David Copithorne  – From http://www.hearingtracker.com

Content Director,  16 February 2019

The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided that when it comes to loud headphones and hearing loss, enough is enough. Along with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), it has published recommended specifications for a new generation of hi-fi headsets that won’t give you hearing loss.

The organizations say all new smartphones and audio players with in-ear or over-the-ear amplification should come with an array of new technologies. They are recommending adoption of a new technical standard specifying features such as software that monitors sound levels, automatic volume limitations, and data collection providing feedback on unsafe usage.

“Given that we have the technological know-how to prevent hearing loss, it should not be the case that so many young people continue to damage their hearing while listening to music,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “They must understand that once they lose their hearing, it won’t come back.”

Half the world’s youth at risk of permanent hearing loss

WHO estimates that nearly 50% of people aged 12-35 years – or 1.1 billion young people – are at risk of hearing loss due to prolonged and excessive exposure to loud sounds, including music they listen to through personal audio devices. But it also says that half of all cases of hearing loss can be prevented through public health measures.

How? Simply by educating the public on what kinds of sound can damage your hearing. And how long one can be exposed to loud sounds before hearing is jeopardized.

Turning down the volume on your headphones below dangerous levels and limiting the time spent listening at high volumes can prevent hearing loss. But you have to know what those limits are. So the voluntary WHO-ITU standard specifies new technology that makes users aware of usage that can hurt your hearing.

Features of safe listening devices

The Safe Listening Devices and Systems standard recommends that personal audio devices include:

  • “Sound allowance” function: software that tracks the level and duration of the user’s exposure to sound as a percentage used of a reference exposure.
  • Personalized profile: an individualized listening profile, based on the user’s listening practices, which informs the user of how safely (or not) he or she has been listening and gives cues for action based on this information.
  • Volume limiting options: options to limit the volume, including automatic volume reduction and parental volume control.
  • General information: information and guidance to users on safe listening practices, both through personal audio devices and for other leisure activities.

The standard was introduced to coincide with World Hearing Day on March 3 and developed under WHO’s “Make Listening Safe” initiative. The initiative seeks to improve listening practices especially among young people, both when they are exposed to music and other sounds at noisy entertainment venues and as they listen to music through their personal audio devices.

Raising awareness among manufacturers and governments

Experts from WHO and ITU worked together over a two-year process to develop the standard, which draws on the latest research on noise-induced hearing loss and on extensive consultations with representatives from government, industry, consumers and civil society.

Adherence to the standard is voluntary, but WHO is providing a detailed implementation guide. The Safe Listening Devices and Systems Standard is detailed a 40-page book for manufacturers and other stakeholders. And for government and community organizations, WHO offers an implementation Toolkit for safe listening devices and systems.



March 16th Meeting at The Northborough Town Library

2:30 to 4:30 pm  (Note the 2:30 pm start time)

Living with Hearing Loss: Share Your Experiences

The March “meeting” will not be our typical chapter meeting with a speaker.discussion.PNG

Instead, we will all be the speakers! The format will be for us to break into small groups to identify common issues we experience with hearing loss and brainstorm potential solutions. We’ll come back as a full group to find out what each of the groups came up with.

This will be an excellent opportunity for us to interact with one another, share experiences, and learn from each other.

The Northborough Town Library

  • Ample Free Parking
  • Light Refreshments
  • CART Provided (Computer Aided Real Time Captioning)
  • First Timers Welcome… just show up!

QUESTIONS? Email us at info@hearinglosscentralma.org

34 Main St, Northborough, MA 01532 (Access Library from Rt. 20 at Patty Lane)

To: Statewide Advisory Council and Community Members

From: Tricia Ford, Interim Commissioner, MCDHH

As we know, the mission of the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf & Hard of mass seal(MCDHH) is committed to providing accessible communication, education and advocacy to consumers and private and public entities to that programs, services and opportunities are fully accessible to persons throughout  Massachusetts who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The Governor’s House 1 Budget (H.1) was announced this week and funds for MCDHH to continue our mission for FY20 as summarized below.

H.1 line item 4125-0100  allocates $6.1M for MCDHH. This figure is a $154,765.00 increase over FY19 estimated spending, and will fund MCDHH at a level 281k (5%) over the FY19 GAA. (General Appropriations Act).

H.1 Snapshot:

  • Level support for Referral, Case Management and Social Services, and Communication  Access Technology & Training Services. These MCDHH programs provide interpreters and CART services for more than 30,000 requests, provide more than 1,000 families with support for navigating state services,  and train state agencies, elderly services, police, and emergency responders on the needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities.
  • Level support for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Independent Living Services (DHILS). In FY18, DHILS delivered over 16,991 service hours by providing information and referrals, peer mentoring, advocacy and skills training and a variety of independent living skills.

MCDHH will continue to be authorized to have revenue from interpreter fees. Our revenue funds are reinvested for communication access.

4125-0122    Chargeback revenue, capped at $350,000.

4125-0104    Interpreter services Revolving/Trust fund revenue $350,000

As FY20 planning proceeds, we at MCDHH look forward to continued collaboration and partnerships with the Baker administration, the Legislature, and our constituents in our strong commitment to improving accessibility and quality of services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing adults and children throughout the Commonwealth.

Thank you for your dedicated service to the Commonwealth through partnership with MCDHH.

Posted by: hlacentralma | January 19, 2019

Text-to-9-1-1 Is Available in the Commonwealth

Text-to-9-1-1 Is Available in the Commonwealthtext-to-911

On December 14, 2018, Text-to-9-1-1 was deployed across the Commonwealth. This is one of the most exciting changes for accessibility to emergency services in more than 20 years. When a citizen sends a text message to 9-1-1, it will be routed to an emergency call center based on the location information provided by the carrier. For this reason, when a citizen sends a Text-to-9-1-1, they should make every effort to text the town name, address or location that they are located in.

What is Text-to-9-1-1?

Text-to-9-1-1 is the ability to send a text message to reach 9-1-1 emergency call takers from your mobile device. How Do I Reach Text-to-9-1-1? When using a texting app on a device, type the numbers “911” into the “To” or “Recipient” field. What Information Should I Give Text-to-9-1-1? You should make every effort to text the following:

• what is happening (nature of the incident);

• location including the address/location and town name;

• any additional details about the location you can provide such as landmarks, cross streets, nearby business names, apartment number, floor, room or suite numbers, or any details that may be helpful in locating you.

When Should I Use Text-to-9-1-1?

Texting should only be used during an emergency when you are unable to make a voice call to 9-1-1. Making a voice call is the most efficient way to get access to emergency services. Text-to-9-1-1 will be useful for citizens who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired. Text-to-9-1-1 eliminates the need to use ancillary Teletypewriter (TTY) equipment, or third party services to access 9-1-1.

What Happens Next?

The 9-1-1 professional in the emergency call center will ask you many questions, will assist in sending first responders to the location you identify, and may provide instructions on things for you to do.

Why Didn’t My Text Go Through?

Messages sent to Text-to-9-1-1 may not be received. If you attempt to send a Text-to-9-1-1 where the service is not available, wireless carriers provide an automatic “bounce-back” message. Bounce-back messages are intended to minimize the risk that you mistakenly believe that your text was sent and received by an emergency call center. As part of the bounce-back message, you will be advised to contact emergency services by another means. Text-to-9-1-1 is currently available throughout the Commonwealth. However, across the country, Text-to-9-1-1 may only be in certain locations. Whenever possible, you should always make a voice call to 9-1-1 during an emergency.

Are There Any Text-to-9-1-1 Limitations I Should Know About?

Text-to-9-1-1 uses native texting technology called Short Message Service (SMS). Therefore, you must have a text or data plan on your mobile device to Text-to-9-1-1 and you should avoid sending:

• multi-media such as pictures, videos and emoticons;

• a message to more than one person as a recipient;

• messages exceeding the 160 character limit, as the messages will be broken and may be delivered out of order.

Text-to-9-1-1 rules do not apply to the following: third party texting applications (apps) on mobile devices that do not support texting to and from U.S. phone numbers, apps that only support texting with other app users, or texting through social media. This can include message services over WiFi networks, where a text or data plan is not required.

Posted by: hlacentralma | December 28, 2018

American Sign Language Classes

American Sign Language Classes

Level 1 ASL Classes at College of the Holy Cross, Thursdays, 6 – 8 pm. First class is Thursday, February 21

Level 2 on Tuesdays, 1st class is Tuesday, February 19

Level 3 on Wednesdays, 1st class is Wednesday, February 20

Click here to download the registration form.

ASL spring 2019

Posted by: hlacentralma | December 9, 2018

Live Captions & Subtitles in Skype

Introducing live captions & subtitles in Skypeskype

Today, (December, 2018) Skype joins the world in celebrating the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities with the launch of call captioning with live captions & subtitles. This new feature works on the latest version of Skype for one-on-one calls with a friend, coworker, or to any phone number, as well as in group calls with a work team or friend group. The live captions & subtitles feature provides a more inclusive experience for everyone in the Skype community, especially for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Skype has been hard at work at making our features more inclusive, and live captions & subtitles make Skype calls more accessible. Simple settings allow you to turn them on for a single call or keep them turned on for all your calls. Live captions & subtitles are optimized to be fast, continuous, and contextually updated as people speak. Currently, the captions and subtitles auto-scroll in your call, but coming soon, you’ll find additional viewing options, including the ability to scroll through them in their own side window, so you don’t miss a moment—be it in a video or in the live subtitles. To learn how to use this feature, read Skype’s  support article.

Coming soon: translations that support over 20 languages

Please note : It is using automatic speech recognition (ASR) software.  That means it is not as good as a real time captioner (like Mona) delivering CART and may not be as good as a captioned telephone that also uses ASR but the operator can fix obvious mistakes.    Tina

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