Archives for December 2009

Technology Review

SH Line Producer | 11:00 UK time, Wednesday, 16 December 2009

This week Daryl Jackson and his intrepid team of technology-loving reviewers take a look at several gadgets that are on the market and have functionality for deaf and hard of hearing users.

First of all former Grange Hill star, Rebecca-Anne Withey takes a look at the Sony Playstation Portable (PSP). Although there are many other handheld games consoles on the market such as the Nintendo DS, the PSP is the only one that is being utilised by a deaf school for educational applications rather than the usual gaming.

Next up Charles Herd takes a look at the Sony Touch Reader electronic book. These electronic books are great for carrying around a library of reading material, much in the same way that mp3 players have become portable music libraries. They are as usable for deaf and hard of hearing users as they are for hearing users. We reviewed the Touch Reader as it is widely available from most consumer electric retailers. However, there are many other alternatives out there such as the Amazon Kindle 2 which is available on import from
and various other brands such as the Cool-er, Elonex and BeBook which are available from selected retailers.

Hannah Evans then takes a look at various time-keeping gadgets with functionality for deaf and hard of hearing users. She looks at the Sonic Boom Sweetheart vibrating alarm clock, with its unique styling and also the Vibralite vibrating wristwatch. These gadgets plus many other alternatives are available from the RNID shop

Finally Stephen Collins takes a look at applications on the iPhone and tests their usefulness for deaf and hard of hearing users. He tests the London Tube augmented reality navigation application by Presselite, the Tom Tom satellite navigation application and also the Proloquo2Go application with its unique symbol and text-to-speech functions. Although the Proloquo2Go application is only available on the iPhone and iPod Touch, the other applications are available or have similar counterparts on most smart phone platforms such as Android, Blackberry, Nokia Symbian, Palm and Windows Mobile. These will be available through your smart phone provider. On the iPhone platform there are over 100,000 applications also available which you can find through Apple's App Store.

Beyond the gadgets reviewed there are many other bits of technology out there for deaf and hard of hearing users. From new-style text phones through to loop systems for home entertainments systems. The RNID shop is a great place to find many of these.

And what does the future hold? Full captioning is just about to appear on YouTube, but even cooler than that could be spectacles with built-in real time subtitling! And even vibrating shoes which could help you to dance! Be sure that when these gadgets finally see the light of day See Hear will be sure to check them out.

SEE HEAR: Wednesday 16th December 1pm BBC TWO

SH Line Producer | 18:00 UK time, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

This week See Hear meets Laura, a young Deaf woman campaigning very loudly against violence against women.  After a harrowing personal experience, she took up drumming and became the only Deaf woman in a female Glaswegian drumming band.  We join Laura and her band as they take to the streets of London for the "Reclaim the Night" march.

Also, with Christmas round the corner, See Hear sizes up the best gadgets and gizmos to give to your Deaf or Hard of Hearing loved ones on your Christmas present list.  Keep reading our blog for more information!

Radha and Memnos meet a champion deaf ice-skater before going into the rink to try their luck at learning to figure-skate.  It's safe to say that Torvill and Dean have nothing to worry about...

If you have been affected by any of the issues on today's programme the following contacts may be of use:

Women's Aid is the key national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children.

Women's Aid

PO Box Bristol 391

BS99 7WS

Tel: (18001) 0117 944 4411

Fax: 0117 924 1703




Refuge's network of safe houses provides emergency accommodation for women and children when they are most in need.  A helpline and outreach services are also available.

Tel: (18001) 0808 2000 247


Rape Crisis (England and Wales) provides co-ordination for the national network of Rape Crisis Centres across England and Wales.

Rape Crisis


PO Box 39



PL31 1XF



Rape Crisis (Scotland) provides a national rape crisis helpline for anyone affected by sexual violence, no matter when or how it happened. The helpline is open from 6pm to midnight, 7 days a week, and offers free and confidential initial and crisis support and information.

Tel: 08088 01 03 02 (voice and textphone/minicom)



Rape Crisis Centres


SEE HEAR: Wednesday 9th December 11am BBC TWO

SH Line Producer | 18:00 UK time, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Oliver Westbury was the first Deaf man to reach the North Pole - and we filmed his amazing journey on See Hear.  More than a year on from his original adventure, Oliver is looking to complete a rare double - racing to the South Pole in 2011/2012, on the 100th anniversary of the ill-fated Scott expedition.

Our cameras follow Oliver as he starts the process of recruiting people for his team, getting advice from that most renowned of explorers, Sir Ranulph Fiennes - and finding out just how hostile an environment the Antarctic can be compared to the relatively easy-going Arctic...

Join us on See Hear for the start of Oliver's next big adventure.

For more information about the race and details of the other competitors:

SEE HEAR: Wednesday 2nd December 1pm BBC TWO

SH Line Producer | 11:15 UK time, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

In the latest update of See Hear's occasional feature on deaf children and their education, we revisit Lucy and Yasin, now both six years old.  Lucy's a BSL-user from a Deaf family; Yasin, from a hearing family, had a cochlear implant when he was 18 months old.  Along with their parents and teachers, the kids report on what they've been getting up to at school and at home.

We also pay tribute to the life and work of Pat Keysell, the much-loved pioneer of TV for deaf children.

Memnos has another of his Stories Behind the Signs, all about sign names.  And with 40% of deaf and hard of hearing young people experiencing a mental health issue, this week See Hear visits a mental health outreach team dedicated to working with deaf young people and their families in the West Midlands.

If you were affected by any of the issues later in today's programme the following resources may be of use:

Sign Health

5 Baring Road





Telephone: 01494 687600

Textphone: 01494 687626

Fax: 01494 687622

SMS/text message: 07966 976749



The Samaritans provide confidential non-judgemental emotional support, 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide.

You can email the Samaritans at, or use the single national minicom number 08457 90 91 92 or phone via Typetalk on (18001) 08457 909090.


The British Society for Mental Health and Deafness (BSMHD) promote positive mental health for deaf people in Britain.


PO Box 10587


CO1 9JE.

Telephone/SMS: 07880 715427

Fax 07876 835857



Deaf Info, a hub for information about deaf mental health.



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