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Monday, October 05, 2015

US DOT Officially Requires Closed Captioning on Airport TVs

This is awesome news!

"The ruling, which was in development for nearly 4 years, goes into effect on October 5, 2015. After that date, airport operators will have 30 days to comply." 

US DOT Officially Requires Closed Captioning on Airport TVs

Wednesday, June 03, 2015


Friday, May 29, 2015

10 Common Noises That Can Cause Permanent Hearing Loss

One in seven people between the ages of 45 and 64 have hearing loss — are you taking the proper precautions to protect yourself?
Confronting My Hearing Loss
"I first noticed my hearing loss in my late 50s. Like most people, I ignored it because I thought it didn’t interfere with my life. I also thought acknowledging it would make me old. Over the next 10 years, my hearing worsened and I realized how it was affecting relationships with my family. I thought my grandchildren were mumbling and whispering all the time because I could hardly understand them, especially over the phone.
It took an ear infection to learn how bad my hearing really was. My ENT doctor confirmed my hearing loss and referred me to an audiology practice to be fitted for hearing aids.
I regret waiting so long to do something about my hearing loss. I missed so many conversations and special moments with my husband, children and grandchildren. That’s why I tell people who haven’t addressed their hearing loss, 'What are you waiting for?'"
-- Patty Koele, 71, Ocala, FL
About 14 percent of people between the ages of 45–64 have some type of hearing loss, which you might notice as difficulty following conversations or trouble hearing children and women with high voices. (For a full list of the typical signs and symptoms of early hearing loss, visit Plus, one in three people over the age of 65 have hearing loss, but, like Patty, they tend to wait a long time before doing something about it—seven years on average.
The reasons for delaying treatment probably sound familiar:
  • Denial and the perception the problem isn’t that serious
  • Negative associations of hearing loss and being old or disabled
  • Due to gradual onset, those with hearing loss literally don’t know what they are missing
  • Not realizing that some hearing loss can be kept from worsening by early treatment
Why Hearing Loss Happens
There are three types of hearing loss: conductive (CHL), sensorineural (SNHL), and mixed which includes both types.
CHL hearing loss is a mechanical problem: for some reason, your outer or middle ear isn't able to vibrate properly in response to sound waves. Causes include too much ear wax, fluid due to infection, a hole in the eardrum, and otosclerosis, which is an overgrowth of the bone in your middle ear.
SNHL is the most common type of hearing loss and is caused by noise exposure, medications and age, to name a few. "Though hearing loss is often attributed to natural aging, in fact, hearing loss may be congenital (inherited) or exacerbated by excessive noise," says Leigh Ann Watts, Au.D., CCC-A, an audiologist at Beneficial Hearing Aid Center who treated Koele. "Noise is all around us, every day, from television to lawn mowers to household appliances. It's unavoidable, yet can be harmful in excess."
What Counts as Excessive Noise?
Frightening fact: Hearing loss can occur after a one-time noise exposure at 120 decibels, such as gunfire, or continuous noise exposure to dangerous levels of 85 decibels or above over a prolonged period of time. It's important to know what levels are safe in order to protect your hearing:
110-140 decibels:
Rock concert or jet engine
Nail gun
Ambulance siren
Home stereo speakers at maximum volume
* Just 1 minute of exposure to noises at this level can result in permanent hearing loss, according to the National Institutes of Health.
85-100 decibels:
Garbage truck
Power mower
* Continual exposure to noises in this range can cause permanent hearing loss.
"I recommend maintaining levels below 75 decibels and listening to your ears," says Dr. Watts. "If a sound is too loud, remove yourself from the situation or put on proper hearing protection." For reference, a normal conversation typically hits about 60 decibels.
What You Can Do If You Do Have Hearing Loss
Fortunately, 90 percent of SNHL hearing loss (caused by excessive noise or aging) can be improved by wearing a hearing aid, and CHL hearing loss (caused by a mechanical problem) can be reversed or significantly improved with medical or surgical treatment, says Dr. Watts.
No matter your specific needs or lifestyle, she recommends the following hearing aid features, if you and your doctor decide to go that route:
Directional microphones – this feature has been proven to improve hearing in places with heavy ambient noise.
Telecoils – this special circuitry within a hearing aid prevents feedback (or whistling) when you're on the phone.
Bluetooth technology – this allows for wireless connection from your hearing aid directly to cell phones and TVs.
Rechargeable hearing aid batteries – they're super convenience and a must for people with visual or dexterity issues.
If you're over 50, hearing aids may conjure visions of clunky, uncomfortable monstrosities—a cure worse than the condition. But today's hearing aids come in comfortable, discreet designs and provide natural-sounding hearing in a wide variety of environments. Another modern benefit: Hearing aids are also available with tinnitus therapy settings for those suffering from ringing in the ear.
Koele decided on the Pure® hearing aid from Siemens. "They're comfortable and don’t plug up my whole ear," she says. "And they do everything I want them to do and connect wirelessly to all my gadgets, so I can listen to music, take calls, and hear the TV right through my hearing aids."
About the author: Jennifer Gehlen received her undergraduate and graduate degrees including her Masters and Au.D. from the University of Florida. She previously worked for Siemens in the roles of staff audiologist providing manufacturing and customer support and as a training consultant. She has practiced audiology in a variety of clinic and hospital settings in northern California and in Florida in the Tampa Bay area over the past 18 years. As an Educational Specialist, she provides training to staff and customers on Siemens technology, services, and software.

ARE YOU HARD OF HEARING - Free download available for a VISOR CARD for your vehicle

Download Visor Card Here

Visor Cards—Deaf

The purpose of the Visor Card is to bridge the initial communications gap with the police if you are ever stopped by them. It lets the police know you can’t hear/understand their orders and instructions. As a result, they will have to use alternate communication strategies including hand signals, writing things down and use ASL to sign to you.

There are two versions of the Visor Card. The Deaf Visor Card (shown here)  is for people who are culturally deaf—that is, they identify with the Deaf community and use ASL as their primary means of communication, rather than speech.
(The Hard of Hearing Visor Card is for people who identify with the hearing community—that is, they use their voices to speak, read and write English fluently and often speechread and wear hearing aids. To learn more about the Hard of Hearing Visor Card, or to purchase it, click here.)
You can learn more about the reasons for using the Deaf Visor Card and download a free copy of the Deaf Visor Card here, or you can purchase a Deaf Visor Card Pak already made up.
The Deaf Visor Card Pak includes:
  • Laminated “Driver is Deaf” Visor Card
  • Laminated Wallet Deaf Card
  • Brochure: “Visor Cards: Bridging the Communications Gap When Stopped by the Police” including instructions how to use your Deaf Visor Cards. You can also download this full-color 4-page Visor Card Brochure here. 

Correctly Placing Your Visor Cards

Your Visor Cards are useless unless they are instantly available whenever you need them. You don’t want to have to rummage around in the glove box or under the seat when you are pulled over. (Police officers may think you are reaching for a gun and act accordingly.)
The Visor Card is called a visor card for good reason. You attach it to your sun visor. That way, it is normally out of sight, yet instantly available when needed.
Here’s how to mount it. Fold down your sun visor. Place the Visor Card on your sun visor—right side up facing you when your visor is down. Hold it in place with two elastic bands around both the Visor Card and sun visor.
With the sun visor up, your Visor Card is hidden out of sight so you are not advertising the fact that you are deaf, but it is in place, ready for instant use whenever you need it.

Correctly Using Your Visor Cards

If you are ever stopped by the police, follow these steps in this order.
1. Pull over and stop safely. (If it is dark and you are able to, stop under a street lamp, or pull into a lighted parking area. This will make it easier for you to speechread.)
2. Immediately flip your sun visor down, unhook the end by the rearview mirror, and swing it over so your Visor Card is clearly visible in the driver’s side window. If you have two visor cards and you think a police officer will come to the passenger side, deploy that visor too. Even better, deploy both visor cards every time you are stopped. That way, you have your bases covered, no matter what happens.
3. Open your driver’s side window all the way. (Police officers get very nervous with today’s dark windows!) Also open the passenger’s-side window if you flipped that visor down as well.
4. If it is dark, turn on your dome light.
5. Place both of your hands on the steering wheel well before any police officer approaches your vehicle. Police officers want to see both your hands at all times. The safest place is to put them on the wheel at the standard driving positions of 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock. Keep your hands on the wheel until after you establish effective communication with the police officer. Have the officer remove your Visor Card and read the instructions on the back so he knows how to effectively communicate with you.
That’s all there is to it! You may never have to use your visor cards, but if you ever do get pulled over, you are prepared. You can “hang loose” and let your Visor Cards do the work of bridging the initial communications gap with the police.

****you can also order packs of cards from this site.
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