues - here I was a deafened person at an accessibility conference, in a lecture about the Deaf and there were no accommodations made for the deaf (small "d" deaf, late deafened non-ASL language).

Then I went to a session about hearing devices. The session was given by 2 representatives of the Canadian Hearing Society. No closed captioning again. I was told that I needed to tell the conference providers ahead of time that I needed accommodation. I was rather surprised, I had assumed the closed captioning was a given at an accessibility conference, especially at a CHS session. 

closed captioning logo
The biggest opportunity at the conference was talking to other attendees. This is the first time I met a few people like me - double BTE profoundly HOH, late deafened adults. One double BTE audience member talked about closed captioning (in particular youtubes new auto captioning) at a captioning session and said that captioning that offered only 70-80% reliability even captoning that offered 95% reliability wasn't good enough. (Here's a short article about youtube's new auto-captioning.)  I was so glad to hear him say that out loud. Hearing people who caption videos need to know that good enough is not good enough. It was also exciting to talk to people who work with students with disabilities - a lot of the issues that deaf students have with regards to access to resources and high costs have been what I've experienced too.

JAWS logo
The sessions were eye opening especially in terms of what was currently available for some disabilities. JAWS was especially enlightening. It's important to produce accessible web pages with proper alt tags and tables that conform to W3C accessibility standards. Listening to an example of a poorly structured page was confusing and irritating.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Reminding people when they forget

* paraphrased from Staying in Touch
How we remind people when they forget we have a hearing loss can determine whether they are willing to comply or want to stop communicating with us.

Attitude matters. Tone matters. Body language matters.

If we express anger, irritation or frustration people are more likely to terminate communication. Demanding compliance also will tend to work against us.

Being polite and encouraging will very often result in compliance.

Non verbal unobtrusive methods of reminding people:
  • a hand with palm turned upward and moving up to indicate to the person to speak louder
  • tapping your ear to remind people of your hearing loss
  • beckoning a person with a forefinger to remind them to come closer for so you can hear them

I think the above advice is especially important with family members. Politeness and manners often takes a backseat with the people we are most familiar with.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Communication rewards

Dr. Trychin, in Staying in Touch, recommends that we show our appreciation for the efforts people make to communicate. Positive feedback facilitates the continuation of better communication. Some ways he suggests to verbally reward others:

Thank you
I appreciate it
That's great
That's much better
That's wonderful

Some non-verbal expressions of appreciation and reinforcement:

Thumbs up

Monday, March 22, 2010

When disclosing, avoid:

  • being apologetic about your hearing loss
  • putting yourself down
  • getting angry at the other person because you can't hear them
  • being impolite
  • guilt-tripping
  • being defensive
-- paraphrased from "Staying in Touch"

I know someone with hearing loss (who hasn't accepted it yet) who gets irritated with me when I talk to him with background noise playing. Gives me a pinched-up irritated look and says, "What?!". Sure doesn't make me want to repeat what I said.

I tend to let people know about my hearing loss when there's a problem in communication. I'm not comfortable starting off a conversation about my hearing loss when it may not be relevant at the moment.

I also feel uncomfortable when someone discloses my hearing loss for me. I feel it should be my prerogative. I was in a meeting once where I took out my FM device and pushed it towards the middle of the table. One of my colleagues stopped the meeting to remind everyone to speak up because of my hearing loss. My colleague meant well but I didn't really like the attention, and the implication that everyone was somehow ignoring my needs. Personally, it made me less likely to use the FM device if it was going to interrupt the flow of a meeting.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Disclosure - letting others know

Failure to inform people of your hearing loss may result in misinterpretation of your failure to understand or respond as:
  • disinterest
  • low intelligence
  • social/personality psychological issues
  • laziness
  • unfriendliness
  • aloofness
  • uncooperative
  • incompetent
 --paraphrased from "Staying in Touch"

My failure to respond has resulted in hurt feelings. My father said something to me but my back was turned so I didn't respond. He told my sister that he was hurt that I ignored him. Good thing my sister explained to him that I wasn't ignoring him, that I really do have a serious hearing loss. Sometimes people really don't realize how much someone can't hear until something like this happens.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Communication: Environmental Barriers

  • poor room acoustics
  • background noise (fans, air conditioners, computer humming, chitchat, thin walls let sound through, etc.)
  • poor lighting (can't see faces properly)
  • distance from sound
  • distractions
  • size and arrangement of meeting table(s) (not circular, many people at the table, arranged in rows)
  • interfering objects (pole in the middle of the room blocking view)
  • poor angle of vision
  • no assistive devises (e.g. FM system)
  • assistive devices that don't work well
  • no visual aids (powerpoint presentation, electronic white boards, blackboards, flip charts)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Parties, loud social gatherings

Just reading the "Staying in Touch" workbook and it had an interesting example in the "Assessing Physical Environments" section:

At a party or loud social gathering it's not well-received to ask the host to turn down the music especially when people are dancing. A solution to this problem would be to ask the person who is talking to you if they would move to a quieter room. He continues to say that "people who are hard of hearing should be wary of assuming that others won't cooperate when asked to make environmental modifications".

For me it's not about whether they would cooperate. I would find it awkward to ask someone to move to another room, especially if I don't know that person and they were being polite by striking up some small talk (which I'm not terribly good at). I would feel awkward about removing them from their social comfort zone to have a small talk conversation with me. I would worry that we'd move to the other room and she'd say something like "I was saying, 'Nice music isn't it?'", then I'd say "Yes, it is. Good beat." and then we'd stand there in silent awkwardness and she'd say "Well I better get back to the party, my husband is probably looking for me."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Problem communication situations for the family members of HoH

  • I forget to speak up
  • I forget to face the hoh person
  • The tv/radio is too loud and disturbs the rest of the household
  • I have to repeat a lot
  • We sometimes become frustrated or bothered because of the hearing issues
  • Not sure what to do when I know that he/she is not understanding someone else who is talking to them
  • Dependency - having to interpret in social situations
  • He/she doesn't pay attention to what I'm saying 
  • Ability to understand what I'm saying is not consistent, it's varies
  • Conversation length has decreased and we talk less
  • Not doing things we used to enjoy - movies, plays
  • Not getting any feedback as to whether he/she understands or doesn't understand what I'm saying
  • Having to repeat when under stress e.g. emergency situation
  • Doing things for her/him that she/he could do if she/he tried
  • Isolation - not seeing family and friends as often, not traveling or going to new places as often
*paraphrased from "Staying in Touch" by S. Trychin

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Communication tips

Problem communication situations for the HoH

  • listening while driving
  • large group situations
  • more then one conversation going on at once
  • hearing whispers
  • understanding at the doctor's office or hospital
  • understanding police when stopped in traffic
  • understanding people who look/turn away while talking
  • understanding people while background music/tv/radio is playing
  • understanding people while walking on a city sidewalk (traffic noise)
  • understanding people while walking on a trail (trail too narrow to walk side by side)
  • understanding people during a holiday family dinner
  • understanding people on the phone
  • understanding people with speech issues (quiet talkers, mumblers, speech impairment, accents)
  • not aware of people talking to HoH person (can result in hurt feelings and confusion by perception that they are being deliberately ignored)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Interactive hearing tutorial

I found this National Institute of Health hearing tutorial interesting, especially the interactive pitch/loudness display on Lesson 3 - Pitch Me A Curve.
(Click on the Hearing Response tab.) It confirms that I hear nothing at 2000hz and beyond.....well, not exactly nothing. I hear a snap at 20db and higher.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My 2008 audiogram

Found my 2008 audiogram in my files and scanned it. Turns out I'm more HOH then I remembered. Can't hear anything beyond 2000hz.

I wonder why we are not tested with our hearing aids on? I would like to see the difference, with and without aids.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hearing aid jewelry

This fin model is interesting:

The whole hearing aid is an adornment:

This has a round loop that the earring/beads is/are attached to, and then the HA and tubing fits through the loop:

For more photos see the Beading Gem blog.

Siemens Vibe
Hearing aid fits in the crest of the ear. Customizeable with interchangeable, snap-on colours and graphic patterns.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Update on my chewed up hearing aid

My hearing aids are under a year old, so they are covered by insurance. What a relief. All I pay for is a new right earmold....$60. Not bad. Had the mold impression made this afternoon. Now it's just a matter of waiting for my mold and new hearing aid to arrive. Shouldn't be long.

The technician said about once a month they get a hearing aid in need of repair because a dog munched on it. What a surprise. I thought I was the first in all of history to have my aid chewed by a dog.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My dog ate my hearing aid! :(

Well not the whole hearing aid. She ate the silicone mold and chewed up the BTE. Sigh.

My fault for leaving them in the den, on a side table. I was going to move them before bedtime, but forgot. Thank gosh she didn't eat/chew the other one. But she picked my right aid, that's my best aid. My left ear gets some improvement with the aid, but not much. I rely on my right hearing aid.
I can't remember how long I've had these aids. Has it been over a year? My hope is that they are still covered by insurance. If not, it's going to cost me $1500 to replace it. It's possible that the BTE still works but some of the punctures look deep. 

Why do these things happen on a Friday night? The audiologist's office is closed for the weekend. Sigh.

I'll head over to the audiologist Monday morning and see if the right BTE is a goner. If so, maybe they can switch the left aid over so I can use it in my right ear with a temporary foam sponge mold, while I wait for the new aid to arrive. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My audiogram. My hearing aids.

This audiogram is 4 years old. I have a newer one but haven't scanned it yet. My hearing has gotten worse in the 4 years but it still fits this ski slope pattern except that now I'm completely deaf in both ears at around the 3000 hz level.

Last year I got a pair of BTE Phonak Naida III SP. They are my 4th set of aids. They are the best aids so far, showing the biggest improvement from my prior set. The best thing about them is that there's no shrill feedback when someone hugs me, although that was kind of fun to see the reaction when the hugger pressed their head against my ear and my head emitted a high pitched squeal. I also like that they are self adjusting, so there's no fiddling with the aids when going from one environment to another.

In terms of hearing, I'd say it's about 25% better then my last pair of digital hearing aids - BTE Starkey - which were the "rolls royce" of hearing aids about 6 years ago (and I found the Starkeys about 10% better then my prior analog aids). The technology has improved and the cost has come down too - the Starkey's were $6000, the Phonaks were $3000.

When I got the Starkey's the Human Rights department at my place of employment paid for the whole thing (there was no government and employment benefit contributions because it had been less then 3 years since my last HA purchase). This time around (5 years later) I was turned down for assistance from the HR department, so after the government contribution ($1000), and my employment hearing aid benefit contribution ($350) and my husband's HA benefit contribution ($650), I was $1000 out of pocket.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to help facilitate conversation

One way to help communication with people who have hearing issues, is to enunciate words slowly and clearly. This does not mean "dumbing down" the conversation, which comes across as condescending or insensitive. Instead, look directly at the person's face when speaking and only raise the volume level to a point where a comfortable conversation can still be held, not a full shout. A person with a naturally low speaking voice may want to raise the tone as well as the volume.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Really thoughtful wedding gesture

I arrived at my sister-in-law's wedding/reception to find a printed sheet of paper on my side plate. To my surprise my sister-in-law's husband-to-be had the ceremony printed out so I could follow along. It included the vows and the words the Minister was going to say.  How kind and very thoughtful.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dr. Neil Baumann totally gets it -- Audiologists - it's not all about hearing aids

Dr. Neil Baumann really gets what it's like to be hard of hearing. He is director of the Center for Hearing Loss Help which is run by and for hard of hearing people.

One of the problems I've experienced throughout the almost 15 years of hearing loss that has been most frustrating is, audiologists don't help with coping skills. Their main reason for being, in my experience, is to push hearing aids. I have never had an audiologist explain coping skills, tell me about hearing loss societies, inform me about support groups, give me a list of good hearing loss websites and forums, talk to me about speech reading skills, tell me what to expect with regards to a psychological transition into deafness, suggest good reading/book resources. The one time I got any resource was when I noticed a book on my hearing aid specialists office shelf. I wrote down the title and borrowed it from the library. It was an account of a woman's experience with hearing loss. Reading it made me feel that I was not alone. I had already been struggling for 2 years with hearing loss and this was the first time that I felt a sense of relief, that aids were not going to make me hear normally ever. Life was always going to be different. Instead of making me feel depressed, I felt somewhat relieved. It wasn't something I was doing wrong that made the aids not work i.e. restore my hearing.Why my hearing specialist didn't tell me I would never hear normally again, I don't know. Why he didn't tell me that aids are not a cure-all, I don't know. Why he didn't tell me that I was going to feel like my head was going to explode around loud noises, I don't know.

So given my exasperation with the audiology world it was refreshing to come upon Dr. Baumann's Q&A:

What I Wish Audiologists Understood

In particular, these passages really rang a chord with me:
From what I have observed, audiologists seem to think their "job" is to fit/sell hearing aids as the solution to the hearing loss problems of the hard of hearing people that come to them. I wish audiologists understood that their real job is to us help hard of hearing people cope with our hearing losses.
Learning about hard of hearing people and the many effective coping skills they need to live successful lives—now that is worthy of an audiological degree!
I wish audiologists would teach us how to become friends with our hearing aids. We need training and coaching and support as we start life with these strange uncomfortable things stuck in our ears. We need to learn to cope with sound all over again. We need their help to do this. I wish audiologists would not sell us hearing aids and then dump us out on the street. [my bolding because that's how I felt when I got my first aids -- dumped on the street with all these new sounds, wondering if this is really what hearing was supposed to be like (loud, painful, nerve-wrecking, still-can't-hear-voice-well)]
People who lose their hearing need help, training and encouragement in learning speechreading—not derision and scorn. Speechreading is every bit as important as being fitted with hearing aids! I wish audiologists could realize this.
There are numerous coping skills we hard of people need to learn. I wish audiologists would realize this and teach us what we need to know—even though we don’t know we need to know it. [Prepare us for what our new lives with hearing loss and aids will be like.]...We also need to know the rules so we can teach our families and friends how to communicate effectively with us....We need to know how to preserve the little precious hearing we still have. Furthermore, we need to know about the many drugs that can damage our ears.....Hard of hearing people feel alone and cut off. I wish audiologists realized just how cut off we can be and put us in touch with support groups.....Hearing loss affects our whole family. Therefore, all of us need joint help and counseling. I wish my audiologist would teach all of us the coping strategies we need to live successful lives together....I wish audiologists would realize that hearing aids are just a small part of the solution, not the total solution.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Coping with hearing loss - how to identify factors in communication problems

I was doing some web surfing looking for hearing loss coping skills and this section of an article from the paper Coping with Hearing Loss hit home for me:

Coping with Hearing Loss

Samuel Trychin, Ph.D.

from Seminars in Hearing -- Volume 18, Number 2, May 1997, pp 77-86
What people who are hard of hearing say when they are not able to understand what someone else is saying is of critical importance in their ability to successfully cope with hearing loss. My observation is that people who are hard of hearing mostly say things like, "Huh?," "What?," "Would you repeat that?," "I'm sorry!," "Excuse me?," "I didn't get that," or "I didn't understand you." These are all ineffective responses to a communication problem because they do not contain any information about what needs to be done to resolve the difficulty. The speaker is informed that a communication breakdown has occurred, but has no clue as to what to do to solve the problem. Put in this situation, many people may opt for ending the conversation or for ignoring the hard-of-hearing person if it is a group discussion. Then, the person who is hard of hearing will probably blame the hearing loss, when in fact it was their ineffectual response that produced their being shut out. A much better response to a communication breakdown would be to offer a solution to the problem, that is, "Please slow down" (or "Face me when you speak" or "Raise your voice a little"). This provides the speaker with something concrete to do to be better understood and increases the probability that they will continue the conversation. Unfortunately, many people who have hearing loss and their family members are unable to identify the causes of communication breakdowns and need to be taught to do so.
Speaker, environment, and listener factors interact with hearing loss and cause or exacerbate communication problems. Family members, supervisors, co-workers, friends, and people who are hard of hearing themselves need to understand how these factors operate in communication situations. Otherwise, faulty attributions about someone's failure to understand are made and relationships are too frequently damaged as a result. For example, a frequent complaint of family members is, "I don't understand the variability in his ability to understand me; sometimes he understands everything I say and other times nothing. This is very upsetting for me." This confusion often leads to the statement, "He can understand me when he wants to" or "She has selective hearing."
The reason that people experience this kind of confusion is that they do not know the specific causes of communication breakdowns, that is, the speaker, environmental, and listener factors. Speaker factors include such things as not speaking clearly, speaking too rapidly, or speaking too softly. They also include other characteristics of the speaker, such as, foreign accent, distracting mannerisms, and beards or mustaches that obscure the lips. Environmental factors include background noise, lighting conditions, and acoustics. They also include factors such as visual or auditory distractions, ventilation, and seating arrangements. Listener factors include facts about the individual's hearing loss such as severity, type and onset characteristics. They also include the listener's ability to pay attention, emotional status, and distracting body sensations or thoughts. A major goal of the training is to enable people to identify these factors when they occur. Once people are able to identify the specific causes of communication problems, they are in a better position to suggest solutions to them. These factors and suggestions for reducing their effects are discussed in greater detail in Staying in Touch (Trychin & Albright, 1993).
Problem is, this article doesn't go any further in providing ways to identify these problem factors in communication and how to relay to your conversation partner how best to communicate in certain situations. I'm going to try to get this book from the library. If I get it, I'll update with tips on how to identify communication problems and suggest solutions.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Funny stuff - Why don't you listen....

I said, send over a cna of glue

Book - A Quiet World

A Quiet World

by Professor David G. Myers

I like that the cover has a fence on it. HOH life is like being on the fence between a hearing world and a Deaf world.

This is one of the first books I read about what it is like to experience and live with hearing loss. The memoir is set in an academic environment.  Instructive, insightful and also great to read that others experience the same issues with hearing loss as I do.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Book - Hands of My Father

Hands of my Father

Myron Uhlberg’s memoir tells the story of growing up as the hearing son of deaf parents—and his life in a world that he found unaccountably beautiful, even as he longed to escape it.

This book was recommended by someone on the AQ Hearing Forum. I recommended it to my local library and they generously added it to the collection. I'm really enjoying it so far. It is a look into Deaf culture that I had never experienced before. I find it fascinating to see it from a hearing child's perspective and to read it from a 1940s perspective. One of the first things that struck me is the deep and nurturing love Myron's father has for his son.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Telephones - UGH!

Whenever I make an appointment with my doctor or dentist or ophthalmologist, etc I must phone them. Most of the time I drive over to make an appointment so I can see the person I'm talking to and read their face/lips. It's so inconvenient. Sometimes after leaving a message on an answering machine, which includes asking if they would email me instead of phone me back, they phone me back. Sigh.

I hate the phone, I have to concentrate to grasp the words and piece the conversation together. My digital hearing aids have an automatic telecoil setting but if the phone moves from the "sweet spot" the telecoil system automatically shuts off. So most telephone sessions sound like...."Yes, we have an .........  You'll be seeing Dr. [name inaudible]. Bring ........ We don't ...... If you must cancel an appointment ....... 

Such a pain.

With today's new web and cell phone technology, would it be so difficult to provide alternative contact options for customers? Email and chat are godsends. Also it comes with the added bonus that we have something in writing, which means there's less room for mis-interpretation. 

I found a great blog entry about the Fear of Phones..... people who insist you use the phone even when you tell them you can't hear. It can be annoying, frustrating, embarassing and an obstacle.

Book - If You Could Hear What I See

If You Could Hear What I See
By Kathy Buckley

I forgot that I had read this book awhile ago. I was searching the web for books on hearing loss and it popped up.

It's an autobiography of the author Kathy Buckley, a hearing-impaired comedian and  motivational speaker.

She certainly is a survivor but I didn't connect with the humour and the tough things she went through in her younger life.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Documentary - Sound and Fury

Check your local public library, they may have these DVDs - mine did.

Sound and Fury

Sound and Fury - 2001 Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature.

Cochlear implants may provide easier access to the hearing world, but what do the devices mean for a person's sense of identity with deaf culture? Can durable bridges be built between the deaf and hearing worlds?

6 years later....what happened to the families?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Documentary - Through Deaf Eyes

Check your public library, they may have a copy.

Through Deaf Eyes
Through Deaf Eyes - PBS documentary about Deaf history in America. Very informative, eye-opening, educational and entertaining.

Friday, January 22, 2010

HOH/deaf related book

Deaf sentence by David Lodge
Deaf Sentence
by David Lodge

Found this book on the library shelf while looking for another of David Lodge's books (something I saw on the web). Seemed like serendipity that I should see this newer book next to the book I was looking for. I had not heard about this author before and had no idea he is HOH.

I really enjoyed this book. The writing style was interesting, jumping from first person narrative to occasionally 3rd person narrative. I could relate to a lot of what the main character goes through in terms of the complications of life with a hearing loss.

This is the 2nd book I've read where the hard of hearing author is a professor. The other was "A Quiet World". This one is however fictional but draws upon the Lodge's life and experience. The book deals with an often exasperated wife, an early -- due-to-hearing-loss retirement, an aging stubborn parent, and a manipulative unstable grad student.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Some ASL online resources that I've collected

Thought I'd share some ASL resources that I've found handy: dictionary

'Quiz me' exercises from

Sign Savvy - an online video sign language dictionary

Anyone else have an favourites?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What someone should invent

I have a deep kitchen sink so it takes a few minutes to fill. I often turn the water on then get doing other things. Then suddenly, with a jolt, I remember the water. Good thing there's an overflow to the other sink basin. About a couple of times a month the sink overflows. I'm almost always in the same room, most often doing something on the stove. But because of my hearing, even with aids on, I don't hear the water running.

I've been thinking of what someone could invent to make my life easier. I'd like a tap that I could program to release a certain amount of water and then stop. Or maybe some kind of sensor in the sink that would shut the flow of water.

An overflow device is wonderful, but it wastes so much water and if something plugs the other sink or overflow catchment (such as in a single sink or tub) there's potential for serious water damage.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I enjoy Seekgeo's daily video blogs. Seekgeo is deaf. He's the first deaf person on Youtube that I found to be inclusive, i.e. he includes closed captioning while he signs his message.

I had enrolled in a beginners sign language course a few years ago and was hoping to supplement what I learned. All the Deaf sign language videos, at the time, did not include CC, they were geared to the those people who were fluent in sign language.

The first of his videos that I saw back in 2008, was like a warm hug. He talks about the divide and pooh poohs it. Finally, I found a video blog that welcomed and catered to Deaf/deaf/HOH. Here's that video that got me hooked on Geo:

Sunday, January 17, 2010


A good blog entry about disclosure from the "Face Me, I Read Lips" blog.

I often work with the public and must disclose my hearing impairment on a regular basis, in order to have a successful interaction. I've been pleasantly surprised that 99% of people behave in a courteous and respectful way. Many speak up a little without being too loud - most don't (or can't) change their voice level but they are quick to write what I can't hear when I offer them a pen and paper. Only occasionally does someone with too soft a voice, or too thick an accent, or a mouth that's obscured by a mustache or veil come to the desk, then I find a colleague to help. Again I am very fortunate to have understanding colleagues.

Funny stuff - Bob's House

Funny stuff - comic