Audiology in Brief Twenty-six people from seven states were arrested on Nov. 19, 2009, for stealing more than $50 million from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Video Relay Service (VRS) program. VRS relays calls between people who are deaf and people who are hearing via Web-based conferencing with a sign-language interpreter. The ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   January 01, 2010
Audiology in Brief
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Hearing Disorders / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   January 01, 2010
Audiology in Brief
The ASHA Leader, January 2010, Vol. 15, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.15012010.5
The ASHA Leader, January 2010, Vol. 15, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.15012010.5
Arrests Made in VRS Fraud Scheme
Twenty-six people from seven states were arrested on Nov. 19, 2009, for stealing more than $50 million from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Video Relay Service (VRS) program.
VRS relays calls between people who are deaf and people who are hearing via Web-based conferencing with a sign-language interpreter. The scammers submitted false and fraudulent claims for millions of dollars of phony VRS calls placed to pre-recorded radio programs, 800 numbers, or podcasts. Nothing was translated, but claims were submitted for almost $400 for every hour a VRS provider employee was on the phone. The service, free to users, is funded through a telephone bill surcharge.
“These defendants are alleged to have generated fraudulent call minutes by making it appear that deaf Americans were engaging in legitimate calls with hearing persons, when in reality, the defendants were simply attempting to steal money from an FCC program that is funded by every single American who pays their telephone bills,” said Lanny Breuer, assistant attorney general of the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division.
Arrests were made in Maryland, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Florida, and California. For more information, visit The U.S. Department of Justice’s Web site.
Hearing Protection for Impulse Noise
Workers in industries with impact noise, as well as soldiers exposed to supersonic blasts from armament and explosive devices, may be at higher risk for hearing loss than those exposed to continuous noise, according to an article in the June 2009 issue of Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology that reviews the challenges of providing hearing protection for impulse noise.
Impulse noise may be more damaging than continuous sound. Outer hair cells appear to be more sensitive than inner hair cells to impulse noise because of their energy requirements, which lead to increased production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and self-destruction by apoptosis. New materials for hearing protection equipment with improved damping, reflective, and absorption characteristics are required to allow the user to hear ambient sounds while blocking harmful noise. Sensing devices that instantaneously and selectively hyperpolarize outer hair cells could provide alternate protection.
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January 2010
Volume 15, Issue 1