We've all seen the News of the futuristic technology coming out, such as the new cochlear implant that has no external parts, sign language translation programs, and cool animated interactive sign language.
But what about those people that these technologies cannot help, or for those who don't want to be "fixed"?
If you ask me, researchers should also include adaptive technology for these people as well.
So here are my ideas for adaptive technology that we'd really need and want:
1. Text Based Technology
We need better speech to text technology! One that will work with any speaker and accents and a higher rate of accuracy. Yes there are a lot of programs and Apps out there, but I'm talking about something that doesn't require pre-programming to the speaker beforehand and one that actually WORKS!
Need an example? Turn on "automatic captioning" on pretty much any YouTube video and you'll see what I mean. WTH right??
2. Access for the Deafblind
Sure the animated sign language is awesome, and who knows maybe someday there'll be holographic interpreters than can beam into a meeting and interpret right there. But what about those who cannot see and depend on tactile sign language?
Sure there's the face-to-face texting capability of text to braille and vice versa; or the Lorm glove that vibrates out the alphabet on the Deafblind person's hand. There's several problems with these:
3. Improved GPS Systems
Sure there's tons of GPS Apps and gadgets out there and even newer Apps that are mapping indoor spaces for Blind/Deafblind people, which is great, but they need improvement.
But we all know they aren't specific and sometimes are wrong. Even my home address is displayed wrong by 50 feet! So when trying to "Find a Friend" you can be at their location but still be 25 feet away! This isn't helpful for Deafblind people trying to find a location or a friend (I can't even see past 6 feet let alone 25 feet).
4. Just stick to what works!
Instead of trying to invent gadgets and technology to help YOU (the general public) why don't you try and help US?
So, are there any technologies you'd wish there was? Let me know!
The medical and scientific developments of our times have introduced a breakthrough to enhance our lifestyles in many ways. A plethora of options is available to help us lead a better life. Auditory training is one of those that help those with hearing loss.
Listening to specially filtered and modulated audio does create a colossal difference in our mind and our hearts.
Basic Advantages of Auditory Training:
This is what makes it reliable and popular. Its long lasting and satisfactory results and served the purpose of the patients.
A combination of various methods is used such as:
Helping in normalization of speech is another perk of this process. Auditory training is helpful for almost all age groups and so this is available for a large number of people. It works on the basic principles of biology and hence the crux of mechanism of the central nervous system is understood well by the training and can work with depth to cure disorders.
Other Crucial Aspects of Auditory Training
These trainings are conducted informal setups and informal setups as well, depending upon what is best for the patients. The pre and post auditory based training helps to detect and focus on the problem and deal with the issue in depth.
Rehab and systematic review is the basic advantage of the training. Descriptive cross-sectional studies are not randomized and hence, the nerve simulations and impulse is studied carefully and properly. Sheer perfection of outcome can be attained if the sessions are attended regularly. Modification of neuro-plasticity is another effective option that most people have to go through. This training has helped a lot of people to recover from their disorders and hence, pros and cons of this training are to be known for its own benefit.
About the Author:
I saw an article a friend shared on Facebook:
"Nyle DiMarco’s Activism Is Dangerous For The Deaf Community"
This author is deaf in a hearing family and was mainstreamed in public school and can speak "the predominant language of this country". Well y'all know that's my upbringing too, I'm the only deaf (or deafblind if you want to get specific) in my family, I grew up oral and mainstreamed and didn't learn ASL until I was 12 years old. (You can read my Letter to Parents of Deaf Children for more details.)
This article irked me in so many ways...
Let me break it down into bits to respond to:
Someone who only uses ASL, like Nyle, can’t interact with society without help from others.
Whoa! Really? Are we that dysfunctional? There are other means of communication, pen and paper, texting, snapping a picture of the menu and showing the server, and so on and on. I know plenty of Deaf people who use ASL that can speak, but prefer not to.
I’m reminded of my deafness every second of every day.
Really? Because I don't give my Deafness a second thought. Like you said, "my deafness is one part of who I am", my deafblindness is a part of who I am, but I don't dwell on it and I'm not "reminded" of it. Sure I struggle to understand and lipread or interact with the hearing world, but I don't go "oh gee I'm deaf", "it's so hard being deaf", or "I wish I was hearing".
Deaf Culture extremists will respond to this essay in full force; they’re well-known for their intimidation and manipulation tactics
I could say the same for the Alexander Graham Bell Foundation and it's members, which by the way, Ms. Goldstein is a Board Member of AGB. So I can pretty much state her views are biased and in support of her organization. I've heard countless stories of intimidation and manipulation by AGB on Deaf families and individuals and they're not open-minded as they state they are. (Again read my Letter for more details).
We're deaf in different ways, and that should be Ok
Yes we are, there's the deaf (small d) and the Deaf (Capital D). Oral deaf vs. ASL Deaf. We've been at odds for a very long time and probably won't end any time soon.
Yet Ms. Goldstein doesn't want to celebrate the Deaf difference and instead belittle Nyle's accomplishment, just like her organization AGB has done all along.
Yet, despite him saying he wants to use his celebrity for good, he’s dividing instead of bridging
Have you not seen the celebrations around the world? The Deaf community and even the deaf community (those not part of AGB mind you) have been cheering for Nyle for a long time now.
We, Deaf, will not hide in the shadows anymore and are proud, damn proud of Nyle DiMarco. We are showing the general public (aka the hearing world), that the Deaf can do whatever we want!
We’ve all seen the viral videos of Cochlear Implant activations all over the Internet. The person or their family breaks down into tears when they realize they’re hearing sounds.
But these “inspiration porn” videos, as I call them, doesn’t show is what happens once the camera turns off.
Here’s the reality of Cochlear Implants that many people, including many in the medical community, don’t realize
It’s not an “Instant Fix”:
We can’t just slap it on our head and instantly hear and understand everything. It takes a lot of time and adjustment for our brains to learn to translate the electronic signals into sounds that we may recognize.
We have to go through a lot of technical adjustments (mappings) to adjust how we’re hearing. Pitches and loudness have to be adjusted every time.
I’ve had one C.I. for 10 years until an internal failure (long story). I was reimplanted with the newest version in November 2015 and even though I’ve learned to hear well with the first one, I’m having to relearn everything all over again.
It’s not a cure for deafness:
Once we take the external part (the Processor) off we are deaf again. We’re deaf when we sleep, shower, swim (unless we have the waterproof case), or any other time we take it off.
We’re also deaf when our battery dies, there are instances where we’ve forgotten our replacement batteries and have had to go without the C.I.
I was born prelingually deaf, so I’ve pretty much missed the window for speech discrimination (0-3 years old). People expect that since I have a C.I., that I’d be able to understand them clearly without lipreading. With my first C.I., I was able to understand my husband and my kids without lipreading….sometimes. Now with the new one, I struggle to hear them even when I’m looking at them straight on, but hey, it’s only been 4 months.
It will never match natural hearing:
It is electronically produced hearing. As great as this technology is and it’s improving all the time, it will never match the complexity and range of natural hearing.
For those of us prelingually deaf, we will never know what true hearing is. For those late deafened, they never will be hearing like they used to again.
Even though it’s electronic hearing, after much training and adjusting, people can get pretty close to how they were hearing before.
It takes a lot of training:
Even some C.I. users wonder why they’re not hearing well. It takes a lot of training to hear.
You don’t need to attend aural therapy sessions by a specialist to train to hear. Play the radio or TV in the background while you go about your normal routine. Get an audiobook and print version of the same book and read along with the voice to learn different speech patterns. You can also turn on Speech option in the Accessibility menu of your tablet or phone and it can read out loud any text you highlight. Have someone read the newspaper or magazine out loud next to you. All in all, the saying “you only get out what you put in” stands true here.
You also need a lot of patience, it may take months and months, or even years before your old brain “clicks” and you finally realize that weird high pitched sound is actually a bird singing outside your window.
So there you have it, the reality of a C.I. It’s the same as any other medical restoration. You don’t expect that patient who just had knee replacement surgery to suddenly jump up and start tap dancing after their stitches are out do you?
To new C.I. users: Be patient; enjoy the little “a-ha” moments; practice listening wherever you are; don’t forget to escape to the quietness of silence when things get overwhelming; and enjoy your “new ear”.
To everyone else: Be patient, help with identifying sounds; have realistic expectations; and enjoy their hearing “progressions”.
If anyone wants to know more, please shoot me a line.
"One finds limits by pushing them" ~ Herbert Simon
There was a huge uproar on Social Media over the weekend among the Deaf Community.
You might be familiar with Nyle DiMarco, the Deaf winner of "America's Next Top Model" and currently competing on "Dancing With The Stars".
The Deaf Community has been strongly supportive of him and his successes and are proud of him representing Deaf Culture and ASL.
Recently the Washington Post featured an article on him and his Foundation that aims at improving Deaf infants’ access to sign language education. Nyle got an invitation to the White House's Correspondents' Dinner where he plans to promote his principles of improving Deaf children's lives.
Great story and great goals eh?
Well....The Alexander Graham bell Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing got wind of it and just HAD to post a rebuttal article called "Dispelling Myths about Deafness"
Sure they "applaud" Nyles' accomplishments, but turn around and criticize pretty much everything the Deaf Community cherishes - American Sign Language.
Here's some excerpts that has the Deaf Community enraged:
"[ASL] use is declining."
I'm not going to go on about why the Deaf Community is hurt and offended, you can read all about it all across social media - #ASLStrong #AGBell #AGBellLies, from NAD, from Gaulladet and various other blogging sites.
To me this article basically states that ASL is NOT viable and is a waste of time. Oralism is the way to go and will make your child "a successful part of hearing culture".
*Raises hand* Uh?? I beg to differ.
I was born deaf to hearing parents, one of the 95% AGBell quoted. Of course doctors back then pushed the misconceived notion (but one that AGBell still advocates and pushes) that I never be taught sign language as "she'll never learn to speak". I was fitted with hearing aids and then had years and years of speech and aural therapy, some fun ones initiated by my folks, some not so fun oones from the school system.
So, speech therapy from 2 years old until I was about 15 years old, my speech should be pretty damn good by now? Sure, people tell me I that speak "very well", But I still wonder why no one can understand my freakin' name when I introduce myself?? They hear "T C" "Radee", "CeeCee" "ChiChi". I've given up and have to say "It's Tracy....like Spencer Tracy" (or Tracy Morgan if you're too young to know who's the first).
I've also had aural therapy those years too, with powerful Phonic Ear hearing aids, listening to words and sounds over and over again and repeating them. I excelled at this, BUT all that work does NOT imitate "real life". No one in their right mind has one word sentences like "popcorn", "cowboy", "hot dog", "baseball" in a conversation!
I was mainstreamed in public school where there were other deaf or hard of hearing students and I had a few friends, but I was isolated and alone in the hearing classroom because there were no other deaf students my age. I suffered intense bullying from the other hearing kids. I was never part of any hearing kid's birthday party, outing or did after school activities. I holed up in my room with my pile of library books and shut the rest of the world out. I then begged my parents to start High School at the Deaf Institute because "they're the same as me".
I got a Cochlear Implant at 35 years old, I've been tested to have a "mild hearing loss". I can hear and identify a lot of environmental sounds, I've been tested for speech discrimination at about 70 - 80% in the booth. Which again I think is unrealistic because it's a completely quiet environment with a one word list or very simple sentences. It does not imitate reality at all. In the real world, my speech discrimination is pretty much 0%. I cannot understand you unless I'm facing you to lipread, and in a bright, quiet room.
If I'm one-on-one with a Hearing person I can manage pretty well, talking, lipreading and understanding. But, throw in a second person or a group, a noisy dark restaurant, noisy car, traffic, mall noise, or any other real-world situations and I'm lost.
I've been out of the work force since 2005, with sporadic work before that mainly due to headhunters' inability to look past my disabilities.
So is that being "a successful part of hearing culture"? I don't think so.
Now let's flip the coin...
I went to a Deaf Institute for High School. I slowly learned ASL through those years. I attended Madonna University which has a strong support services system for Deaf students with plenty of interpreters and notetakers and the like. I had a lot of Deaf friends and attended social events. I could be in a noisy bar with a group of Deaf people signing and still understand what was going on.
After University I joined a Deaf Club, where I was a member for over 15 years until I moved away. I held various positions on their Board of Directors. I was also on the Deaf Dart League and was part of several Provincial and National Deaf Dart Tournament teams.
I have a hearing husband and have 2 hearing kids who are teenagers now. They know how to sign, the kids have been signing since they were 8 months old. Because of ASL at an early age, they were way ahead in their speech, language and reading levels than their peers throughout their school years.
Nowadays when I go to doctor's appointments, meetings, and such, I prefer to use a ASL interpreter.. Mainly because I feel comfortable and more at ease with Sign Language than dealing with the stress of misunderstandings, impatient and frustrated people, the headache and eyestrain of having to listen and lipread.
I'm now a freelance writer, and currently in the process of a job interview to be an ASL tutor.
Now, I'm not going to criticize your choice for your child, that's a very personal and private matter.
I just wanted to show you the two sides - Oralism vs. ASL, that AGBell is not revealing to you.
Be willing to look past the "inspiration porn" of cochlear implant activations and AGBell's Youtube videos of "successful" kids and seek out the dark side, there are videos out there to watch that counteract AGBell's stance.
Look for #WhyISign on Facebook filled with stories from hearing parents, hearing grandparents, deaf people, and deaf children showing why they chose ASL.
No ASL is not in decline and will always be around as long as there are Deaf people.
What it means to be Deaf has not changed for the thousands and thousands of us who are.
So, that's my story, I'm open to any questions you may have, just send me an e-mail.
"One finds limits by pushing them" ~ Herbert Simon
As most of my readers know, I was born deaf and have worn Hearing Aids since I was two. I've had a Cochlear Implant for the last ten years as well.
As far back as I can remember, EVERY Audiologist I've been to didn't know how to Sign. Even the audiologist that was at my School for the Deaf didn't sign!
One would think that there would be deaf and hard of hearing clients who use sign language in need of hearing tests, hearing aids, and repairs?
So my question is for you Audiologists -
Why didn't you learn Sign Language when you entered a "Hearing Loss" field of work?
Is it from the Medical standpoint of "deafness needs to be fixed"?
Or the old outdated (and false) claim of "if the deaf learn to sign, they'll never learn to speak"?
I'm really curious to know what the reasons are!
As a client, being able to sign to an audiologist when you don't have your Cochlear Implant on would be so much easier!
Sure, I get an interpreter for these audiologist appointments, but it feels redundant to need one.