About Us

We are under the umbrella of the national organization of Hearing Loss Association of America which is located in Bethesda. Maryland. http://www.hearingloss.org

HLA-RI’s primary function is to educate it members, their families and friends about the causes, nature and complications of hearing loss and what can be done to better cope with that loss. We hold monthly meetings between September and June at which we may have guest speakers on a variety of topics relating to hearing loss. We may also have informal meetings where the members share their experiences and knowledge relating to hearing loss. We also have two socials a year as well.

We are able to provide CART –Computer Aided Real Time Captioning which is projected on to a large screen so that the participants can “hear what is being said in the meetings”

Some meeting topics include Accessibility, hearing aids, legislation, cochlear implants, tinnitus, captioning, relay system, assistive devices, state services, coping tips many more topics! We also have social events.

Before HLA-RI, many of the members felt isolated, found communication a struggle, were confused about technology, didn’t know their rights and hid their hearing loss

And now HLA-RI is a place to find answers, ask new questions, and meet people who understand. HLA-RI is a resource for information and friendship.

The monthly meetings are held at different locations within Rhode Island. To be placed on the email distribution list for notices and other important announcements, send an email to hearinglossri@gmail.com This email list is not shared with any organizations or individuals and each HLA-RI ‘s member is blind copied on each email.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Wireless Cell Phones

Below is a summary of one of the presentations from the HLAA 2012 Convention

Finding the Wireless Cell Phone or Mobile Device to Meet Your Needs, Part 1
By Cheryl Heppner, 6/26/2012

This informative workshop was moderated by Matthew Gerst, Esq., Counsel and
External Affairs for the CTIA. 

Wireless By the Numbers
In his introduction Mr. Gerst shared these statistics:

- There are 150 wireless companies
- The companies have 331 million subscribers
- There are 630 unique devices to choose from
- Trillions of call minutes and text messages are being sent
- Seventy three percent of adult American cell phone users send or receive
text messages
- The first app store opened in 2008 and there are now 1.9 million apps
across 11 different platforms
- From 2010 to 2011 there was a 123% increase in wireless traffic
- The amount of traffic is projected to grow 16 times by 2016

Expanding Accessibility
CTIA (The Wireless Association) is participating in the Federal
Communications Commission's Access and Innovation Initiative by leading the
effort to work on expanding its access website at www.accesswireless.org.
This website has a searchable database to find and compare phones for access
features. It has links to major app stores and a site specifically for
seniors. Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) videos developed in a partnership
with HLAA and Gallaudet University can be found there. 

Hearing Aid Compatibility Overview
In 2011 almost 450 individual wireless phone handsets were hearing aid
compatible. Of those, 150 were for GSM phones. On June 20, Samsung Galaxy
was released with a rating of M-4. The GSM air interface which is widely
used in Europe is the one most challenging to achieve hearing aid

HAC Rules and Standards
Harold Salters of T-Mobile gave a quick overview of the HAC rules and
standards. Telecoil ratings range from T1 to T4. The higher the rating is,
the less interference and higher immunity the phone has. The Federal
Communications Commission requires service providers to offer a range of HAC
models with different levels of operating capacity, features, frequency
bands, and M and T ratings. M ratings refer to how the phone works in a
hearing aid's microphone mode and T refers to how a phone works in the
hearing aid's telecoil mode. The minimum requirements are M3 and T3. 

Steps in Selecting a HAC Cell Phone
Mr. Salters provided these tips:

- Talk with your audiologist to see if your hearing aid is capable of
mobile phone use.
- If possible, find out what the immunity rating is for your hearing aid.
- Research different wireless service plans and check coverage maps
- Research handset models
- Research HAC ratings on manufacturer and service provider websites
- Go to a store to try out the phone before you buy it
- Check the ratings on the box and "call out" or feature cards on the
shelf, not the device itself
- Read the contract and check what it says about the return policy,
specifically on HAC issues

Finding the Wireless Cell Phone or Mobile Device to Meet Your Needs, Part 2
By Cheryl Heppner, 6/26/2012

The Future
The Federal Communications Commission recently adopted the new 2011 ANSI HAC
technical standard. This makes it easier for a GSM phone to get an M3

More Tips
- If you have wi-fi at home, you don't have to dip into the bucket of
minutes on your plan because the use of wi-fi is essentially free
- The location of the router may influence the quality
- In the future, expanding the covered frequency range from 698 HMz to 6
GHz will enable it to work with new and future smartphones such as LTE
gigabyte cell phones

Questions and Comments
One participant asked if the router installed in her house would cause
electrical interference with her cell phone. The answer was that
wi-fi is just a router like the one that can be used to watch HDTV. It does
not use house current; it uses broadband.

Another individual asked about the problems some people have reported with
being unable to understand a call when they hold a cell phone to their ear.
The response was that holding a device too close to the ear can cause
interference. Each carrier has a customer service line; that is a good
resource to request specialized help if you encounter this problem.

Text-Based Communications
Cell phones can be used to send and receive plain text messages of up to
about 160 characters. This is different from e-mail. Voice communication is
now on the decline. Text messaging has increased a great deal in the past
few years.

There are two kinds of text messaging. They are:
SMS (Short messaging service) - up to 160 characters can be typed for each
MMS (multimedia messaging) - gives the ability to add pictures, video or
music to the message

You can use text for communication, games, financial transactions, health
care, to make donations, and to receive emergency alerts.

Accessibility Features
Many new features have become available in wireless phones, such as:
- Built-in speech to text or text to speech
- Enhanced noise reduction in the handset and Bluetooth
- Additional screen color choices
- Large font choices
- Menu options other than icons
- Calendar with ability to alert with reminders
- One-touch key options
- Two cameras
- Magnification
- Acceptance of additional accessories for accessibility

New Products on the Way
Consumers will soon be seeing many new wireless phone products:- E-readers
- Medical equipment
- Wireless picture frame (to send photos to friends/family)
- Wireless sensors
- Home health monitors
- Cloud services

New From Sprint
Jim Skjeveland of Sprint spoke about the company's new wireless products:
- Wireless CapTel (free app on Android phones)
- Wireless Relay Conference Captioning (RCC), a captioning service allowing
one or two people with
hearing loss to speak into their mobile device and view captions of
their speech on the browser
- Mobile IP Relay with choice of English or Spanish, ability to save

Questions and Comments

Comment: Because of my unique needs, I would like not to be locked into a
phone plan.
Response: One of the fastest-growing services now is prepaid wireless plans

Comment: Captioning apps take a lot of power from the cell phone.
Response: Power management is on the operating system side. New apps such as
Ice Cream Sandwich cause significant differences in battery life. Before
buying a cell phone, use it to test the battery life. Always use the charger
specific to your phone; the use of others is not always as effective.

Comment: The vibration on cell phones needs to be stronger and longer.
Response: Check the lists on http://www.accesswireless.org/Home.aspx, which
lists features of various cell phones.

Comment: BlackBerry has recently joined Sprint and AT&T in offering CapTel

Comment: There are still problems with interference. Some of the culprits
are electrical grids and lighting. The wireless industry is actively working
to address these concerns.

Comment: Check with your wireless provider to see what data recovery and
backup services they offer with their cell phone plans. This can prevent
complete loss of your data. Keep your cell phone away from water. For those
who use Google, it has become today's "simcard saver".