Bluetooth Hearing Aids

Take a look at the following link for some new bluetooth products designed especially to facilitate communication as well as listening to music for hard-of-hearing individuals:

http://www.walyou.com/blog/2010/02/19/bluetooth-hearing-aid-design/

Auditory health and US health care reform

With the imminent vote on the Senate health reform bill in the USA, this article is especially relevant.

The bill, if it is passed, will include provisions that are intended to curb the practice of insurance companies denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions. As the author points out, the current practice can have consequences for the hearing impaired, as deafness or impairment can be considered pre-existing conditions.

Health Care Reform and Deaf People (from the National Association for the Deaf’s website)

Study to increase participation of hearing-impaired individuals in research studies

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio have found that hearing-impaired individuals are routinely excluded from academic studies- and they would like to change that.

Professor Shirley Moore at Case Western’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing (FPB) is leading the 2-year study. The study’s goal is to give researchers the ability to easily include hearing-impaired individuals in their studies.

Researchers intend to develop technology that facilitates participation of hearing-impaired individuals in studies and also to train researchers on how to conduct more inclusive projects in the future.

“Finding Ways for People With Hearing Impairment to Participate in Research is Goal of Study”

Accessible personal computers

Using a personal computer requires mainly visual cues. But in Mac and Windows operating systems, aural cues – “alert sounds” – are a key component as well.

Fortunately, both Windows and Mac OS operating systems have visual alerts designed to make themselves more more convenient for hearing impaired users.

In Microsoft Windows, this can be accomplished by selecting the CONTROL PANEL, then ACCESSIBILITY OPTIONS. Then select the SOUND tab, and under that tab, check the box that says “USE SOUNDSENTRY.” You will then be able to select a “visual warning.” Under the CHOOSE VISUAL WARNING list, you can select “Flash Active Caption Bar,” “Flash Active Window,” or “Flash Desktop.”

In the Mac operating system, open SYSTEM PREFERENCES (click the icon or select it under the Apple icon in the top left corner), then click the UNIVERSAL ACCESS icon. Click the HEARING tab and then check the boxes that say “FLASH THE SCREEN WHEN AN ALERT SOUND OCCURS” and “ENABLE ACCESS FOR ASSISTIVE DEVICES.” Next, click the SHOW ALL button to go back to SYSTEM PREFERENCES. Click the SOUND icon and push the sliders for ALERT VOLUME and OUTPUT VOLUME all the way to the right.