Saturday, November 19, 2011

ASL class over - again

The first trimester of my 5th year ASL class is over.  With only two short classes left, I find myself wondering what's next.  It has been really enriching to go so deep into a few topics this year, but I feel like I need to have more "general" conversations with people, or I'm never going to be even close to truly fluent.

I'm hoping maybe to start, or help start, Deaf coffee or something similar once or twice a month.  Heck, I would even go every week!  I'm also waiting patiently for the Sorenson nTouch videophone, which is apparently only being offered in my area to people who already have a Sorenson VP (seems kind of backwards to prioritize people who already have one over people who don't, but whatever).  I would love to be able to use VRS and VP with friends soon!

Who knows, maybe I will post another vlog or two.  Need to think of things to vlog about, though!!  Hah!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rexton Cobalt 16 - added a new program

So I decided to switch up my programs a couple months back when I went in to get a replacement bluetooth receiver.  Program 1 is still "auto", but I changed program 2 to be "music".  The music program has basically no compression, and no noise cancellation.  Ironically, I don't use this program for music, but rather for meetings and really quiet, or really noisy rooms.

My office has a very loud air conditioner fan inside, but in "auto" I cannot hear it because my aids block that sound.  When I first got my Rextons, I found this to be a very difficult "feature" to get used to.  It sounds weird that I would have to get used to noise removal, but there are two reasons:  first, the noise cancellation is not perfect, and second, it's a weird sensation to know that something is missing that you should be able to hear, but you cannot hear it for some reason.

To elaborate more on the first issue.  The noise cancellation is far from perfect.  The program not only blocks noise, but voices become softer as well.  So now after a couple years of having these, if I walk into a room (that isn't a library, for example), and it seems that everyone is barely audible yet nobody else is struggling to hear, I can switch to another program, or ask someone if there is some sort of background noise.

So back to the "music" program.  If there's some fan or something, or I need a boost in dynamic range for more high-frequencies, I simply switch to this program and maybe bump my volume up a notch.  It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than any of the other programs I've used.  The "speech in noise" program seems to be the worst program for actually understanding speech in noise, since it works so hard at trying to cancel the noise, again bringing vocal volume down with it!

Bottom line:  the more effort you put into analyzing your aids and working with your audiologist to understand the problem, the better they will work.  Unfortunately though, for those of us with severe/profound loss, aids are still an imperfect solution.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lecture on Eugenics at Swarthmore - what a great night!

Last night I got to see two, one-hour lectures from Dr. Brian Greenwald and Dr. Ben Bahan.  The first was about eugenics in American/Deaf history, focused somewhat on AGB and his role in this whole thing.  The second was a very funny story leading to the conclusion that Deaf people hold the key to the future by preserving ASL.

The eugenics lecture was very eye-opening.  I had no idea the USA had probed so deeply into this topic in history.  Altogether a great lecture.

Ben's story was truly amazing.  Mostly anyone who has learned ASL from classes and books will immediately recognize Ben from his many appearances on classic videotapes.  He is truly a great storyteller, and it was thoroughly amusing to watch!  Great night!!