By admin | April 14, 2013
Turn off your smart-phone, TV and other devices – to talk with your baby. According to this online article in the New York Times (April 10th), the basis of early-learning is talking, and exposing a child to language, from birth.
Remember, infants with typical hearing are known to hear in the womb, up to three months before they are born. That’s a lot of potential overhearing, if their mother and families chat, listen to audio and discuss ideas verbally.
For parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing, their role in talking with the children is vital in closing the vocabulary gap. In fact, the research cited in the NY Times notes that “if everyone talked to their young children the same amount, there would be no racial or socioeconomic gap at all”.
By admin | April 12, 2013
A family in the US state of Missouri is using the Google Translate online tool to communicate with their newly-adopted teen daughter – who’s deaf – by accessing instant translations between languages on iPods or smartphones.
The speed of machine-translation tools means communicating parties can type in their first languages, with the translation being instantly accessed, wherever they happen to be (provided wifi or internet access is available).
By admin | April 11, 2013
His profile reads “I am the happiest deaf teenager on Facebook”. UK-based Jamie Williams started writing a blog after a friend said how happy and content he is, even when he’s deaf. And his writing ability shows in the blog.
By admin | April 10, 2013
Auditory-Verbal Therapy (AVT) is a parent-centred approach to enabling children with deafness to learn to talk by listening with hearing-devices.
The UK has just 14 certified AVT therapists, and on April 27th a free 2-hour information session on AVT is being held in Belfast for parents of deaf children aged under 5. Registration is needed (details below):
On average, more than 80% of deaf children are verbal and ready to attend mainstream schools after three years of parent-focused AVT at home.
By admin | April 5, 2013
Having to verbally ”translate” for signing deaf friends who do not lip-read, confirmed this skill to Rachel Kolb, a masters student at Stanford University in California. She writes eloquently here, about the challenges of lip-reading.
Read>> Seeing At The Speed Of Sound
Lip-reading is a very under-rated skill. When hearing-devices are off, it can be the ideal back-up for communicating when speech sounds are not heard. Babies are known to learn language by lip-reading from 6 to 12 months old, which is a window parents can harness if they see their child ‘reading’ faces.
Rachel Kolb received a cochlear implant in 2010, and wrote about this, too.
Read: Now Hearing This (sound fills comprehension gaps)
By admin | March 30, 2013
Parents have a stronger role than researchers thought, in developing verbal language in children with hearing issues. A new study from the University of Miami shows “maternal sensitivity [has] strong and consistent effects on oral language learning”, a fact that hospital cochlear implant teams need to note.
Dr Dana Suskind at the University of Chicago, similarly believes children with cochlear implants need to hear words, interact and share reading time with their families, to have an optimal language-development environment.
Being in a silent environment isn’t conducive to language learning. Verbal family interactions need alternating with reading and time on smart-devices, and the children need to interact in person at a social and emotional level.
This research from Miami proves that children with parental guidance and hearing-devices are best placed to learn incidentally – by overhearing what’s said around them, whether this is supplemented by lip-reading or not.
By admin | March 25, 2013
A new book, “He Is Not Me”, by Stuart McNaughton, tells the story of being deaf from birth – and opting for a cochlear implant in his twenties. Notably, Stuart’s parents mainstream-educated him, to equip him with real-world skills from the very start – with the support of teachers and professionals.
Read >> He Is Not Me (book, available from Amazon)
Stuart recently interviewed with the UK’s The Independent newspaper, in a compelling piece that refers to horrendous bullying at school, but also describes the positive impact his ensuing cochlear implant had, on his life.
Read >> The Day My Silence Ended
There’s also a video-story about He Is Not Me, for anyone interested.
By admin | March 19, 2013
Speech-to-text automation has a huge role in creating classroom captions for students with hearing and other issues, who don’t always note-take in class. To address the multi-speaker shortcomings of automated caption solutions, a program, Scribe, was devised at the University of Rochester.
Scribe works by crowd-sourcing humans to caption speech ‘gaps’ in service-text-delivery within five seconds, in a ’shotgun computing’ technique.
In the online video space, Amara is also exploring crowdsourced captions by inviting YouTube users to link their account to Amara.org for captions to be shared on major video-hosting sites like YouTube, Vimeo and UStream.
Amara first tested crowdsourced captions for Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address, and saw a tipping-point in the 2012 presidential campaign.
Video- and real-time captioning are ideal real-world skills for multimedia journalism programs to emphasise to students. Media faculty heads need to build provision of video-captions into student coursework briefs for meeting deadlines: the students may find a career path in the accessibility field.
* TeachNet Blog: Closed Captions In The Classroom
By admin | March 14, 2013
With bilateral cochlear implants (both ears) in Ireland’s news recently, here’s some information that may answer readers’ and families’ questions.
Some unilateral (single-ear) implant-wearers keep a hearing-aid in the other ear, and can recognise speech by listening through two ears. Others choose to ‘go bilateral’ with 2 cochlear implants, to maximise their hearing potential.
Children who ‘go bilateral’ may be better able to interact socially and to hear incidental sounds from the back seat of a car, on the street, on a playground or from a different room when at home. There’s also evidence that children who receive bilateral implants early, can have better speech perception.
Daily and consistent use of the hearing-device/s is needed for the childrens’ speech perception and development to progress at an age-appropriate level. In adults, cochlear implants are also found to improve speech perception.
The quality of life improvement seen in CI-wearers will improve further, with HiFi capabilities in implants being researched by a team at Vanderbilt University (US) that uses image-guided processes when mapping devices.
In cost and quality-of-life terms, cochlear implants are not the most pricey medical device, as the middle-slide on page 10 of this PDF shows.
Finally, the HSE can look to telepractice technology to deliver cost-effective intervention to the children and families accessing its hearing services.
By admin | March 12, 2013
An article, “Deafness Among Physicians and Trainees: A National Survey“, in the February 2013 issue of Academic Medicine, gives insights to how doctors with hearing issues access their training and get to work in the mainstream.
Amplified stethoscopes (89%) were the most frequent accommodation, with hearing-devices/FM (32%), realtime captions (21%), sign language (21%) and oral interpreting (14%) in the mix, while 56% used amplified phones.
Study co-author Philip Zazove, professor and the George A. Dean, M.D. Chair of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan, said:
” This study highlights a little understood but clearly growing group of physicians who are demonstrating that hearing loss doesn’t keep them from being a physician. These doctors connect with [deaf/hoh] patients in a way that hearing physicians can’t. “
Intending medical students can research the UKHPHL website (UK Health Professionals With Hearing Loss), the US-based AMPHL site (Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Loss), or the sign-based DeafMD.org.
Around the world, students with hearing issues are training to be speech-language teachers, audiologists and ENT surgeons – and why not?