New technologies are being developed to help the deaf and the hearing-impaired community thrive in the world of talking communities. These technologies are life-changing and have significantly helped the deaf and hearing-impaired people function normally. These new devices and development open new opportunities to the deaf community in their home, school, workplace, and community.
Hearing loss can be from mild to profound. There are estimated to be 360 million people worldwide suffering from deafness and hearing loss caused by either hereditary disorder, genetic disease, prenatal exposure to disease, use of some drugs, ear infections, exposure to excessive noise, injury, and aging. According to Vicky Zhang, PhD and co-authors, “having problems with communication in social situations, resulting in feelings of disconnection from the world around them.” Treatments are being developed to aid them. Besides treatment, many deaf-friendly communities are working together to help the deaf and hard of hearing
Educating the Deaf
Some schools are already prepared, equipped, and trained to be deaf-friendly. “School today is the place where all children learn the distinction that hunter-gatherers never knew—the distinction between work and play,” Peter Gray Ph.D. wrote. These schools use the technology of speech-to-text systems which makes studying easier for the deaf and hearing-impaired students. This technology translates spoken words to real-time texts and also provide a text file of the lecture.
Deaf in the Workplace
The Video Relay Service (also known as video interpreting service) is a system using a computer and a web camera. This service allows the deaf and hard of hearing individuals communicate over video telephone. The system is widely used in the workplace. This system allows the deaf people improve their level of communication, thus, making them more confident and productive.
Uber is one of the companies that hire deaf and hard of hearing drivers. In partnership with the Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD), they developed an online video support guide that goes directly into their app. This features flashing trip request, text-only communication with the riders, notifying the riders that the drive is deaf or hard of hearing. This gives the deaf and hard of hearing drivers the opportunity to earn a living.
Alert Devices, Safety First
There are also gadgets used at home for the deaf to live a safer and comfortable life. “Exposure to technology isn’t all bad,” Jim Taylor Ph.D. says. Alarm clocks that vibrates can be placed under their pillow to wake them. It also has a flashing light. In case of fire, a fire/smoke detector with a bright flashlight that warns a deaf person if there’s smoke or fire can be installed. A phone flasher light also warns them when the phone is ringing.
Another safety gadget is the vibrating bracelet which is something a deaf person can wear. This bracelet tickles the wrist when sound is detected around the house like a phone ringing, doorbell, and sirens.
Deaf in the Social Environment
Communication is made easier with these gloves. It translated real-time sign language into readable text which is relayed via Bluetooth to a computer or smartphone. This way communicating with friends and other people around here gets better.
It’s not easy to have disabilities or live with people with impairments. People are working very hard to break the barriers through the development of these high-tech gadgets and systems. This is not only to give them hope but to make them feel that they are also part of the society. Advancement of modern technology is slowly making this world become a deaf and hearing-impaired friendly. Anyone in their own simple way can also help give them a happy, comfortable, and safe environment to live in.