FCC launches pilot program to allow 911 texting; approves real-time captioning app

  WASHINGTON, DC—This has been a big week at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for people with hearing and speech disabilities. Yesterday (May 15), the agency officially launched a pilot program in limited parts of the U.S. allowing people to text in emergency messages to 911 rather having to call them in vocally. Two days…

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FDA’s proposed new PSAP policy draws mixed response, but mostly opposed

  By David H. Kirkwood SILVER SPRING, MD–The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has  more than 100, highly diverse, public comments to consider in deciding if it should implement or rethink a proposed new guidance document that it issued on November 7. The document, drafted by the Ear, Nose, and Throat Devices Branch of…

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Hearing aid dispensing groups back new FDA restrictions on PSAPs; HLAA does not

  The following post was originally published on February 5 and updated on February 6. By David H. Kirkwood ROCKVILLE, MD–Three more organizations concerned with hearing submitted comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week on the agency’s proposed guidance document, which would tighten existing restrictions on the marketing of personal sound amplification products…

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Nationwide survey asks consumers how they like hearing loops

Anyone who has used a hearing loop system with their hearing aid or cochlear implant is invited to click here to take part in a survey being conducted by the Hearing Loss Association of America to assess consumers’ experiences with loops.   By David H. Kirkwood Over the past decade, the Let’s Loop America movement…

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After leading ReSound and InSound to success, two entrepreneurs try something different

By David H. Kirkwood SAN FRANCISCO/SAN LEANDRO—Hardly a week passes without at least one announcement of some new device being developed to help people with hearing loss. Whether these products are categorized as hearing aids, personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), or assistive hearing technology, they nearly all have a few things in common: (1) Although…

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After the return of the BTE, can an eyeglass hearing aid renaissance be far behind?

  By David H. Kirkwood BLACKSBURG, VA—The answer to that question is decidedly yes, very far behind. To be sure, behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids, which were the dominant style in the U.S. in the 1960s and then dwindled to less than 20% of the market in the early 1990s, did launch a dramatic comeback over…

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Synthetic speech promises to ungarble PA announcements in noisy places

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND—We’ve all heard PA announcements that sound something like this:  “ONNAWAWA Airlines Flight seven-WAWAWA-ty-four will depart from Gate sixty GAWAGWA at WAWAWA forty-five.” Or, “This subway train has been delayed because of WAWAOMOMONWA.  Passengers should not ONHONHOHN until WAWAWA. Thank you for your patience.” But now, according to a report from the University of…

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Student expelled from college nursing program because of hearing loss prevails in court

SPRINGFIELD, MO—Michael Argenyi is not the only would-be health care provider who took his college to court on charges that it had failed to accommodate his hearing loss as required by law. In Springfield, MO, Jessica Wells, who had been studying for an associate’s degree in nursing, sued Cox College of Nursing after it threw…

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Committee approves new, stricter standard for hearing loop installations

WASHINGTON, DC–“One small sentence in a code book of thousands but one giant leap for people with hearing loss.” That was how Juliëtte Sterkens, AuD, hearing loop advocate for the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), assessed an action taken by an ICC/ANSI committee on July 17. That “small sentence” approved by the ICC/ANSI  (International…

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Bone-conduction system makes people hear—willingly or not

    CANNES, FRANCE–Bone-conduction devices are most often used to help people who want to hear better but aren’t good candidates for conventional air-conduction hearing aids. This technology, which has been around since the 1970s, is frequently prescribed to people with conductive or unilateral hearing loss or who have abnormalities of the outer ear that…

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