Triad Hitchup

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Triad HITCH-UP Meeting Highlights 2/26/08

GUEST SPEAKER: Joan and John Black, Tacsi Assistive Systems
TOPIC: Available Technology: getting the most out of modern technology for the hearing impaired.

Joan and John Black graciously joined us to discuss the technology. Joan wears a cochlear implant herself, and speaks from experience. They began by explaining that there are 4 goals or types of assistive technology, including those that:
1) Stretch the performance of hearing aids
2) Minimize background noise
3) Minimize the effects of distance
4) Override acoustics

Examples include:
1) Hardware (T-coil)
2) FM system
3) Infrared and induction loop

A T-coil is a small loop of wire inside (!!some!!) hearing aids which can act as a receiver to transmit clear sound despite background noise or feedback. If used with a hearing aid compatible (HAC) telephone, the phone can be easily used at the ear without feedback, with clear transmission of sound, when the hearing aid t-coil switch is on. The aids can also be switched to cut out backround noise while the coil is in use.

If there is insufficient phone volume, an in-line amplifier can be added to the phone. IN addition, the phone company can turn up the volume of things like voice announce caller-ID from their end. All phones can be increased in volume one way or another.

Another way to use the t-coil when volume is needed (not necessarily on the phone) is to use a neckloop or a sillouette. These create a magnetic field then plug into the phone, radio, etc, and transmit to the t-coil.

Of note, Bluetooth is not quite there but up-and-coming for assistance for the HI. Also, cell phones are about 50% HAC. IPod is not HAC thus far.

The Blacks then spoke about more hints regarding phone use, and then moved on to other sound issues in the home. They discussed the need for visual notification of everything: doorbell, phone ringing, fire alarms, etc. They recommended “sonicalert”, a light system which can flash differently depending on the source of the issue. Smoke detectors are particularly important.

The Blacks also wanted to be sure that we knew about several resources: internet relay conference captioning (free)
captel—captioned telephone service
NCTEDP—NC Telecommunications Equipment Dist. Program- assists in obtaining a hearing aid or telephone which is HAC.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: AGBell Convention: Somethin' BIG is Brewing in Milwaukee, June 27-30, 2008

Pam Bensimhon & Crystal Rierson

Co-leaders, Triad HITCH-UP

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