Hearing Aid Tax Credit

The Senate's side of the Capitol Building in DC.

Image via Wikipedia

From [Hearing Aid Tax Credit web site](http://www.hearingaidtaxcredit.org/):
What would the Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit Act do? And, what are the differences in the House and Senate legislation?
The bill in the House of Representatives (H.R. 1646) would provide a tax credit towards the purchase of each hearing aid of up to $500 per hearing aid, available once every 5 years. It would be available to 1) individuals age 55 and over, or 2) those purchasing a hearing aid for a dependent. The House bill excludes coverage for those with incomes over $200,000/year. The bill in the Senate (S. 1019) would provide the same $500 credit but would cover all age groups.

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Learn more about the [Hearing Aid Tax Credit](http://www.hearingaidtaxcredit.org/cosponsors.cfm).

Employees with Disabilities Think outside of the box daily

Who Are You Hiring in 2010? Thinking About Diversity in Another Way is a fabulous article that looks at hiring trends and thinking beyond the label.

See Think Beyond the Label to learn how you can evolve your workforce. The web site is “committed to making the business case for employing people with disabilities.”

Here’s an article that looks at five myths and the real facts for employers.

I should be grateful I’ve had a great pre-freelance career working in the federal government as well as for two big telecommunications companies.

Cowboys Stadium Kicks off New Assistive Service

Dallas Cowboys logoNo matter how you feel about the Dallas Cowboys — you have to give them credit. From [Deaf Network of Texas](http://deafnetwork.com).
[Softeq Development Corporation](http://softeq.com/) has implemented DURATEQ Live with Intelligent Access mobile captioning, audio description, and assistive listening service at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. On a recent Sunday, guests who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision could access DURATEQ Assistive Technology Version (ATV) handhelds to enjoy the first NFC Playoff game in the stadium.
“The Dallas Cowboys Football Club contacted us to build a universal experience for all their fans, and we teamed up with Georgia Tech’s wireless captioning specialist Intelligent Access to create a customized assistive technology solution for them,” said Trey Litel, Vice President of Softeq Development Corporation. “The spectacular Dallas Cowboys Stadium has the best technology and now with DURATEQ ATV they have added real time mobile captioning and assistive audio anywhere in the stadium!”
Originally developed for the Walt Disney World theme park, the DURATEQ ATV makes the full game experience available to all guests. Softeq adapted its application to include the Intelligent Access software to add real time mobile captioning to the platform. The device also provides assistive listening of all public address system announcements and assistive audio play by play announcements in English and Spanish. Fully integrated into the existing Dallas Cowboys Stadium captioning infrastructure, the server broadcasts content over the stadium WiFi network and assistive band FM transmitters.
The DURATEQ ATV helps public entertainment venues meet Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Visit the [Dallas Cowboy Web site for information for guests with disabilities](http://stadium.dallascowboys.com/guests/guestDisabilitiesInfo.cfm). Visit [Intelligent Access](http://www.intelligentaccesssystems.com/) for information on wireless personal captioning.

17 Misconceptions about People with Hearing Loss

questionmarks.jpg17 Misconceptions about People with Hearing Loss shares great information answering many common questions I get from people. Some are afraid to ask the questions in fear of insulting someone. But I welcome them.

Here I share my responses to the 17 misconceptions from my experience…

  1. Everyone with hearing losses uses sign language and reads lips. I know a drop of sign language, which I’ve picked up here and there like I’ve picked up words in other languages. My dad and grandmother lost their hearing as they got older. Neither knew sign language nor how to read lips.
  2. Talking louder will help a person with hearing loss to understand. No, it puts us in an awkward situation. It *is* possible to talk too loud to me, but I can’t be sure if it’s someone’s normal volume or trying to do me a favor. Either way, I don’t want to risk hurting anyone’s feelings. It’s all about annunciation.
  3. Hearing aids and cochlear implants restore hearing to normal. I wish! I’ve used both and I still cannot hear a conversation on the phone, from behind me or on TV.
  4. People with hearing loss are stupid, mute and unsuccessful. I run a successful full-time freelance business. Before doing this, I had a great career in both the government and in telecommunications. A recent article discusses two employees at a large local company, one is an engineer. Unfortunately, if we dare ask “What did you say?” or don’t look like we understand, we’re perceived as stupid.
  5. People with hearing loss tend to be older adults. I was born deaf. ’nuff said. I’ve met many deaf kids my age over the years.
  6. People with hearing loss are defined by their hearing loss. Hardly. I’m a wife and mother first. Then a writer and volunteer. Being deaf does motivate me to work harder. I’m as much as a lefty as I am a deafie.
  7. Having hearing loss is shameful. Some folks who lose their hearing as they get older do struggle with the loss just like we all struggle with different things that come with aging. But as a person who was born deaf and never experiencing hearing like the average person, it’s not shameful. However, it’s true that some folks are in [denial about their hearing loss](http://www.palmbeachpost.com/health/what-s-the-no-1-reason-boomers-don-162193.html).
  8. When people with hearing loss miss something, it’s OK to tell them, “It’s not important,” or “I’ll tell you later.” Yeah, my brother did this to me all the time as closed-captions weren’t around until I was a teen. But I know he did it because it’s easier. It’s no different than when kids ask their parents what they were talking about to each other. They just don’t need to know everything.
  9. People with hearing loss are rude and pushy. From my view, I don’t like lose track of the conversation or force myself not to care what people are talking about. So in my anxiousness to stay on track, I might come across as pushy when I don’t mean it.
  10. People with hearing loss mostly hang out with other people with hearing loss. I’ve had very few deaf friends over the years. The only ones I know are from social networking. However, it’s true that some folks do all they can to be active in the community with other deaf people. It’s no different than Jewish people interacting with each other, Blacks and so on. You’ll find this in every race, culture and creed.
  11. Everyone who needs an assistive listening system can use ear buds or headphones. I can’t use ear buds at all. They’re not loud enough and they don’t reach my hearing aid. I use headphones and switch my cochlear implant to T-Coil to shut out regular sounds and only hear what comes through the headphones. The T-Coil has been around since I was a kid. Great invention.
  12. The wheelchair symbol represents universal access. It represents people who need to know if there’s access for someone with mobility challenges.
  13. Hearing access isn’t needed because it’s so rarely requested. “Many people with hearing loss are so accustomed to there being no accessibility accommodations that they don’t inquire about it unless it is publicized.” Very true. I’ve gotten to the pint that if someone tells me about a video, I don’t bother to check it out unless they say it’s captioned or has no words.
  14. People with hearing loss read braille. My husband ran into this when he was moving to Washington, DC, and I hadn’t yet joined him. Riding in an elevator, a coworker, who knew I was deaf, asked if I could read braille. Sure, I can rub my ear all over it and know what it says. Not really.
  15. Providing access for people with hearing loss is very expensive. I can caption my own videos for zero cost. (OK, we won’t go into the fact you need a computer and Internet connection.) We can also access relay services online.
  16. Deaf, hearing impaired, handicapped or disabled one is as good as the other. Even I get lazy and say “deaf person” referring to me. But it’s true that the correct way is “people who are deaf or hard of hearing.” Using “deaf person” or “blind person” implies there’s nothing else to the person. Some deaf people (see?) prefer to be known as “deaf person.” I also get lazy and say “hearing impaired” instead of “hard of hearing.” I’ve used all three terms. The only thing I don’t like is “handicapped.”
  17. Companies or accessibility experts with no background with hearing loss can know what best meets the needs of people with hearing loss. Not all companies have the ability to hire someone to be an expert. That’s why you do research, ask questions and contact experts.

Image credit: Chris Baker

Links: 10 December 2009

Laura Carlson provides two great links in her long-time excellent resource, [Web Design References](http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/Online/webdesign/). I don’t know how long I’ve been reading it… but most certainly over five years.
[Accessible Web Design](http://www.joedolson.com/articles/2009/12/united-states-disability-statistics-measurement-and-sources/) provides US disability statistics: Measurement and sources.
[Jesblog](http://jebswebs.net/blog/2009/12/captioning-and-youtube/) looks at captioning and YouTube. “Anyway, a solution to finding a quick and inexpensive way of captioning short videos is coming closer to fruition. Exciting times. Stay tuned!”

Resources for Texans with Disabilities to Transition to College

Lots of resources from DeafNetwork.

Going To College

This new website contains information about living college life with a disability. It is designed for high school students. The site provides video clips, activities, and resources that can help them get a head start in planning for college. Video interviews with college students with disabilities offer a way to hear firsthand from students with disabilities who have been successful. Modules include activities that will help students explore more about themselves, learn what to expect from college, and equip them with important considerations and tasks to complete when planning for college.

Resource Guide on Higher Education for People with Disabilities

Key Laws link to Disability Laws – General

The Next Step Higher Ed Video

TEA Special Education Division

Secondary Transition guidance:

College – Financial Aid
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Contact info: 512-427-6100
Texas Financial Aid Center: 888-311-8881 texasprojectfirst.org/AgePostGraduation.html
Websites: http://www.hhloans.com/cfbin/tofa.cfm?Kind=E
(Exemptions) http://www.collegefortexans.com/cfbin/tofa.cfm?Kind=E
(Deaf/Blind Waiver and others) http://www.collegefortexans.com/cfbin/tofa.cfm?Kind=W

A Resource Guide for Special Education Students on Transition Services:

AHEAD in Texas (Association of Higher Education and Disability)

Project FIRST (Family, Information, Resources, Support and Training)

Advocacy, Inc.
(800) 252-9108

The ARC of Texas

Partners Resource Network

Job Accommodation Network
Office of Disability Employment Policy

U.S. Department of Education
Office of Special Education Programs (IDEA)

Office for Civil Rights

Customer Service Team
550 12 Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-1100
877-521-2172 (TDD)
202-245-6840 (fax)

Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
1999 Bryan Street, Suite 2600
Dallas, TX 75201
214-880-2456 (TDD)
214-880-3082 (fax)

Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic
*recorded textbooks

Vcampus, The e-Learning Solution Provider
1850 Centennial Park Drive, Ste.200
Reston, VA 20191
*Provides online courses through several accredited colleges and universities that allow for starting a degree from scratch or finishing up a degree.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
P.O. Box 1492
Washington, DC 20013-1492
800-695-0285 (Voice/TT)
202-884-8200 (Voice/TT)
*NICHCY Briefing Paper is intended to serve as a guide to help parents and educators know what ADD is, what to look for, and what to do. NICHCY is one of four clearinghouses established by Congress to provide specialized information on disabilities

The Higher Education Act

Parent Tips For Transition Planning
http://www.pacer.org/publications/pdfs/ALL14.pdf (pdf file)
Information on transition planning (TP) which helps to prepare young people for their futures. TP is required in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for students with a disability by age 16. Provides tips on how to prepare a student for transitioning from school to further education, employment and independent living. This link opens a PDF document.

The Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities
The Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities is within the office of the Governor. The Committee’s mission is to further opportunities for persons with disabilities to enjoy full and equal access to lives of independence, productivity, and self-determination.

The Committee is composed of 12 members appointed by the governor, and of nonvoting ex officio members. The appointed members are appointed for staggered terms of two years. At least seven of the appointed members must be persons with disabilities.

The Committee serves as a central source of information and education on the abilities, rights, problems, and needs of persons with disabilities. The staff of the Governor’s Committee supports and manages the work of the Committee. The Committee’s enabling statute is in the Human Resources Code, Chapter 115.

Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities
P.O. Box 12428 Austin, TX 78711
512-463-5739 (voice),
512-463-5746 (TTY)
Dial 711 or your relay provider of choice
This document is available in alternate formats on request.

Livestream Announces Live Subtitling Service

Livestream, in partnership with PLYmedia, now offers live subtitling service for live streaming events. It’s not cheap at $850 for three hours of live captioning, but it’s an option. How many users can afford it considering many use the free version of Livestream. The company might want to consider alternate pricing for captioning videos AFTER they’ve aired.
[Read more about LiveStream Subtitles](http://cdn.livestream.com/events/subtitles/) and see an example video.
How can those who rely on captions find out what live events will be captioned? They might not be on the event’s mailing list. The Livestream guide needs to add a new search category for captions/subtitles. I’ve contacted the company about this.
One nitpick. One of the benefits says, “Reach the 36 million Americans that suffer from some form of hearing loss.” Many deaf and hearing impaired folks will tell you we’re not suffering. Some are quite proud. For some, it is what it is.

Google to Autocaption YouTube Videos

Google has unveiled speech recognition technology to automatically add captions to many videos on YouTube. The technology will also allow users to automatically translate the captions into 51 languages.
Google introduced another service called “auto-timing” that allows users uploading videos to also upload a text file of the video’s script. Google will add captions to the video using the text file, automatically matching the audio with the file.
Like speech recognition technology, it won’t be perfect — but it’s a fantastic start. Read more…
[New York Times](http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/20/technology/internet/20google.html?_r=1&nl=technology&emc=techupdateema1)
[Google Blog](http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/automatic-captions-in-youtube.html)
Thanks to [Patty Bennett](http://twitter.com/propellerhead2) and [Deborah Edwards-Onoro](http://www.lireo.com/) for bringing the links and story to my attention.

Make Video Accessible, Localized, Mobile and Searchable by Captioning

Great [tutorial that uses Opera Dragonfly and Opera Mobile 10](http://www.iheni.com/make-video-accessible-localised-mobile-and-searchable-by-captioning/) from iheni [Link: [Laura Carlson](http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/Online/webdesign/)]
More goodness from [@iheni](http://twitter.com/iheni):
[WCAG Trip-A: “Accessibiltiy as an Afterthought”](http://www.iheni.com/wcag-triple-a-accessibilty-as-an-afterthought/)
More evidence [screenreader usage is shifting](http://tr.im/EPSC) via [@jared_w_smith](http://twitter.com/jared_w_smith): “Lower your prices or I’ll switch to Screen Reader X…”
[@Jennison](http://twitter.com/Jennison) has set up a The Mobile & Handheld Technology Accessibility Forum on LinkedIn [http://u.nu/3eiu3](http://u.nu/3eiu3)
Mobile widgets/apps lead the way for a blind user [http://tr.im/EAAD](http://tr.im/EAAD) + vet [http://tr.im/EAAz](http://tr.im/EAAz) Build widgets w/ standards at [http://tr.im/EAB9](http://tr.im/EAB9)
Good captioning tool tip from [@prettysimple](http://twitter.com/prettysimple) [http://tr.im/Ekca](http://tr.im/Ekca) youtubecc.com [http://www.youtubecc.com/](http://www.youtubecc.com/) super simple to use thanks James!

NCAM and Apple Publish "Creating Accessible iTunes U Content"

From Media Access Group at WGBH
The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH (NCAM) has written guidelines for content providers who would like to create accessible iTunes U media via captions, subtitles and audio descriptions. This guidelines document provides step-by-step documentation on creating fully accessible media, including:
– Closed captions and audio descriptions that the user can turn on or off as needed.
– Open subtitles and descriptions that are available to everyone watching or listening.
– Closed subtitles for adding multiple language tracks to video files.
– Accessible PDFs.
Also included with the guidelines are links to eight video and audio clips that illustrate the various forms of accessible media discussed in the document. Using these guidelines, iTunes U content providers can create content that all people can learn from including people with vision and hearing loss.
To access the Creating Accessible iTunes U Content guidelines document and related media, [see Creating Accessible iTunes U Content on Apple’s iTunes site](http://deimos3.apple.com/WebObjects/Core.woa/Browse/wgbh.org.2010579900).
About NCAM and WGBH
The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH is a research, development and advocacy entity that works to make existing and emerging technologies accessible to all audiences. NCAM is part of the Media Access Group at WGBH, which also includes The Caption Center (est. 1972), and Descriptive Video ServiceĀ® (est. 1990). For more information, visit [http://access.wgbh.org](http://access.wgbh.org).
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of fully one-third of PBS’s prime-time lineup, along with some of public television’s best-known lifestyle shows and children’s programs and many public radio favorites. For more information, visit [http://www.wgbh.org](http://www.wgbh.org).