Topic: Elaine McCaffrey will be our speaker. The topic is “Hospital Safety for People with Hearing Loss.” Ms. McCaffrey is a retired lawyer living in the Chicago area. She has been a president of HLAA Chicago North Shore Chapter. She and her chapter have been advocating for making hospitals aware of safety issues dealing with the hearing loss community. This promises to be an informative meeting.
As the cool weather reminds us, fall is here and we are about to begin a new program year. We hope you have been able to stay safe over the summer and are planning on joining us – on Zoom – when we return in October.
The Jeanes Library is not open for our use and we will be meeting virtually, using Zoom, for the remainder of 2020. We will send everyone a Zoom link and a telephone number by email. You can join in using the link on your computer, iPad or smart phone. If you prefer, you can call in, using the phone number. IF you want help with using Zoom, please let us know and we can work with you before the meeting.
Our meeting will start at 6 PM on Monday, October 5, 2020. We will plan on one hour. Our agenda will include the following items:
Presentation of the budget for 2020-2021
Update on plans for a regional HLA in Southeast PA.
Personal check-ins and updates
Walk 4 Hearing updates
Staying in contact with others is especially important during this pandemic. We have helpful information to share with each other and we can support each other as truly kindred spirits. Please plan to attend.
The June meeting was a Zoom event, with President Andy Walker as the host. There were about a dozen attendees.
Montgomery County Intermediate Unit staff members Jill Christopher and Sarah Zavala described the work of the MCIU specifically with children with hearing impairment. Our chapter has made a contribution to MCIU is support of this work.
It was agreed the the virtual meeting format should continue to be our meeting format for the time being. It was also decided the the picnic slated for July 12 should also be changed to a virtual format.
The prospects for captioning with a virtual format was discussed. Not a simple matter.
Watch this space for further details about the 7/12 Zoom “Picnic”
Our March 2 meeting included a general discussion of chapter activities and plans. President Andy Walker conducted an introduction to American Sign Language, as preparation for the visit from the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit later this year. This was enhanced by a video on basic fingerspelling.
Captioning was a topic of discussion in a variety of ways. The Google Live Transcribe system was used again, and proved to be at least moderately successful. The resulting transcript does not separate speakers or topics, and is not easy to read. A modest amount of editing would improve this, and help would be welcome The transcript is available on request to hlaamcc(at-sign)gmail.com.
Other topics discussed:
Hearing aid marketing modes and prices. Some members have used CostCo, with generally satisfactory results.
Noise level in restaurants and other public spaces
HLAA picnic on July 12 at Fort Washington State Park.
April meeting topic TBD, probably focused on assistive technology.
May: Kay Tyberg will discuss strategy for communication in noisy surroundings.
Nancy Hilger, now with Clear Captions, spoke on Getting Hip with Your Hearing.
Hearing aid technology continues to develop at a rapid pace, and she reviewed a number of features that go far beyond the traditional hearing device. The smartphone is become an essential adjunct to the hearing aid, for much more than simple adjusting its parameters.
A new captioning system was introduced, based on Google Live Transcribe software running on a tablet computer and projected on a well
Though hardly perfect, the system is remarkably fast and accurate. It was noted that it is not able to distinguish between individual voices, and sentences are not separated, although paragraphs, at least to some degree, are.
The transcript is available on request to hlaamcc (at) gmail.com
Our annual holiday party, postponed once by a storm that never really materialized in our area, seemed at risk as another storm threatened. This one too did not cause more than uncertainly about travel.
There are about 18 attendees, and holiday food contributions were appropriate to the season. There was a demonstration of a prototype automatic speech recognition (ASR) captioning system
HLAA MontCo does not meet in January.
Preliminary topics for the remainder of our year:
February 3, 2020
Nancy Hilger , of Advanced Hearing Systems in Warminster, will speak about recent developments in hearing aid technology
March 2, 2020
Round table discussion
April 6, 2020
Montgomery County Intermediate Unit will report on utilization of our contribution to them. There will also be a mini-course on American Sign Language (ASL)
May 4, 2020
Kay Tyberg Devices for to use in noisy situations
The Winter Party has been rescheduled for December 16.
Our December meeting (Monday, December 16) will be our annual holiday social. Please join us to welcome the cold weather (-: …. and to wish each other a comfy and healthy winter. (We’ll convene at 5:30 at the Jeanes Library in Lafayette Hill.)