09 – September 2011






Montco Chapter Officers:



: Donna Penman, phone: 610-279-0905; Email address: pen447@verizon.net Vice-President: Patty Cortez; email:






: Kathy Harral Assistive Technology: Don Groff

Newsletter committee


: Diana Bender, email:



, and Don Groff



Meeting Schedule: 1st Monday of each Month, except January, February, July and August: Gerber Room, 2nd floor Mercy Suburban Hospital, 2701 DeKalb Pike (Route 202), East Norriton, PA, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.




Movie Captioning Update


Hard of hearing movie goers will soon be able to attend many more movies which provide closed captioning. Most of you are familiar with rear window captioning (RWC), which can be found in several of our local movie theaters. Captions are projected on transparent plastic screens which fit in cupholders. Cinemark theaters in Wilmington, DE is using a different technology, called Captiview. Alan Kutner, the chairperson of our state office’s movie captioning committee, recently used Captiview and shared his experiences with the committee.


Like RWC, Alan says that Captiview uses a small screen which fits into the cup holder. Since the screen is solid black plastic, it does obscure the screen if is placed over the screen itself.  Alan found this to be no problem because he is used to placing the screen at the bottom of the picture, where he feels it works best.  So this would only be a problem if you wanted to place the words over the movie screen itself. Because the words are about 12-24 inches in front of you, it requires the user to constantly re-focus between the words in front of you and the movie screen which is many feet away.  However, after working with it for a few minutes, Alan found that he adjusted to it with just a little effort.  This is something that everyone will have to try for themselves.


There is also a captioning technology which projects captions on individual glasses. People who have used this say it works well for them and eliminates having to refocus between captions and screens.


You can read more about how the movie captioning committee (Alice and Diana are members) is working to bring captions to PA in HearSay, the state office’s newsletter.


New Research reported on Usher Syndrome


Iowa City, Iowa —

University of Iowa (UI) scientists have discovered that the protein harmoninmay play a role in the transmission of sound information to the brain. The discovery may one day lead to a therapy for Usher syndrome.

The researchers have discovered a new role for harmonin, which is mutated in Usher syndrome, one of the most common forms of deaf-blindness in humans.


Harmonin is thought to mediate movement of stereocilia on the tips of the ear’s hair cells, which then initiates transmission of sound information as electrical and chemical signals to the brain.


“Most of the research until now has concentrated on the input end of the inner hair cells where the sound waves produce motion of the stereocilia,” said Amy Lee, PhD, senior study author and UI associate professor in the Departments of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and Neurology. “Now we have found a new role for harmonin at the opposite end of these sound-sensing inner hair cells, where it appears to control the signal output of the cell.”


Lee and colleagues, including UI postdoctoral fellows Frederick Gregory, PhD, and Keith Bryan, PhD, found that harmonin is important for regulating the number of calcium channels present at the sound-transmitting synapse of inner hair cells.


Studies from other labs have shown that too few or too many calcium channels at the hair cell synapse cause deafness in mice. This means factors that control how many channels are available are likely to be important for normal hearing.


“Harmonin appears to precisely control how many channels are available,” Lee said. “What we think is happening in Usher syndrome, where the harmonin protein is mutated, is that there are too many calcium channels available, which causes abnormal signaling at the synapses.”


Lee added that it may eventually be possible to alter this interaction between harmonin and the calcium channels in a way that might be useful as a therapy for patients with this form of Usher syndrome.


The findings were published in the August 2011 issue of


Nature Neuroscience.


Reported in the August 25, 2011 issue of Hearing Review.


PA Walk4 Hearing: Sunday Sept. 25, 2011


This year’s PA Walk4Hearing will take place on Sunday, September 25, 2011 at Pavilion 11B in Ridley Creek State Park, Newtown Square, PA. Patty Cortez is the team caption for Montco chapter’s Montco Marchers and we will be out walking in our bright orange team shirts. Our team is one of 44 teams which have already registered. Registration starts at 9 am, and the walk will begin at 10 am. There will be lots of activities for the many children who participate, including face painters, moon bounces and a performing magician. Plenty of food and water will also be available. Please come out and support us!


Quote of the Month


“If I could have only one of my senses then I would choose hearing. Then I wouldn’t feel so all alone.”




Helen Keller





Next Meeting: CaptionCall: New Captioned Telephone






Our next meeting will be held on the second Monday of September because of the Labor Day holiday which falls on our usual first Monday meeting date. Our speaker will be Daniel Prisbrey, a representative from CaptionCall, (a subsidiary of Sorensen Company). CaptionCall is a new competitor to CapTel® and was on display at the exhibitor hall at the HLAA convention in Washington this past June. CaptionCall produces much faster captions than CapTel. Please join us for a demonstration.


We will also be electing chapter officers. We will take nominations from the floor in addition to the proposed slate of officers:


President: Patty Cortez


Vice-president: Tom VanArmon


Treasurer: Donna Penman


Please join us for our next meeting which will be held on




September 12, 2011


beginning at 6:30 p.m. sharp at the Mercy Suburban Hospital.


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