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Nationally acclaimed disability rights champion and inventor, Jo Waldron, has announced that a preliminary field study found that Able Planet(TM) new micro-technology, which provides access to telecommunications for people with mild to severe- to-profound hearing loss, can be used without a hearing aid in some persons for successful telephone access. Able Planet's micro-technology was unveiled in June 2003, when it was originally believed that all people with hearing loss needed a hearing aid to take advantage of the technology.

"This advancement in hearing technology expands the applications of this invention," said Waldron. "As a person who is deaf, I was amazed a·maze  
v. a·mazed, a·maz·ing, a·maz·es
1. To affect with great wonder; astonish. See Synonyms at surprise.

2. Obsolete To bewilder; perplex.

 when I could hear and understand speech clearly without using my power hearing aid. I tried using both the Able Planet(TM) wireline phone and hands-free system with a digital cell phone without even wearing my hearing aid. I was truly in shock. I had always used my micro-technology while switching my hearing aid to the T-coil setting."

"In an initial field study, individuals with varying degrees of hearing loss, including some with severe-to-profound hearing impairments hearing impairment
A reduction or defect in the ability to perceive sound.
, reported successful telephone communication using Able Planet, Inc. micro-technology without the use of their hearing aid and switching the aid to the T-coil position," said Waldron. "This means that these individuals could understand speech very effectively via a telephone handset without the use of their hearing aid. Interestingly, none of the participants could successfully understand speech while using a regular phone, a hearing aid compatible phone, an amplified phone or even a dual amplified phone without wearing hearing aids Hearing Aids Definition

A hearing aid is a device that can amplify sound waves in order to help a deaf or hard-of-hearing person hear sounds more clearly.

The auditory system Noun 1. auditory system - the sensory system for hearing
auditory apparatus - all of the components of the organ of hearing including the outer and middle and inner ears

ear - the sense organ for hearing and equilibrium
 is highly complex and hearing loss is very specific to the individual. Therefore, continued research will be important to further explore this phenomenon.

"It is truly phenomenal that I am able to use a telephone and clearly understand the conversation without my hearing aid," said Linda Jaffee, Colorado resident and field study participant. "Gone are the days of my hearing aid pinching my ear while I am trying to decipher Same as decrypt.  what is being said on the phone."

Previous hearing aid compatible (HAC HAC Housing Assistance Council
HAC Hill-Start Assist Control (automobiles)
HAC Hearing Aid Compatible
HAC Havre Athletic Club (Le Havre, France)
HAc Acetic Acid
HAC Honourable Artillery Company
) technology relied upon inductive coupling In electronics, inductive coupling refers to the transfer of energy from one circuit component to another through a shared magnetic field. A change in current flow through one device induces current flow in the other device.  to a hearing aid via the T-coil. This breakthrough application from Able Planet, Inc. provides the opportunity for greater telephone or headset Headphones combined with a microphone. Used in call centers and by people in telephone-intensive jobs, headsets provide the equivalent functionality of a telephone handset with hands-free operation. Many people use headsets at the computer so they can converse and type comfortably.  access to individuals with varying degrees of hearing loss.

"The impact of this breakthrough will directly lend itself to the recent FCC (1) (Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC, The U.S. government agency that regulates interstate and international communications including wire, cable, radio, TV and satellite. The FCC was created under the U.S.  ruling requiring wireless telephones to be 'accessible to and usable by people with hearing disabilities,' which is why I was so excited about supporting this ruling," said Waldron. "The opportunities that cellular phones can now provide to people with hearing loss are unlimited. The long-standing problem of hearing aid interference can literally become a non-issue. We are so excited at the opportunities this will afford to every telecom or consumer electronics OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) The rebranding of equipment and selling it. The term initially referred to the company that made the products (the "original" manufacturer), but eventually became widely used to refer to the organization that buys the products and  manufacturer. Today...the opportunity for a win-win is finally realized for both industry and the consumer with a hearing loss."

Able Planet is currently exploring relationships with national and international companies in telecom, IP telephony The two-way transmission of voice over a packet-switched IP network, which is part of the TCP/IP protocol suite. The terms "IP telephony" and "voice over IP" (VoIP) are synonymous. , highway emergency telephones, consumer electronics (headsets and hands-free systems), and computer industries.

"There are millions of Americans who do not have access to voice telecommunication or communications devices Typically refers to a terminal used to send voice, video or text. Mobile phones, wireless PDAs and personal computers equipped with microphones, speakers and cameras are all considered communications devices. See modem. , this is even more so frightening when you are in a hospital and cannot call a friend or family member...especially if you happen to be the patient or worse, it is your child or a parent," said Waldron, who was honored by President Ronald Reagan with "The President's Trophy" and was appointed "Disabled American for the Nation," representing the Presidents of the United States Presidents of the United States
President Political Party Dates in Office Vice President(s)
George Washington   1789–97 John Adams
John Adams Federalist 1797–1801 Thomas Jefferson
 and all Americans with disabilities Americans with disabilities comprise one of the largest minority groups in the United States. According to the Disability Status: 2000 - Census 2000 Brief [1], approximately 20% of Americans have one or more diagnosed psycho-physical disability.  since 1987. "Simple daily communication, such as calling a friend, ordering from room service, understanding a television program, or learning in a computer language lab or just calling a family member, or the doctor, ordering from a pharmacy or making hospital or laboratory appointments for tests, or just simply calling for help or for an ambulance is incredibly scary and frustrating frus·trate  
tr.v. frus·trat·ed, frus·trat·ing, frus·trates
a. To prevent from accomplishing a purpose or fulfilling a desire; thwart:
. For the most part, traditional hearing accessible technologies make it almost impossible for people with hearing loss to address healthcare communication needs."

The patent-pending technology, invented this past year by Waldron with technical guidance and testing by hearing industry veteran Dr. Joan Burleigh, will provide the 34 million+ Americans and 500 million individuals worldwide with mild to severe-to-profound hearing loss, the opportunity to effectively communicate with others via telephone as well as hear speech more clearly using a hands-free system and other communications devices.

The Able Planet(TM) technology is very different from traditional hearing aid compatible (HAC) technology in many ways -- performance, size and cost being the top three. When using a hearing aid switched to the T-coil setting, initial studies show almost a 30% difference in average discrimination scores between the two technologies. This is the difference between guessing at what someone is saying on the phone and fully participating in a conversation.

"Because of the incredible efficiency of this technology, we have created several new standards," said Waldron. "The Telecommunication Act guarantees that all telecom equipment be 'accessible to and usable by American's with Disabilities,' including from foreign manufacturer's, if these companies wish to sell their products in the United States of America UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The name of this country. The United States, now thirty-one in number, are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire,, our technology allows this guarantee, actually this right to become a reality for millions of people."

Able Planet's micro-technology measures just 1mm, about the size of a grain of rice. The technology is so small that it fits in standard telephones or payphones or in any hands-free headsets such as those used with cellular phones, cordless phones A wireless telephone that transmits to and receives signals from a base station within a range of a few hundred feet. Cordless phones are for local use and cannot travel long distances as can cellphones and satellite phones. See DECT and multihandset cordless. , multi-media computers and laptops, MP3 players, CD players, stereos, and more.

Once installed, the micro-technology is transparent; those who do not use a hearing aid will not know it's there. People with or without hearing loss can use the same phone or hands-free system. This recent study found that people with varying degrees of hearing loss reported successful telephone communication using Able Planet, Inc. micro-technology with or without the use of their hearing aid. Those who chose to use a hearing aid can take advantage of the technology by simply flipping the switch on their hearing aid to the "T" setting and adjusting the volume on their hearing aid.

Traditional technologies have attempted unsuccessfully to improve speech understanding by using hearing aid compatible (HAC) headsets, magnetic open-air or induction coils, hearing aid interconnect ear silhouettes, volume controls, or neck loops. The result is usually the same: volume may be increased but clarity is not greatly improved.

Studies have shown that Able Planet's micro-technology improves the overall frequency response levels of telephones resulting in improved sound clarity. Thus, speech is amplified, clarity is increased and the audio signal is enhanced.

The technology is available for commercial sale to OEMs for an MSRP MSRP Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price
MSRP Message Session Relay Protocol
MSRP Multi-Species Recovery Plan (US Fish & Wildlife Service)
MSRP Member of the Society for Radiological Protection (UK) 
 of $3.10 (rates may vary based on quantity) and is also available for retail sale to corporations, non-profits, government, audiologists or direct to consumers in a standard telephone for $65.95 and hands-free earphone See earbuds.  for $34.95 (introductory pricing). Products may be purchased at

Hyatt Hotel Corporation was the first corporate entity to install the new technology. Hyatt has committed to support Able Planet's invention and following compliance directives that are federally mandated, are installing Able Planet's technology in all new guestroom telephone sets purchased for Hyatt Hotels in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , Canada and the Caribbean.

This technology was created as part of Able Planet's mission to develop multiple technologies to benefit people with different disabilities, providing equal access and opportunity in employment, education, travel and entertainment.

For more information, call 303/333-1402 or visit
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Publication:Tele-Service News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2003

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