YouTube makes captioning more accessible for deaf viewers

Millions of people enjoy viral videos each day, but some people aren’t getting the jokes — and it’s not for a lack of humor, either. Because many videos on YouTube do not include closed captioning, deaf viewers can be left out. But thanks to a new change at YouTube, more hard-of-hearing people will be able to indulge in the wealth of online videos.

The video sharing site enabled caption support in 2006, but it announced Tuesday options that make user-uploaded videos more accessible for those who rely on closed captioning, with new languages, search options, and settings for video text.

YouTube now supports automatic captions in Japanese, Korean and English, and captions can be added in 155 languages and dialects. New settings can also change the caption color — not an aesthetic choice, but rather, to make the captions easier to read against the background of videos where the colors may blend in. Videos uploaded with broadcast caption support, which positions text near the character speaking, are now visible on YouTube in the same format. It’s also easier to upload videos that already have captions embedded in them.

Click the image above to see Stephen Hawking and the new Closed Captioning.

Though television stations are required to provide closed captioning for deaf and hearing-impaired viewers, internet TV was not — until recently. Explains Melissa Bell:

Last year, President Obama signed into law the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, requiring that captioned television shows must be captioned online. But there’s a loophole: The law does not require original online programming to be captioned.

“At the same time that the web series industry is growing, web series producers are not required to closed caption,” Jamie Berke, a Washington-based deaf activist wrote in an e-mail. “So deaf and hard of hearing people like myself are largely left out of this ‘new television.’ ”

As a host of original programming, YouTube’s improved captioning isn’t mandated by the CVAA either, but it’s to their advantage to make videos available for as many viewers as possible. Deaf viewers have found YouTube to be an adept communications tool for sign language — check out some of the viral music videos of pop music sign-language performances, like Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA” — but with these new tools, their playlists will get a lot longer.

Hearing health has a high priority — but hearing tests do not

As we get older having an annual hearing test might not be such a bad idea!

About 76% of respondents in a survey from the American Association of Retired People (AARP) said that hearing health is an extremely or very important concern for themselves, for people aged 50 and older (73%) and for their family and friends (70%).

68% of the respondents said that hearing check-ups are receiving insufficient attention compared to other health issues, while 30% said that the topic gets about the right amount of attention. Women were more likely than men to say that the importance of getting a regular hearing check-up receives insufficient attention (73% vs. 63%).

An overwhelming 85% said that their hearing health plays an extremely or very important role for their quality of life. Eight in ten reported that they were extremely or very likely to have a hearing check-up if they believed they had an issue with their hearing.

Only a few undergo a hearing check-up

However, when it comes to health screenings, only 43% of the respondents have had a hearing test within the last five years. Compared to other health screenings such as vision tests (88%), blood pressure monitoring (85%), mammograms (85%) and cholesterol screening (81%), the figure for hearing tests is low. The only test with lower figures in the survey is a bone density test.

“Maintaining hearing health as one ages is a very important concern among our members,” said AARP Vice President Nicole Duritz. “While the survey results indicate that older Americans recognise the impact hearing difficulties can have on relationships with family and friends, people are also going without treatment, which can negatively impact quality of life and lead to safety issues.”

The Study

The study was carried out as a joint initiative between the American Association of Retired People (AARP) and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The survey was fielded among a sample of 2,232 AARP members ages 50 and older.

If you have any questions about hearing loss contact Hidden Hearing.

Source: The State of Hearing Health: A Study of AARP Members, AARP.

Read More > Hear-It.org 

Rosemary woke with a bang – and her life changed forever !

It was one morning in 2010 when Rosemary was awoken at 4am by a loud noise. At first she thought it was a lorry, and looked out of the window to find nothing outside.

She soon realised the sound was following her around and couldn’t even hear her own footsteps. When she woke her husband she couldn’t hear him speaking.

Annoyed by what had happened the pair got ready and took the dog for a walk around the quiet streets, until dawn broke.

She visited her GP the next morning and was referred to hospital where tests were carried out. She was astonished to find she suffered from the condition and that there was simply no cure.

Rosemary became anxious and was prescribed sleeping tablets and sedatives for the next six months as the noise was unbearable.

She was tortured, unable to sleep or eat, and lost two stone in weight but the most heartbreaking thing of all she had to give up something she cherished – looking after her grandchild.

At her lowest ebb she felt suicidal, fearing what her life would be like with this continual loud noise ringing in her ears.

She also developed ‘Hyperacusis’, an increased sensitivity to sound, and found even a trip to the supermarket greatly distressing because of the noise.

Rosemary discovered a tinnitus awareness event where she met other people who understood her condition and who had personal experience of getting the tinnitus under control. This gave her hope for the future.

As a result of that meeting she was made aware of ‘sound enrichers’ which can help distract the brain from the tinnitus noise by introducing other soothing sounds.

She also learnt of ways to cope with the tinnitus and to manage the associated anxiety and the noise has dissipated to a degree where she can now cope with it. She still has occasional sleepless nights when the tinnitus is troublesome, but her quality of life is greatly improved.

If you have any questions about hearing loss contact Hidden Hearing.

Leap Year – Born on Feb 29th – Blessing or Curse?

BY THE NUMBERS

 

— The chances of a leap birthday are one in 1,461 — long odds for getting the short end of the stick. Imagine waiting four years for your real birthday and hearing endless jokes about being three when you’re really 12.

— The longest time between two leap years is eight years. The last time this happened was between 1896 and 1904 and it won’t happen again until 2096 to 2104.

— There were five Fridays in February 2008 — the month begins and ends on a Friday. Between 1904 and 2096, leap day occurs on the same day of the week every 28 years, so the last time February had five Fridays was in 1980 and next time will be in 2036.

 

— According to global statistics, there are about 4.1 million people worldwide born on Feb. 29.

 

— Norway’s Henriksen siblings are recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. The three siblings were born on three consecutive leap days. Heidi Henriksen, 1960; Olav Henriksen, 1964; and Leif-Martin Henriksen, 1968.

 

— The Keogh family has three consecutive generations born on Feb. 29. Peter Anthony was born in Ireland in 1940; his son Peter Eric was born in the United Kingdom in 1964; and his granddaughter Bethany Wealth was born in the United Kingdom in 1996.

 

LEAPLINGS

 

Someone born on leap day may be called a leapling. They usually celebrate their birthdays on Feb. 28 or March 1 in common years.

Being born on leap day isn’t always fun and games. In non-leap years certain countries legally recognize Feb. 29 birthdays on Feb. 28 or March 1, resulting in hassles with birth certificates, driver’s licences and entry fields on websites.

But many leap day babies report benefits to playing the “leap day card,” receiving free meals, free admission and discounts.

What is sensorineural hearing loss ?

sensorineural hearing loss is caused by abnormalities in the hair cells

The great majority of human sensorineural hearing loss is caused by abnormalities in the hair cells of the organ of Corti in the cochlea. There are also very unusual sensorineural hearing impairments that involve the eighth cranial nerve (the vestibulocochlear nerve) or the auditory portions of the brain. In the rarest of these sorts of hearing loss, only the auditory centers of the brain are affected. In this situation, central hearing loss, sounds may be heard at normal thresholds, but the quality of the sound perceived is so poor that speech cannot be understood.

Most sensory hearing loss is due to poor hair cell function. The hair cells may be abnormal at birth, or damaged during the lifetime of an individual. There are both external causes of damage, like noise trauma and infection, and intrinsic abnormalities, like deafness genes.

Sensory hearing loss that results from abnormalities of the central auditory system in the brain is called central hearing impairment. Since the auditory pathways cross back and forth on both sides of the brain, deafness from a central cause is unusual.

This type of hearing loss can also be caused by prolonged exposure to very loud noise, for example, being in a loud workplace without hearing protection, or having headphones set to high volumes for a long period.

Treatment

Previously, sensorineural hearing loss has been treated with hearing aids, which amplify sounds at preset frequencies to overcome a sensorineural hearing loss in that range; or cochlear implants, which stimulate the cochlear nerve directly.

Some research suggests idebenone alone or combined with vitamin E may delay the onset of hearing loss or perhaps reverse it. Use of these agents for this purpose is considered experimental now. Some audiologists and ENTs have reported if severe noise-induced hearing loss (exposures exceeding 140dB) is treated immediately (within 24 hours) with a course of steroids, it can often be almost completely reversed. This, however, is a new field without proven success.

Researchers at the University of Michigan report that a combination of high doses of vitamins A, C, and E, and Magnesium, taken one hour before noise exposure and continued as a once-daily treatment for five days, was very effective at preventing permanent noise-induced hearing loss in animals

If you have any questions about hearing loss or have any hearing related issues contact Hidden Hearing.

Study shows mild hearing loss triples risk of having a fall

Study show that even mild hearing loss creates risk

The risk of falling rises threefold even with the mildest hearing loss, according to a study. For moderate deafness, the chance of an accident doubles again – probably because such people have a poorer sense of their surroundings and are more likely to trip.

The researchers also suggested that the brain may not be able to focus on balance and gait when it is struggling with hearing.

The study at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, was based on the health records of more than 20,000 patients aged from 40 to 69.

Dr Frank Lin at Johns Hopkins, and his colleague Luigi Ferrucci of the National Institute on Aging, used data from the 2001 to 2004 cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The ongoing survey has gathered health data from thousands of Americans since 1971.

 

During those years, 2,017 people aged 40 to 69 had their hearing tested and answered questions about whether they had fallen over the past year.

Researchers also collected personal information, including age, sex and race, and tested participants’ vestibular function, a measure of how well they kept their balance.

The findings show that people with a 25-decibel hearing loss – classified as mild – were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling.
Every additional 10-decibels of hearing loss increased the chances of falling by 1.4 fold, says a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine journal.

A further 20-decibel hearing loss over the ‘mild’ classification would push up the risk by threefold again.

Explanation: Dr Lin, a hearing specialist and epidemiologist, says people who can’t hear well may not have good awareness of their overall environment, making tripping and falling more likely

This finding still held true, even when researchers accounted for other factors linked with falling, including age, sex, race, cardiovascular disease and vestibular function.

Even excluding participants with moderate to severe hearing loss from the analysis didn’t change the results.

Dr Lin, a hearing specialist and epidemiologist, says among the possible explanations for the link is that people who can’t hear well might not have good awareness of their overall environment, making tripping and falling more likely.

He said another reason hearing loss might increase the risk of falls is cognitive load, in which the brain is overwhelmed with demands on its limited resources.

‘Gait and balance are things most people take for granted, but they are actually very cognitively demanding’ he said.

‘If hearing loss imposes a cognitive load, there may be fewer cognitive resources to help with maintaining balance and gait’ he added. If you have any questions about hearing loss contact Hidden Hearing.

Source : Daily Mail > Read More

Coping with your child’s hearing loss

Coping with your child's hearing loss

When it comes to hearing loss, it can either be congenital hearing loss that a child is born with, or it can be acquired later. Congenital hearing loss, most often it is a result of a genetic problem, or problems during prenatal or childbirth phases. Half off all hearing problems are genetic. Premature birth or diabetes in the mother can also cause hearing loss for infants.

When a child acquires a hearing problem that they did not have at birth, many times it is due to an illness or condition. Meningitis, measles, chicken pox or influenza can all cause hearing problems.

Indicators of hearing loss in children include not responding to voices, not reacting to loud noises and making small noises that taper off towards the end. If you have any reason to believe that your child may have hearing loss, it’s important to immediately consult with a doctor.

When treating childhood hearing loss, there is a variety of treatments that can be used. The simplest one is waiting. Oftentimes the condition clears up on its own. Medication can also be used in an attempt to get rid a hearing problem. If the problem continues, hearing aids, implants or ear tubes are used to try to improve, the child’s hearing.

 

If your child does have hearing loss, it’s extremely important to stay in touch with your child. All too often children feel detached from the world due to their hearing loss. Early intervention and technology available today help parents stay in touch with their hearing impaired child.

If you have any questions about hearing loss, hearing aids or any aspect of audiology contact Hidden Hearing.