Posts for March, 2012
Just received this. Have a great week!
On Fri, Mar 9, 2012 at 9:13 AM, DHH.Webmaster <DHH.Webmaster@illinois.gov> wrote:
The Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission (IDHHC) is excited to release the video “Emergency Preparedness: Together We Prepare.” The video is shown in American Sign Language and is fully captioned. Its purpose is to provide instruction to individuals and families on how to prepare for a natural disaster. IDHHC wants to thank the Illinois Emergency Management Agency for its collaboration on this important video which provides access to crucial information for the deaf and hard of hearing community.
“Emergency Preparedness: Together We Prepare” is located on IDHHC’s website at http://www.idhhc.illinois.gov under “Emergency Preparedness Tips” (located on the left side of the page). It can be watched as a complete video or by specific subject matter.
Lots going on the past few weeks on the Hearing Front! Saw that the USA Today is running an article on Hearing Aids today. Here's the link: yourlife.usatoday.com/health/story/2012-03-16/Hearing-aids-revolutionized-by-sound-advances-in-technology/53571198/1
Also received an email yesterday from HLAA National on the latest program being implemented by United Health Care Insurance via their new partnership with EPIC. As some of you may remember, AARP was contracting with Hears USA to provide hearing aids (along with the AARP insurance) for their clients. Hears USA declared bankruptcy last year. Thus, all of the people that bought the additional insurance were left high and dry when it came to being able to get hearing aids or service via Hears USA.
For those of you interested, here's the link to the newest affiliation. And yes, there is a lot of controversy on it with the Audi camps not liking it at all. Link: epichearing.com/
I've not had a lot of time to research all of this yet. HLAA is remaining neutral on the new development, but keep in mind that they are also one of AARP's partners. A few years ago, I did a series of articles on the America Hears hearing aid. This is the company that sends you the software so that you are able to program your own HA's via your computer. They also provide support via the phone or email. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that these would work for me if I didn't need the FM system that I have now. If you would like to read my findings, here's the link: www.americahears.com/ah_about_testimonials.html And yes, I did return them to the company after wearing them for 2 weeks in order to continue to declare myself free of alliances (getting freebies) just because I write this column.
I would be interested in hearing from readers that have decided to go down this path when it comes to getting a hearing aid. As of now, I have not been able to find any type of survey or information on how this is working out for those that have decided to have a more hands on approach to programming their HA's.
We all know that there are a few trips involved to the Audi's office after you get fitted with your HA's to iron out the programming issues. I still think that the programming is key to whether or not the consumer will continue to wear their HA's. Unfortunately, you still have HA programmers not listening to their patients and trying to 'follow the book' when it comes to programming a HA. While the Audi's are definitely not happy with this turn of events, the pricing difference will more than likely cause them to miss out on some clients. If there is legislation involved at the State Levels, get ready for a battle. When you look at the average price for a HA via an audiologists' office (in my case, around $3700 each) and then compare that to the average price from America Hears or EPIC ($600 each), there is bound to be quite a few people that are competent on their home computers that will opt to save a lot of money in order to join the 'Hearing World'.
At this point, I'm on both sides of the fence on this issue. If it will enable consumers to purchase HA's so that they can improve their hearing, then, I say, go for it!
Have a great week!
I know of one business here in the Lake Country area that was a victim of this. A stolen credit card was used via the Relay Service to have a rather large order that ended up being sent to a warehouse address in New York where it was then sold via the non-U.S. perpetrators. While it amounted to a couple of hundred dollars loss for the business here, the bigger problem for them was trying to obtain the information on the source of the call via the Relay Service. The proof of fraud was born by the business and eventually, they gave up trying to solve the crime. In order to obtain the information from where the call originated, they were going to have to hire an attorney, get a court order and of course involve several police departments in different states. This all happened almost 3 years ago.
The Business contacted me for some help and that was when both of us realized the lack of oversight by the U.S. government/FCC on the relay call business. For those of you with questions on the Relay System, how it works, ect., here's a great link: transition.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/trs.html If you scroll down on the page, you'll also find a section titled 'complaints'. This will enable you to bring up all of the complaints by legit users made by State. It was interesting to note, that there were not many relating to the foreign use of the service along with the criminal activity involved. This leads me to believe that AT&T was not logging those in. I know that the local business here that was scammed filed a complaint with AT&T, but I have yet to find it. Yet, they continued to bill the U.S. goverment millions of dollars for the transaction of these calls.
Here's the story that came out today via USA Today on the AT&T charges via the Justice Dept. www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-03-22/att-government-suing/53711584/1
For someone that cannot hear or see well, this relay service is their lifeline to the outside world. As it has developed over the years, changes in technology have made it easier for those needing to use it. Unfortunately, the lack of oversight by the FCC has also made it easy to use for those that should not be given access to it. Add in the lack of training by AT&T as well as some of the other Relay Service providers when it comes to being able to correctly facilitate the service for the consumer and you will see via the complaints area of the link above how frustrating it can be to place a simple phone call.
If the Justice Dept. is successful in recovering the millions of dollars from AT&T, maybe someone will realize that these funds could be partially used to improve the service and get all providers back to following the rules.
Have a great week!
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