I am excited to be a guest on Project Hearing's Ask Me Anything series. Watch my episode to see my responses to questions about my own hard-of-hearing experience. Also, make sure you tune into Project Hearing's IG live page tonight at 7:30 pm EST where I'll answer all your follow-up questions during the Ask Me Anything Live.'
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Updated Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Please check out the most current news in the sections above.
Week in Review (4.30-5.7)
“Audible,” a new documentary from Netflix, follows Maryland School for the Deaf football player Amaree McKenstry and his pals during their senior year. Nyles DeMarco and Peter Berg, the fella who created “Friday Night Lights,” are the film’s executive producers. Director Matt Ogens has had a deaf best friend since 8 and told Variety how important DiMarco’s involvement was for the film: “He really helped in a significant way, making sure that we were making a film not just for the hearing community, but for the deaf community.” He also was very impressed with Netflix’s sensitivity to accessibility in general and the company’s respect toward all communities involved in a project. Ogens was also incredibly inspired by the Deaf community that surrounded him: “They don’t complain about their lot in life,” he said, “like the rest of us do about much smaller things. I learned a lot from them.”
As we all know, Deaf people get a lot of questions from hearing folks. So two deaf best friends decided to do something about it: launch a podcast, What the Deaf?, to try to explain to the hearing what it’s like to be deaf. The idea came when the two Californians were sitting at a bar in Ireland. “Let us go in their comfort zone of headphones and open the dialogue,” podcaster Sarah Tubert told the Orange County Register. “Let’s answer all the ignorant questions, or the questions that people are afraid to ask, and open it up, and prove to people that even though we’re deaf we can still have a podcast.”
Meanwhile, Deaf artist and designer Myles de Bastion put forth the idea that Virtual Reality could be a very good tool for Deaf people to communicate with hearing. Between improved hand tracking and environmental captioning, VR could be helpful in bridging the Deaf-hearing divide.
In that same vein is a new app called EqualComm that was designed by a graduating deaf senior at Arizona State University. “We see the opportunity to educate hearing individuals in American Sign Language and provide real-time virtual ASL interpreting,” said the app’s designer, Dylan Lang. We wish him success.
What we hope isn’t successful is any attempt to take advantage of those looking for a new hearing device. The U.S. Government signed into law last year a bill that allows consumers to buy hearing aids over the counter. This week, the Attorneys General of both Ohio and Arkansas gave warnings to their constituents to be careful of over-the-counter and mail-order hearing aids. “Some of these products are not much better than putting your hand up behind your year,” said Ohio AG Dave Yost, who feared that some people would soon suffer from “money loss” as well as hearing loss.
In other legal news, a jury decided a week ago that 3M had to fork over $6 million to three military veterans who suffered hearing loss and claimed that the company covered up design defects. The company is expected to appeal, especially since there are more than 200,000 other similar claims waiting to be dealt with. "The evidence is clear: 3M knew their earplugs were defective, yet they allowed our service members to suffer these life-altering injuries," said a statement from attorneys Bryan Aylstock and Christopher Seeger.
In addition, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued Walmart for not providing an ASL translator or closed captioning for a deaf job applicant. The Walmart located in Decatur, Ill., contacted the applicant for an interview and then declined to interview the applicant after he requested a translator.
Six other interesting stories:
•America adults claim that they value their hearing, but new research shows they aren't doing much to make sure its as good as it can be.
•For one week in Britain, every time someone says '"You're on mute" during an online meeting, a donation will be made to help deaf children.
•A deaf hurdler, who runs and studies in a mainstream high school in Texas, has made it to the state championships.
•A Maine game warden started to lose his hearng as he aged. Now he's a big advocate for cochlear implants.
•A British morning show is feeling the heat after presenting a segment on Deaf Awareness Week that featured no captions or ASL translators.
•John Brewster, Jr., was one of the seven original students at the first school for the deaf in the United States way back in 1817. He was also a prolific painter and a number of his portraits are now beind donated to the American Folk Art Museum.
Week in Review (4.22-4.29)
A few things stick out this week: The White House had an ASL interpreter at President Biden’s speech to Congress on Wednesday night. Incredibly, this was a first.
Another first in the last week was a debate between Gallaudet and George Washington University. It marked the first ASL-English college debate in history and interpreters were used throughout. The subject was whether DC should become a state; Gallaudet proved to be the winner.
The Academy Awards on Sunday also featured a few DHH points of interest: “Sound of Metal” won for Best Sound, while “Feeling Through,” which features a deaf/blind actor in the lead, lost for Best Live Action Short Film. While it was great to see Marlee Matlin signing the introduction for the Best Documentary categories, the broadcast got a lot of flak for moving the camera away from her without providing captions. Conversely, Google got a bit of love for the ad it ran during the Oscars that showcased deaf grandparents meeting and communicating with their baby grandson.
Three other interesting stories.
•Some deaf folks aren't happy with the rise in hearing TikTokers using ASL and have started #SignInLine, which advocates for the Deaf community to benefit from the use of ASL, whether it is being used on social-media channels or being sold on T-shirts.
•Seven students from the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind are preparing to compete in a 70-mile boat race on Washington’s Puget Sound in June.
•RIT and NTID are about to conduct the first study ever on the reproductive health experiences of deaf women.
Site Photo Credits
Home: Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash
Advocacy: Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
Heroes: Photo by Gabriel Bassino on Unsplash
Research: Photo by Michael Schiffer on Unsplash
Tech & Design: Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash
In Other News: Photo by Ang Thong on Unsplash
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