Friday, March 21, 2014

Interview With a SoundBite Recipient at Speak Up Librarian

Over at Speak Up Librarian, you can check out an interview with a recipient of the SoundBite, a product designed by Sonitus Medical. The SoundBite uses bone conduction to transmit sound via the patient's teeth - it's an in-the-mouth hearing device custom-fit for each recipient.

I thought this interview was very interesting. Reading about others' real-life experiences can really help. Especially interesting is the story of how Donna was able to convince her insurance company to cover the device.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

And Your Name is Jonah

The cover art for And Your Name is Jonah, showing the title character riding his bicycle down the road.
The cover art for And Your Name is Jonah.
And Your Name is Jonah is a 1979 made-for-television movie starring Jeffrey Bravin in the title role, with Sally Struthers and James Woods playing Jonah's parents.

In the movie, young Jonah has just left a mental hospital, where he has spent three years as a result of misdiagnosis of mental retardation. As it turns out, Jonah is actually deaf. His mother becomes his loyal champion, entering a world she is very unfamiliar with - the world of speech therapy, hearing aids, and American Sign Language.

And Your Name is Jonah is streaming with subtitles on Netflix, and so I watched it earlier this week. It's a very moving film. You can feel Jonah's isolation and inability to communicate. The movie also manages to get the emotions of everyone else across, from his father's total confusion about what to do with his son to his grandfather's complete acceptance of Jonah as who he is. The last scenes of the movie, as Jonah learns there is a way for him to communicate, is wonderful.

It was fascinating to see how deafness was approached in the late 70s/early 80s. The hearing aid Jonah had to wear is very different from the ones I was given in the early 90s. It was interesting to see the very realistic way the movie portrayed speech therapy and the Deaf community.

While looking for information on the film, I found out that when it was originally shown on CBS it did not have any type of captioning (open captions had only just begun about six years earlier and closed captions began in 1980). This article by Jamie Berke explains her annoyance at not being able to watch the movie, which ironically helped a classmate understand her better. I'm glad it's now available much more readily.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Quick Update

Tripp with my husband this past Sunday.
I guess all of the things they say about free time going out the window when you have kids is true! I apologize for not blogging more. This blog has been on my mind the past few days, though, so I thought I'd write an update on how things are going.

I was very nervous before having Tripp and afterwards if I would be a good parent considering my hearing loss. Of course I know of many parents with hearing loss who are amazing parents. Crazy stuff goes through pregnant brains. I wrote a post when Tripp was 1.5 months old about parenting with hearing loss, but things have changed - things change so quickly with babies.

He sleeps through the night most of the time, so I don't worry about keeping my hearing aids in anymore. This is great for me - I sleep better - and for them - they get to dry out overnight so they can function properly in the morning. We just set up the baby monitor before bed and my husband hears if he cries.

By far the most relieving thing has been that I can recognize his cries. I was worried I would never understand what he was trying to communicate. Cries all sound the same and I have such a hard time distinguishing high pitched sounds. It took awhile but I now know, through a combination of his cries and his body language, what he wants.

I have spoken with Tripp's pediatrician and we've gone over things to look for to keep an eye on his hearing. Since my hearing loss did not become evident (and even then it was very subtle, since it was a mild loss at the time) for four years, I want to be vigilant with him. Early recognition and intervention (no matter what that intervention is) can solve a lot of problems before they happen.

I hope to get back to blogging regularly soon but I hope in the meantime everything is going well for you!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Around the Web Wednesday

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 25, 2013

An Update on Made for iPhone Hearing Aids

Image via Flickr user reticulating
Back in June of last year, I wrote about Apple's announcement of upcoming new features, including "made for iPhone hearing aids." Now it seems more information on this is coming out of Denmark - a country which supplies half of the world's hearing aids. GN Store Nord is the world's fourth largest manufacturer of hearing aids and the driving force behind hearing aids utilizing 2.4 GHz technology.

As it turns out, there will soon be an option for people to have sound relayed directly to their hearing aids via their Apple (iPhone, iPad, etc) product, without the need for an intermediary device such as the Oticon Streamer, which I just discussed this past week. According to the Reuters article linked above, Starkey Technologies is also working on a hearing aid that will work similarly for iPhones but there's no details as of yet.

It sounds like GN ReSound may be at the forefront of "iHearingAids," but it does remain to be seen whether the elderly market for hearing aids will actually want to take advantage of the technology. I think it may take a few more years - for people in their thirties and forties now - before this kind of connectivity is basically expected.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What's the Difference Between the Streamer and the Streamer Pro?

I recently received a question on my blog asking about the difference between the Oticon Streamer and the Streamer Pro. I wasn't aware there was a new version of the Streamer out, so I thought I'd take a look for myself.

For those unfamiliar, the Streamer is part of Oticon's ConnectLine series of products. If you have a compatible hearing aid (such as my Oticon Epoqs), you can take advantage of these products. They all utilize the hearing aids' Bluetooth connectivity, and the center of this gadget hub is the Streamer. It turns your hearing aids into a wireless headset; you can use it and the other ConnectLine devices to stream television, computer, mobile phone, tablet, and other device audio right into your ears.

I have a Streamer, and love it. At first glance, the Streamer Pro seems to vary in appearance from my Streamer (click to enlarge):


It looks like it is also shorter and wider than the original Streamer.

I took a look at both manuals (Streamer 1.2 and Streamer Pro) to find any more differences:

  • The microphone has been moved slightly in position at the top of the device.
  • The new Streamer Pro has flatter buttons on the front.
  • The volume control is on the side rather than the front. 
  • The Streamer Pro also has two connections for the neckloop where the original Streamer has one. 
  • The range the Streamer should be within appears to have expanded from .5 meters to 1.
  • The Streamer Pro uses micro USB to charge rather than mini.
  • The ConnectLine Microphone option appears to be new. You can use the Streamer to have a much easier one-on-one conversation with someone in a busy/loud area.
  • The Streamer Pro has an Aux Selector button on the side for use with an audio cable, or headset.
  • The Streamer Pro has telecoil functionality built-in.
  • There is an optional FM receiver device for the Streamer Pro (this is awesome!).
Are there any more differences between the two that I haven't noticed? I'd love to hear from you if you have experience with the Streamer Pro.