The Trouble With Communication

Hearing.jpeg

So I remember this old comedy skit showing the problem with communication.


There is a deaf guy trying to communicate with a blind guy.


Boy, this is a real conundrum.


The deaf guy communicates with sign language that the blind guy can’t see. 


And the blind guy communicates by talking which the deaf guy can’t hear. 


So neither are getting any messaging across. 


This is sort of like every day life, where people communicate talking past each other. 


Each may only be concerned with what they feel, think, and have to say. 


They don’t really care to listen or understand the other person. 


It like the blind and deaf guy communicating and neither can hear the other. 


Most importantly, we need to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. 


To think from their perspectives, and to communicate having in mind to fulfill for the other person–what’s in it for me (WIIFM).


In Judaism, their is an important teaching that each person is an entire world unto themselves.


We need to be sensitive to their world and speak our mind, but definitely in their language. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Restoring Hearing Using Bionics

Restoring Hearing Using Bionics

A mother wrote in the Wall Street Journal yesterday about the miracle of Cochlear Implants.

Lydia Denworth described when her 2-year old son, who is deaf, got these implants and how now he is now able to attend 5th grade in a “mainstream school” and is “nearly indistinguishable from the other children.”

These implants allow her son, Alex, to have a conversation with another child about the hearing device that “can open up the world of sound and spoken language.”

Denworth states at the end of the editorial, “Moments like that make me deeply grateful for the technology.”

For me, reading this was an opportunity to go learn about the amazing bionics that has already restored hearing to 320,000 people!

While hearing aids amplify sounds and make them louder, they don’t resolve permanent damage to the inner ear.

A cochlear implant bypasses the damage by receiving sounds in a microphone, digitizing them, and converting them to electrical impulses that are sent directly via implant to the auditory nerves– bypassing damaged or missing sensory cells in the ear–in a way that the brain can understand.

I am in awe of the inventors–Graeme Clark, Ingeborg Hochmair, and Blake Wilson–who are being recognized for their pioneering research leading to the development of Cochlear Implants.

Hopefully, soon we can do for sight, smell, taste, and touch what we can do for hearing and restore the impaired to fully functioning again.

We are living in a time of great miracles–thank you G-d!

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Bjorn Knetsch)

Sign Language That Really Talks

There are over 40 million deaf or hearing disabled people in the world.

Many of these people suffer from not being understood by others and feel isolated. 

Four Ukranian graduate students have created the answer for them called Enable Talk–these gloves translate sign langauge into sound. 

The gloves have sensors including compass, gyroscope, and accelerometer that captures the wearer’s sign language. This is then transmitted via Bluetooth to an smartphone app that matches the sign pattens to those stored (and which can also be programmed/customized) and translates it into words and sounds. 

Enable Talk gloves won the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012 student technology competition, and was named as one of Time Magazine’s Top 25 Best Innovations of 2012. 

For $175 these gloves are an amazing value for the hearing impaired who just wants to be communicate and be understood by others. 

This is a great advance for the disabled, and I’d like to see the next iteration where the gloves have the translation and voice mechanism and speakers built in, so the smartphone and app isn’t even needed any longer–then the communication is all in the gloves–simple, clean, and convenient! 😉

>Technology To Make The Heart Sing

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ABC News person of the week, Allyson Townsend–an incredible young woman!

“She meticulously dedicates her time to signing out popular hits like Taylor Swift’s “Back to December” in American Sign Language for her 15,350 viewers to enjoy on her YouTube channel,
Ally ASL.”

Watching her “sing” to people with hearing disabilities is so inspiring; I am deeply moved by her generosity.

Also, I am awed by the use of technology, like YouTube, for such innovative and humanistic purposes.
Here’s to Allison and all the other selfless “ordinary people” out there who may never make it onto the news.
They are contributors to society above and beyond.