September 17, 2018. As a child I watched the original Star Trek program faithfully, completely fascinated by a world that didn’t exist in my time. Communicators? Today we have smart phones! Letters sent and received from outer space? Today we have email and text messaging. Talk to a computer and get a verbal response? Our snowbird friends use ‘Alexa’. You won’t catch them typing into a smart phone when they can speak into it instead. A screen showing the person we’re talking to? Today we use Skype, Face Time, etc. Space travel? In the days before the Moon landings and the International Space Station, this was mere science fiction. These and more examples from Star Trek seem common place today.
I’m still waiting for the transporter to get me from place to place and save the hassle we currently have in making long distance travel! Another Star Trek tool I wished I had was the Universal Translator (See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_translator). If you saw the show, you know that the intrepid crew of the Enterprise had no difficulty in understanding any member of their international crew or those they met on their space exploration because of a device that instantly translated, sort of a portable simultaneous translator.
I grew up in a city where people spoke many languages and I sure wished I could easily understand what was being said. Of course I was a bit lazy as I had to go for second and third language courses after school, and this seemed an ideal shortcut. And now that I travel a bit internationally, I could really use one of those universal translators. With my hearing loss, it’s difficult sometimes to understand people even in a language I’m familiar with.
So I was astonished and delighted to learn that a new hearing aid promises to do the translating, in one of 27 languages, for its user. Imagine. You’re on vacation in a foreign country, and have no idea what’s being said as the language is not one you speak. No problem, your hearing aid whispers what is being said, directly into your ears! How cool is that? While you do need an internet connection for this translation function to work, it’s still very useful as so many places have WiFi.
But this new hearing aid says it can do more to make life easier for those with hearing loss. It can “do an environmental scan” and block out “noise” you don’t want to hear, so you can concentrate on what you do want to hear. I don’t know about you, but that might make going to restaurants and wedding receptions more enjoyable.
The new hearing aid also claims to help monitor those who might be socially isolated. It tracks your steps (no more pedometers to wear, your hearing aid can do it for you!), how much time you spend interacting with others, and recognize if you’ve fallen down. A planned software update would even call your emergency contact for you, to advise you need help.
To read more, see https://www.wired.com/story/this-hearing-aid-can-translate-for-you. The world is becoming more accessible than we ever thought. Would you buy such a hearing aid? Let us know!
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on our blog. You can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THESE UPCOMING EVENTS
September Chapter meeting: DATE CHANGE: Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Guest speaker will be Mike Smith, Publisher of County Line Courier and Summerside Citizen, who will share his personal and business life experiences in living with hearing loss.
Fall Speech Reading Classes: The Tuesday afternoon class of Level I is full, but there is still space available for the Level I class that will run Monday evenings, from 7 to 9 pm in Charlottetown, beginning September 24, and will run for 10 weeks. Level 1 introduces the most visible spoken consonants, as well as thematic groups, such as colours and numbers. Students practice with phrases in class groups as well as with the instructor. General info on hearing loss, as well as coping and communication strategies, are covered.
© Daria Valkenburg