Cochlear implant comparison link

I came across this a while back, but I figured it’s relevant again with the recent posts on cochlear implants.  Cochearimplantonline.com has quite a few resources about cochlear implants, and I think their comparison chart is pretty good.

http://cochlearimplantonline.com/site/?p=2321

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Captioned movies this weekend:

Several movies up this weekend:

Regal Cinemas Stadium 18 theatre is featuring:
“One Day” with open captions: PG-13, select dates and times from 8/26 to 8/29
“The Help” with open captions: PG-13, select dates and times from 8/30 to 9/5
Exact showtimes are available here: http://www.regmovies.com/nowshowing/opencaptionedshowtimes.aspx#MO

AMC is providing quite a few closed captioned movies at 5 theatres throughout Kansas City.  To find a showing near you, input your zip code and the date you wanna catch a flick here: http://www.amctheatres.com/AssistedMoviegoing/

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Summer almost to an end

For many of us, August can be one of the busiest months of the year with preparing for the start of school again or just trying to enjoy the final summer days before autumn takes over!

Our Steering Committee kept busy this month with our Shatto Milk Company social event and met last week to continue planning meetings and events for the 2011-2012 year.

Many of us had a great time at the Shatto Milk Company’s social event which took place on Saturday, August 13th, 2011.   Shatto Milk Company is a small, family owned and operated, dairy farm located just north of the Kansas City metropolitan area. We enjoyed an interpreted tour with a visit of the cows, their bottling operations, ask questions and sample tastings of strawberry, chocolate, banana and root beer-flavored milk given by the owner himself! I also remembered one flavor tasted like fruit loops! I jokily asked the owner what his secret was to making this milk taste like fruit loops.  The owner replied, “we fed the cows fruit loops!”  😉

Jokes all aside, we also learned that just last year Shatto Root Beer Milk received 1st place, strawberry milk 2nd place and their 2% white milk 2nd place at the World Dairy
Exposition
, which is held annually in Madison, Wisconsin!  Well worth a visit when you get an opportunity.  We would give special thanks to Shatto Milk Company for being a gracious host and to Nexus Interpreting for sending a wonderful interpreter to assist with interpreting the tour! Please check out a couple of our pictures below and more at our HLAA KC’s Facebook page!

Please stay tuned on when and where our next Social Event will take place for the
month of September 2011 by following our event’s page or HLAA KC’s Facebook page!

New monthly social events

When the steering committee met this summer to discuss our plans for 2011-2012, we decided to make some minor changes to our scheduling. Normally, we alternate between meeting at the Plaza library for formal presentations and having social events that are more casual.

However, this year, we decided to add regular social events so instead of having those every other month, we will be planning something fun to do every month! We want to vary the locations of our monthly social events, so if you know of something fun going on in your neighborhood, please let us know! In June, several of us met at the Nelson Art Gallery to enjoy some culture. In July, we went to Crown Center for their free Friday Night Flick – the awesome people at Crown Center turned the subtitles on so we were able to enjoy Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone with the rest of the Kansas Citians who came.

This Saturday, August 13, we are headed to the Shatto Milk Farm in Osborn, MO for a tour. The tour begins at 10am and a sign language interpreter will be provided by Nexus Interpreting. Check out the event on our Facebook page for more information – hope to see you there!

We will continue to have our formal meetings every other month. Our next formal meeting is Saturday, Sept. 17 at 10:30am at the Plaza Library. We will have two guest speakers sharing about hearing loss in the medical profession. You can find more about our upcoming events on our new Events page.

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us – we’re happy to answer any questions and are always open to ideas to how we can expand our advocacy and education efforts in Kansas City. You can links to our Facebook page and Twitter feed to the right and our email address is hlaakc@gmail.com.

Have a great week and hope to see you at Shatto this Saturday!

Cinemark gave me the freedom to choose

When I was a child, I didn’t have a lot of options when it came to my hearing loss. I could only choose from the few analog hearing aids available. Going to see a movie in the theater was the stuff my dreams were made of. Talking on the phone was out of the question. I could only be accommodated as much as technology would allow.

Today, I get to choose. My hearing aids have gone digital, my CapTel phone gives me the freedom to chat and – at long last – my movie dreams are being fulfilled. I heard that Cinemark added a new closed captioning device called CaptiView to their Plaza location and decided to give it a try. My friend and I went to an evening showing of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. We ordered our tickets and received the equipment without incident (though one of the employees didn’t seem quite sure what we were asking for… the manager came along and helped us out, though).

I didn’t get a chance to take a picture while the movie was playing, but I did snap this one after the movie was over. This is the CaptiView screen:

The screen attaches to a bendable “neck” which is connected to a solid “anchor” that fits in your cup holder. If you’ve ever used Rear Window Captioning (RWC), the general design is similar. Unlike RWC, the CaptiView system is much steadier – the screen mostly stayed in one place when I adjusted it. However, the anchor part had a hard time staying in the cup holder – I think the CaptiView could use a minor redesign so that the screen part isn’t heavier than the anchor. I ended up holding the anchor in place so I could enjoy the movie without moving the screen every few seconds.

The captions run on a different technology than RWC and do not reflect captions from a screen at the back of the theater the way that RWC does. Instead, the captions run on a “wireless band frequency” and I will tell you right now that means nothing to this former English major. 😉 What it does mean is that I did not have to sit in a specific area of the auditorium in order to reflect any captions – I got to choose where I wanted to sit!

The CaptiView screen is not very large, less than a foot wide and a few inches tall (I hope you appreciate my precise measurements there… again, former English major. I don’t speak numbers.). There are three slants that divide each line of dialogue. The CaptiView information sheet explains that this is to ensure privacy and minimize disruption for neighboring patrons. The slants did not bother me too much but because the CaptiView would tilt slowly (even while I was holding the anchor), the slants would obscure some of the text, so I would have to fidget with the screen every now and then.

The text itself was easy to read and I was able to (mostly) position the CaptiView device so that it was, from my perspective, right underneath the screen. While following the movie wasn’t quite as effortless as it would have been with open captions (seeing all the action and dialogue on the same screen), it still was a much more seamless experience than my past encounters with RWC technology. The text size was not an issue for me, but it was definitely much smaller than open captions or TV captions are. Some people may find it helpful to bring their reading glasses or be prepared to adjust the screen so that it is closer or further away.

When we dropped off the devices after the movie, I was able to chat briefly with one of the customer service representatives. She confirmed that the Plaza location has eight CaptiView devices and – my favorite part – ANY movie that is offered in digital format is available with captions (the only caveat is that 3D movies are currently not available with captions)! This means any movie, any showing (just be sure you are looking at the digital showings and not the standard format showings)… can you hear the Hallelujah Chorus right now?! Because I certainly can! 🙂

There were, however, a few downsides and some of them just boil down to my personal preference and perception. I’m not crazy about the extra work required for someone who is deaf or hard of hearing to see a movie. Requesting the equipment sometimes creates an awkward exchange if the employee behind the counter isn’t sure what you’re talking about. Walking through the theater with the device and then fidgeting in my seat to adjust the screen draws a bit of attention and I’m a shy lady… so feeling a few more eyes on me is not the most comfortable experience. I found it hard to get “lost” in the movie because I kept flickering back and forth between the CaptiView and the movie screen and had to adjust it every once in a while… I had to think about what was going on in the movie AND whether or not I was getting all the information. I’m still pining for the days of open captions, but I think that the CaptiView system is a valiant effort to fill the gap between RWC and open captions.

Overall, I had a good experience with Cinemark and CaptiView and would definitely go again because I have so many more options… I’m still trying to wrap my head around any movie, any time! 🙂

If you’re interested in seeing a movie at Cinemark on the Plaza, you can check their website, give them a call at 816-756-5877 or email them at E271@cinemark.com.

Local fire departments offer free smoke detectors

(photo credit)

I have a smoke detector with a strobe light in my apartment now and I promise it works effectively… do not ask me how I know this. It is definitely not because I tend to burn food or do silly things like put wax paper in the oven. Nope, not me! 😉

I’ll be moving across town in a few weeks and when I told my new landlord that I would need a smoke detector with a visual alert, she happily and graciously agreed. I thought I would have to do all the legwork and research and procure the device myself, but she beat me to the punch and got one from the fire department!

I’m thankful to have such a thoughtful landlord but you don’t need a landlord to get a free smoke detector with a strobe light. Simply contact your local fire department and ask about smoke detectors for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Kansas City, KS Fire Department
Overland Park, KS Fire Department
Kansas City, MO Fire Department