Thursday, August 19, 2010

If They All Go Deaf, Will There Be More Signbooks?

So, it turns out, technology can be a good and a bad thing. Today, I came across two deafness-related stories in the news, both connected with technological advances, but with far different repercussions.

The first is a study, published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, that reports that one in five American teens have some level of hearing loss, much of it noise-induced. The proportion of teens with hearing losses has increased in the last 15 years, as devices like iPods and MP3 players have entered the mainstream.,0,559994.story

I found this story alarming, besides a bit of fleeting amusement at visualizing myself suddenly surrounded by more deaf friends. Hearing loss is not easy. And, trust me, it's definitely not worth it for some amplified music in this already noisy world. From recent personal experience, I've found it surprising just how loud iPods can get. My CI conveniently lets me adjust the volume of anything I hear, so the volume control on iPods is secondary, but the level of noise that does blast out of those tiny things is mind-blowing! (At the same time, it reassures me to know I'm not at risk - no hair cells left to lose! All the CI can do is give me a headache.)

The next is a neat piece about - no, not an audiobook, but a sign language-narrated book! (Signbook? Haha.) It's a new iPad multimedia application that allows viewers to watch the story "Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy" in sign language. Multimedia isn't just for hearing people anymore! And who knows, maybe future developments like these could get more deaf children interested in reading.

How cute. I sure could have had fun with this while I was young!

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