Archive for October, 2009

Blind boy uses his ears to ‘see’

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

We recently had a post regarding echolocation: How to speak like dolphins and how to see with your hearing (it contains a few great video clips).

This time round the BBC reported on a boy from Dorset whom has learned to use echoes to picture the world around him – similar to sonar techniques used by bats and dolphins. He clicks his tongue on the roof of his mouth and from the sound that returns he tries to work out the distance, shape, density and position of objects. The echolocation technique has helped Lucas, who was born blind, play basketball and rock climb.

Lucas Murray video

He was taught the system by blind Californian Daniel Kish, 43, who founded the World Access for the Blind charity. Lucas’s parents Sarah and Iain saw Mr Kish on TV and asked him to visit. Mr Kish said: “Lucas is one of the first in the UK to use this technique. “He is able to click his tongue and determine where things are around him and what things are around him and he is able to travel comfortably without holding on to people. “The click basically emanates a sound which bounces off the environment a bit like the flash of a camera.”

Lucas tells distance by timing how long the echo takes to return and he works out the object’s location by which ear the sound reaches first. He picks up the density and shape of it by the intensity of the sound bouncing back. An object moving away creates a lower pitch and one moving closer a higher pitch. Mr Kish said Lucas determines the qualities of an object by the characteristics of the sound that comes back. “He does play basketball, he is able to make it in to the hoop by clicking, he is actually pretty good at that,” Mr Kish added. “He is doing very well and his mobility is amazing, the best for his age in the UK.”

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/dorset/8291573.stm

A couple of videos on how Daniel Kish implements echolocation (including mountain biking!!):

Send us more interesting stuff.

Take a moment and share this:


Bookmark and Share


Expensive hearing aids…

Monday, October 5th, 2009

A man was telling his neighbour, “I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me two thousand pounds, but it’s state of the art. It’s perfect.”
“Really,” answered the neighbour. “What kind is it?”
“Twelve thirty.”

hearing aid

Send us more interesting stuff.

Take a moment and share this:


Bookmark and Share


Cochlear Implants

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Yesterday I met Mr Hendricks who attended for a reassessment of his hearing. Prior to calling him, I read in his journal that has a severe sensory-neural hearing loss and wears Digital Super Power hearing aids. He is 33 years old.

Interviewing Mr Hendricks, I was surprised at how well he lip-reads, but more so, how well he speaks, enunciating high frequency speech sounds with ease and having near normal intonation. I learnt he is a tax accountant and his idiopathic hearing loss developed from the age of five stabilising at the end of his teens. Even though he functions at such a high level (giving his degree of hearing loss), he currently finds conference calls with foreign clients very difficult and his hearing loss is having an increasing negative impact both professionally and personally.

We discussed cochlear implants and apparently thought the invasive procedure of “destroying the cochlea” sounded too aggressive when he investigated it a good few years ago. He therefore never pursued the idea. My own knowledge of cochlear implants are somewhat rusted but I told him the basics as well as the fact that research indicates the enormous success of it. I stumbled upon this short youtube video which I found quite useful to explain the basics.

I have referred him for a full assessment and only time will tell about his candidacy and whether he indeed will decide to proceed with surgery. Personally I do hope he has the implant as I believe it will prove life changing to him in the end!

Dezi Belle

Send us more interesting stuff.

Take a moment and share this:


Bookmark and Share