Category: Hearing

Sep 15

muffsCait & Marty do not hunt, unless you count their scavenging forays at estate sales. Cait’s Baby Boomer friend, Steve, does hunt and knows what he’s talking about when it comes to protecting his hearing. Steve owns Gimpliment he uses in the field:

I have been using hearing protection for 40 or more years for shooting, and operating noisy equipment. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to use electronic hearing protectors, one of my favorites is the Howard Leight Impact™ Sport Earmuff with a jack to plug in an iPod.

I love listening to books-on-tape and use my iPod for the treadmill at the gym, for driving, and for the deer stand. If you get engaged in a good story you will probably last longer on the treadmill, and it’s always more pleasant. The iPod also makes driving more pleasant, keeping me awake and alert on longer drives as it does in the deer stand.

I jack the iPod cable into the earmuffs to listen to books-on-tape for lawn mowing and sedentary hunting like sitting on deer stand, or waiting for a turkey. Turn the iPod off and turn the earmuff volume up and you can hear game sneaking around.

A friend missed a nice deer years ago using headphones to listen to a big sports game. The headphones did not have an external microphone, like my Leight earmuffs do, so he didn’t hear the deer sneak up. When he moved slightly, not knowing the deer was practicaly in his lap, he spooked it and the deer bolted.

Eds. Note: Cait thinks bird watchers would find these useful, too.

Sep 5

Engineers at the University of Washington have developed software that lets people use American Sign Language over a mobile phone in real time.

Presently, deaf people use cell phones to text message each other. “But the point is you want to be able to communicate in your native language,” project engineer Eve Riskin. “For deaf people that’s American Sign Language.”

Video is better than text-messaging because it’s quicker and better at conveying emotion, said Jessica DeWitt, a UW student who is deaf and is a collaborator on the MobileASL project. DeWitt says a large part of her communication involves facial expressions which can be transmitted over the video phones.

Sign language over cell phones already is possible in Sweden and Japan and will become a reality in North America as faster cellular networks become more common here, Riskin said, noting the UW team is in contact with a major cellular network provider interested in the project.

Aug 9

Paul and Patricia Geers developed Fingerspelling Blocks to help their son, who is deaf, more easily learn Sign Language.

fingers.pngThe Geers knew young children had difficulty translating two-dimensional drawings of the alphabet into three-dimensional use with their hands.

But when they developed a set of ABC blocks with a Sign Language hand shape on top, their son and other children rapidly learned it and were signing and spelling short words as early as the age of three.

Fingerspelling Blocks include 26 durable plastic blocks embossed with brightly colored letters on the front and sides. Each letter of the alphabet is represented by a hand shape on the top and an object on the back that begins with the corresponding letter.

With Fingerspelling Blocks, children can feel and and see the hand shapes from various angles, making the signs easier to reproduce with their own hands.

May 29

Mark, at Duracell Easytab batteries, which got a thumbs up from the Arthritis Foundation.

easy-tab.png“Like most old geezers,” Mark told us, “I’m getting a little shake in my hand. The other batteries have this itty bitty tab, but the Duracells have a long tab” and are easier to remove, hold and insert.color-tab.png

The Duracell Easytab is the first hearing aid battery to receive the Ease-of-Use commendation from the Arthritis Foundation.

The various Easytab battery sizes also are color-coded to make them easier to identify, as seen in the photo above to the right.

Apr 16

A new device called the Lyric appears to overcome many of the problems associated with traditional hearing aids.

The Lyric doesn’t have to be removed for sleeping or showering and it doesn’t squeal with feedback or over amplify background noises - just several of the reasons that make us hate traditional hearing aids.

Doctors say the Lyric works so efficiently because it sits close to the ear drum, which mean sounds are more natural because they don’t have to be amplified as much.

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Jul 12

As Boomers enter their 60s, they find themselves jacking the volume on their televisions, cringing at boisterous parties and shouting “What?” into their cellphones.

Sound technologists eager to tap into a huge new market are developing devices to attract age-phobic, style-conscious boomers, who once made fun of hearing aids and may be afraid to admit hearing loss.

The new hearing aids no longer look like a chewed circus peanut or feel like we’re hearing through a tin can. Rather, today’s newest devices look like the offspring of iPods and Bluetooth with the quality of Bose speakers.

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