New App Alerts Deaf Parents to When and Why Babies Cry

Many innovators have focused on helping children have fun living their lives and/or helping parents have a little ease in raising their children. A high-tech clothing line is producing wearable stuff that adjusts and grows along with the kids. A startup has created emotion-tracking smart glasses that can improve the social skills of autistic children. The latest to contribute is a mom doctor who developed an app that addresses a few problems in the parenting experience of deaf parents.

As parents spend time around infants, they start to learn the difference between when a baby is crying from pain, rather than fussiness. Deaf parents, on the other hand, have no way of understanding whether their baby’s cries mean something more serious.

That’s why Dr. Ariana Anderson at the UCLA Medical Center and Semel Institute developed the Chatterbaby app.

Anderson, herself a mother of four, discovered that she had been continuously learning how to interpret what her babies’ crying means over her years of motherhood. When she realized that deaf parents needed more assistance in this area, she thought of creating an app that could guide the deaf community.

By compiling a database of over 2,000 baby cries, Anderson’s app can interpret a baby’s needs with 90% accuracy. For instance, if there are long periods of silence between cries, it usually means that the baby is just finicky. But if the infant is uttering long, sustained, high-pitched wails, it means that the baby is in pain.

The app is still going through further development, but those who tested it have already given positive feedback. Deaf parents who participated in the test run stated that the service is indeed an important innovation.

Of course, every future parent would have a different parenting experience. However, innovations like this could surely bring a little convenience to the great challenge.

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Deaf Boy Raises Money For Deaf Children

When it comes to being charitable, it’s never to early to start. In fact, some benefactors can be as young as 5-years-old, like prodigy painter Cassie Gee. For this 10-year-old deaf boy, what started as a lesson in responsibility became a fundraising initiative for other deaf children.

“When my dog ate my hearing aids, I kind of learned how important it is and I kind of felt bad for the other people who might [not be able to replace theirs],” [said] Braden Baker.

Baker lost his hearing aids to family dog Chewy twice, and has since been more diligent in keeping them safe. The troublesome encounter encouraged him to set up a GoFundMe page, which raised $15,000 in a single month. Baker donated the money to Oticon Hearing Foundation.

“We could not be more thankful for his generosity and determination,” the foundation, who’s mission is to improve hearing care worldwide, said on their official Facebook page.

Because of kids like Baker, the fact that our future lies in the hands of the new generation isn’t such a scary thought.

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The iPhone Is Also An Advanced Hearing Aid

I have to commend the hearing-impaired. While the gift of sound eludes them, they are articulate in an entirely different language (which dogs can learn, by the way). Technology is helping to close the gap between the hearing and non-hearing with translating devices. This time around, Apple is happy to help and is launching a pretty high-tech hearing aid.

Those using the system can not only get phone calls directly routed inside their skulls, but also stream music, podcasts, audio books, movie soundtracks, and even Siri—all straight to the implant.

The concept stemmed from the average deaf person’s struggle to answer phone calls. To avoid bulky, wired devices, Apple pushed Bluetooth technologies even further.

“We spent a lot of time tuning our solution to meet the requirements of the battery technology used in the hearing aids and cochlear implants.”

Apple’s system also supports a bimodal setup, in which sound can come from either an aid or implant. There is even a feature for lost implants. Most importantly, the system does not drain the iPhone’s battery, which most add-ons tend to do.

To solve the huge problem of streaming high-quality audio without quickly draining the tiny zinc batteries in hearing aids, Apple had previously developed a new technology called Bluetooth LEA, or Low Energy Audio.

Looks like another win for technology.

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