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

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

Posted by: hlacentralma | November 5, 2018

Navigating the Holidays With Hearing Loss

 new MAcentralmass-sm1Next Meeting: November 10,2018, 2:00-4:00 PM

WhereNorthborough Public Library, 34 Main Street, Northborough, MA


Speaker:  Beth Wilsonbeth

Topic: Navigating the Holidays

The image that many people have of the family gathering is one of laughter and cheer as family members get together with people they know and love to share each other’s company.  The reality for many people with hearing loss is that these events are frustrating.  When communication is a struggle, the hard of hearing family member can be left feeling isolated in a room full of people.  This presentation will identify the problems that exist for people with hearing loss, explain why communication is so difficult, and offer strategies to make the family gathering a more pleasant experience for everyone.

Bonus Topic: What is Neuro-Technology?

After our last chapter meeting, there were a number of questions about neuro-technology.  Dr. Beth Wilson did her master’s thesis on hearing aid technology and Ph.D. dissertation on using artificial intelligence for signal processing.  Before our regular program starts, Dr. Beth will provide a simple explanation of what neuro-technology is and how it is being implemented in hearing aids and cochlear implant algorithms.

Please join us and bring your questions and thoughts.

Light refreshments will also be provided.

CART (computer aided real time captioning) will be provided).

Parking lot is accessed by Patty Lane

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