What happened since 28c3?

It has been nearly a year since 28c3, the chaos communication congress where I held my talk “Bionic Ears”. It’s been an interesting time since then with lots of developments that I hadn’t anticipated when I handed in the proposal for the talk. I have been planning to write a “what happened since then” post for a while and now, shortly before 29c3, here it is.

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Posted in Event, Language : English | 2 Comments

10 things you should never say to a deaf / hearing-impaired person

This article nicely summarizes the frequent douche-bagginess that deaf / hearing-impaired people are facing.
http://limpingchicken.com/2012/09/25/charlie-swinbourne-ten-things-you-should-never-say-to-a-deaf-person/

I can confirm that every single point once in a while ruins my days. Interestingly, I find the point “But I find subtitles annoying” very upsetting. It happened to me several times that I was invited to a DVD evening with friends and when I asked for subtitles to be switched on I was facing an hour long discussion about whether or not it is necessary. Seriously, the most disappointing fact is that it is even highly intelligent people fail to get that a hearing loss is not “negotiable”. When I say I need subtitles, then it is a fact and not a matter of convenience.

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Apple’s plans to improve support for the hearing impaired

I was recently (and repeatedly ;)) pointed to these news.

My personal opinion is that I am sceptical, if this is really aimed to actually help the hearing impaired or if it is just one piece in the game of patents. Even if this will yield to actual products, it might certainly not make the market any more open (at least with apple’s history, that would surprise me). I hope we do not end up in a scenario where you can only use Apple products with Apple hearing aids.

But maybe I am wrong and Apple will surprise me. We will see. :)

Posted in Language : German, Stumbled upon | 3 Comments

Interview to the BBC

I gave an interview about hearing aid DYI and hacking in the BCC. See the full article here: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-18690973

Posted in Language : English, Publication | 1 Comment

Hearing-impaired Boy gets his own Superhero

I love to point to this article, about a boy who was unhappy about having to wear hearing aids. His mother ask Marvel comics if there are any superheros with hearing aids and they send her a copy. Things like that make me smile.

Posted in Language : English, Stumbled upon | 1 Comment

Hipster Hearing Aids

I laughed. (Found here: http://4.asset.soup.io/asset/3176/3012_a826_480.jpeg)

Hipster Hearing Aids

Posted in What the fuck? | 1 Comment

Interview with kon-sens.net

I recently gave an interview to kon-sens.net, a blog about the hearing aid industry (in German). It is mostly about my experiences with hearing aids and my wishes to the hearing aid industry. Enjoy the read!

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Hearing aid technology in consumer electronics?

The following article proposes to use hearing aid technology to enhance consumer electronics, specifically to tune out annoying noises from your environment.

I personally think he overestimates the current state of the art in hearing aid technology  and especially the quality of today’s signal processing algorithms, but I like the idea. I’d love to see the two markets merge in the future, since it will most probably result in dropping prices for hearing aids and awesome features for consumer headphones.

http://chrismaury.com/post/20294864914/its-time-to-level-up-headphone-tech

Posted in Language : English | 1 Comment

Waterproof Hearing Aids

This is the 10th (and so far last) part of my wishlist to audiologists and accousticians, hearing aid manufacturers, and the health care system. If you like to add something, share your experiences, or provide more information, I encourage you to submit a comment.

Most hearing aids are not waterproof. That leads to a lot of situations which are perfectly normal for hearing people but exclude hearing-impaired ones. For example: social water sports, pool parties, sauna with friends, a trip to the beach with friends, watching a movie with wet hair after you just had a shower, open air concerts in the rain, muddy festivals, listening to audiobooks or watching TV while lying the bathtub. I could go on and on. Also simply sweat is a problem for many people, especially those who perform a lot of sports.

There are a few hearing aids on the market that claim water resistance, I hope it will be standard and affordable soon.

See also the previous point on my wishlist: Legal certainty for situation related to broken hearing aids.

Posted in Language : English, What sucks about hearing aids | 13 Comments

Legal certainty for situation related to broken hearing aids

This is the 9th part of my wishlist to audiologists and accousticians, hearing aid manufacturers, and the health care system. If you like to add something, share your experiences, or provide more information, I encourage you to submit a comment.

When my hearing aids break, I am not able to go to work. I mean I could go there, but I would not be able to communicate with my coworkers properly. Also, I have to spend time at the audiologist, to hand in my hearing aids and get the spare hearing aids (roughly) tuned. Wearing poorly tuned hearing aids cause me headaches, which also reduce my work performance. The audiologist visit takes time, but I have no idea if I can officially call in sick for that. I am wondering if my employer can actually fire me if that happens too often. I asked this question several audiologists and none of them could give me a definitive answer.

Same applies to when my hearing aids break when I was doing something that might be considered “risky” with respect to the hearing aids. For example, am I allowed to attend a martial arts class with my hearing aids? Can my insurance refuse to pay the reparation if they break during that class? What about when I accidentally have a shower with my hearing aids on? (It happens because when you wear them every day, you forget that you are wearing them.) What about when I attend an open air concert, it starts raining and I did not seek cover, because I did not want to miss the awesome performance? Those situations might sound constructed, but actually they happen if you are are not an old grandpa, but a young person with an active life.

There are a lot of situations related to hearing aids where there is no legal certainty for the patient. Sick leave and reparation costs are only examples here.

See also the next point on my wishlist: Waterproof Hearing Aids. Or the previous one: Offer tuning in realistic circumstances, legalize and support self-tuning.

Posted in Language : English, What sucks about hearing aids | 7 Comments