Audiology in Brief Scammers are exploiting Internet-based relay services, which allow people who are deaf and hard of hearing to access the nationwide telecommunications relay service, according to a recent report by NBC News. The investigation showed that the relay service may be benefiting the criminal community more than the deaf community ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   March 01, 2007
Audiology in Brief
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Hearing Disorders / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   March 01, 2007
Audiology in Brief
The ASHA Leader, March 2007, Vol. 12, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.12032007.5
The ASHA Leader, March 2007, Vol. 12, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.12032007.5
Scammers Strike Internet Relay Services
Scammers are exploiting Internet-based relay services, which allow people who are deaf and hard of hearing to access the nationwide telecommunications relay service, according to a recent report by NBC News.
The investigation showed that the relay service may be benefiting the criminal community more than the deaf community because of loopholes in the relay system. The telecommunications relay service fields 22 million calls per year; it is supported by a universal surcharge on all phone bills that contributes $92.5 million annually to fund the service, which is mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Relay calls are facilitated by communication assistants who read the exact message typed by the person with hearing loss to the person on the other end—no matter how vile or obscene. Operators may not refuse to relay a call or break requirements to keep all information confidential—even if they recognize that the intent is to defraud or scam the recipient. In addition, operators may not keep any records that identify callers or the content of conversations—regulations that are meant to protect the privacy of people who are deaf, but prevent the collection of information about scammers.
Records obtained by NBC reveal that representatives of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and phone companies that operate the relay service have met to discuss the problem; that operators are working overtime to handle the high volume of fraud calls; and that operators protest being required to make fraud calls.
The FCC is reviewing the issue and may make regulatory changes. Visit MSNBC’s story for more information.
Shape of Cochlea Plays Role in Hearing
Research conducted at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been named by Discover magazine as one of the top 100 science stories and one of the top two math stories of 2006. The stories appeared in Discover’s January 2007 issue. The research was conducted by Richard Chadwick at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and Emilios K. Dimitriadis of the NIH Office of Research Services in collaboration with Daphne Manoussaki of Vanderbilt University. Using a simple model of a spiral, the researchers calculated how the cochlea’s curve affects the movement of sound energy inside the inner ear. The researchers concluded the spiral shape of the cochlea increases sensitivity to low frequencies, and found that the increasing curvature of the cochlea directs energy toward the outer wall of the spiral. Because the effect is greatest at the center of the spiral, where the lowest sound frequencies are detected, sensitivity to low-frequency sound is increased by as much as 20 dB. The paper, “Cochlea’s Graded Curvature Effect on Low Frequency Waves,” was published in the March 2, 2006, online issue of Physical Review Letters (Vol. 96, No. 8).
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March 2007
Volume 12, Issue 3