Thursday, June 19, 2008

Of feed aggregators, hypocrisy, and choices.

Mike of Kokonut Pundit made an interesting observation on the double-standards that are beig perpetuated by individuals against Deaf Village's rule #5 (which states that video blogs, 'vlogs,' are required to have captions/subtitles or a transcript.)

In addition to covering the hypocrisy of bloggers that are against this rule demanding that text only blogs also provide ASL translations (even though they themselves don't bother to do so,) he points out that;

"Deaf Village's target audience isn't only just Deaf people but people with heairng loss from all stripes and those who want to learn more about deafness and read about deaf/hh people experiences."

THIS is what I will address.

According to Wikipedia, a feed aggregator, also known as a feed reader, news reader or simply as an aggregator, is client software or a Web application which aggregates (gathers) syndicated web content such as news headlines, blogs, podcasts, and vlogs in a single location for easy viewing.

Aggregators typically target a specific audience. There are aggregators for democrats, and those for republicans. Aggregators for catholics, buddhists, muslims, and athiests. You'll find aggregators that target golfers, mortgage brokers, or those in the movie industry, and there are aggregators for different disabilities/cultural segments of society.

People gravitate to a specific feed aggregator because they have expectations on what the content they will be served will consist of.

You wouldn't expect to read a blog expounding creationism on an aggregator that targets scientists who study genetics or evolution.

You wouldn't expect to read a blog about why people should vote for John McCain on an aggregator for Barack Obama supporters.

You wouldn't expect an aggregator targeting hunting/shooting enthusiasts to include blogs written by people who want to outlaw firearms, or disband the NRA.

Nor would you expect to come across an ASL-based blog with no translation in an aggregator that promises to ensure that every blog/vlog is accessible via written English.

Deaf Village (DV) TARGETS a specific grouping of individuals (just like DVTV targets those who vlog in sign - indeed there's been a call to actually ban any blogs that include speaking & captions,) and that targeted audience is promised that they will be able to understand all blogs listed in the DV aggregator. Equal Access is what DV is founded on - the premise that everybody should have the ability to read and understand any blog/vlog that is listed.

I peruse DeafRead, (an aggregator for d/Deaf blogs and vlogs) and there have been many many occasions where I have had to simply close a vlog that was in ASL because I couldn't understand it. Often I'd wonder just what message I had missed, and wished that at the very least, they could have provided a transcript of their discussions. Now I can understand if those vloggers only WANT people who have a total understanding of ASL to view their vlogs. That's fine by me. What bothers me is when those who have that preference cry discrimination because they can't be included in a aggregator that targets a different audience than they do.

Since aggregators typically target specific individuals who are seeking news/information/banter about specific concepts or ideas, the very thought of ASL vlogs without translation in an aggregator promising English text accessibility is absurd.

Now when you consider the act that spurred the creation of Deaf Village - the removal of Rachel of Cochlear Implant Online from the DeafRead aggregator (which I covered in previous entries here and here,) was more because of her stance on the advantages of CI's and AVT than any (supposed) commercial gain/link, it stands to reason that a good majority of bloggers/vloggers who are members of DV also share, if not the same goals as Rachel, at least the concept that discrimination against an individual because the subject matter of their blog is wrong. Especially when this discrimination is hidden in the assertion that it is enforcement of a 'rule' that has been selectively applied.

As such, I hope that a good number of PARENTS of deaf children will stumble across Deaf Village, and its supportive environment, and discover that even though they don't know sign/ASL, they will be able to understand the information provided in the various blogs/vlogs that make up the site. THIS is the kind of equal-access that the DV owners/moderators espouse. After all, English is the common denominator when it comes to accessibility and understanding in our part of the world. Indeed, with the exception of DVTV, all comment systems on blogs are text-based, and as of yet I've not seen/heard anybody complain that its a hardship to make a comment in English. Nor should it be a hardship to in the very least provide a transcript for a vlog - and this goes for vlogs that are spoken only, or cued, etc - so that *everybody* can enjoy the content of every b/vlog offered.

So its simple - if you WANT your deaf/Deaf/AVT/cued speech/ASL/hh/CI/etc blog or vlog to reach the largest audience possible, then DV is for you. If that's not what your needs/wants are, then there are other aggregators available. Having the freedom to make that choice is wonderful, isn't it?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Carbon taxes - stimulate THIS!!!!

This is a've been warned.

Hot on the heels of the US economic stimulus rebates, the British Columbia government announced that it will be giving every British Columbian - man, woman, and child, a one-time $100 "Climate Action Dividend" just prior to implementing their new carbon taxation scheme.

Spearheaded by B.C. Finance Minister Carole Taylor, the dividend is being funded by last year's fiscal surplus, and Taylor hopes people will spend the money on reducing their greenhouse gases, and implementing "environmentally friendly" behavior (like buying a bus pass, weather stripping, or CFL's.)

The carbon tax will be charged at the rate of $10 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions, for gasoline and home-heating fuel, and kicks off July 1.


We're already paying $1.45/liter for gasoline here in Nanaimo, ($5.49/gallon for you US readers,) and its just going to keep going up, THEN you add the new carbon tax on top of all the taxes we already pay(7% provincial, 5% GST) ....will it ever end?

So, they're giving us back $100 of our own money, then raising the taxes to get it back...(Taylor estimates the average British Columbian will end up spending $60/year.) As my Mother put it, "Its like winning $2 on a $10 lottery ticket."

When you consider that so many people still argue that "Climate Change/Global Warming" is nothing but hype (check out kokonut pundit's blog for EXCELLENT discourse on this subject here, here and also here )

Those that promote global warming and tell everyone who doesn't believe them to shut up, should read a little bit. Not 20 years ago, in 1974, TIME magazine warned of a coming ice age.

"In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish." -- Paul Ehrlich, Earth Day (1970)

Heck even MARS is undergoing global humans there, but yet in the face of all this they are still using global warming and environmental "carbon taxes" to take more money out of our pockets.

If they REALLY wanted to do something about the environment, they'd do away with the stupid tax and use the money that is being spent on this "dividend cheque" (approx $440 million - and another $10 million to print and deliver them,) on incentives for developing greener energy, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, building more fuel efficient vehicles, etc.

Its just more of the same..they give us a little incentive, then reach in our back pocket and take out MORE than they gave us (again of our own money.) Its like how the Canadian government reduced the Goods and Services (GST) tax by one percent in July, 2006, then turned around and raised income taxes to offset the GST cut!!! So instead of paying SOME taxes on goods and services (which I can pick and chose) I end up paying a blanket tax on my income which gets the government MORE money in the long run.

Its enough to make your head spin.

So what are YOU going to do with your $100? At the rate things are going, by the time I get my cheque I might be able to buy a liter of gas.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Deaf Village - We Want You!!!

In the village,
Yes, friends across the seven seas
In the village,
Yes, you can put your mind at ease
In the village,
Come on now, people, make a stand
In the village, in the village!

In the village,
Can't you see we need a hand
In the village
Come on, blogging is so grand
In the village
Come on and join your fellow man
In the village,
Come on people, and make a stand
In the village, in the village!

We want you, we want you
We want you as a new recruit!!


I'm honored to announce that I've joined a group of amazing people who are coming together to form a new aggregator called Deaf Village.

A village is a place where people can be comfortable, usually sharing the same goals, and striving to develop a feeling of respect, trust, and camaraderie.The phrase "It takes a Village" was never more appropriate, as deafness is not ethnocentric. There are so many different academic approaches, communication styles, and individual contributions that make it a humungous melting pot.

I hope you will join me in thanking the developers, moderators, and contributing blogs of this wonderful new all-inclusive aggregator. I think it is just what the deaf community needs right now, and will allow everybody to share their blogging experiences without fear of censorship and silly-putty rules. The only rule is the GOLDEN RULE, which is simple, "Treat others as you would like to be treated."

I look forward to reading all the wonderful blogs encompasing all aspects of deaf life, Deaf Culture, ASL, CI's, AVT, cuing, deaf education, and everything in-between.

I happily proclaim myself one of the Village People! Hang on tight -its going to be a wild ride!!!

Obligatory YMCA photo here...couldn't resist - the song's been running through my head all day!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Adieu, adieu, to you, and you and you!

I think the song "So long, Farewell" from The Sound of Music is appropriate.....

And, well, it seems that the "slippery slope" that I predicted in my last post becoming a reality, and the latest victim is Rachel of CochlearImplantOnline. Rachel is one of the first children to be implanted with a CI, and has been thriving. She's a very outspoken, opinionated and extremely intelligent young lady who has been sharing her experiences and her blog is a gold mine of information for anyone interested in CI's, implanted children, AVT, deafness, and personal confidence. Unfortunately the fact that she's also a volunteer with the Cochlear Awareness Network (CAN) and even declared that she is back in April, has given cause for the DeafRead Gods to decide that she's a commercial enterprise who gets monetary gain from her blog (which is 100% incorrect!) and therefore was summarily removed from the DR blog aggregator without so much as a by-your-leave.

It seems that the DeafRead mods think that because CAN is affiliated with CochlearAmericas, she must be a paid lackey. Indeed, Taylor has even stated that because her blog promotes "awareness", such can be considered MARKETING (I kid you not - you can see his post in the replies on Anonymous Deaf Law Student's recent blog regarding this.)

Since I promote AWARENESS of many things regarding my CI experiences, the equipment I use, the knowledge I have gained from others and through my own adventures, I guess I too am "marketing" the Cochlear brand.

I don't feel I really need to post much else about the matter, as its stirred up a shitstorm (pardon my french, but there's no other way to describe the current conditions,) and it has been blogged to *perfection* on the following sites. I really couldn't say anything that hasn't already been said by these individuals, without echoing what they've posted, and making it sound like more of the same. To them I, I take my hat of and say, Well Done!!!

Kokonut Pundit

Living the Questions

Tales from a CI Gal

The ASL-Cochlear Implant Community

The Ambling Rambler

Patoie's Green Couch

Anonymous Deaf Law Student

Chronicles of a Bionic Woman


Sam Spritzer's blog

If you've written something about this subject and I've failed to include you, its not intentional. I'd love to know, and you're more than welcome to include blog links in the comments so everyone else can find you!

Koko - yes your devilish plan is working splendiferously!! *grin*

So to DeafRead I bid adieu. Please bookmark my blog, and you'll be able to find me easily enough.

Have a great summer's day!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Segregation and the deaf blogging community

We live in a society that deals with oppression and discrimination, despite our best attempts at educating and encouraging others to have an open mind and embrace others of different beliefs, different races, different abilities, and different cultures. With respect to the d/Deaf communities, discrimination still exists, alongside misunderstandings, misinformation, ignorance, and apathy.

What does one do when a community that is well known for complaining that they are discriminated against, practices that very form of discrimination within itself?

I'm talking about the online d/Deaf community, and how there seems to have been a line drawn in the cyber-sand lately and edicts stating that unless you are "deaf enough", you need not be acknowledged.

The crux of the biscuit, is that there are a great many bloggers/vloggers who use the blog aggregator known as DeafRead. I am listed there myself, along with a plethora of other bloggers who talk about everything from ASL/SEE/BSL (American Sign Language/Signed Exact English/British Sign Language) to Deaf Culture, to the deaf experience, to AVT (auditory-verbal training,) to closed captioning, to entertainment, to cochlear implants....

And it seems the latter, cochlear implants and those who have them, or have children with implants,or support those mentioned previously, have "invaded" (not my own words) DeafRead. There is a collection of bloggers who object to the blogs that discuss CI's, hearing a telephone, understanding conversations by hearing alone, mapping strategies, and educational choices/strategies for children with CI's, just to name a few. They feel they need protection from the big bad CI-using/supporting segment of the deaf community. Those that use CI's, who can hear, who don't communicate with pure ASL 100% of the time are not deaf enough to be included in the blog listings.

Just what *IS* "Deaf Enough" anyway? In many cases it depends on who you ask. There seem to be a great many "groupings" of deaf individuals within the entirety of the deaf community. There are those who are simply hard of hearing, those who are "little-d" deaf, who have hearing loss, but don't participate within the deaf community, those who are "big-D" Deaf who are actively involved in the Deaf Culture. There are those who come from generationally Deaf families, and those who aren't. There are latened-deafened children and adults. There are those who communicate via speaking/lipreading, those who sign, those who use cued speech, and those who use a combination of several of these methods.

The fact is - there are as many "flavors" of deafness as there are individuals who are deaf. Shouldn't we as a minority embrace all the wonderful differences that make each of us unique, and celebrate the different ways we can live our lives, instead of ranking people in terms of whether they are "worthy enough" to talk about their experiences? In response to the number of bloggers complaining about non-ASL/non Deaf Culture themed blogs on DeafRead, the owners offered a "dashboard" setup where members could select those blogs that they do not want to read so they don't show up on the listings of current blog postings. Thankfully they didn't make this blog-segregation a mandatory thing, but those who simply couldn't live with a blog being listed that contained a CI-theme could chose to delete them from their preferred blog list.

But STILL that wasn't good enough.

STILL there were calls to "ban the CI-blogs!!" and make DeafRead a 100% ASL, Deaf culture aggregator. Period.

So in response, the owners of DeafRead are setting up DeafSide - another aggregator where blogs will be submitted and picked by a group of three moderators (censorship anyone?) and must be ASL/Deaf Culture themed in order to be accepted.

I believe this is a slippery slope - what's next? An aggregator for those with CI's only? Maybe one just for adults and one just for children? An aggregator for those who use cued speech? One for those who are parents of CI-implanted children, and one for those who only lipread? Where does it stop? As one commenter named Nesmuth responding to the post about this upcoming change said, "This paves the way to the balkanization of the deaf community."

The Deaf community complains that too many people don't understand them, aren't willing to learn ASL, or learn about Deaf Culture....will with this move, cloistering themselves inside a "ASL/Deaf Culture members only" mentality, encourage those who *want* to learn to reach out to them, or will it be perceived as the equivalent of a "DO NOT TRESPASS" message?

I've personally experienced this kind of mentality from the Deaf community. When I was in my early 20's, and attending Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf, I went to RockFest at Gallaudet University. A group of friends and I were attending a private party held in an apartment when we were approached by a group of individuals who ordered us to leave. The reason? We were signing in SEE instead of ASL. We were instructed that unless we used ASL, we were not welcome. I was absolutely shocked by this, and have never forgotten that first taste of discrimination within the deaf community.

I feel like I'm suddenly back at that party, and the bitter taste that that experience left in my mouth has returned all over again.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pygmalion, revisited

"There even are places where English completely
disappears. In America, they haven't used it for years!" ~ Rex Harrison

So call me Eliza, and make my CI Henry Higgins. I'm sure this isn't what George Bernard Shaw had in mind when he wrote Pygmalion (My Fair Lady,) but to me, it comes damn close.

I'm speaking of course, about speech. Phonetics. Pronunciation. That which has plagued hearing and deaf alike for millennia, which is the bane of ASL purists, the desire of oralists, and the subject of this blog entry.

When it comes to communication, I like to think I have a pretty full toolbox. I can communicate in pidgin-ASL pretty well for someone who hasn't used it in more than 10 years (I was fluent when I went to RIT, but "use it or lose it.") I am extremely well read, there's always a book within reaching distance, wherever I am, and my favorite internet destinations are all news/tech/blog sites. I read science publications, I enjoy a good debate, and I like to think I have a pretty good linguistic capacity. I strive to speak clearly, and concisely.

So, you can imagine my surprise, my chagrin, and my embarrassment when I discover that all my life I've been pronouncing some words incorrectly, not realizing it, and nobody had bothered to tell me!!! Or it wasn't a case of somebody telling me, but my discovering a word that I THOUGHT all my life was pronounced one way was actually pronounced another way.

Yes I took English in school. Got straight "A's" too. Loved it, as I love to read. I could debate the symbology in Animal Farm, the allegory in Lord of the Flies, and the politics in 1984 until the cows came home, but looking back I realize that almost NO emphasis was ever placed on learning the pronunciation of words, but rather how to spell them. So I learned them, how to use them in a sentence, how to spell them perfectly (antidisestablishmentarianism, anybody?) But apparently I didn't learn to pronounce them properly.

Professor Henry Higgins sings

Henry: "I Hear them down in Soho square,
Dropping "h's" everywhere.
Speaking English anyway they like.
You sir, did you go to school?"

Man: "Waddaya tike me for, a fool?"

Henry: "No one taught him 'take' instead of 'tike!'"

Don't feel bad man, nobody taught me either.

I suppose its because among the hearing, you pick up on the pronunciation easily. We deaf have to constantly keep the rules of English grammar in our heads. You remember it the 'h' in ghost is silent. Ditto for the 'p' in pneumonia. Ea sounds differently depending on the words - meat, bread, great. Ci makes a "sh" sound (facial.) Got the hiccoughs? You hic-cup, not hic-cough, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera....(oops! Wrong musical!)

Like most people, be they hearing or deaf, I enjoy watching movies. Thankfully, most are closed captioned (even with my CI, I don't catch everything, especially when they put the damn "suspenseful" or "action" music in the background - it washes out the dialog!) Yet with my CI, I am finding that I pick up nuances in the movies that I never realized. Case in point - I was watching "The Matrix - Revolutions" the other day. There's a point near the middle when Captain Mifune says to Kid "The minimum age for the Corp's eighteen. Sixteen's too young." The Kid replies, "The machines don't care how old I am. They'll kill me just the same."

Now, prior to getting my CI, I'd simply have read the dialog and followed the movie normally, but with my CI, I noticed that I couldn't hear the "p" in corps, so I backtracked and listened to that scene again, and again. You see, all my life I thought corps was pronounced the same as corpse. But my CI was hearing "corz." Where was the p? Then it dawned on me that I wasn't hearing it wrong, I was hearing it RIGHT, and I had never realized.

I started thinking about other words that I had, since being activated, encountered and discovered my pronunciation had been wrong,

Herbs- the h is silent? I never knew that!

Porshe - okay its pronounced "porsh-eh" I can do that... but forte is pronounced fort!

Oh so you don't pronounce the "c" in Priscilla?

Breathalyzer, Dionysus, Arkansas (well KANSAS is pronounced the way its spelled, so why shouldn't Arkansas? OY!)

Watching TV last week I realized that Edinburgh is "Edinburra" and yet...we don't call it Pittsburra do we?

Is ignorance a good excuse? Maybe they just overlooked my lapses...and didn't think it necessary to correct me.

I am so thankful for my CI...I love the world of sound it brings me, but at the same time, I'm realizing how incredibly STUPID I must have sounded on occasion, with my mispronunciations. I find myself paying much more attention to how words sound when I'm talking to others, or watching TV or even listening to music. It makes me appreciate even more, how difficult it must be for those born deaf to learn to speak. I was lucky that I at least had the first 9 years of my life to learn SOME of the rules...even if I apparently didn't learn them all.

In parting, I leave you with this...

If you can pronounce correctly every word in this poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world. After trying the verses, a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months of hard labour to reading six lines aloud.

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!

English Pronunciation by G. Nolst Trenité

Monday, March 03, 2008

Of CI's and Cell Phones - Take Two

Wow I can't believe its been so long since I last updated. This will be a pretty long post!

My implant has been fantastic - nothing to complain about whatsoever with the quality of sound and the performance of my implant and processor, barring a gremlin here or there with regards to the processor coil - which I will address later in this post, or in a following one.

First order of business: I've had several people and a few commenters request that I include the information I found in my search for a cell phone. Getting my first cell phone was definitely an educational experience. I had not realized that cell phones are not universally adaptable to the technology in a hearing aid or cochelar implant. The very first phone I received from my provider (Rogers) was a Samsung. It wasn't until I came home and sat down to try it that I realized that it wasn't compatible with my Freedom. I experienced a horrendous high-pitched throbbing static when I put it up to the microphone/processor. Not to be defeated, I started Googling.

I came across a website and found this information:

When wireless devices are used near hearing devices (such as hearing aids and cochlear implants), users may detect a buzzing, humming, or whining noise. Some hearing devices are more immune than others to this interference, and wireless devices also vary in the amount of interference they generate.

The wireless telephone industry has developed ratings to assist hearing device users in finding wireless devices that may be compatible with their hearing devices. Not all wireless devices have been rated. Wireless devices that are rated will have the rating displayed on their box together with other relevant approval markings.

The ratings are not guarantees. Results will vary depending on the user's hearing device and hearing loss. If your hearing device is vulnerable to interference you may not be able to use a rated wireless device successfully.

M-Ratings: Wireless devices rated M3 or M4 meet FCC requirements and are likely to generate less interference to hearing devices than wireless devices that are not labeled. M4 is the better/higher of the two ratings.

T-Ratings: Wireless devices rated T3 or T4 meet FCC requirements and are likely to be more usable with a hearing device's telecoil ("T Switch" or "Telephone Switch") than unrated wireless devices. T4 is the better/higher of the two ratings. (Note that not all hearing devices have telecoils in them).

Most phones that are rated T3 also have an M3 rating. Similarly, most phones rated T4 also have an M4 rating.

Hearing devices may also be measured for immunity to this type of interference. Your hearing device manufacturer or hearing health professional may help you find results for your hearing device. The more immune your hearing aid is, the less likely you are to experience interference noise from wireless devices.

Interesting. So I clicked their Phone Finder link, and selected "Show All Options" from the bottom. After a refresh, I found the "Hearing Aid Compatible" option and selected "M3/T4 and M4/T4" (Very Telecoil Compatible) and did the search. I'm not sure if the link I am going to provide will work for everyone, but I received this listing:

I took this list with me to my Rogers rep and from the list he was able to give me the Motorola Razr V3, and I have been very satisfied with it. I occasionally experience a little bit of static, but I have found that it usually is so quiet it doesn't interfere with my conversations, and if it does, I use a Motorola earbud headset (which I will show pictures of below) and that eliminates all static!

When it comes to choosing a cell phone, it appears that "one size does NOT fit all." You will have to experiment with different phones, and if possible talk to your reprsentative to see if they will let you "try out" different phones to find the one that works best with your implant. I have yet to use a telecoil neck loop, so I can't offer any advice there, but perhaps others who have the experience will add their two cents in the comments area.

I found some advice regarding cell phones from Cochlear's website,

A number of cell phone features may produce radio frequency (RF) interference with your cochlear implant, which may cause you to hear buzzing when you bring the phone up to your implant. This buzzing can overpower a caller’s voice, making it difficult or impossible to use the phone.

Interference can come from the transmission signal that sends the call, the antenna, battery or screen backlight.

Cell phones that are not telecoil compatible may also produce interference when using a telecoil.

The Nucleus behind-the-ear (BTE) processors and microphones have an RF shielding to provide some protection against interference. Yet there are certain cell phone features you can look for to minimize interference even further.

Buying a flip-top or clamshell design phone, rather than a bar-shaped design, may help reduce interference. The flip-fop design usually has both the battery and antenna in the lower part of the phone, putting some distance between these parts and your implant’s components. The contoured shape of this design makes it easy to position the receiver next to the implant microphone.

Also, to reduce interference from the antenna, look for a phone that lets you point the antenna away from your implant’s components and still comfortably talk on the phone.

You might want to contact your CI representative/audiologist to get the most updated information on compatibility if you have a different CI - I can't speak for anything other than the Freedom, as that is all I have ever used.

Now about my hands-free headset - I have found that since I can't "switch ears" when my arm gets tired, and that sometimes the static sound gets worse depending on the quality of the connection with the caller, using an earbud headset completely eliminates all background static. The challenge I had was to figure out a way to USE the earbud with my CI. Trial and error so far has lead me to using two very soft ponytail holders to hold it in place, and this seems to work very well.

First - my phone (Motorola Razr V3), Freedom, Motorola Earbud Headset, two soft ponytail holders.

Take one ponytail holder, and loop twice behind the earbud, and around the CI

Take the second ponytail holder, and wrap it OPPOSITE so that it wraps from the top of the earbud to the bottom of the processor for stability

I thought it prudent to add this: I do NOT use the telecoil setting on my Freedom, nor do I have the telecoil selection activated on my Razr. I HAVE tried using the telecoil settings and found I experienced the buzzing/whining sound that I reported with the Samsung. It just emphasizes you have to "play around" with the different phones, and different settings until you find one that works best for you - there doesn't seem to be a "One Size Fits All" scenerio when it comes to cell phone technology. I have found this holds true for regular house phones as well. Some phones are crystal clear for me, others either buzz, or produce a weird "echo" whenever I speak into them.

~ edit March 21

I originally made this post on March 3, but wanted to make an addition here. While I love using the headset with my Razr, there is a limitation. The Razr has a single port on it, which serves as a data port, a headset port, and a charging port. This means if I am using it with my headset and my battery gives me a "low battery" warning, I can't simply plug the charger in and continue my conversation. I have to unplug the headset (which automatically disconnects the call) and then plug in the charger, and THEN have the person call me back, and continue the conversation normally without the headset. Its a bit of a hassle, as I am not in the habit of asking a person beforehand how long they plan to talk to me, so I can ensure I have enough battery power to use the headset for the entire conversation. I often talk to my sweetheart for a few hours each night (long distance relationship) and quite often I've had to tell him that he would have call me back in a minute, after I had plugged the charger into my phone. Its a hassle to have only one port - he has a phone which has separate ports for the charger and the headset. I've been trying to find a t-splitter to allow me to both charge and use my headset, but I haven't had much luck.