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Blog posts tagged with 'hard of hearing'

Discover the latest innovations in the low-vision, low-hearing, and mobility industry, as well as those must-have products to enhance your day-to-day life. Our Independent-Living Blogs will help inspire you and make your daily life a little less of a struggle and a bit more pleasurable with assistive products, suggestions, motivational stories and advice. MaxiAids Helps You Do It . . . Yourself™. We welcome you to leave a comment if you enjoyed reading a particular blog!
05 May, 2019

Deaf business owners overcome the stigma of disability, isolation, and high rates of unemployment in the Deaf community...

Hearing Products

National Small Business Week is May 5-11, celebrating small business owners around the country...

More than 70% of deaf Americans have trouble gaining full-time employment, having to rise above obstacles in their careers and face discrimination in their jobs. Lack of promotions and growth in a company, deaf people are pushing employers to become deaf and sign language friendly or beginning to create businesses of their own.  Deaf-owned businesses are popping up nationwide; in Maryland alone, there are now more than 75 deaf-owned businesses.  Ryan Maliszewski, director of the Gallaudet Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute said that owning a business helps to improve confidence and social skills among deaf people.

We at Hearmore and MaxiAids provide deaf and hearing impaired products to help those with hearing loss achieve their goals and improve their confidence in business, individual ownership and social situations.  

Our products such as alerting devices (specialty smoke/CO2 detectors, door-knock and window sensors, communication aids, motion detectors), personal amplified devices (amplified cordless phones, amplified headsets and amplified telephones), and vibrating items like watches and clocks will help add to success in business and around the home.

 New Funding for the Deaf business owner

Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) -- a non-profit company known for its telecommunications and video-based interpretation services -- hopes to make significant changes in the deaf community. CSD is the largest Deaf-led social impact organization in the world, and also an all-virtual company. It has launched a second of its first-ever social venture fund for deaf-owned and operated businesses in the U.S. They have secured millions of dollars in investments since it started the social venture fund last year.  

 Diverse businesses operated by Deaf owners and employees

Pizza Company

Mozzeria Italian Pizzeria in the San Francisco Mission neighborhood is getting a lot of attention in the deaf community.  Mozzeria began in 2011 by a couple who are both deaf. Melody and Russ Stein met at Gallaudet University for the deaf while studying business.  As stated on their website: "Melody's dream was to open and run a restaurant and Russ loves to eat pizza every day." All employees are deaf and trained at Mozzeria, some having their first job ever at the restaurant. There are over 15 deaf employees, and the people who built the restaurant and installed the pizza oven imported from Italy were also deaf, as well as the servers and cooks. The technology they use to take on line orders rely on Video Relay Service (VRF), where deaf and hearing people can communicate easily. Thanks to a social venture fund grant from CSD, the owners are planning on franchising Mozzeria, with their first sight on Austin, TX.  They plan to have franchises all over the U.S. 

Silent Automotive Repair Shop

Silent Automotive Repair Shop in Austin, TX began in 2008 and has deaf mechanics that use their hands to feel the vibrations when a car isn't running correctly. Joel Martinez, mechanic and co-owner of Silent Automotive who is hard of hearing explains, “We're able to feel the problem. It’s got to have some type of vibration that makes the noise.”  The company started with co-owner Danny Blalock and since accrued a loyal deaf and hearing cliental all across the city. Both Blalock and shop foreman Randy Doane are deaf, yet continue to have built up the business successfully.  Besides texting, they rely on a videophone similar to Skype, except with interpreters available if necessary to call clients or vendors. (Austin has become one of the top deaf friendly cities in the U.S., being home to the Texas School for the Deaf.) 

Streetcar 82 Brewery

Streetcar 82 Brewery located in Hyattsville, Maryland opened in July of 2018 by co-founders Sam Costner, Mark Burke, and Jon Cetrano-- all graduates of D.C.’s Gallaudet University.  Their business venture was inspired by a similarity and passion for home-brewed beer.  Burke says they had a meeting which successfully 'brewed' at his house, trying out a sampling of beers he and Cetrano had made together — among them a pale ale they’ve since modified and added to their brewery’s revolving menu. This helped to make the conclusion that it was good enough to serve to the beer loving public. "The brewery’s spacious layout and diffused natural light adhere to 'DeafSpace' design principles suited for the sensory and communicative abilities of people who are hard of hearing. This happened 'by happy accident' due to the location and building that we were fortunate to get. We want to be a brewery where the community all comes together and interact, whether they are deaf or hearing, partially or fully deaf and capable of communicating in American Sign Language”

Starbucks

Although Starbucks is not a small business by any means and not individually owned, they have created their first ASL location in the U.S. near the Gallaudet University in Washington DC, hiring partially or fully deaf employees capable of communicating in American Sign Language. The coffee company opened the store in 2018, which it calls itself a Signing Store, hiring as many as 25 people from across the country who know ASL to work and manage the store.  The store is using digital displays and notepads, and an ordering console with two-way keyboards for customers and employees to type back and forth. Well established companies like Starbucks are opening the doors to the deaf community for employment, creating a new format for future businesses to do the same. 

We are making history,” Howard Rosenblum, chief executive officer of the National Association of the Deaf, said at the store’s opening celebration. “Please lead the way for other corporations and other businesses to open other signing stores and restaurants.”  When a business markets to the deaf community, it qualifies as deaf-friendly, providing customers with clear visual information, and trains hearing staff in sign language with policies that encourage hiring and training deaf people. A business professor at Gallaudet University, Baldridge teaches business to Gallaudet students, and how to adopt deaf-friendly practices. He also teaches the students how to open businesses of their own. --Audrey Leonard

MaxiAids provides products to help improve the lives of those who are hearing impaired, are hard of hearing, deaf, suffer from hearing loss, and other products for accessibility and an active lifestyle.  Look to MaxiAids for the latest in hearing technology to help support an enhanced quality of life.

23 September, 2018

Starbucks is brewing up its first U.S. "signing" café for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired-- scheduled to open in October 2018!

StarbucksStarbucks is getting ready to open their first U.S. signing store location for the deaf and hearing impaired in Washington D.C. Inspired by their first signing store in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which opened in 2016, Starbucks is continuing their mission to promote accessibility, diversity and employment for the deaf and hard of hearing community. 

The signing store will open in an area of D.C. that is known as a deaf friendly neighborhood near Gallaudet University-- a liberal arts university for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.  Many restaurants and local businesses in the area cater to the Gallaudet community. The existing Starbucks store at 6th and H Street NE will re-open in October with a newly revamped makeover which will include an open environment for communication.  They are incorporating aspects of "Deaf Space"-- the creation of space which enhances maximum visual access and encourages a relaxed and positive atmosphere for signing interaction.

The location will also feature exclusive artwork, a custom mug designed by a deaf artist, and a variety of enhancements to support the deaf and hard of hearing employee and the customer experience. Starbucks plans to hire 20-25 deaf, hard of hearing, hearing impaired and those with hearing from across the country with a mandatory requirement that all be proficient in American Sign Language (ASL).

Deaf baristas will have ASL aprons embroidered by a deaf supplier, and hearing employees who will wear an “I Sign” pin.  For customers who aren’t fluent in ASL, this Starbucks location will offer communication options for ordering and receiving beverages at the hand-off counter.  All these ideas that were created and put into motion are sponsored by the Deaf Leadership of the Starbucks Access Alliance.

"The National Association of the Deaf commends Starbucks for opening a Signing Store that employs deaf and hard of hearing people,” said Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf. “Starbucks has taken an innovative approach to initiating and incorporating Deaf Culture that will increase employment opportunities as well as accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing, while at the same time educating and enlightening society."

"Creating a culture of belonging, empowerment, inclusion and diversity" is what Starbucks seeks to achieve.  Inspiring and nurturing the human spirit and embracing diversity helps to encourage innovation, economic and human growth, and new ideas."

MaxiAids encourages and supports the deaf and hearing impaired community.  Look to MaxiAids for products for the deaf, aids for the hearing impaired, alerting devices and hard of hearing products that assist in an active, productive lifestyle. --Audrey Leonard

12 August, 2018

Top Ten Products for Back to School Shopping

It's time to think about back to school supplies and products that will help you succeed for a productive and stress-free school year.  For students with low vision, hearing impairment, and other special needs and challenges, we offer a wide selection of helpful product aids to insure confidence, independence and success inside and out of the classroom.

At MaxiAids, we'd like to suggest our top ten back to school product categories that will allow you to choose items for a much easier transition in establishing timely schedules, doing school work, and communicating effectively.  Read about our low vision back to school products, products for the blind and visually impaired, vision aids, hearing impaired devices, alerting devices and more.

1.  TALKING WATCHES AND VIBRATING WATCHES

Watches
Never be late for a class.  Developing strong time management skills will help lead to college success!  We offer a large variety of watch styles and features for blind and low vision students, as well as hearing impaired students.  Our popular talking watches for the blind and visually impaired come in many assortments to choose from.  Talking watches have clear time announcements, alarm settings, time, date and day of the week announcements, multi-language watches and Braille watches for the blind. There are vibrating watches with alarms, digital alarm watches, digital analog watches, silent alarm watches, and watches with big numbers.  Click on a link and explore! 

Shop All Watches

Shop All Talking Watches

Shop All Vibrating Watches

2.  TALKING ALARMS, HEARING IMPAIRED ALARM CLOCKS, SILENT ALARM CLOCKS, VIBRATING ALARM CLOCKS WITH BED SHAKERS

Clocks

You won't oversleep with these vibrating alarm clocks, talking alarm clocks and bed shakers.  If you share a dorm room, the bed shaker alarm clock won't wake anyone else up but you.  Talking clocks will tell you the time at a push of a button, or by alarm.  There are so many to choose from for your specific, individual needs...  loud alarm clocks, vibrating alarm clocks, vibrating wristband alarm clocks, talking clocks, talking alarms, silent alarm clocks, sonic bomb alarm clocks, voice alarm clocks, and analog alarm clocks... ideal clocks for the visually impaired, blind and hearing impaired students. Choose a clock that will wake you up on time and keep you on schedule!

Shop All Clocks

Shop Vibrating Alarm Clocks

Shop Talking Alarm Clocks

3.  TALKING CALCULATORS

Calculators
For the blind and visually impaired, we have low vision and talking calculators that read out loud accurate calculating results.  Choose from low vision talking scientific calculators, low vision scientific calculator with speech output, graphing calculators, talking calculators with alarm, English/Spanish calculators, business calculators, statistical talking calculators, calculators with ear buds, and calculators with repeat key.  There is a calculator for your specific subject matter.

Shop Talking Calculators

Shop Low Vision Calculators

4.  MAGNIFIERS AND READERS (ELECTRONIC MAGNIFIERS, HANDHELD VIDEO MAGNIFIERS, SCREEN READERS AND SCANNERS)

Scanners and Video Magnifiers
View text and photos more clearly.  Scan and hear documents.  Hear a natural sounding voice read back to you as you type. These electronic magnifiers, handheld video magnifiers, screen readers and scanners make it easier to see or hear. Magnify important information you do not want to miss. MaxiAids has low vision magnifiers which include screen magnifiers, page magnifiers, magnifiers for reading, electronic video magnifiers, computer screen magnifier glass, text-to-speech (reads text aloud), text-and-image screen magnification, intelligent screen reader with speech and Braille access for the blind or visually impaired.  Hear text read aloud with our scanners and book readers.  For the visually impaired or those with low vision, we have text-to-speech players, scanners that scan documents and will read back to you in different speeds and languages.  These low vision products are important, essential items to keep you on a successful school journey.  Choose the one that is best to help you with your academic success!  

Shop Video Magnifiers

Shop Reading Machines

5.  AMPLIFIERS FOR HEARING

Personal Amplifiers
Improve speech understanding and amplify incoming sound.  Choose from a variety of amplifiers that are light and portable for hearing impaired students.  These amplifiers will help you to succeed academically and socially by being part of the conversation.   Search our website for products to enhance your school experience. 

Shop Personal Amplifiers

6.  VOICE RECORDERS

Voice Recorders
Dictate, transcribe, record-- your notes can be heard loud and clear and played back as needed.  They're perfect for recording class lectures and speeches.  Portable voice recorders can go with you anywhere.  Look at the variety of voice recorders to customize your individual recording needs in school.

Shop Voice Recorders  

7.  TABLE LAMPS/LED LAMPS/MAGNIFYING LAMPS
Reduce glare, eyestrain, improve contrast, illuminate papers and work, magnify projects.  Choose from an assortment of lamps and lamp magnifiers to help achieve the right lighting and results needed for accomplishing your academic goals. 

Shop Table and Desk Lamps

Shop Magnifying Lamps

8.  KEYBOARDS
Every student has their own unique, individual needs.  Here at MaxiAids we love to provide products to make your school and college experience as smooth as possible.  We have chosen a variety of keyboards that are specially designed to meet those special needs.  Choose from our large assortment of keyboards and accessories.  There are wireless, Bluetooth technology keyboards, keyboards with large print lettering and high contrast keys, yellow keyboard, Braille keyboard, Braille keyboard overlays, big key keyboards, backlit keyboards, keyboard PC without monitor, keyboards for single handed users, left handed mouse user keyboard, Maltron keyboards for dual handed or left handed, and virtual keyboard.  These keyboards are designed for your specific typing needs for more efficiency, speed and accuracy.

Shop All Keyboards

9.  WRITING RELATED PRODUCTS (BOLD WRITERS, C-PEN READER PEN SCANNER, C-PEN EXAM READER PEN, LOW VISION PAPER, WRITING GUIDES)

Reading and Writing
Easy to see bold writer pens are perfect for those with low vision and the visually impaired.  C-Pen reader pen scanner and C-Pen exam reader pen are pens that read printed text to speech.  The text to speech exam reader allows you to take an exam in the classroom with head phones plugged into the pen.  They're portable and allow for easy reading and listening.  Low vision paper contains bold black lines and helps for easier viewing and writing.  Writing guides help with writing accuracy and guidance.  Look to MaxiAids for all your reading and writing challenges!

Shop All Writing Pens

Shop the C-Pen Reader Pen Scanner

Shop the C-Pen Exam Reader Pen

Shop All Paper

Shop All Writing Guides

10.  LAP DESKS AND BOOK HOLDERS

Lap Desks and Book Holders
Our lap desks and book holders provide comfort and better positioning for reading, writing and studying.  Promote better posture, less neck pain, and a more relaxed feeling when concentration is required.  Lap desks and book holders are perfect for when you want to be in a more relaxed position while laying down, lounging around or in a sit up position.

Shop All Lap Desks

Shop All Book Holders

Look to MaxiAids for a confident, independent and successful school year!

20 December, 2017

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children Sign Their Wish List to ‘Signing Santa’

 

 

Dozens of local North Carolina children who are deaf or hard of hearing got a special treat earlier this month at the Northlake Mall in Charlotte, at an event organized by the Charlotte Regional Center. Not only did the children get to sign what they want for Christmas to Santa and take a picture with him, they also got to play and bond with other deaf or hard of hearing children.

Mary Ann Franklin, who is deaf, took her 10-year-old daughter Alexis Poe to the Signing Santa event, who is hard of hearing. "It's a good experience for her to be able to understand and communicate with signing Santa,” she told WSOCTV.

Santa Claus took a photo with each child and held up the sign for “I love you” each time, which is three fingers up. About 40 children showed up to the event to participate in some holiday cheer, from local schools like Cotswold Elementary School, Cleveland County and the North Carolina School for the Deaf.

Blaire McCorkle, the manager of the Charlotte Regional Center, said she remembers Signing Santa events as a child. “I've had this experience myself and to see the kids for them to be able to see Santa using the same language. It is just amazing," she said.

McCorkle and her team help deaf and hard of hearing families all throughout the year, but this special event helps get kids who often feel alone this time of year feel a sense of community.

Check out these products that are also improving the lives of people who are hearing impaired.

05 December, 2017
25 October, 2017

Deaf Poet's Visual Slam Poetry: Creative Storytelling Without Words

Douglas Ridloff started composing poetry in American Sign Language when he was a teenager after a well-known ASL poet named Peter Cook visited his high school. Now he's performing regularly in New York City, in a medium that he says has benefits and nuances that spoken word poetry does not.

“ASL poets can create a complete poem or story by using one handshape to represent a multitude of concepts,” he said. In ASL, Ridloff explained, a single handshape can mean a different word depending on its placement of movement. The handshape for “rooster,” for example, is the same as the handshape for “car.” “Maybe you could compare rhyming or alliteration to that concept, but that’s just something not experienced in spoken English,” Ridloff said.

People who sign ― including ASL poets like Ridloff ― also use facial expressions and other “non-manual markers” to communicate the equivalent of volume or inflection. A head tilt, nod or shake will provide tonal context for the words that are signed, marking the difference between a declarative statement and an inquiry. Raised eyebrows indicate questions; lip movements indicate superlatives. This, he says, contributes to the “spherical” or nonlinear nature of ASL poetry. “Spoken English can be non-linear too, but what it cannot do is exemplify three, four things at the same time,” Ridloff said. So, for him, what began as a passing hobby has evolved into its own unique art form.

CLICK HERE to see industry-leading ASL products that enhance the interaction/communication of those who are deaf or hard of hearing!

10 October, 2017

Uber Offers Sign Language Tips to Passengers for Better Communication with Deaf Drivers

In an effort to improve communication between deaf and hard of hearing Uber drivers and their passengers, Uber is offering basic sign language pointers to passengers on its main app. Passengers will now learn to sign their name, as well as say “hello” and “thank you” to their hearing impaired driver.

Uber riders will be able to access these tips through a special card located right on the main Uber app, located in the messages section. Uber added this feature in support of National Deaf Awareness Month.

Uber’s goal in adding new features like these sign language tips is not only to improve the experience between hard of hearing drivers and passengers but also to recruit more deaf drivers. They previously rolled out features like notifying passengers when their driver is deaf, and disabling phone calls with deaf drivers, instead encouraging passengers to text with any questions. On the driver’s end, Uber added a feature that lights up their phone when passengers request a ride, instead of notifying the through a text message that they might not hear.

"Actions mean more than words," Uber posted to its announcement page about the new ASL pointers. “And we're excited to create new and meaningful ways for people to earn money and connect, regardless of how they communicate. We hope this small update will contribute to a much larger conversation between riders and drivers around the world."

Check out these products that are also improving the lives of people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

 

05 October, 2017

OSU Research: Gene Therapy for Deafness

Researchers at Oregon State University have been working on what could lead to the development of gene therapies for those born deaf. Mutations in a protein called otoferlin, which binds to calcium receptors in the sensory hair cells of the inner ear, can be directly linked to hearing loss. 

The team found more than 60 mutations that weaken this bond to the sensory hair cells of the ear, marking the first of many steps to identifying successful therapies. 

In a press release from OSU, Colin Johnson, associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics stated that, “a lot of genes will find various things to do, but otoferlin seems only to have one purpose, and that is to encode sound in the sensory hair cells in the inner ear. And small mutations in otoferlin render people profoundly deaf.”

The size of the protein has been causing problems for researchers thus far.

“The otoferlin gene is really big, and it makes a huge protein,” Johnson explains, “the traditional method for making a recombinant protein is using E. coli, but they loathe big proteins. This paper came up with a way of getting around that challenge.”

“We were trying to shorten the gene, to find a truncated form that can be used for gene therapy,” Johnson added. 

“There is a size limit in terms of what you can package into the gene delivery vehicle, and otoferlin is too large. That’s the Holy Grail; trying to find a miniature version of otoferlin that can be packaged into the delivery vehicle, and then hopefully, the patient can start hearing.” 

To get around these obstacles and find out how otoferlin mutations affected their bond to calcium receptors, the researchers developed a new way to assess that bond after identifying a truncated form of the protein that can function in the encoding of sound.

This research not only opens a door for people who are born with hearing loss, but for researchers working to solve similar problems through bioscience as well.

Johnson’s team included doctoral biochemistry student Nicole Hams, former biochemistry doctoral student Murugesh Padmanarayana, and Weihong Qiu, assistant professor of biophysics.

 

See our products that are designed for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Article courtesy of Corvallis Advocate's Andy Hahn

Image courtesy of Renae Richardson / Levana Photography