By Team IDK | November 7, 2013
Ireland’s annual ‘Better Together‘ campaign allows third-sector entities and initiatives to highlight their social-impact on a portal website that engages the public to understand and support the vital work these organisations do.
IDK has submitted a two-minute version of the six-minute video won in a CSR give-away in 2012 by Tailored Films. The production team very kindly shortened the video just for this contest, for which we are hugely grateful.
Voting daily boosts IDK’s chances of a win, and we need every bit of help!
Please vote for IDK here >> Ability Personified – “Better Together”
This year’s Better Together video contest with categories for non-profits, young people and businesses to showcase their local community work, is enhanced by a Charity Hero award, which is open to public nominations.
By caroline | November 3, 2013
Links between music and speech rhythms have long been documented, with digital hearing-devices and imaging technologies bringing new insights to how we interpret these rhythms in everyday activities – including reading.
Music “Is” Language
This collection of links starts by explaining how music appreciation sessions can improve auditory-language skills, with more evidence that “having an ear for music” provides a defined link between music and language ability.
Rhythm And Reading
“Rhythm is inherently a part of music and language,” says Prof. Nina Kraus, at Northwestern University. “It may be that musical training, with emphasis on rhythmic skills, exercises the auditory-system, leading to strong sound-to-meaning associations that are so essential in learning to read.”
Based on previous studies into reading ability and the consistency of the brain’s response to sound, Kraus explained these new findings show hearing is a common basis for these associations. The next research frontier is to optimise digital hearing-aids and cochlear implants to better interpret music.
Translating Inflections And Emotional Tones
Pitch and melody in musical tones is tricky for hearing-device wearers to decipher. However cochlear-device researchers are working to improve digital sound-processing algorithms on the basis that optimisation for music may translate into inflections and emotional tones for speech.
Hearing-device wearers can feel intense emotions on accessing ‘new’ musical tones, with researchers at the University of Washington exploring how wearers can tell differences between musical instruments. Best of all, outcomes from this research may improve speech-perception in noise.
Two final frontiers for scientists exploring digital-access to music are pitch and timbre, with the latter more difficult to interpret as two instruments will sound different when playing the same note. With the benefit of new magnetic imaging technologies, looking inside brains may just help.
While this new magneto-encephalography will explore (early) language acquisition with cochlear implants, researchers still explore how speech perception can be improved for tonal languages and for music appreciation.
Music: A Hidden Key For Breakthroughs?
Ultimately, scientists believe multi-disciplinary testing of sound perception with implants, in varied contexts and concepts, will increase breakthroughs in understanding how human brains perceive sound with these devices.
By Team IDK | October 30, 2013
The Audiology field is in line for major benefits from remote (tele) provision of health services (tele-health), a recent piece in Audiology Online notes.
Free Software and Desktop-Sharing Apps
Widely available, free software tools like Skype or ooVoo can be used for video-conferencing, with remote desktop sharing software applications connecting both parties in a telehealth call or online conferencing session.
Tele-Intervention and Hearing-Device Tuning
When early intervention (hearing and speech) services for children with hearing issues are facilitated via telehealth tools, this approach is called tele-intervention and is particularly useful for families in remote areas.
By Team IDK | October 24, 2013
A Minnesota-based preschool program using the spoken-language approach with children who have hearing issues is expanding after families saw their hearing children gain from being in the same language-heavy environment.
“The kids’ interaction helps with their social development,” says director, Erin Loavenbruck. “Parents love it; they want their kids to be mainstream learners. [The setting]… benefits kids with hearing [issues] and hearing kids, because they have the chance to be around each other.”
By Team IDK | October 20, 2013
As Ireland’s Health Minister, Dr James Reilly, prepares to finalise his health budget for 2014, he is under huge social, economic and political pressure to include bilateral cochlear implants for children in his financial calculations.
IDK’s message to Minister Reilly as he deliberates:
These three points are critical. Particularly number one.
1. Children need to hear, to learn to talk. Hearing and speech synergise. You can’t learn to talk if you don’t hear well. Governments don’t “get” this.
2. Children with hearing issues and no early intervention can cost states up to $1 million over a lifetime in education, lost wages and health issues. (Source: Massachusetts Hearing-Aid Coalition for Children – 2012).
3. Steady hearing-device use in babies builds listening-and-speaking skills. With this intervention, children can start preschool talking with their peers.
Provision of early-hearing and verbal-teaching underpins what audiologists say: “There may be no other example in healthcare in which an emergency is identified but proactive, early treatment is not aggressively pursued”.
Early-Years Hearing + Speech Investment Pays Off
Children have a right to the best possible hearing and speech services. They become fully equipped to receive a quality education and to work as full, tax-paying citizens on their own merit. Long-term thinking is needed here.
Happy New Ear Parent Campaign
In 2013, the Happy New Ear campaign has been pivotal in seeking bilateral (both-ear) cochlear implants for babies and children with profound deafness.
The seed of this campaign began in late 2012 when IDK noted parents’ concerns about service delays, before a letter-writing campaign to Dr Reilly and the spin-out of the Happy New Ear campaign from IDK’s Facebook page.
@irishdeafkids It’s where it all started!!
— Happy New Ear (@HappyNewEar2013) April 30, 2013
Bilateral implantation in children
To recap on the campaign’s progress, let’s recall how bilateral implants benefit eligible children. IDK wrote “Bilateral Cochlear Implants: Hearing With Two Ears” last March, and here’s a post by a parent, Adrian Sexton:
The government debates cited here, received national media coverage:
Decisions on national healthcare hang in the balance – but Minister Reilly has a sound business case for bilateral cochlear implantation in children.
* “There Are Other Educational Choices Available” (by the Sexton family)
By Team IDK | October 17, 2013
Today’s Irish Times newspaper features a letter from IDK, to augment the ‘Home News’ piece (October 12th) about a no-pens day at a Dublin school.
In today’s world, everyone can use the same hardware – but differently. Mobile tablets and smartphones for one, can show captions in classrooms, as is done in Australia, Japan, the US – with the UK gearing to follow.
The take-away point in this letter is that technology has altered education for children with hearing issues, in the vital areas of hearing and of learning.
By Team IDK | October 16, 2013
California’s John Tracy Clinic is a primary source of spoken-language, multi-lingual lesson-plans for families to use with babies and children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The lesson plans are in email or print form, for families to use at their pace, with the option of attending the clinic’s summer school.
JTC offers three types of parent distance-education courses for families with children aged 0 to 5 years old. All three online courses are free to families.
From January to April 2014, the clinic has a fee-based parent webinar series about hearing issues. Enrolment is on a group or a per-family basis (below).
These online family courses for deaf infants to learn to listen and speak are recommended as the basis for auditory-verbal curricula taught worldwide.
By caroline | October 11, 2013
Teachers, finding a diversifying mix of students in their classrooms, are always seeking new tools to simplify their preparation for impending classes. Two of these three tools offer learning-content creation with audio, slides, subtitles, notes and video while accommodating students of varied abilities.
First up, is Panopto, a soution to deliver searchable, accessible multimedia content with audio (captions), video (captions), slides, screen capture and extra video channels for blended learning at school and at tertiary level.
Panopto is expanding in Europe on a cloud-based or on-site basis, to work with smartphones, tablets and laptops as educators and students wish.
Another app, Knowmia, for creating flipped lessons on iPads, supports audio (captions), slides, video (captions) and notes for students of all abilities.
Effectively, Knowmia is a ‘whiteboard type’ app for teachers to create flipped classroom content that can be prepared in advance for future delivery.
Finally, MicroCone.net is a USB-based microphone tool for groups to record podcasts, engage in Skype conversations and more. Most importantly, the system has a speech-to-text transcript option, for universal accessibility.
The take-away message: universal design principles need to be at the core of teachers’ content-creating solutions as flipped classrooms are adopted. In any group, the seven different learning styles may pop up – plus students (and maybe educators) have their own personal access needs to address.
By Team IDK | October 7, 2013
Earlier this year, Ireland’s Teaching Council invited all registered members to apply in a lottery to attend Feilte, its festival of digital-teaching projects to celebrate World Teachers’ Day in Dublin, on October 5th, 2013.
IDK was later invited to present on classroom acoustics at the conference.
With 75% of a school-day consisting of students listening to spoken content, positive classroom acoustics are needed for most to access the curriculum.
That’s where the speech banana comes in.
— Fred Boss (@fboss) Oct 05, 2013
The teachers we met, were blown away by the visual image of the speech banana, and particularly that some sounds are grouped so closely together.
We didn’t even mention the Ling sounds – which many parents will know.
Some of our favourite feedback – received multiple times, in fact.
” I didn’t know deaf people can speak! ” << perplexed >>
“So, you’re saying, deaf pupils in a classroom can actually HEAR?”
” And would you be deaf yourself? ” << looking very puzzled >>
Statistically, 33% per cent of students in a class will have hearing issues on a given day, due to colds, congestion, allergies and/or hearing difficulties.
Teachers typically have a natural voice range of 4 to 12 feet, with volume dropping 50% every time the distance doubles. Soundfields create positive acoustics by lifting and evenly distributing a teacher’s voice in a classroom, for all students to get the best possible sound quality wherever they sit.
Conclusion: the public needs educating that different levels of hearing exist in the catch-all terms ‘deaf’ or ‘hard of hearing’, in the digital-hearing age.
By Team IDK | October 1, 2013
Earlier this year, Chicago-based ENT surgeon Dana Suskind, was mentioned on this site for her Thirty Million Words project. Working with children who have cochlear implants raised her interest into how spoken language builds when hearing is provided – in babies and children with/out hearing issues.
Suskind’s research began as Project Aspire, a post-surgery programme for families with children new to cochlear implants. Its success led to the project being adapted to families from lower socio-economic backgrounds, whose children’s language skills tended to lag their peers by kindergarten stage.