28 November 2009

Momentous Occasion

Today I swam in the ocean. The Pacific Ocean. The Big Wet.

You might not think this to be such a big deal but it is, for me anyway. It is the first time since early 2002 and probably late 2001 that I have swum unhindered by ear plugs or other ear related paraphernalia for at least 7.5 years.

Of course I have swum at Byron and Bondi but always with ear plugs and careful not to get this or that ear wet. This is not a worry any more.
At first I had the grommet to contend with (right ear). Then bone necrosis and operation stuff on the left side. Now the only grommets I have to watch out for are the surfing teenage kind!

Where did this marvellous occasion occur? At Newcastle Bar Beach. It was a beautiful hot morning and when I emerged from the water I turned around and saw three dolphins out beyond the surf! Do you think they'd been watching?

Later we went to the fantastic Newcastle ocean baths, a deco masterpiece. I walked one lap (hard) and SWAM breaststroke back (no dolphins in the pool). A sense of achievement later and it was time for a celebratory latte.

A perfect morning.

22 November 2009

YouTube captions

YouTube, part of Google have introduced a technology which enables automatic speech recognition [ASR] which was developed jointly by the University of New South Wales.

What this means is that captions can be added to existing videos on YouTube, the online video website.
You could even have a script in a text file, to accompany the video footage and the system would synchronise the two.

I can see how this would be a boon for captioners, TV stations [I'm looking in the direction of the commercial channels here], anyone who produces video and needs to provide captions for those of us in the deaf world. Oh yeah, thats the same world as your world.


15 November 2009

New ReMap

My audiologist remapped (tweaked the settings) my implant the other day.
I was able to hear and discern music that day. Still sounds very tinny but it was better than the non-melodic, non-rhythmic noise of previous. Hopefully it'll get even better.
I've put some tracks on my iPhone so I can practice hearing them. I think it's best they be familiar songs so I know what I should expect to hear. I've ordered the appropriate processor cable as well.
We'll be doing the speech recognition testing a little later - ran out of time last visit.

Posted with LifeCast

12 November 2009

1 Year Cochlear

12 November marks one year since my cohlear switch-on. Seems not very long ago, but I've done so much in this last year.
  • Travelled to Italy, Paris and San Francisco, my first cochlear-powered trip
  • 7 years past treatment
  • 1 year deaf
  • Packed up my house
  • Had the pre-cochlear #2 operation
  • Went to Byron
  • Was elected to the Better Hearing management committee
  • Acme Computer still going
  • iPhone

08 November 2009

Poor Cinemas

This is my response to the notice lodged at

I am deaf and have a cochlear implant.

I have read the application for the "Temporary Exemption under section 55 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) from complaints in relation to the provision of captions and audio description in cinemas"

At no point in the application do the applicants explain why they should be exempt from complaints. Granted that they offer the four points listed on the application but there is no justification for their exemption from receiving complaints.

As a deaf person I feel that the application is a mechanism by which the cinema chains will try to shirk their responsibilities to the 1 in 6 citizens who suffer from a hearing disability. I am grateful for the cinemas for their commitments regarding captions and other facilities but I expect that more could, and should be done. I do feel that not enough is done and the cinemas should be aiming for 100% satisfaction for us, their clients, hearing and otherwise. It seems difficult to get action on captions and also audio loop installations and use.

To deny the complaints due process is an unnecessary gag on the deaf 'community'. If we can't complain, what other avenues are there that cinema chains might respond to? Their internal quality control mechanisms? This smacks of 'self-regulation', something which time and time again fails the consumer, but protects the provider from having to improve service. We need open and fair feedback - surely the cinemas would welcome that free facility.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment
John Couani