Month: February 2013

This is such an important piece of information I posted it to my linked in account which is read by other attorneys.

By Jean F. Andrews

Police and jail officers are often confused by the many forms of English that come from the mouths and lips, and off the fingers and hands of deaf suspects. Just because the deaf person can speak some words, and lipread the question, “what is your name,” or even sign some words in English with voice, it is often assumed the deaf suspect knows enough English to get by without a qualified sign language interpreter. In one case a neighbor of a deaf suspect knew some Fingerspelling and a police officer assumed she was signing and could interpret his questioning. Often police officers will take out a pad and paper, and begin questioning expecting the deaf suspect to be able to read and write. Even when only fragmented phrases are the result, the officers will believe communication is going along just fine as they add charades…

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Neither Deaf nor Hearing

What Is Life Like After a Cochlear Implant for a Person Born Deaf

Answer by Cristina Hartmann, writer:

Posted Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, at 5:04 PM  (Slate Magazine)

The lead is:  “Well, this is a tough question for me since I’ve lived far more years with a cochlear implant (CI) than without.

In 1991, I was one of the first 500 children to get a CI after FDA approval of pediatric CIs. I was 6 years old.

A few months prior, my mother had asked me if I wanted to hear. I said yes at once since I wanted to know what the fuss was all about. As my mom explained the operation to me, I got this sense that it’d be magic. (OK, I wasn’t a bright 6-year-old.)”

Again, recommended reading for those considering a CI or interested in what people wearing a CI experience. As with most types of hearing augmentation one ends up neither quite fish or fowl.  Individuals lose their Deaf identity without acquiring a Hearing identity.  Is it a more positive or negative impact?  We will never know unless or until all children who are Deaf at birth can be magically made fully hearing.

A series on hearing loss on Bloomberg

More Noise, More Hearing Loss, More Isolation 
By Katherine Bouton Feb 14, 2013 6:42 PM ET

The lead from the first article is:  “I lost my hearing one early spring day shortly after my 30th birthday. I heard the phone ring, but when I put it to my ear no one was there. “Hello?” I said. “Hello???” I tried the other ear, the right. It worked just fine.”

What I Didn’t Hear at the New York Times
By Katherine Bouton Feb 17, 2013 6:30 PM ET

The lead from the second article is: “After I lost my hearing in one ear, I did well enough with the hearing in my other one. But as that ear started to go, in my late 40s, I floundered.

Hearing loss dominated my waking life. Every time someone said something to me that I couldn’t follow, every time I flinched at a loud noise, every time I couldn’t hear at the movies or the theater, every time I answered the phone and not only couldn’t tell who was calling but even whether the caller was male or female, I despaired.”

Cochlear Implants Are Miraculous and Maddening
By Katherine Bouton Feb 18, 2013 6:30 PM ET

The lead from the final article in this series is:  “You’ll never be deaf,” my longtime ear doctor, Ronald Hoffman, said to me years ago. At the time, I thought he meant I’d never lose all my hearing.

What I know now is that technology would take over when my ears no longer worked. Through a cochlear implant, I would continue to hear long after my ears ceased to function.”

Note, Ms. Bouton’s book, Why Shouting Won’t Help is on the market now.  Follow this link to her site and her blog.

I recommend a good read of all the articles.  As for me, I doubt I’ll ever take the CI option since I’ve relaxed into American Sign Language (I’ve still got a long way to go, though) and am not in the least ashamed or embarrassed about my declining hearing – nor, I am happy to report, is Ms. Bouton these days.

This is a good person to follow since she has access to publishers and can bring her story into the consciousness of America in a way most of us will never be able to do.

Fending off hearing loss fueled dementia

I was unable to figure out how to reblog the NYTimes opinion piece by Katherine Bouton called Straining to Hear and Fend Off Dementia published on February 11, 2013.

It opens with her comment:

At a party the other night, a fund-raiser for a literary magazine, I found myself in conversation with a well-known author whose work I greatly admire. I use the term “conversation” loosely. I couldn’t hear a word he said. But worse, the effort I was making to hear was using up so much brain power that I completely forgot the titles of his books.

And boy to I relate to that situation. My own made up term for this is “cognitive input overload.” – which means I end up melting down in the corner, unable to understand anything.  In the article, I noted the following: Frank Lin, an otolaryngologist and epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, describes this phenomenon as “cognitive load.” Cognitive overload is the way it feels. Essentially, the brain is so preoccupied with translating the sounds into words that it seems to have no processing power left to search through the storerooms of memory for a response.

The article goes on to discuss hearing loss and brain function reduction to which I say, “Why are we not teaching ALL these people ASL!?”  Oliver Sachs has demonstrated through experimentation that ASL is a language.  It operates in the same centers of the brain as oral language.  And since hearing aids don’t really help people keep the edge we should be signing up every new HoH person for sign language classes.  We don’t.

I encourage everyone to read it – it has some startling studies and statistics.




Lexington School for the Deaf


While some Hollywood stars have hidden talents that will never be revealed Jessica Chastain displayed hers proudly.

The Zero Dark Thirty star was seen engaging in a conversation with a young deaf fan via sign language on Thursday night.

Jessica, 35, was leaving a theatre on Broadway, in New York City, when the fan approached her for an autograph and got more than she expected.

The red haired actress is clearly a woman of many talents and she made the fan’s night when she engaged with them.

Jessica, who is treading the boards in stage play The Heiress, didn’t miss a beat as she held a conversation with the person.

She seemed to be having a great time being able to use her sign language to help make the lucky fan’s day.

Jessica may have picked up some understanding of sign language when she starred in 2011’s Take Shelter, in…

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A breaking point

I now have a glimmer of why there is road rage.  I also got a better feeling for why an ASL interpreter of mine took on an abusive woman over me.

Today I was looking for a parking spot in a very busy parking lot so I could take a deaf-blind consumer food shopping. I wasn’t paying attention to other cars in particular except to note they were there – when suddenly a woman in a car facing mine rolled down her window, stuck her head out, and started screaming at me. I was totally baffled as her face screwed up with rage and she started giving me the Massachusetts “good morning and how are you today” sign – the middle finger of doom. For good measure she swerved around a car while hitting the gas and rocketing down the row like a fighter pilot. The last I “heard” was something about my taking her parking space.

I had no freaking idea what she was talking about – nor what parking space was coming open – and it took me another few minutes to find an open parking spot several rows away. I just patiently watched for an open space – works every time.

During those few minutes I came to a minor boiling point of my own. What if she’d hit my car? What about my passenger? What kind of society do we have where someone goes violently bonkers over a parking spot? Welcome to Massachusetts. This is behavior I’ve come to expect since moving here in 1996.

In the store I ran across this woman several times. What I wanted to do was walk up and confront her.I wanted to ask her if she knew there are people as angry and blaming as she is who are armed. What would she have done if someone had rolled down a window and shot her? Or gotten out of the car and attacked her? Instead, I gave her the patented look developed by mothers who have had enough from their kids. I call it “The Look.” Every time she saw me she jerked her head away and scuttled off like vermin avoiding the light. How stupid are people to think that after acting like idiots they won’t see the person in the store?

Most of the time I ignore people like her as a waste of human skin. Instead, I seethed for a time. Seething does no good, though, so this is a case of waiting for karma to kick in. In that light, enjoy a little of Jaron and the Long Road – Pray for You – at least it gives a bit of comic relief. 🙂